The Book “The Oedipus Cycle” by Sophocles

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Oedipus cycle is a collection of three Theban plays written by Sophocles, which include Antigone, Oedipus at Colonus, and Oedipus the King (also known as Oedipus Rex). These plays illuminate Thebes’ fate during and after King Oedipus’s reign. The three plays talk about the mythological Oedipus, who married his mother and killed his father without knowing they were his biological parents. The characters in the three plays also demonstrate the author’s message about the value of democratic impulse, society, and family.

Sophocles establishes the family concept as a journey of finding self as the characters demonstrate the aspect of not knowing about their fate. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is unknowingly seeking to find his identity by finding his actual family. Oedipus believes he turned out the way he was because Laius and Jocasta ignored the oracle’s warning to bear children, and their sins passed on to him (Datan, 2018). On the other hand, Antigone demonstrates that family comes first by conducting a forbidden ritual on her dead brother.

The plays indicate the values and cultures of the Greeks at the time they were composed. In Oedipus the King, for instance, Oedipus struggles to alienate his will from the fate placed upon him by the gods (Datan, 2018). After the truth emerges that those who raised him are not his actual parents, the Greek society illuminated that the lineage that a man or woman originates is of great importance.

Lastly, Oedipus believes in democracy, as no leader should have too much influence over his people. It is evident that Creon, in Antigone, possesses too much power, which can be interpreted as a dictatorship (Datan, 2018). Antigone believes that it is not right that Creon refuses his brother to be given a proper burial as his corpse will be punished by the gods. Creon refuses Polynices to be buried despite knowing this.

In conclusion, the characters in Sophocles’s play collection have demonstrated the value of society, family, and impulse. Family values push these characters to try and establish their identity by trying to escape their fate. The plays also demonstrate how society and democracy stress the importance of family lineage for people in power and how that power is used.


Datan, N. (2018). The Oedipus Cycle: developmental mythology, Greek tragedy, and the sociology of knowledge. Int J Aging Hum Dev, 27(1), 1-10. doi:10.2190/XAP9-UQP1-RNMW-V7R8