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October 06, 2006

Katie's Oedipus Close Reading

Katie Sutter
Section 003

"You, it's you. What plagues the city is you. The plague is you."
-Teiresias pg. 39

I liked this quote because it was the first to give readers the idea that there was a twist in the story. It was the point when we realize that there is more to Oedipus's life than meets the eye. I thought that it was interesting how the word "you" is used four times in the quote. I think that it was used multiple times to solidify the fact to Oedipus that it is possible that he really was the murderer. The fact that he keeps hearing himself being accused is, in my opinion what gets into his head and makes him think twice about his kingship and the way in which he came to be what he is. Also "plague," which means to torment or an epidemic, is used twice. The repetitiveness is very important to the quote because it forces both the readers and Oedipus to really think about the words and the possibility that they are the truth. Oedipus becomes very defensive during this accusation which shows even further that he has some doubts about who he really is, even if it is just a subconscious feeling.

Posted by sutterka at October 6, 2006 12:03 AM


The repetition of the "you" also sets up a striking countersymmetry to Oedipus' own repeated references to "I", "me", "mine", etc, when speaking about himself (as in "I, Oedipus. King.")

Posted by: bhattach at October 8, 2006 04:45 PM

I also find it interesting that "you" is repeated in such a small amount of sentences. Repetition seems to be a point in this play. If you look at the quote I chose, it also has a key, repeating word. Most of the time repetition implies redundancy; however, it seems to play an important role in this play. The repetition makes the phrase more poignant and cutting. I agree with you that the repetition helps the reader and Oedipus himself realize that there might be truth in the prophet’s words. Before you and Kathleen presented the idea that Oedipus is somewhat unsure of himself, I actually thought that Oedipus was very confident in who he was. I thought this was why it seemed like such a shock to him when he encountered the truth. But I think your interpretation and proof make a stronger point than mine.

Posted by: krpark at October 8, 2006 09:27 PM

I think you gave a very strong quote commentary. I see how just using the words and connecting them can make a strong statement. You did a good job talking and reinforcing the repetition, of the quote, of the whole play even. The only thing I can think of to add would be about the city...how does that tie in to the whole thing. I was very impressed at this- keep it up!

Posted by: kmeaw at October 9, 2006 09:47 AM

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