Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Section 3 Analysis (lines 573-767)

Oedipus's quickness to judge Creon his enemy illustrates again that he is a man of action—a trait that sometimes serves him well and other times does not. When Oedipus says of Creon's supposed plot, "you think I'd never detect it creeping against me in the dark?" (ll. 601-602), he further references to the audience his inability to see what is actually before him, who he is. This is emphasized again a few lines later when he says, "I'll be slow to learn" (l. 611).

Creon makes his case to Oedipus, showing that he has no motive to overthrow him, and in doing so speaks the line "Time alone can bring the just man to light" (l. 689). These words foreshadow that Creon will indeed be cleared and Oedipus will have to stand in the harsh light of truth.

It is interesting that it is the Chorus who stays Creon from exile or execution. During this exchange with Oedipus, the king provides a bit of prophecy himself, though he certainly doesn't realize it at the moment: "you want me dead or banished from the land" (l. 735). He continues a few lines later saying, "even if it does lead to my ruin, my death or my disgrace, driven from Thebes for life" (ll. 742-743), all of which happen to Oedipus by the end of the play. Creon's line is also dramatically ironic and provides foreshadowing: "natures like yours are hardest on themselves" (l. 748).