When presented with this story, I was very skeptical about how much meaning I could get out of it. Oedipus kills his father, and has intercourse with his mother. We all know the story. But as we started discussing it (especially during the lecture) I was able to extract enormous amounts of information from my interpretation of the text.
My favourite aspect of the piece, though, is the conflict between free will and pre-destined fate. This is at the core of Sophocles’ dualism. Some suggest that Oedipus has free will for everything but his own destiny, that is, the prophecy. I beg to differ. It is unrealistic to claim that free will exists if one’s future is already decided in advance. It’s in fact Oedipus that creates this illusion of free will (and in a way lies to himself) through his human senses.
When the protagonist realizes the truth, and light is shun upon his incestuous and patricidal nature, he no longer wants to be a spectator of his own tragedy – he realizes he has no say in his destiny, and blinds himself from reality.
Blindness is a symbol of overwhelming light, or knowledge. Maybe for Oedipus, ignorance is bliss. Or perhaps he is simply too human to escape his emotions, so grief and shame drive him insane. Either way, Oedipus has a personal conflict that ruins him by the end of the play. This is proof of Sophocles admiration for divine figures and godly power, which he considers infinite and superior to human nature.
I definitely recommend this play as a great pastime if you are interested in philosophy and ancient Greek mythology.