Study Guide

Oedipus the King Memory and the Past

By Sophocles

Memory and the Past

(Click the themes infographic to download.)

What do Oedipus The King and the Pixar movie Inside Out have in common? They both warn against getting lost in the halls of memory— and they suggest that forgetting can be a good thing

Memories of the past have a complex impact on the characters in Oedipus the King. One message in this play is that delving too far into the past—as Oedipus does against the warnings of nearly everyone around him—is dangerous and self-injuring.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. Does Oedipus’s awareness of his past ultimately benefit or harm him?
  2. How does hubris impact the ability of Oedipus to perceive and understand the past?

Chew on This

Oedipus the King argues that ignorance is bliss.