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The Oedipus Plays of SophoclesPhilosophical Perspectives$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190669447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190669447.001.0001

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The Killing Feet

The Killing Feet

Evidence and Evidence Sensitivity in Oedipus Tyrannus

(p.41) Chapter 2 The Killing Feet
The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles

C. D. C. Reeve

Oxford University Press

Did Oedipus kill his father and marry his mother? Are the various oracles dealing with the matter fulfilled? The evidence the play Oedipus Tyrannus presents is inconsistent, but audiences and interpreters are almost unanimous in treating it as if it yielded decisive positive answers to these questions. In treating inadequate evidence as decisive they follow in Oedipus’s footsteps, since he does the very same thing. That, indeed, is his tragedy, but also ours—which is precisely the point of the play. True reverence requires a degree of sensitivity to evidence, which—often with disastrous consequences—we are prone not to exhibit.

Keywords:   Oedipus, Frederick Ahl, Homer, Bernard Knox, Thucydides, evidence, oracles, reverence

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