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The Role Of Apollo In Oedipus Tyrannus

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Chapter Summary

In Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus, a man who has received an authoritative prediction that he will kill his father and marry his mother learns in course of the play that in spite of his best efforts to avoid doing so this is precisely what he has done. Dodds claim that in Sophocles' plays the gods send misery on mortals and his claim that the gods merely predict but do not cause Oedipus' misery are contradictory. This chapter argues that both of Dodds's instincts are correct: it is both the case that Oedipus is no puppet and that it is Apollo who induces him to commit parricide and incest. Author's thesis is that in the play all of Oedipus' actions are perfectly free, but that in the case of parricide and incest Apollo created a situation where Oedipus, a free agent acting on information available to him, unwittingly carried out Apollo's designs.

Keywords: Apollo; E.R. Dodds; Oedipus Tyrannus; parricide; prediction; Sophocles



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