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Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King

Analysis

Oedipus the King as Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy Plot

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type :

Anticipation Stage

Oedipus is busy ruling Thebes as normal. He is aware that there is a curse on the city and hopes to lift it.

Oedipus is fully confident that he can lift whatever curse the city is under. He begins to gather more information on how to do so. He is energetic and focused.

Dream Stage

Oedipus becomes fully committed to solving the mystery of Laius’s murder.

Knowing that he needs to banish the former king's murderer, Oedipus is increasingly dedicated and successful in gathering the information necessary to uncover the mystery of Laius’s death.

Frustration Stage

Oedipus learns that his supposed biological parents were actually adoptive parents and begins to suspect that he killed Laius. He continues to pursue more information.

Things start to deteriorate for Oedipus. What was originally intended to be a search for Laius’s murderer transforms into Oedipus’s search to understand his own identity as it becomes increasingly clear that Oedipus is linked to the murder and the curse on Thebes. Oedipus is determined to keep pursuing additional information even though it is clearly to his detriment.

Nightmare Stage

Jocasta realizes that she is both Oedipus’s spouse and mother. Oops. She runs off stage. Oedipus shortly arrives at the realization that he has killed his father and slept with his mother.

In Oedipus the King, Oedipus and Jocasta’s realizations of their identities bring great despair.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

In tragic desperation, Jocasta hangs herself. Oedipus finds Jocasta dead and wishes he had never been born. He gouges his eyes out and is exiled from Thebes.

Unable to bear their circumstances any longer, all of the main characters kill or injure themselves.

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