In the play, Oedipus solves the Sphinx’s riddle to save Thebes from destruction. The Sphinx asked him a compound question, and Oedipus was the first man to conquer the Sphinx by answering it and saving the city from the plague; therefore, he got the title of the king. However, this moment in the play can be considered as the continuation of the oracle, which leads to further sin commitments that follow the main character throughout the plot.
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The plot is one of the essential aspects of tragedy and represents the sequence of events happening in the main character’s life. The connection between the Sphinx and Oedipus is an important culmination point in the play. It guarantees the future meeting with Jocasta, their future marriage, and Oedipus’s emperor’s title. This scene is a kind of “middleman” between the two sins committed by the main character: incest and patricide. Hence, this moment in the play is one of the events that establish the plot of the work.
The best plot features are recognition and reversal of fortune which usually occur simultaneously. An example of such features is provided in the tragedy “Oedipus the King” as well. Oedipus’s life firstly changed in a reversal of fortune after solving the Sphinx’s riddle. The greatest changes, such as the king’s title, marriage, and God’s anger, occur after the main character’s meeting with the beast (“Oedipus the King” 00:44:28-00:45:09). In the play, recognition follows the reversal of fortune as Oedipus is admired only after freeing the city from the plague. Those two features help to show the two different sides of Oedipus, the contrast of his temper as the main character kills his father because of anger but helps poor people from Thebes to conquer the beast and release people from the disease.
“Oedipus the King – Plummer, Welles, et al.” YouTube, uploaded by Nick Bottom, 2015, Web.