In Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, the pity that motivates its eponymous character to save the city of Thebes proves to be the very emotion that brings Oedipus to his self-recognition. This article looks at how pity functions in the drama and its relationship to paternal and soterial figures in the play. Given the shifting dynamics of certain relationships that coincide with expressions of pity and Sophoclean innovations to the myth, the playwright underscores the tragedy of Oedipus with the downfall of pity exposing the necessity for, and limitations of, pity as a social and political basis of authority.


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