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MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
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It is also possible to look at the play as a kind of initiation rite. Oedipus undergoes a process of regeneration or rectification of the soul. After his tragic transgressions against his own parents, who rejected him at birth, he must now be reborn to a new life, wherein his old identity as sinner is discarded and his new potential as reformed saint is to be actualized. The play sums up what the old maxim says: "Every sinner has a future, as every saint has a past".


Some of the other motifs of the play are the Themes of life as a journey and man as a wanderer and outcast. It also shows time and its changes as shapers of human destiny and suffering as an agent of knowledge. In fact, this play is so replete with layers of rich meaning that it is almost inexhaustible in its deeper implications about the complexity of human life, as well as the mystery of death. Even contemporary affairs in the political life of 5th Century B.C. Athens are subtly incorporated into Oedipus At Colonus, though it is the most deeply spiritual of Sophocles' plays and is hardly concerned with the harsher realities of materialistic existence. The principal theme of Oedipus At Colonus is, obviously, the redemption of the essentially noble spirit of Oedipus from the consequences of his earlier errors. Yet this play provides more scope for the treatment of subsidiary Themes than any other of Sophocles' seven extant plays.

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