The Mysteries of Fate

Among the first thing a historian discovers in his study of early civilization are records of peoples belief, or faith, in powers greater than themselves, and their desire to understand what causes these powers to act. People everywhere wonder about the marvelous things in the sky and on the earth. What makes the rain? How do the plants and animals live and grow and die? Why are some people lucky and others unlucky? Some believe in free will while others believe in fate or destiny. In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of fate.

Gods and goddesses were believed to be responsible for the wonders of science, and the vagaries of human nature; therefore, according to the facts of this story, Oedipus was a true victim of fate for several reasons. Laius and Jocasta, the childless king and queen of Thebes, were told by the god Apollo that their son would kill his father and marry his mother (page 56). A son was born to them, and they tried to make sure that the prophecy would not come true. They drove a metal pin through the infants ankles and gave it to a shepherd, with instructions to leave it to die.

The shepherd pitied the little infant so he gave the child to another shepherd. This shepherd gave the baby to a childless king and queen of Corinth, Polybus and Merope. This royal couple named the boy Oedipus, which in its Greek form Oidipous means “swollen foot. ” Oedipus was brought up believing that Polybus and Merope were his real parents, and Lauis and Jocasta believed that their child was dead and the prophecy of Apollo was false. Many years later, he was told by a drunk man at a banquet that he was not a true heir of Polybus (page 55).

He then went to the oracle of Apollo, to ask the god who his real parents were. All he was told was that he would kill his father and marry his mother (page 56). He resolved never to return to Corinth, to Polybus and Merope, and started out to make a new life for himself elsewhere. He came to a place where three main roads met, and in the narrow place was ordered off the road and then attacked by the driver of a chariot in which an old man was riding. A fight started, and Oedipus, in self-defense, killed the old man and his attendants. The old man in the chariot was Lauis, king of Thebes, and the father of

Oedipus. Although Oedipus had not known it, he had killed his father and the first half of the prophecy of Apollo was fulfilled. Oedipus continued on his way and arrived at Thebes. He solved a riddle which saved the city from the sphinx. He became the king of Thebes, and then married a lady by the name of Jocasta. The prophecy of Apollo was now completely fulfilled. Oedipus having no knowledge of Apollos prophecy being true, cursed the individual who killed Laius to be banished from Thebes forever. After putting two and two together, it was he, Oedipus, who had killed Laius, his own father.

He did not go back on his word, and like a man, he dethroned himself as king, and banished himself from Thebes. Once again, he was destined to be dethroned and banished. Comparing my life with Oedipus, Ive discovered a great deal about free choice and destiny. I learned that one day, you can be the richest person alive, yet be the poorest person the next day and vice versa. In life, anything can happen, whether it is expected or unexpected. That is when fate overrides and overpowers free will. Free will is a choice that an individual decides to do or accomplish.

Destiny or fate is what just happens. No one knows when or how something will happen, but it will. Laius and Jocasta heard that their child will kill the father and marry the mother. Even after abandoning the baby and believing that he was dead, the prophecy was destined and somehow came true. With me getting caught for shoplifting was also destined. The voices I heard in my head was a warning, and I chose to ignore it but it was destined to happen. The day our lives end, we dont choose where we will go, we, I believe, are destined to be sent where we belong.

In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of fate. Like Oedipus, there was a time in my life when I too, felt like a victim of fate. The Greeks had an orderly explanation of the creation of the world. From this Greek tragedy, I learned more about their manners, customs and ideals. Ive grown to appreciate their love of beauty, their joy and laughter, as well as the sorrows they experienced in life. I also realized how great of power destiny and fate have over free will. The moral of this play I learned is that if its destined, it will sooner or later happen!

Antigone a tragic play written by Sophocles

Antigone is a tragic play written by Sophocles in about 441b. c. The play is a continuation of the curse put upon the household of Oedipus Rex. Sophocles actually wrote this play before he wrote Oedipus, but it follows Oedipus in chronological order. The story of Antigone begins after the departure of Oedipus, the king of Thebes, into self-exile. Oedipus two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, were left to rule over Thebes. An argument over rights to power forces Polynices to leave Thebes. Some time passes and Polynices returns with the army from Argos and attempts to overthrow his brother.

The two brothers fight and kill one another and the war ends. Creon, the uncle of the two brothers becomes the new king of Thebes. Because Polynices proved to be an enemy of the state, Creon chose to leave his body unburied. In the Greek culture, the denial of Funeral rights was a fate reserved for the worst criminals (). This is the point where the dialogue of the play actually begins. Antigone, sister to Polynices and Eteocles, disobeys Creon and properly buries the body of Polynices.

When Creon hears what Antigone has done he has her placed in a cave and essentially buried alive. This enrages Creons son, Haimon, who turns his own sword upon himself. When Eurydice, Creon wife her the news she to kills herself. Creon is left at the end to mourn the death of two nephews, a niece, a son, and a wife. This play more than an issue of right verses wrong or fate verses free will; it is a collision between the rightful demands of the family and the laws of the state (). Creon being in the position of ruler chooses to follow the demands of the state.

There is much debate as to which character was in the right. Was Antigone right to disobey the king for the sake of her family or was Creon right in his duty as ruler to preserve order and punish enemies of the state? Through looking at the history of the era, the intentions of the playwright, and the critical analysis and commentary offered on the play, it is in my opinion that Sophocles intended Creon to be the character who was in the right, not Antigone. The start of theater and drama in Ancient Greece took form in about 5th century b. with Sophocles being considered the master of tragedy.

In his plays and those of the same genre, classic fables that the people of the era knew well were used to tell the stories. The tragic heros of these stories often strive to live honorable and righteous lives, but because of some mistake their lives would often great and noble death. The idea that serving the state was proper way to gain honor was a popular belief during this time period. This philosophy was echoed by Plato in his book, the Republic. Plato dealt with establishing the ideal state.

The way to achieve the ideal state was through striving for justice. Justice, according to Plato, is doing only the tasks assigned to them by nature. This is the fundamental notion for his creation of an ideal city. It is both knowing what true justice is and where one belongs in the city that the ideal can be achieved. Justice in a city can be found in an individual as well outside the individual because it is a concept that is universal. If a ruler of a state was to maintain order and control over his people he must then seek the best way to obtain justice.

In crucial decisions, the ruler must look the see what is the good for the whole if he is to achieve this idea of justice. If Sophocles, believed along these same lines, and it is my opinion that he did, then Creons actions toward Polynices were justified. Creon acted in the best interest of the people. A trader of the state could not go unpunished. This was Creon’s duty as a ruler: it was the task assigned to him by nature. If Creon was right in his decision to punish Polynices then Antigone was wrong to defy the king.

Creons next step, the imprisonment of Antigone, must also be considered justified since she has defy deliberately disobeyed his orders. Looking at the dialogue of the chorus may provide insight into the intentions of Sophocles. The chorus was partly considered to be a character participating in the story and a mouthpiece for the author. The chorus in Antigone seems to justify the decision of Creon to take the life of Antigone. In the prologue, the choragos states Polynices was the the wild eagle shouting insults above our land.

This line establishes Polynices as an enemy to the state of Thebes. If Polynices is the enemy, then Creon must punish him for his actions. In Ode I at the end of scene I, the chorus states when the laws are kept how proudly the city stands! When the laws are broken what of this city then? This is in response to Antigones action of covering the body of her brother. The chorus takes the position that Creons order must be followed for the state to maintain justice. This puts Antigone in the wrong for her actions.

If she disobeys the king deliberately then her she must accept the consequences of death. Creon had no choice but take the life of Antigone if he was to maintain order. In Ode II the chorus comments on the mortal arrogance of Antigone which seems to reassert the actions of Creon. The arrogant, headstrong Antigone seemed almost willing for her punishment. The chorus in Scene IV points to the fault of Antigone when it says to Antigone, You walk at last to the underworld; untouched by sickness, broken by no sword. What women has ever found your way to death?

The chorus here continues to blame Antigone for the result of her death, not Creon. In the same Scene, the chorus continues and says, You made your choice, Your death is the doing of your conscious hand. Commentary on the play offers several opinions as to which character acted rightly. One commentary makes the point that for Creon to maintain order in a city that has recently undergone civil war the he had to take punish Polynices as a criminal. This was not an action based on personal hatred. This was an action taken as a rightly appointed ruler for the overall welfare of his state.

This is a duty that must be upheld by any ruler, president or politician. Their main responsibility is the welfare of the people the serve. This means putting family matters second to the good of the entire people. Another point made by several different critiques is that the play focuses on the actions of Creon, not Antigone. By focusing on the action of Creon then it seems that Sophocles intended Creons actions be given highest priority. This is further support by the removal of Antigone from the play only two-thirds of the way through.

Sophocles might have done this to allow the chorus of the play to follow Creon and therefore side with him on his decisions. Creon undoubtedly suffers the most for his actions. His decisions cause him to loose many members of his family. The grief he must have felt for these decisions is hard to comprehend. Whether or not Creon wanted to be king was not a circumstance that he had power over. But since he was king he know had a responsibility to lead and protect his people. This meant punishing those that opposed the state of Thebes family or not.

Therefore it was a correct decision. It served to good of the whole not Creons own selfish desires. Antigone defied this decision putting her in the same category of her brother a trader of the state. Therefore she must also be punished in much the same way as a criminal of the state was punished. Through looking at the history of the time period, the statements of the chorus, and the critical analysis offered, I believe it was Sophocles to portray the character of Creon as the character that acted correctly.

The play Antigone, written by Sophocles

The opening events of the play Antigone, written by Sophocles, quickly establish the central conflict between Antigone and Creon. Creon has decreed that the traitor Polynices, who tried to burn down the temple of gods in Thebes, must not be given proper burial. Antigone is the only one who will speak against this decree and insists on the sacredness of family and a symbolic burial for her brother. Whereas Antigone sees no validity in a law that disregards the duty family members owe one another, Creon’s point of view is exactly opposite.

He has no use for anyone who places private ties above the common good, as he proclaims firmly to the Chorus and the audience as he revels in his victory over Polynices. He sees Polynices as an enemy to the state because he attacked his brother. Creon’s first speech, which is dominated by words such as “authority” and “law”, shows the extent to which Creon fixates on government and law as the supreme authority. Between Antigone and Creon there can be no compromisethey both find absolute validity in the respective loyalties they uphold.

In the struggle between Creon and Antigone, Sophocles’ audience would have recognized a genuine conflict of duties and values. From the Greek point of view, both Creon’s and Antigone’s positions are flawed, because both oversimplify ethical life by recognizing only one kind of good or duty. By oversimplifying, each ignores the fact that a conflict exists at all, or that deliberation is necessary. Moreover, both Creon and Antigone display the dangerous flaw of pride in the way they justify and carry out their decisions.

Antigone admits right from the beginning that she wants to carry out the burial because the action is glorious. Antigone has a savage spirit; she has spent most of her life burying her family members. Creon’s pride is that of a tyrant. He is inflexible and unyielding, unwilling throughout the play to listen to advice or Antigone. Creon’s love for the city-state cause him to abandon all other beliefs. He tries to enforce this upon the people of Thebes. He wants them to think that his laws should be followed before any other personal, moral, or religious belief.

This is where the conflict of character occurs between Antigone and Creon. Antigone knows that the sacred laws held by heaven are far more important than those made by a king. It is the danger of pride that leads both these characters to overlook their own human qualities and the limitations of their own powers The Chorus is made up of older men of the city. Some of the times the Chorus speaks in this drama, it seems to side with Creon and the established power of Thebes.

The Chorus’s first speech (117-179) describes the thwarted pride of the invading enemy: The God Zeus hates bravado and bragging. Yet this encomium to the victory of Thebes through Zeus has a cunningly critical edge. The Chorus’s focus on pride and the fall of the prideful comments underhandedly on the willfulness seen in Antigone and will see in Creon. In Creon’s first speech, where he assumes the “Now here I am, holding all authority and the throne, in virtue of kinship with the dead” and reiterates his decree against the traitor Polynices (191-192).

In lines 308-309 the Chorus says to Creon “My lord: I wonder, could this be God’s doing? This is the thought that keeps on haunting me. The Chorus is questioning Creon if it could be the doing of God who buried Polynices, Creon replies; “Stop, before your words fill even me with rage that you should be exposed as a fool, and you so old. For what you say is surely insupportable when you say the gods took forethought for this corpse” (310-313). Even though Antigone exhibits a blamable pride and a hunger for glory, her disobedience is less serious than those of Creon.

It is evident that Antigone’s actions are driven by a love for her brother, and a desire to please the gods. While Creon’s actions are founded in his quest for more power and complete control over the city of Thebes and its people. Antigone’s crime harms no one directly, whereas Creon’s mistakes affect an entire city. We learn from Teiresias that new armies are rising up in anger against Thebes because of Creon’s treatment of their dead. More important, Creon’s refusal to bury Polynices represents a more radical insult to human values than Antigone’s refusal to heed Creon’s edict.

Creon says at the beginning of the play that the sight of Polynices’ unburied corpse is an obscenity, but he clearly doesn’t understand the implications of his own words. “You shall leave him without burial; you shall watch him chewed up by birds and dogs and violated” (224-226). Whereas Antigone breaks a law made by a particular ruler in a particular instance, a law that he could have made differently, Creon violates an unwritten law, a cultural must. Creon goes forward, prepared to do what is necessary to right his wrongs. However, as is often the case in life, he does not repent soon enough.

In the aftermath, he is left with the deaths of three people, all of which he caused. He is left to remember all the things he could have done differently, and that is possibly the worst punishment of all. Ultimately, King Creon learns his lesson, but it is a hard lesson and one that brings down everyone around him. Perhaps he, himself, says it best. “Lead me away, a vain silly man who killed you, son, and you, too, lady. I did not mean to, but I did. I do not know where to turn my eyes to look to, for support. Everything in my hands is crossed. A most unwelcome fate has leaped upon me” (2044).

Nevertheless, my sympathies are most likely tipping toward Antigone in this encounter. Just before the argument between Antigone and Creon, the sentry gives a vivid and disgusting description of the disinterment of Polynices’ corpse. Polynices’ rotting body is the physical evidence, or perhaps a symbol, of the injustice of Creon’s decree and of the ruin it will bring about in Thebes. The description of the squalor of the corpse prepares the audience to be sympathetic to Antigone’s arguments, even as she flies in the face of law with a pride that easily matches Creon’s.

Antigone draws a distinction between divine law and human law, between the “great unwritten, unshakable traditions” and the statute of individual rulers such as Creon. Each of Antigone’s actions was admirable, in the interest of her brother and the gods. She buries her brother without worrying what might happen to her. However, Antigone debated over the issue of whether to bury her brother or not. In the end she ultimately decided that her life was not as valuable as making sure her brother rests in peace. She was only trying to please the gods whereas Creon was working directly against the will of the gods.

With each viewpoint located at opposite ends of the social spectrum, a dilemma is unavoidable when the two face each other. This is the backbone for the entire plot of Antigone. On one side is Antigone, who pursues her self-righteous beliefs whole-heatedly and without question. On the other side is Creon, who acts in response to what he believes are best for the society. Both characters are justified in their behavior. It is their motives that set them apart from each other. Antigone knows that she will suffer personal anguish if she does not carry out her actions.

If my husband were dead, I might have had another, and child from another man if I lost the first. But when father and mother both were hidden in death my brother’s life would bloom for me again” (959-962). Antigone was unable to complete the three stages of womanhood: she is not a daughter because her parents are dead, she won’t be a wife, and she won’t be a mother. Because of this she believes that her motive is one that should be accepted and that the love for a brother could never be viewed as foolish. Creon, on the other hand, makes his decisions as a king rather then an uncle.

He is concerned with keeping the city-state in order, and his public perception untarnished. He cannot let feelings like love and kindness for Antigone prohibit him from ruling a nation. Both Antigone and Creon believe the gods support their positions. Antigone believes that by Creon denying Polynices a proper burial, he is denying him a right granted by the gods. “The time in which I must please those that are dead is longer than I must please those of this world. For I shall lie forever You, if you like, can cast dishonor on what the gods have honored” (86-89).

She believes that he will not be granted life after death if he is not buried, and that the gods permit all a chance at immortality. When speaking to Antigone it seemed that the Chorus was siding with Creon: “You went to extreme of daring and against the high throne of Justice you fell, my daughter, grievously. ” “.. it is your own self-willed temper that has destroyed you” (901-903, 920-921). However, despite her disobedience to Creon, Antigone is the tragic hero in this play she exploited high standing morals, good intentions, and a high rank.

With both characters assuming religious approval for their actions, it is impossible to exploit any mistakes that may exist within the two viewpoints, making a conclusion that much more difficult. Throughout the play, each character rattles off the reasons for their actions. Both also justify their actions religiously, believing they are the ones acting accordingly by the gods. The entire plot is a construction of conflict between personal and social motives, a scene not uncommon in today’s society.

Sophocles attempts to answer the debate by ultimately showing that the gods approved of Antigone’s motives and that Creon should have buried his nephew. But with so much unnecessary bloodshed committed at the end of the story, it is impossible to believe that this is the final decision. Sophocles believed that the individual held the power and the state shouldn’t have total control over an individual. This is hardly a solution to the debate, the fact that everyone dies. Rather, it is a sign that the debate will live on for all of eternity.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles wrote “Oedipus the King” for the annual festival where playwrights competed for prizes. It was a major civic occasion, with attendance expected. Sophocles the writer is phenomenally good, especially considering his era. His writing is tight, with each phrase contributing to the whole. He is full of succinct observations on life. And despite the limits of the form, he often manages to make his characters seem like real individuals.

The title of our play is often given in its Latin translation “Oedipus Rex”, rather than in its original Greek (“Oedipus Tyranneus”), since the Greek term for king is the English “tyrant” which means a monarch who rules without the consent of the people. As the play opens, the priest of Zeus and a bunch of non-speaking characters (old people, children) appear before King Oedipus with tree-branches wrapped with wool. It was evidently the custom to do this in front of a god’s altar when you wanted something urgently. Oedipus greets them as a caring, compassionate leader.

The priest explains (really for the audience’s benefit) that Thebes is suffering from a plague. Plants, animals, and people are all dying. The people know Oedipus is not a god, but they believe that some god inspired him to solve the riddle of the sphinx and save the town. And since Oedipus has been king, he has done a splendid job. So now people look to him to find a cure for the plague. Oedipus explains (really for the audience’s benefit) that he has sent Creon (Jocasta’s brother) to the oracle of the god Apollo at Delphi to get an answer.

He’s late returning, but as soon as he gets back, Oedipus promises to do whatever the oracle says. Just then, Creon arrives. Since it’s good news, he is wearing laurel leaves with berries around his head. Creon says, “All’s well that ends well. ” (The Greeks loved irony. ) Apollo said that the killer of Laius must be found and banished, and the plague will end. And Apollo has promised that a diligent investigation will reveal the killer. Oedipus asks to review the facts. All that is known is that Laius left for Delphi and never returned. (Don’t ask what Oedipus did with the bodies of Laius and his crew.

There was no immediate investigation, because of the sphinx problem. One of Laius’s men escaped, and walked back to Thebes. (Don’t ask what Oedipus did with Laius’s horses and chariot. ) By the time he got back, Oedipus was being hailed as king. The witness said Laius was killed by a gang of robbers. (We can already figure out why the witness lied. And we’ll learn later that he asked immediately to be transferred away from Thebes, and has been gone ever since. ) Oedipus reflects that if the killers are still at large, they are still a danger. He decides to issue a policy statement to help find the killer.

The chorus, in a song, calls on the various gods (including Triple Artemis, in her aspects as huntress, moon-goddess, and goddess of dark sorcery), to save them from the plague and from the evil god Ares, who is ordinarily the god of war but is here the god of general mass death. Oedipus issues a policy statement, that whoever comes forward with information about the murder of Laius will be rewarded, and that if the killer himself confesses, he will not be punished beyond having to leave the city permanently. On the other hand, if anyone conceals the killer, Oedipus says he will be cursed.

Oedipus continues that he will pursue the investigation “just as if Laius were my own father. ” (The Greeks loved irony. ) The Chorus says that Apollo ought to come right out and say who the murderer is. (The Chorus’s job is to say what ordinary people think. ) Oedipus says, “Nobody can make the gods do what they don’t want to. ” The chorus suggests bringing in the blind psychic, Teiresias. Especially, they hope he can find the missing witness to the killing. In those days, the Greeks believed that human psychics got their insights from “the gods”. There are other stories about Teiresias.

As a young man, he ran into some magic snakes and got his gender changed for seven years. This enabled him to tell whether the male or the female enjoys sex more. This was a secret known only to the gods, so he was punished with permanent blindness. Teiresias comes in. Oedipus asks his help finding the killers, ending up by saying, “The greatest thing you can do with your life is to use all your special talents to help others unselfishly. ” Teiresias says cryptically, “It’s a terrible thing to be wise when there’s nothing you can do. ” (As A. A. Milne would say later, and perhaps Oedipus too, “When ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. Teiresias says, “I want to go home. ”

Oedipus calls him unpatriotic. Teiresias says, “Your words are wide of the mark (hamartia)”. Our expression in English is “You’re missing the point”. (Originally an archery target was a point. ) We’ll hear about hamartia again. Teiresias continues to stonewall, and Oedipus gets very angry. Finally Teiresias gives in, says Oedipus is the killer, and adds that he is “living in shame with his closest relative. ” Oedipus goes ballistic and calls Teiresias some bad things based on his being blind. Teiresias says, “You’ll see soon.

Oedipus understandably thinks this is a poltical trick to smear him, with Teiresias and Creon in cahoots. Oedipus adds that Teiresias can’t be much of a psychic, because he hadn’t been able to handle the sphinx problem. The Chorus tells both men to cool down. Teiresias leaves, predicting disaster. Soon Oedipus will learn the truth and be a blind exile, leaning on his staff. The Chorus sings about the oracle at Delphi, which was supposedly the center of the world. “Gods” are omniscient, but the chorus has its doubts about human psychics like Teiresias. Especially, they cannot believe Oedipus is a killer.

Creon comes in, incensed that Oedipus would accuse him of trying to smear him. The Chorus says Oedipus is simply angry. Creon says he must be nuts. The Chorus says that to the king’s faults and misbehavior, they are blind. (“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” — the norm in a non-democracy. ) Oedipus comes in and accuses Creon directly of planning a coup, using a smear by a crooked psychic as an excuse. They exchange angry words. Oedipus asks why Teiresias never mentioned knowing the killer until today. Creon can’t explain this. He defends himself from the accusation of planning a coup. ) Being king is too much trouble. (2) Creon has other worthwhile things to do. (3)

Creon has everything he needs. (4) Creon has political influence anyway. (5) Creon is well-liked and isn’t going to do an obvious wrong. “You build a good reputation over a lifetime. A single bad action ruins it. ” The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus isn’t satisfied. He says he wants Creon executed for treason. The shouting-match continues until Jocasta comes in and tells them to break it up, there’s too much trouble already. The Chorus says it agrees, and tells Jocasta that both men are at fault.

Creon leaves, and Jocasta asks what’s happened. The Chorus talks about what a fine king Oedipus has been, and says, “Let’s forget the whole business with Teiresias’s prophecy. ” The Chorus uses a variant of the proverb, “Let sleeping dogs lie. ” It’s better not to ask about things that can make trouble. The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus talks about it anyway. Jocasta says, “Well, I don’t believe in psychics. I’ll prove it. Laius and I were told that our baby would kill him and marry me. But this never happened, because we left the baby to die in the woods.

And the witness said that Laius was killed at that place where three roads meet by robbers. ” “Uh-oh”, says Oedipus. “Which three roads? ” The Greeks loved irony. Jocasta says, “It’s where the roads from Thebes, Delphi, and Daulis meet. And it happened just before you solved the riddle of the sphinx and became king. ” Oedipus is upset. He asks Zeus (chief god), “What are you doing to me? ” He asks Jocasta for a description. Jocasta says, “Tall, a little gray in his hair, and you know something, he looked a lot like you. ” The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus continues his questioning.

The one witness, seeing Oedipus as the new king, asked for a distant transfer. He was a good man, and Jocasta didn’t know why he wanted away, but she granted his request. Oedipus tells his story. He was going to the oracles to find out whether he was adopted. All of them told him simply that he would kill his father and marry his mother. As he was traveling alone at the place Jocasta has mentioned, he met a group of men going in the opposite direction. The men, including the leader, started insulting him. Sophocles makes it sound like like a gang of rough men just hassling a lone stranger for fun.

One of the men shoved Oedipus. Oedipus punched him back. The leader struck Oedipus treacherously on the back of the head with the horse staff, Oedipus turned and hit the leader in the chest with his own staff, knocking him out of the chariot. Then Oedipus managed to kill them all except for the one who ran away. It was justifiable, self-defense. But Oedipus is devastated. He says he must be the killer of Laius, and he is ashamed that he has been having sex with his victim’s wife. Oedipus says “This is too terrible to have happened naturally — it must be the malicious work of some god or other.

He says he will simply leave the city, now, and let the plague end. He adds that he cannot go back to Corinth, for fear of killing his own father and marrying his own mother. The Chorus is deeply sympathetic to Oedipus, and appreciative of his willingness to go voluntarily into exile to save the city. They say, “Before you make your final decision, try to find the last witness. Maybe he will exonerate you. ” And Oedipus notes, “The witness did say it was robbers, plural. ” Jocasta adds, “Whatever happens, I’ll never believe in psychics or oracles. Laius was prophesied to die by the hand of his own child. ”

The Chorus sings a puzzling song about how (1) we have to obey the gods; (2) the gods’s best gift is good government; (3) if the government is bad, there is no reason to be good; (4) nobody believes in oracles any more. Jocasta comes in, having visited the local shrines and left little offerings, and asks people to join her in praying for the distraught Oedipus. He’s our leader, and we need him now. She prays to Apollo to make this disastrous situation better. The Greeks loved irony. Just then, a messenger comes in from Corinth. He says “Lucky Jocasta, you lucky wife! ” (Actually, “Blessed is your marriage bed! The Greeks loved irony. )

The king of Corinth has died, and the Corinthians have chosen Oedipus to be their new king. (Greek city-states were often elective monarchies. ) Jocasta says, “Great news. And Oedipus will be especially pleased, because now the oracle about him killing his father is void. You see, I was right not to believe in oracles. ” The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus comes in, hears the news, and says, “Maybe the oracle has been fulfilled figuratively; perhaps he died of grief for my absence. But I’m still worried about marrying my mother. ” Jocasta says, “Forget it.

Life is governed by chance, not destiny. Maybe you’ll dream about marrying your mother. You should ignore dreams. ” Oedipus is still worried. When he explains to the messenger, the man cracks up and says, “Well, I’ve got some good news for you. You don’t have to worry about marrying the lady you’ve called mother… because you’re adopted! ” All hell breaks loose. Oedipus questions the messenger, and learns the messenger had been herding sheep, had met a shepherd who had found Oedipus, had taken the baby, had taken the pin out of his ankles, and had given him to the king and queen of Corinth to raise as their own.

Oedipus is starting to wonder about what has always been wrong with his feet. Oedipus says, “It’s time to clear this up. Send for the other shepherd. ” Jocasta realizes exactly what has happened. Jocasta begs Oedipus NOT to pursue the matter. Oedipus says he has to know. (If Oedipus wasn’t so intent on getting to the truth, there’d be no play. ) Jocasta runs out horribly upset. Oedipus is a little slower, and thinks, “Perhaps she’s upset to find out I’m not really of royal blood. But what the heck — I’m ‘Destiny’s child’ — and that’s something to be proud of!

I’m me. ” The Greeks loved irony. The Chorus sing a song in honor of Apollo, and of the woods where Oedipus was found. The say the spot will become famous. Perhaps Oedipus is the child of nymphs and satyrs. The Greeks loved irony. The other shepherd is brought in. He already has figured things out, and pretends he doesn’t remember. Then he begs the other messenger to be quiet. But Oedipus insists on the truth. It comes out. Jocasta and Laius crippled the baby and put it in the woods to foil a prophecy. Oedipus had, indeed, always wondered what was wrong with his feet.

Now everybody knows the truth. Oedipus rushes out. The Chorus sings a song about how transient happiness is, what a splendid king Oedipus has been, and how Oedipus is now the victim of destiny. The next scene is an extremely graphic account, by an eyewitness. Jocasta ran into the bedroom, screaming. She locked the door from inside. A few minutes later, Oedipus came in, and broke down the door with what seemed to be supernatural strength. He found Jocasta dead, hanging. Oedipus took the body down, then removed the pin that held up her dress.

He stabbed it again and again into his eyes, saying he has looked at his mother’s naked body when he shouldn’t, and he has learned what he now wishes he hadn’t. The blood didn’t merely dribble, as after a single needlestick. It gushed on both sides. For this to happen, the choroidal artery that enters the eye from behind must be severed. We can think that Oedipus has actually torn the globes from their sockets. Oedipus now begs to be taken out of the city (so that the plague will end), but he has no strength and no guide. Oedipus comes in. Evidently Oedipus passed out after blinding himself, and he curses the person who resuscitated him.

The Chorus asks, “How were you able to rip out your eyeballs? ” Oedipus replies, “Apollo gave me the strength to do it. ” Creon is the new king. He is not angry, merely kind. He helps Oedipus up and out of the city, guided by his two daughters. Staff in hand, Oedipus himself is the answer to the riddle of the sphinx. Oedipus says that some incredible destiny must surely await him. But the Chorus ends with a reflection on how transient human happiness often us: “Don’t say anybody is fortunate until that person is dead — the final rest, free from pain. ”

What is Sophocles saying? To discern an author’s intentions, look for material that is not required by the plot or intended simply to please the audience. In retelling the story of Oedipus, Sophocles goes beyond mere irony. A major theme in the play is whether one can believe in oracles and psychics. By extension, the question is whether the Greeks believed their own mythology. Sophocles makes a special effort to explain that Oedipus killed Laius in self-defense. More generally, Sophocles goes out of his way to present Oedipus as an extremely capable, beloved administrator.

Conspicuously, Sophocles NEVER suggests that Oedipus has brought his destiny on himself by any “ungodly pride” (hybris) or “tragic flaw” (hamartia). The last lines seem ambiguous. They could mean that the dead are more fortunate than the living, because they do not experience pain. Is life really that bad? “The gods” made the prophecies that led Oedipus into disaster. The sphinx appeared (she must have been sent by the gods), and Oedipus solved her riddle (the chorus says he must have been guided by the gods. ) Teiresias could not solve the riddle, or detect the killer — thanks to “the gods”.

At the beginning, Apollo’s oracle simply says, “Find the killer” — leading to the cruel ironies of the play. Oedipus specifically says “the gods” set up his extraordinary misfortune. And at the end, Apollo merely gives Oedipus the strength to carve his own eyes out of their sockets. In other words, Sophocles says that Oedipus’s frightful misadvanture is the intentional work of “the gods”. At the end, everybody says this. Pure and simple. Nobody even asks why. The Golden Age of Athens was a time for thinkers, scientists, inventors, and for people to share ideas freely.

Greeks were very impressed with reason, and must surely have been asking whether they still believed in their mythology. “Social conservatives” prosecuted Socrates for expressing doubts about “the gods”, but only because they thought this would corrupt the minds of young people. (Does this sound familiar? ) People have often noted that comedy and melodrama have arisen independently in many cultures, but that tragedy has its unique beginnings in Athen’s golden age — the first time that we hear people asking the tough questions about what they really believed.

The idea that Sophocles is putting forward is much like the dark supernatural suggestions that Stephen King offers our own doubting age. Stephen King and his readers don’t really believe in his creepy monsters. And I don’t know whether Sophocles really believed the message of “Oedipus the King”. Sophocles is saying, “Maybe the gods do exist… and are consciously and elaborately MALICIOUS. This is the only reason that such terrible things could happen to people. “

The story of Antigone

The story of Antigone has been written and translated numerous times. However, the plays written by Sophocles and Jean Anouilh are the most discussed. Despite sharing a similar plot, these adaptations are very different. In Sophocles’s Antigone, Kreon appears to be the protagonist. However in Anouilh’s, it is Antigone. In Sophocles’s Antigone, Antigone does not appear strong, instead she is almost submissive to Kreon. This Antigone is doing what she does only because of her religion and the gods she believes in. In her death, she does not lose much. She never mentions Haimon directly; he seems to lose more in her death than she does.

Antigone is not a tragic heroine, by dying, she has her wish fulfilled – she wants to die for what she does. Antigone was a martyr, not a tragic heroine. There is considerable distinctionbetween the martyr and the tragic protagonist. The martyr suffers and dies for a particular cause and may consciously seek death. The tragic protagonist… has every reason to live amd makes a heroic struggle to survive . (Miller 13) Kreon has every reason to live, he is ruler of Thebes; he is king. He does not die, but he is destroyed. Kreon loses nearly everything he has.

In the play, he is forced to keep his word to his people. His tragic flaw is an unbending will. Kreon cannot accept that he is wrong. He believes that only his opinion counts. He is unafraid to express his decision to leave Polyneices outside the wall “to be feasted upon by carrion birds” even though the chorus is obviously disgusted. O fate of man, working both good and evil! When the laws are kept how proudly his city stands! When the laws are broken, what of his city then? Never may the anarchic man find rest at my hearth, Never be it said that my thoughts are his thoughts. (Sophocles 599)

Because of his lack of judgment and unwillingness to bow to a woman, he is thrown into complete disarray and dispair. His flaw is an unbending will, and a failure to accept that he is wrong. Even when Teiresias tells him to repent and admit his wrong, he refuses. His downfall becomes his own doing. A tragic hero often comes to learn something about himself and his surroundings. Antigone did not give herself time to do this. She remained a stubborn character, refusing to see anything from more than her own point of view. Creon, however, realized far too late the error of his ways when his own family suffered from his decisions.

Creon had to live with the knowledge that he brought his downfall upon himself. It is right that it should be. I alone am guilty I know it, and I say it. Lead me in. Quickly, friends. I have neither life nor substance. Lead me in. (622) Antigone dies with self-pride, which in a way, worsens Creon’s agony. As a protagonist, Kreon constantly struggles against his pride. The laws of the gods state that every man should be buried; however Creon deliberately disobeys that. He realises his mistakes, however, his pride gets in the way. According to the Greeks, it was hubris or excessive pride that destroyed him.

In the end, Creon is punished, he has lost everything. By the end of the play, Antigone appears as the one who had thrown Creon’s life into disarray. Creon seems vulnerable and destroyed; almost pitifully pathetic. Throughout the play, he fights for the respect he desperately wants. He feels that he has to prove himself to his people, prove that he is a man who means what he says. In Sophocles’s Antigone, Creon also has the most lines. He has over twice as many lines than Antigone. The play’s focus is on Kreon and the struggles he goes through to prove that he is capable of ruling his state and his household.

However in Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, Kreon takes on a different personality. While he obviously suffers in Sophocles’s Antigone, in Anouilh’s, he is cold and composed. After the deaths of Antigone, Haemon and Eurydice, Creon merely says “They say it’s dirty work. But if I didn’t do it, who would? ” Even after the bloodshed, Creon still believes that he is correct, he is not destroyed or even repentant. In Anouiilh’s Antigone, Antigone emerges as the protagonist and tragic heroine. She is much more human than Sophocles’s rendering of her in the sense that she feels more than the earlier Antigone.

She doesn’t want to die but she knew that she would. In her dialogue with Kreon, she does not remain calm like the earlier Antigone, but instead attacks his idea of politics and most importantly, his idea of happiness. What kind of happiness do you foresee for me? Paint me the picture of your happy Antigone. What are the unimportant little sins that I shall have to commit before I am allowed to sink my teeth into life and tear happiness from it? (Anouilh 57) Antigone’s tragic flaw would be that she is much too stubborn and often rushes headlong into things. However, at the end, she seems to realise what she had done.

Forgive me, my darling. You would all have been so happy if not for Antigone. ” Unlike Sophocles’s Antigone, who stays stubborn to the end; knowing that what she did was right, Anouilh’s Antigone is very afraid. She doubts herself a little; she is strong but she is human. She does not welcome her death; she fears it. Antigine has every reason to live. She loved Haemon and her sister but she also loved her dead brother. She has a strong sense of duty; even when Creon denounces her brother, she still tries to convince herself that he[Polyneices] is a good man.

Antigone does not begin Anouilh’s play, but the chorus (wh does) points to her as the protagonist of this play. she will burst forth as the dark tense serious girl, who is about to rise up and face the whole world alone-alone against the world and against Creon, her uncle, the Kingshe is going to dieshe would much rather live than die. (13) Antigone is the protagonist in Anouilh’s play, however, she is not in Sophocles’. The two different protagonists in each play are just another difference between the intepretations of two different authors. However, both Antigone and Creon stand out as the protagonist in their respective plays.

Creon: A Monarch Within His Rights

In Antigone, especially with the feminist movement now holding the title character, as prototypical downtrodden woman, the king Creon is often villified. While accepting the fact that Creon has misogynist tendencies, the gender issues can cause the pure argument of validity of actions, to fall by the wayside. So supposing for a moment, that Antigone’s rebellion had been undertaken by a male, would Creon’s choices have been different. Did he choose such harsh punishment and intractable course because Antigone was a woman ? As I read him, this is not the case. He has made a value judgement as to who is traitor and who is worthy.

He has made a secondary judgement as to the rights of traitors, and the need of the people to know the consequences of traitorous acts. While one may disagree, with the value judgements he has made, as king he is well within his rights, indeed his obligation, to rule according to what he believes best at the time. Outcomes are not always the best vantage point from which to judge a man. Creon did not have the advantage the reader has of seeing final outcomes, indeed we must remember these outcomes were contrived by Sophocles, to illustrate his point of view.

Is it not conceivable that in real life, these outcomes are far from assured, indeed a bit preposterous ? So then to summarize, Creon simply made his best decision, and that decision was with in his right to rule as the recognized sovereign. On the surface, Antigone is the classic tragic hero, it is she that Sophocles wants us to be drawn to. It is Creon against who he stacks the cards. A writer’s value judgement, nothing more. So then, once more assuming Antigone is a male instead, are her or his actions noble or foolhardy, and irresponsible.

While on the surface it appears noble to risk death for a principle, is it really ? Aren’t relationships more important than principles ? Much is made of Creon sentencing his own son’s fiance to death, did she not by her foolhardy, kneejerk reaction sentence herself. Where is her consideration for her husband to be ? And her sister, who has lost so much, and now clings to her so desparately, is rebuffed and dismissed as not worthy of the glorious Antigone. Her actions seem motivated as much by a personal desire for vainglory, than for moral principle.

She will die on her sword, no matter this issue or another. She seems a pulpit thumper of the highest order. Creon, on the other hand, shows flexibility after his initial intractable course. When confronted by the gods, with the error of his thinking, he is ready to adjust and relent, for a king, this is remarkable humility. How often, do we see Clinton or other modern politicians run to admit their wrongs? Others show no faith in the king’s ability to reassess, and at last come to the proper decision.

It is their rashness that is to blame for their own demise. Justice has always come about slowly, Martin Luther King recognized this, Gandhi recognized this. People of tolerance and patience, while they may participate in acts of civil diobedience, are seldom rash or foolhardy. Even hunger strikes, such as Chavez, are often more for expediency than a sincere death wish. Antigone had a death wish, a noble death at all costs, to be immortalized in strident conflict.

Silly, I think. Does taking a stand sometimes involve death ? Yes, of course. The times in which it does must be carefully considered, and the feelings of those to be left behind, protected and considered. Does Antigone ever consider, really consider her sister’s pain at all ? Dietrich Bonhoffer is a historical example of defiance to a state resulting in loss of his life. It was never about glory for him, and his choice was the result of the understanding that Nazi philosophy would result in untold suffering for millions. Not the pompous bleating over one unburied body, a traitorous body at that.

Sometimes the needs of the many do outweigh the concerns of the one. A wise ruler makes that value judgement often, especially in war time. Those who value principle over their own life, must assess the costs to their relationships, the import of the issues for which they sacrifice not only their own life, but the future happiness of those who love and value them. Martyrdom in itself is no virtue. Perhaps Sophocles is giving us a hint into the flawed character of Antigone, the etymology of her name is ” contrary birth ” .

As she is led away by the guards she alludes to her family, and their role in her doom. She has made the choice, but still ever the victim, blames her dysfunctional roots. She seems to me the penultimate in egocentricity, lost in her glorious cause, to hell with what those who love me, need. She blames Creon, she blames her family, she puts down poor Ismene, who truly loves her, she ignores the needs of her betrothed. Yet, she bemoans her own cruel fate ? Sorry, just don’t buy it.

Her better course of action in my mind was to patiently buck the system, hold her principles, yet compromise them when the higher law of love for others should have guided her. She speaks of higher laws than civil laws, yet can’t recognize that there are yet even higher ones, the laws of love. Creon, having come late to the right decision, ready to relent, is now faced with the multiple tragedies, and predictibly blames himself. His decision did not have the initial benefit of knowing the rashness of the subject Antigone.

In Machiavellian logic, his decision was to instill fear in his subjects, fear over the consequences of treason. The outcomes turned out in tragic fashion, yet with less impulsive responders, can see different outcomes. So then, while I recognize the character defects inherent in Creon. I respect his taking seriously the ruling of his people, and recognize the complexity of the issues he was dealing with. Antigone, can be immortalize as one of the first females to challenge authority. And gender issues aside, for I grant the misogyny of Creon, his actions to me as far more defensible than Antigone’s.

Antigone – Pride and Conflict of Law

Sophocles Antigone, in its later phases is no longer about the conflict of law; It is about stubbornness and self will, about the sin of refusing to listen; about a man who has never been told. Conflict of law, presents the initial disturbance within Thebes. Creon, King of Thebes, refuses to bury the body of Polynices, for in his eyes Polynices is his countrys enemy Antigone pg. 131. Thus, despite breaking the laws of the gods, Creon holds his power higher than that of God and heavens and enforces his law.

As the story follows, Sophocles expands on the ignorance presented by Creon and Antigone, and it is also found that it is impossible to defeat an ignorant man, or woman in argument. It is this ignorance, that establishes the notion of the sin and punishment that both Creon and Antigone face due to their stubbornness and self will. Antigone holds her love of family, and respect to the dead, elevated beyond the laws of Creon, whom she believes, has no righteous justification to close his eyes to the honor of the deceased.

In her determination to fulfill Polynices rights, she runs directly into Creons attempts to re-establish order. This leads to encounters of severe conflict between the dissimilarities of the two, creating a situation whereby both Creon and Antigone expose their stubbornness and self will. It is Antigones morals, which drive her to betray the laws of man, in order to honor the laws of God. Knowing and comprehending the consequences of defying Creons ruling do not restrain the intensity of Antigones self will, yet it feeds her hunger to achieve her principles.

Losing sight of her future, Antigone allows her stubbornness to consume her life, taking with it, the prospect of marriage, motherhood and friendship. As the story continues, we find that Antigone focuses more on the need to establish her human ethics in spite of Creon, rather than proving the incorrectness of man defying gods laws. Following the unlawful burial of Polynices, Antigone openly admits to Creon the knowledge of the following punishment by carrying out such a defying act. I knew it naturally, It was plain enough.

Antigone pg. 8. With the intention of gratifying the laws of the gods, Antigone holds neither guilt nor regret as she feels that she has brought justice to the eternal rest of her brother. Antigone rejects her life in a deeply heroic yet tragic stand, certain that this is all that she can do to prove the intensity of her self-righteousness. Creons judgment over the living and dead infuriates Antigone, and on many occasion we encounter their conflicts, which are based not only on their differences- but also on many of their similarities.

In an almost reflective similarity to Antigone, Creon advances to extreme measures in order to fulfill his need to repair and strengthen his territory. He was concerned with re-establishing the social order which the shocking news of Jocastas and Oedipuss incest had fractured, and which the civil war between their sons had almost ruined. Charles Paul Segal Conflicts of Antigone pg. 46. Creon prides himself to be a powerful dictator and leader within the Theban society. He rules his city with the contention that his law is the only law. As opposed to Antigones stubbornness, Creons is far more illogical and dominatingly based.

Indeed, Sophocles demonstrates the sin of refusing to listen, and about a man who has never been told supremely through Creons character. On many occasion Creon speaks of honor and goodness overruling evil, I am determined, that never, If I can help it, Shall evil triumph over good Antigone pg. 131-132. Yet he ceases to identify the hypocritical aspect of his decisions, to defy the laws of God, in order to pursue his own beliefs of mankind. It is towards the later stages of the story that Creons inability to hear and listen to advice is increasingly evident.

Teiresias enters this ordeal, offering advice to Creon. Despite his outreach, Creon bemuses Teiresias and neglects to listen to the importance of his words. You have given a son of you loins, To death, in payment for death Antigone pg. 154. Once again Creon is warned by the chorus that Teirasias words are not to be taken lightly, it is then that Creon steps down and adheres to the given advice, Now I believe, it is by the laws of heaven that man must live. This change of attitude arises because Creon believes that this is the best course of action for his city, and for himself.

For the reason that Creon had still not changed for the benefit of others, but more so to accompany his power, the deaths of Antigone, his son Haemon, and wife Eurydice end his personal happiness. The ignorance and stubbornness encountered through Antigone and Creon prove to be the greatest tragedy, as it is this that leads to their demise. Antigones self will and determination lead to suicide as a final ultimation that she believes will burden Creons existence, and shed light to her morality and religious beliefs.

It is Creons negligent nature that fails him. His greed for power and authority over his city, confine his ability to see beyond his own thoughts and judgment. This is his ultimate sin, as it leaves him with a great deal of power and authority, yet this is meaningless when the love of family is lost at the expense of gratification of mans laws, in conflict with the laws of heaven. While Creon has the expectation of his words to be carried out, it is his own words that have significant meaning as they are words that capture his downfall.

Oedipus The King, through the Eyes of Freud

Both Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents discuss the deeply rooted innate conflicts of mankind and the approach in which he may or may not overcome them. In Sophocles’ work, the internal conflicts are revealed as Oedipus develops a sense of guilt when he realizes that he has killed his father and married his mother. Freud invokes this concept and identifies with this Sophoclean sense of humanity’s tragic condition in his discussion of the symptoms of inner conflict and the feelings of guilt and unhappiness that indubitably arise from them.

Freud discusses the humanistic instinct for happiness in terms of the libidinal drive, Eros. On discussing mankind’s libidinal drive, Freud considers the pleasure principle, a notion that all people act in ways to increase personal enjoyment and happiness. “As we see, what decides the purpose of life is simply the program of the pleasure principle. This principle dominates the operation of the mental apparatus from the start. ” (Freud, 25) According to Freud, happiness can only be reached by total instinctual gratification, or, in much simpler terms, by having sex: mankind’s most intense pleasure and source of deepest happiness.

However, this is impossible, because in order for civilization to exist, men must employ their energies in the service of society, thus sacrificing individual personal satisfaction. Freud states that he is strongly concerned of the outcome of the inevitable conflict produced by the demands of man’s instinctual drive on the one hand, and the repressive requirements of civilization on the other. By creating substitute gratification, civilization is able to partially compensate individuals by redirecting libidinal energies into socially acceptable forms of bliss.

The purpose of society therefore becomes to divert mankind from individual sexual gratification into socially productive and acceptable activities, also known as the civilizing process. Therefore, this conflict is invariably resolved in favor of civilization as all people are born into a restrictive civilization in which human innate instincts are repressed at the expense of human happiness. Freud believed that in order to exist in this society, the mind must repress many of its primitive and sexual fantasies into an unconscious level, where they gain tremendous power to shape our thoughts, actions and especially our illnesses.

He stated, “If civilization imposes such great sacrifices not only on man’s sexuality but on his aggressiveness, we can understand better why it is hard for him to be happy in that civilization. In fact, primitive man was better off in knowing no restrictions of instinct. To counterbalance this, his prospects of enjoying this happiness for any length of time were very slender. Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities of happiness for a portion of security. ” (Freud, 73) The concept that no civilized man has control over his own happiness upon birth was presented in much earlier times, as seen in Oedipus the King.

In other words, a person’s happiness is in the hands of others. Unfortunate Oedipus was born into a cursed life because of his ancestor’s misdeeds and the punishment ordained by the Gods. It was predetermined that Oedipus would murder his father, and marry and sleep with his mother. Although he went out of his way to dodge this fate, and even lived a temporarily affluent life, the ultimate decree of the Gods could not be avoided. Oedipus unsuccessfully attempted to control the pitch of his life and his pursuit of happiness. What he did not realize was that his happiness was not in his authority.

Freud explains the never-ending struggle between the instinct of life and of death, in terms of the struggle between Eros and Death. Freud argues that the primary drive of the human organism, even more fundamental than the life instinct Eros itself, is the Death Instinct: the search for final homogeneity and release from all biological tensions. The dissipation of Eros, through the continuing repression of libidinal energies, leads to the destructive and masochistic aspects of the Death Instinct. In other words, the principle derivative of the Death Instinct is the instinct for aggression.

To reinforce his conviction, Freud wrote, “And, finally, what good to us is a long life if it is difficult and barren of joys, and if it is so full of misery that we can only welcome death as a deliverer? ” (Freud, 41) Freud’s ultimate deduction is that we live in a society in which total instinctual gratification, or true happiness, is suppressed while at the same time the Death Instinct begins to permeate through all our activities and institutions: an impenetrable lock on our lives. There is much similarity between the conflict found in Civilization and Its Discontent and Oedipus the King.

The notion of death as the primary drive in our lives is also found in Oedipus the King, indicating that Oedipus is no different than any other ordinary man. Oedipus is portrayed as a highly aggressive leader. Although he did not know that the man he had murdered at the crossroads was his father, this fact still proves that he was a vicious aggressor, for he was vile enough to kill a man for pushing him out of the way. The ambition of Oedipus indicates that the Death Instinct or aggression instinct plays a large role in shaping what type of character he is.

The murder of King Lairs, his father, followed by Oedipus’ ability to answer the riddle of the Sphinx allows Oedipus to take the bloodstained throne. When Oedipus’ glamorous life is shattered by the realization that Teiresias’ prophecy that he indeed was the true killer of his kin had come true, he cries out loud: “What can I see to love? What greeting can touch my ears with joy? Take me away, and haste- to a place out of the way… or kill me, or throw me into the sea… ” (Sophocles, 69) – words which are analogous to those of Freud’s, and indicate that he is, indeed, feeling the pull of the Freudian Death Instinct.

The Oedipus Complex is defined as “the family triangle of love, jealousy, and fear that is at the root of internalized morality and out of which grows the child’s identification with the same-sex parent. ” (Gleitman, 722) According to Freud, a comparable situation is reenacted in the childhood of every man and woman, rooted in the common male longing to sleep with his mother. While the male is still a small child, he will already begin to develop a special affection for his mother, whom he regards as belonging to him.

When the mother suckles the baby with her breast, it brings him pleasure. As he begins to grow older, the breast-feeding gradually becomes abandoned, and his only source of pleasure is taken away. The child then begins to see his father as a rival who disputes his sole possession. (Gleitman, 723) Oedipus is the namesake for this complex because in this ancient tale of tragic fate, Oedipus effectuates the two extreme wishes that arise from the child’s helpless situation with his father: the extreme wishes to kill his father and take his mother as wife.

The essence of Freud’s intuition in respect to Oedipus is that the way the son can emerge and become an actual adult is only through the death of the father, through which the son will take the place of the father at the head of the house and table; in the case of Oedipus, the son murders the father, wins his mother as his lover, and takes the place of his father at the head of the castle and kingdom.

After the prophet Teiresias told Oedipus the prophecy, “I say you are the murderer of the king whose murderer you seek. ” (Sophocles, 26) and “you… tablishing a grim equality between you and your children” (Sophocles, 28), Oedipus knew on an unconscious level that it was true, but he did not want to admit it to himself. He understood that he may have in fact killed his father and married his mother, but his stubbornness rejected the idea. Despite the roles played by the others in the story, the actions that Oedipus took were solely his own. Oedipus without knowing it identified with his father’s love of his mother and was aggressive towards his father because of it.

Sophocles gives further evidence to this case by having Jocasta say, “As to your mother’s marriage bed,- don’t fear it. Before this, in dreams too, as well as oracles, many a man has lain with his own mother” (Sophocles, 52). The importance Freud’s argument is not that Oedipus took this action to an extreme, but that all men have to deal with this feeling. His unconscious wishes came to fruition whereas most people keep it in the unconscious. According to Freud, those people that deal with the Oedipus Complex in the unconscious level may or may not deal with it in a healthy manner (Gleitman, 723).

Because of the way that they deal with the Oedipus Complex some people might develop neuroses that affect how they deal with other people on a day-to-day basis (Gleitman, 723). By examining Oedipus’ actions after he discovered the truth, we see that he could not deal with the Complex in a manner that he and society could accept. In effect, he becomes a neurotic, stabbing out his own eyes, and emptied of all pleasure and aggression, he pleaded for death instead. Civilization and Its Discontents implies that men cannot escape a paradox of guilt which springs from the Oedipus Complex.

If we do not suppress our aggressive instinct and instead carry it out, then we will be punished by civilization and we will feel guilt; on the other hand, even if we do suppress our instincts, we will eventually begin to think about them, and scold ourselves for thinking such wicked thoughts, and thus, still end up feeling some sense of guilt. When Oedipus slays his father, this act of aggression was not suppressed, but carried out. As a human being, living in a society in which murder was labeled as “bad,” Oedipus should have felt guilty for his transgression.

According to Freud, this act “was the same act of aggression whose suppression in the child in supposed to be the source of his sense of guilt” (Freud, 93). Because our instincts for aggression and libido are repressed in our minds by the super-ego, they may sometimes rise up into our state of consciousness, the ego. (Freud, 85) Freud writes, “A great change takes place only when the authority is internalized through the establishment of a super-ego. The phenomena of conscience then reach a higher state. Actually, it is not until now that we should speak of conscience or a sense of guilt” (Freud, 86).

By this definition, Freud means that our natural desire for libido clashes with the taboos imposed on our super-egos by society, thus creating the feeling of guilt. “The super-ego torments the sinful ego with the same feeling of anxiety and is on the watch for opportunities of getting it punished by the external world” (Freud, 86) Freud leaves the reader with the feeling that guilt is paradoxical, that “it makes no difference whether one kills one’s father or not – one gets a feeling of guilt in either case! Freud, 94)

His final note on guilt states that his studies and psychoanalysis still have no explanation or solution for this ancient and tragic problem. Society teaches people to place taboos on feelings of aggression, perversion, sexual desire, and destruction; these are the feelings that all men possess at birth, because these feelings are in fact, intrinsic to being human.

However, it is very possible for us to repress these inherent desires that naturally bring us pleasure; after all, it is civilization’s role to impress upon its people substitute gratification such as art, religion, politics, science, and other intellectual replacements so that we may redirect our libidinal energies away from the lost instinctual happiness. The actions of a person, the way in which he develops, and the overall concept of who he is: these are all shaped not only by civilization, but also by the way in which the individual comes to terms his own desires and instincts.

The main theme of Antigone

The main theme of Antigone is the moral contradiction between doing good and bad. Meaning, you can still do bad when doing something good. An important ideal in Ancient Greece was the belief that the government was to have no control in matters concerning religious beliefs. In Antigone’s eyes, Creon betrayed that ideal by not allowing her to properly bury her brother, Eteocles. She believed that the burial was a religious ceremony, and Creon did not have the power to deny Eteocles that right. Antigone’s strong beliefs eventually led her to her death by the hand of Creon.

Never, though, did she stop defending what she thought was right. As Creon ordered her to her death, Antigone exclaimed, “I go, his prisoner, because I honoured those things in which honour truly belongs. ” She is directly humiliating Creon by calling his opinions and decisions weak and unjust. She also emphasizes “his prisoner,” which tells us that Creon’s decision to capture Antigone was his own, and was not backed up by the majority of the people. She feels that Creon is abusing his power as king and dealing with her task to a personal level.

Creon’s actions are guided by the ideal that states “Man is the measure of all things. ” The chorus emphasizes this point during the play by stating that “There is nothing beyond (man’s) power. ” Creon believes that the good of man comes before the gods. Setting the example using Polynices’ body left unburied is a symbol of Creon’s belief. “No man who is his country’s enemy shall call himself my friend. ” This quote shows that leaving the body unburied is done to show respect for Thebes. After all, how could the ruler of a city-state honor a man who attempted to invade and conquer his city.

From that perspective, Creon’s actions are completely just and supported by the ideals. Though most of Creon’s reasonings coincide with the Greek ideals, one ideal strongly contradicts his actions. The ideal states that the population would be granted freedom from political oppression and that freedom of religion would be carried out. Creon defied both of these. First, Antigone was “his prisoner”, not necessarily the publics. In fact, the general population supported Antigone, though they were too scared to say anything.

Haemon, the son of Creon, knew of this, and told Creon, “Has she not rather earned a crown of gold? – Such is the secret talk of the town. ” This proves that Creon was exercising complete domination of political power, which is strictly forbidden in the new ideals. Also, not allowing Antigone perform her religious ceremony of burying her brother is interfering with religious affairs. This denies Antigone freedom of religion, hence, contempt for this ideal. Today in age, you can do much more bad when doing good. Such as transportation. We all need to get around from place to place, job to job, and a lot of other places.

We all complain about how we have all of this pollution, and smog. And we are all surprised where it is coming from. What we don’t’ realize, is that we, the people who drive around form all of the places, are creating all of that smog that everyone else is complaining about. So why do we continue to drive, and add to the pollution? Because the scientists have to go to their laboratories to figure out what they can do. But they will need some light in that building. So then the people at the electric company have to go to work. That’s more pollution in order to solve the pollution problem.

Then if the electric guys have to go to work, they will get old, and we will need other people to replace them later on in life. So in order to educate people in that business we will need the teachers to go to work and teach kids how to do their job. And that’s some more pollution. So as you can see, just to do something good like freeing the world of the posing pollution problem can cause more bad then good. Something from my own life, that I have experienced that I’m doing more bad than good (when I’m trying to accomplish something good) was when I went to throw this cup out of the car.

The good thing that I was doing, was getting the cup out of the car and in the circle of energy on the earth. And if it would rain soon, the fishes in the sea would have a nice little cup to drink out of and share a drink with their friend. But, at the same time, I was doing a bad thing by adding to the litter on the street. It can be a good thing with a bad thing attached to it by the waist. Just like in the play. One person thought it was a good thing, yet it was doing bad while good. It’s a really weird concept.

Light and Darkness Found in Antigone and the Gospel of John

As a child, my world was enraptured by the wonderful Fisher-Price toy known as the Lite-Brite. By inserting multicolored little pegs into their corresponding slots on a detailed guide, I could transform drab, dull, and dark pieces of paper into wondrous works of brilliant art. The light that filled and transformed the plastic pegs closely parallel concepts of light and darkness found within the Gospel of John and in Sophocles’ drama Antigone. The Gospel of John focuses on the profound meaning of the life of Jesus, whom he saw as the manifestation of God’s Word (logos).

Teiresias, of Sophocles’ play Antigone, is blind prophet whose lack of vision does not prevent him from recognizing the truth. The words of John and the characterization of Sophocles, although similar in many aspects, differ in the extent to which their concepts of light and darkness affect humanity. Sophocles’ light, in the form of Teiresias, allows truth to permeate throughout one’s lifetime. John’s light, as the manifesta tion ofthe logos, presents truth and enlightenment to humanity, but also ensures a glorified and joyous afterlife through Christ’s salvation.

Teiresias, the voice of fate and harbinger of truth in Sophocles’ play Antigone, humbly enters the drama by addressing the malevolent Creon and stating that he “must walk by another’s steps and see with another’s eyes” (Antigone, 102). The wise prophet was metaphorically declaring that he delivered the message of a higher truth. This truth existed as Natural Law. Teiresias advised his monarch to choose a different course in life. His divine vision more than compensated for his lack of physical sight, for it allowed him to walk on a wise and virtuous path.

The sage shared the knowledge and truth that he perceived with others who were too caught up in conventional matters to realize the xistence of a higher purpose. Teiresias allowed those who stood “on fate’s thin edge” (Antigone, 102) to walk safely to a plateau of illumination. The blind prophet combated pride, arrogance, and ignorance to deliver his message of enlightenment. John’s message of the illumination and enlightenment provided by Christ is very similar to Sophocles’ Teiresias. John explained that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

The Word or Logos that John is referring to manifested itself on earth in the form of Jesus Christ. The prophet states that Jesus is “the light [that] shines in he darkness, and the darkness has not overcome [him]” (John 1:5). According to John, Jesus had redefined the Jewish covenant with God and allowed all people realize the truth. By following the examples of Christ, one can see actions and faith define a virtuous life, not actions-in-themselves. Jesus carried with him the divine message of God and shared his words with everyone.

All people, from the despised prostitute to the aged blind man experienced a fraction of God’s glory through interaction with Christ. Like Teiresias, Jesus allows people to depart from the sinful path of worldly consumption to tread upon a ore virtuous path. Jesus allowed people to walk within the footsteps of the Lord. Light and darkness both play integral parts in the Gospel of John and in Sophocles’ play Antigone. In both literary works, a person serves as a divine tool who delivers the message of a higher purpose to the ignorant masses engulfed by darkness.

Although the purposes of these messengers are similar, a vast difference exists between them. Teiresias offered and gave advice to individuals to allow them to live a virtuous life while on earth. The Gospel of John illustrates that Jesus came to earth to bring more than enlightenment. Jesus came to bring salvation to the masses. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Teiresias states that “honest counsel is the most priceless gift” (Antigone, 103). John disagrees with the words of the worldly sage, for with Jesus it is shown that human actions pale in comparison to the acts of God.

Jesus condemns the judgements of men in saying “You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me” (John 8:15-16). Although the judgments of Teiresias may appear to be wise and virtuous, they seem dull and corrupt when compared ith the holy radiance of God. To John, the most priceless present is that which God lovingly gave. To John, the greatest gift to humanity was Jesus Christ who shared his holy message to not only individuals but to the entire world.

Jesus proclaimed that “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Gospel of John and Sophocles’ Teiresias in his drama Antigone shared many common concepts regarding light and darkness. Both emphasized that the truth and enlightenment could not be found with worldly means. Teiresias, the lind prophet, and Jesus Christ, the humble Messiah, shared the message of a higher existence with people who had not yet experienced the light.

A difference exists in the fact that while Teiresias attempted to follow the path of virtuosity, the limits of his human mind and actions could not provide salvation for the ignorant masses. Jesus carried with him a divine purpose that not only enlightened but saved. Christ did not solely emphasize on the physical existence, but also explained matters belonging to the realm of the divine. Teiresias’s message made profound changes in the lives of individuals. Jesus’s message broke through the barriers of ethnocentricity and engulfed the entire world in its light.

In the ways that the Gospel of John and Sophocles’ play Antigone are similar, they are also different. The very path to righteousness that makes the two literary works comparable makes them different. While both allow people to embark on the path of light, only the Gospel of John carries the secret to eternal salvation. In a way similar to a child playing with a Lite- Brite, the Gospel of John and Sophocles’ character Teiresias allow rainbows of light to exist in a world devoid of color.

While both allow the existence of a form of the truth, it is only the Gospel of John that provides a detailed guide that will allow a person to find order in their truth. Through such truth and enlightenment, an abstract world of chaos and ignorance can be engulfed by a world full of order and wisdom. Realms of beauty and glory can manifest themselves to individuals who accept the truth and the essence of light as a message from a higher existence. Great joy and pleasure shall come to the child who can find beauty and order in a bleak world full of ignorance and emptiness.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenians. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinxs riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinxs riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life.

The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life. Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus the King by Sophocles is more than just a plain tragedy. This play is a suspense thriller, where every character involved with Oedipus learned that fate is determined only by the gods. In this specific play, Apollo was deciding god that predicted the fate of every person in the city of Thebes. This book represents a symbol of the lives of many, showing that you can not run away from fate because it decision that will forever remain.

It was written in the honor of, the god of theater, Dionysos. Also, for the annual festival where playwrights competed for prizes. It was a major public occasion, with immense attendance expected. This theatric happening was written in the turning point of the war that saved Greece from a huge Persian invasion. The actual time period when this play was performed was not recorded. But, it was when mythology and tragedy in theatre became very interesting and popular to watch. There were two main settings. A town in main Greece called Thebes and another place called Corinth.

At Thebes the play is mainly located in the exterior of Oedipus’ palace at Thebes. The main characters in this book are Oedipus, Tiresias, As the story progresses, however, Oedipus’ power and pride are broken down. Some readers imagine a broken, pitiful old man who’s been crushed by the avenging gods. From the script, it is clear that Oedipus is apparently handsome and well built. He is described as a “tower of strength,” and has a sharp way of looking at people. He is quick-tempered, and often acts recklessly and violently.

His followers love him, and consider him a brilliant ruler because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and brought ease to the city of Thebes as Oedipus became their savior. Oedipus also shows wisdom, love for his children and a reputation for high moral standards. Weve come to this conclusion because even when the threat, of whoever killed Lauis would suffer, applied to him he still followed through with the punishments. He has a passion for truth, and shows courage in the face of disaster or conflict. These same noble qualities, however, lead to his tragic flaw and brought upon his downfall.

His wisdom became hypocritical, and he refused to believe anyone who didnt agree with him. His love for his children becomes obsessive, and he refuses to see that he’s married his own mother. His passion for the truth and high moral standards trapped him into a deadly quest for the murderer of Laius, which resulted in being him. The one trait of Oedipus that did not change in the course of the play, was his strength and courage in the face of disaster. Every step he took to solve the mystery of Laius’ murder brings him closer to being revealed, yet he never stops searching for the truth.

But his courage and strength help him endure the pain and suffering that come with knowledge of what he has done. Tiresias is a wise, old man who has supernatural powers to interpret the past and predict the future. The fact that Tiresias is blind makes his imaginary abilities even more mysterious. This may also lead Oedipus to deny Tiresias’ ability to “see” the truth. At first Tiresias refuses to answer Oedipus’ questions about the prophecy. He appears as a character that was always a messenger for the gods. Therefore, when Oedipus insulted Tiresias, in the first scene, and accused him of being a false prophet.

Oedipus, however, did not realize that he was also attacking the gods while he was attacking Tiresias. Although his appearance in the play was short, Tiresias sets the tone of the moral and religious beliefs of the gods. He was interrogated by Oedipus, yet, withheld the important information in which he was not to reveal. Creon is Oedipus’ brother-in-law and a trusted assistant of the king. He is also third in command of Thebes as a political leader. The Chorus mentions that he is an honest man who is reliable, trustworthy, and sensible. When Creon has returned from the oracles at Delphi was when he was first seen in the play.

But honor is important to him- he is quick to defend his reputation and protest his innocence. Jocasta is the wife of Oedipus and his mother. She was first married to Lauis but then her son killed him. Early in Oedipus the King we realized that she was trying to mediate between Oedipus and Creon when they quarreled. She appeared to us to be a kind, gracious, and caring wife. When Laius was murdered she asked her brother, Creon to share her rule of Thebes. Oedipus solved the riddle of the Sphinx and became her second husband. The second half of the book begins after a priest confronts Oedipus asking for his help.

Oedipus needed to help the city from dying. Then, Creon, Jocastas brother, appears with a message. The message was an order from Apollo stating that in order for the city to rid themselves from the plague, they had to punish the beings involved in the murder of King Lauis. Although there is arguing within this matter, Oedipus promises to solve this horrific mystery. Then the question arose, who could the murderer be? Oedipus was talking to the chorus and at the same time trying to solve the mystery. Then, Tiresias entered the scene with important information that he withheld.

He was insulted by Oedipus and told everyone that they were very ignorant. He knew whom the murderer was but refused to tell. He said that what will come will come, even if I shroud it in silence At this moment Oedipus was very frustrated and scorned Tiresias. This resulted in Tiresias yelling out who the murder was. It was Oedipus. But as unenlightened as Oedipus is, he refused to believe Tiresias. They verbally fought back and forth and insulted each other. Then, Creon enters the scene. And as the search continues, Oedipus and Creon get into a disagreement.

Oedipus tells Creon that he is a traitor. Oedipus questions the messenger, and found out that the messenger had been herding sheep and had met a shepherd who had found Oedipus, had taken the baby, had taken the pin out of his ankles, and had given him to the king and queen of Corinth to raise as their own. Oedipus says, “It’s time to clear this up. Send for the other shepherd. ” Jocasta realized exactly what has happened. Jocasta begged Oedipus not to pursue the matter of searching for the murderer. Oedipus said he had to know only because the city was relying on him. Jocasta ran out horribly upset.

Hours later, the other shepherd was brought in. He had already figured things out of why he was there, but pretended he did not remember a thing. Then, he begged the other messenger to also stay quiet. However, Oedipus insisted on the truth. It was revealed that Oedipus was the murder of Lauis, his father. Oedipus learned that long agoJocasta and Laius crippled their baby and put it in the woods to end the prophecy before it began. Now everybody knew the truth. The baby of Jocasta and Lauis was Oedipus. He now realized that Creon and Tiresias were correct in their beliefs. Oedipus rushed out.

The next scene was an extremely graphic anecdote. Jocasta ran into the bedroom, screaming. She locked the door from inside. A few minutes later, Oedipus came in, and broke down the door with what seemed to be supernatural strength. He found Jocasta dead, hanging. Oedipus took the body down, and quickly removed the pin that held up her dress. He stabbed it again and again into his eyes, saying he has looked at his mother’s naked body when he shouldn’t have, and he has learned what he now wishes he had not. It was said that Oedipus had actually torn the globes from their sockets.

Oedipus then begged to be taken out of the city of Thebes to end the plague. Yet he had no strength and no guide. Oedipus comes in. Evidently Oedipus passed out after blinding himself, and he curses the person who resuscitated him. The Chorus asks, “How were you able to rip out your eyeballs? ” Oedipus replies, “Apollo gave me the strength to do it. ” Oedipus felt that any man who committed the crimes of which he commited should suffer greatly or be exiled. As you can see, Oedipus was a victim of fate and Apollos prophecy had been solved by the city of Thebes.

Which theme seems most important to you: the dangerous effects of power, or the need for a nation to reform itself? In all three plays you are repeatedly asked if Creon is a cruel or a fair ruler, a ruel or a fair human being. – the plays trace the downfall of Oedipus from a position of wealth and power to a position of despair and sorrow to a position of inner peace. In the beginning Oedipus seems to be a child of fortune who gained a kingdom by solving the riddle of the Sphinx. In the middle he appears to have been irrevocably doomed by a prophecy before he was even born.

And by the end he has found a sort of contentment as he dies with his beloved daughter Antigone by his side. Oedipus’ unforeseen reversal of fortune suggests we cannot accurately predict our future- or escape our past. – The exact nature of fate, the uncontrollable forces that influence us, is clearly shown in the role that the gods play in revealing the truth of the oracle’s prophecies to Oedipus. Although he does all he can to live honestly and avoid the crimes prophesied for him, Oedipus can’t escape the relentless fate that pursues him. Creon tries to manipulate fate in his favor, but he fails.

Inevitably the oracle’s prophecies are fulfilled. – Oedipus’ downfall symbolizes the spiritual bankruptcy of the state. Sophocles meant this to pertain not just to the Thebes of the play, but also to his contemporary Athens. The plague that begins he play is viewed as a punishment from the gods, and only when the sins of Oedipus have been punished and purged is Thebes restored- for a time- to spiritual harmony.

The loss of the city’s spiritual faith is seen in Oedipus’ denial of Teiresias’ power to predict the future, and in Iocaste’s refusal to believe in the ability of prophets to speak for the gods. Oedipus and Creon share the same tragic flaw. They refuse to compromise or to humble themselves before others. They stubbornly refuse other characters the right to express opinions different from their own, and they abuse their power to force others to accept their points of view. Oedipus is so arrogant and self-confident that he even challenges the will of the gods. This leads directly to his downfall, and he is harshly punished. – All the characters in the plays search for a final truth of some kind to guide their lives.

The most obvious search for truth is Oedipus’, but even the minor characters are looking for answers to the meaning of life. The herdsman, for example, has waited many years to reveal the truth of Laios’ murder, and is finally given the chance to tell his story when Oedipus summons him to Thebes. Even Iocaste is given the opportunity to discover the truth of Oedipus’ early years efore he became king of Thebes. The Chorus, too, is searching for a truth- the moral lesson to be learned from Oedipus’ tragedy. Teiresias alone stands as a figure who can see truths hidden from all but the gods.

Several characters are willing to sacrifice themselves to save Thebes from destruction or for what they believe is right and just. Creon, for example, is ready to die in order to save the city. Teiresias offers to have himself killed when Oedipus suspects him of betraying the trust of the sacred city of Delphi. Iocaste hangs herself to save her honor. Oedipus blinds himself for murdering his ather and marrying his mother, but will not die until he has paid for his sins, to save the city.

Antigone dies because she insists on giving her brother Polyneices a proper burial. Another theme is that suffering leads to wisdom and self-knowledge. Although the ways of the gods are sometimes harsh and cruel, Oedipus finally recognizes and accepts the oracle’s prophecy as it was predicted at his birth. You hear the wisdom he gained from his suffering when he prays to the gods for forgiveness and humbly asks for mercy at the conclusion of Oedipus the King. The four themes in this play are religion, geographic influences, economic development, and society. The first of the four is religion.

Religion was very substantial to the citizens in Thebes. They believed in many gods, which made them believe in Polytheism. An example of this was that they talked about more than one god in the play. They thought that each god had their own superiority. Like, Apollo, who was the god of the sun, was looked up to by many. People believed his prophecies and respected him. And like Zeus, who was father of the gods, was called upon Oedipus. In addition to those two themes, the third one is economic development. One big economic deveoplemt was when Creon became king.

When Creon became king the plague had vanished since the city had found the murderer of Lauis. This allowed crops and livestock to prosper along with jobs. Hopefully Creon could improve the cities condition and get them back on there two feet. Last but not least of the four themes was the Society, which was very significant to the city. The society was the most important part because it was made up of gods. From the incident of Oedipus and the wrongdoing of Lauis and Jocasta the society of Thebes learned that fate cannot be maneuvered.

They learned this the hard way by suffering the plaugue which was brought by Oedipus but caused by Apollos property. They controlled everything along with fate. Society included everyone. The men had the most important role. Oedipus’ search for the truth lead him to the discovery that he was not a “child of luck,” but a “man of misfortune. ” His fate was determined years before his birth, as proven by the prophecy of the oracles. All he could do was live out his destiny, but he did this with such dignity and heroism. Oedipus showed great nobility even in suffering and despair.

At the end of Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus pursued the truth to its horrible conclusion. Having blinded himself, Oedipus was a broken and shaken man. But he also became a model for people to imitate. He has shown what it means to endure in the face of defeat. He has shown what it takes to survive in a world that is ruled by unpredictable fate. He has shown the true meaning of suffering and despair. When you think of Oedipus, remember that he suffered for all of us, so that everyone can know the truth about ourselves in a world that will always be hostile and cruel.

Oedipus At Colonus

Sophocles was a Greek playwright who lived during the 5th century b. c. The Oedipus Cycle is one of his most famous works; the trilogy of plays traces the ill-fated life of a noble blooded man and his descendants. Oedipus at Colonus is the second play of the set. Oedipus at Colonus is set many years after Oedipus the Rex, and Oedipus has changed his perspective on his exile from Thebes. He has decided that he was not responsible for his fate and that his sons should have prevented his exile.

His view has changed from the previous play when Oedipus proudly claimed responsibility for his actions, blinding himself and begging for exile. Although Oedipus seems to have traded his former pride for kindness he regards himself as someone who is more knowledgeable of the gods then that of the other citizens. As the play progresses his pride returns and shows that he hasn’t truly changed his old ways. Unlike the first play Oedipus, as well as the other characters, don’t seem important and religious themes are now stressed.

The relationship between blindness and exile is also explored throughout the play through the actions and words of the characters. The theme of blindness is continued from Oedipus rex with the people who interacted with him to be blind at seeing him for who he is. From the people of Colonus to Oedipus’ own son and brother-in-law, the people Oedipus interacts with only see his strength and power. As the play begins, Oedipus and Antigone stop to rest on a section of land. Oedipus believes this land to be the place where he will remain until his death.

The citizens of Colonus go to this place to inform Oedipus that his desire to remain on this land is impossible because it is sacred to the town, but are convinced otherwise when Oedipus tells them of his prophecy. Also included in Oedipus’ prophecy it is said that the land his body is buried in will be blessed by the gods. Theseus agrees to grant Oedipus’ request to bury him at Colonus and continues to explain to Oedipus that there will be a war between his two sons for his body.

With this said Theseus leaves. Creon enters with his guards and when Oedipus refuses to leave with him they kidnap Antigone and Ismene. Hearing the commotion Theseus returns and tell Creon that he brings shame to Thebes with his bullying behavior. In an attempt to justify his actions he brings up the crimes committed by Oedipus. Theseus promises Oedipus to bring his daughters back to him. Creon reminds them that this isn’t the end of the battle for Oedipus’ body and promises to return with a full army.

Returning with Oedipus’ daughters, Theseus brings word that a stranger has wandered into town wishing to speak with Oedipus. Realizing that it is his son Polynices Oedipus refuses to speak to him. After some persuasion Oedipus agrees to speak with his son as long as Theseus protects him from abduction. Oedipus refuses to support Polynices and tells him that both he and his brother will die by each other’s hand because he cursed them when he was exiled. Being denied by his father Polynices turns to his sisters asking for only a proper burial if he is killed in battle.

Antigone asks that he call off the war but he refuses. Sensing his death drawing near Oedipus once again sends for Theseus. With the last of his strength Oedipus leads Theseus to the spot where he is to die and as a last request makes Theseus promise to look after his daughters. To ensure that Theseus and his heirs will always rein over a blessed kingdom the location is to be kept a secret only to be passed down upon the kings’ death. Ending the play Antigone and Ismene leave for Thebes after there fathers death to try and prevent the war between there brothers.

Catharsis in Antigone

The word ‘catharsis’ is derived from the Latin word, ‘kathairein’, which means ‘to cleanse’ or ‘to purge’ – it stems from an Ancient Greek story about a Phoenix rising from ashes, with the ashes representing catastrophe and the rise of the bird representing purification. In Greek Tragedy, this term is used to describe the suffering a character faces because of a flaw in his nature, followed by a transformation or purification as a result of enduring the pain. One of the best examples of catharsis is shown in Sophocles’ Antigone.

Antigone is a play that deals with the conflict between divine and secular law, as represented by Antigone and Creon, respectively. The conflict begins when King Creon delivers an order to the public stating that Polyneices body, whom he regards as a traitor to the country, should not be buried. Antigone, Polyneices’ sister and Creon’s niece, objects to this order because she believes that depriving someone of a burial is being disrespectful to the gods. As a new king, Creon finds that he must be assertive in order to be respected.

He believes that giving in to a woman’s demands when she goes against his own decree is unbecoming, and therefore rejects Antigone’s plea by sending her off to a dungeon. Even when his own son, Haemon, and a respected prophet ask Creon to reconsider his decision, he dismisses them as foolish and remains firm. For example, he calls his son a “woman’s plaything” and claims that he is a weak person for protecting a woman’s interests. Even while Teiresias is the most trusted prophet in his city-state, Creon claims that “you (Teiresias) and he whole breed of seers are mad for money”.

Creon’s obstinacy and his lack of reverence for the gods are his ultimate flaws, and soon lead to the loss of everyone most dear to him – his niece, son and wife. Above all, he loses his dignity and self-respect, which are the very things he sought to protect with his tenacious policies. In the end, Creon is reduced to someone who, instead of being followed, is pitied by others. Even while the pain and suffering he brings upon himself is unbearable, Creon does a heroic deed when he accepts his harsh fate and nderstands that he alone is responsible for the deaths of his loved ones as well as his tarnished pride.

By comparing Creon’s behavior before and after the ‘catharsis’, we see that he does in fact change. In the beginning, he is so power-hungry that he refuses to listen to any advice that goes against his ruling, saying “The city is the King’s – that’s the law” and “Am I to rule this land for others – or myself? ” After enduring all the grief, however, we understand that Creon accepts his poor judgment nd is willing to work to correct himself. For example, he says “…

And the guilt is all mine – can never be fixed on another man, no escape for me. I killed you… I admit it all… ” While he is more egocentric before the catharsis, he becomes much more humble afterwards, saying, “I don’t exist – I am no one. Nothing” and “… everything I touch goes wrong… ” In the end, while the other characters give up and take the easy way out, Creon lives, suffers, faces his flaws, and accepts his guilt, which ultimately transforms and purifies him.

Creon’s Character in Antigone

In Sophecles’ Antigone, Creon is not a good person; in fact, he is a stubborn, selfish ruler. Creon rarely listens to an opinion other than his own. He also turns his back on his own niece, Antigone, because she breaks an unfair law by burying her brother’s body. Throughout the play, Creon ignores his son’s pleas to spare his fianc, Antigone, from execution. Creon rarely listens to another opinion other than his own. When the blind prophet Tiresias first brings news of his prophecy, Creon says, ” I’ve never wavered from your advice before.

Tiresias then continues to tell Creon of how, while practicing augury, he heard the sounds of the irds ripping each other to pieces. When he was unable to light the sacrifice, he realized that Creon’s pride had caused misfortune for this city. Tiresias explains that is because of Creon’s refusal to bury Polynices. Creon responds, “Old man-all of you, so you shoot your arrows at my head like archers at the target… You’ll never bury that body in the grave, not even if Zeus’s eagles rip the corpse and wing their rotten pickings off to the throne of god!

In this scene, once Creon knows that the prophecy is not in his favor, he changes his opinion from trusting and following the ideas of Tiresias, to accusing him of plotting against him. We see that once Creon realizes that Tiresias does not agree with his opinion about the burial of Polynices’ corpse, Creon will not listen to what the prophet has to say, even if it means causing a “plague” on the city of Thebes. In the play, Creon constantly ignores the pleas of his niece, Antigone, and will eventually lead her to her death.

From the beginning, we see that Antigone is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the honor of her brother, Polynices, even if it means losing her own life. “He is my brother and -deny it as you will- your brother to. ” Antigone would rather ie than see the honor of her brother and her family sacrificed. When Creon hears that the body of Polynices has been buried against his orders, he says “Never! Sister’s child or closer in blood then all my family clustered at my altar worshipping Guardian Zeus – she’ll never escape, she and her blood sister, the most barbaric death”.

Creon says this when he discovers that Antigone and Ismene are plotting against his orders. The statement shows that Creon has no interest in why Antigone proceeds to break the law to uphold her brother’s honor. In the play, Creon ignores not only the pleas of his niece, but also hose of his son, Haemon, who is set to marry Antigone. When Haemon says, “When you trample down the honors of the gods? ” To which Creon responds, “You soul of corruption, rotten through, woman’s accomplice”.

Creon automatically accuses Haemon of assisting Antigone in her illegal adventure. Creon even pushes his son to say that ,”Then she will die… but her death will kill another”. Even when his son has says this, Creon continues to argue with his son and even calls him a “woman’s slave”, one of the worst possible insults. Creon’s lack of understanding and caring for his son’s opinions shows that while he may think that he is doing a good hing, he has little understanding of what is best for his son.

Creon’s concern with his own power has caused him to lose sight of what was originally important to him – compassion and love for his only son. Creon is not a good person; in fact, he is a stubborn, selfish ruler. This thesis is supported by the quotes presented in this paper. If Creon had more concern about others and less concern about maintaining his own power, the final scenes of the play would have turned out quite differently. The tragic conclusion of the play is a direct result of the actions caused by Creon’s decisions.

Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Throughout history, writers and philosophers have expressed their views about how the life of man is ultimately defined in their works. The Greeks have played their part in this quest. One of the great plays of the ancient Greek world that led the way for others was Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. In this play, Sophocles shows us a chapter from the life of man. Throughout the book, he hints at the idea that life poses a riddle for man to solve thereby being a quest for the answer. He also hints to us that life is seemingly predetermined by the gods’ desires, giving rise to a fated world.

Finally, Sophocles also believes that life is filled with paradox and irony. Given these difficulties, Sophocles regards the life of man with utmost respect and admiration. In Oedipus Rex, it is Oedipus who represents Sophocles’ ideal human hero. He displays the defining qualities of a morally correct human. Oedipus, unlike Odysseus in the Odyssey, another Greek work, had no divine influence, yet he still is able to continue for the truth after much hardship. Given all the circumstances, Oedipus still manages to live through to the end without losing composure.

Sophocles would definitely honor such a man. Both Oedipus’ life and his kingdom were filled with riddles, paradoxes, and mysteries. Oedipus’ beginning and ending at Thebes both arose from the riddle of the oracle. Without his parent’s confrontation with the oracle, Oedipus would not have been cast away from Thebes in the first place. Yet without the riddle of the sphinx, Oedipus would not have arrived at his royal position. This could be Sophocles’ method to involve our minds, letting us know that every action we take has an effect on us later in life. At Thebes he is bothered by the plague of the city.

For this mystery, Oedipus consistently strives for the truth, disregarding all tries to stop his quest. In a way, the riddles represent a much more broader and significant part of man’s trials. Oedipus’ own encounter with the sphinx shows his insight upon life. Oedipus is a example for man from all his experiences in each stage: early childhood, mid-life climax, and downfall after tragedy. He gains knowledge into the definition of life at each step. Although it may seem universal for all men to live through this cycle, Oedipus’ dealings with riddles also plague him with tragedy, ignorance, and innocence.

This makes him more of an inspiration to man. In Oedipus the King’s world, it was the gods who set the fate for all. Both Oedipus and Laius had consulted oracles, which are derived from the gods without human intervention. Here, Sophocles seems to show us that life comes to us all as a certain, fixed object that has already been set to the gods’ desires. Whatever will happen, does happen. Man may think and believe that he is in control from his actions, but this can be merely regarded as trickery by the gods. Man does have free will, because no one forces you to do anything.

Instead, it is the person’s character that plays part of his future. With Oedipus, it is his own character that fulfills the prophecy. After consulting the oracle at Pytho, Oedipus leaves Cornith because of his own family morality. He does not want “to kill his father or sleep with his mother,” but attempting to avoid it complicates matters. Oedipus is Sophocles’ inspiration for man, because he lives to be a truth-seeker, no matter how others may impede in his path. Oedipus follows morality and accepts responsibility for his actions, whether they were intentional or not. No one else in the play has enough courage to do so.

Looking at Jocasta, we can see how she attempts to soothe Oedipus and tells him to let it go time after time, “Then lay no more of them to heart, not one”. She also takes the quick way out of matters. The old Theben shepherd proves to be even worse, seeing how he never tells the truth unless threatened. Jocasta and the shepherd act to amplify Oedipus’ heroism. By contrasting Oedipus, they represent Sophocles’ method of telling us the uniqueness of a hero. As we see, the hero is unlike others, Oedipus realizes that his actions for knowledge may result in pain and suffering, which to him is better than ignorance and happiness.

After all, it was for the good of the city. He had already saved the city once with his intellect, therefore it is his duty to do so again to the best to his ability. In the end he even punishes himself, once again showing responsibility and justice for his actions. Like any other man, Oedipus also has certain character flaws. At times, he shows too much hubris, and arrogance. He believes that he is able to understand and conquer all, yet this may be one of the reasons for his downfall. In combination with this flaw, we find ignorance in him too.

Oedipus unknowingly curses himself when he speaks of punishment for the murderer. He also blindly accuses Creon of being an enemy, “You’re quick to speak, but I am slow to grasp you, for I have found you dangerous, and my foe. In both these situations, he acts without evidence. Even though he commits these violations when he is hotheaded, he displays irrational thought, something everyone can do at one time or another. Given all these traits, we see that Oedipus was a great man and becomes a hero at the end. He pursued the truth at whatever personal cost and he had the strength to accept and endure it when found.

Antigone – Analysis of Greek Ideals

In Ancient Greece, new ideals surfaced as answers to life’s complicated questions. These new beliefs were centered around the expanding field of science. Man was focused on more than the Gods or heavenly concerns. A government that was ruled by the people was suggested as opposed to a monarchy that had existed for many years. Freedom of religion was encouraged to be exercised in city-states. These new ideals, though good in intentions, often conflicted with each other creating complex moral dilemmas. Such was the case in Antigone a play written by Sophocles during this era of change.

In the play, Antigone and Creon battle a philosophical war dealing with the controversy of the Greek ideals. They both based their actions on their beliefs of what is right and wrong. The conflict arose when the ideals that backed up their actions clashed with each other, making it contradiction between morals. Antigone’s side of the conflict held a much more heavenly approach, as opposed to the mundane road that Creon chose to follow. Antigone feels that Creon is disregarding the laws of heaven through his edict.

After she is captured and brought to Creon, she tells him “I do not think your edicts strong enough to overrule the unwritten unalterable laws of God and heaven, you being only a man. ” Antigone’s staunch opinion is one that supports the Gods and the laws of heaven. Her reasoning is set by her belief that if someone is not given a proper burial, that person would not be accepted into heaven. Antigone was a very religious person, and acceptance of her brother by the Gods was very important to her. She felt that “It is against you and me he has made this order. Yes, against me.

Creon’s order was personal to Antigone. His edict invaded her family life as well as the Gods’. An important ideal in Ancient Greece was the belief that the government was to have no control in matters concerning religious beliefs. In Antigone’s eyes, Creon betrayed that ideal by not allowing her to properly bury her brother, Polynices. She believed that the burial was a religious ceremony, and Creon did not have the power to deny Polynices that right. Antigone’s strong beliefs eventually led her to her death by the hand of Creon. Never, though, did she stop defending what she thought was right.

As Creon ordered her to her death, Antigone exclaimed, “I go, his prisoner, because I honoured those things in which honour truly belongs. ” She is directly humiliating Creon by calling his opinions and decisions weak and unjust. She also emphasizes “his prisoner,” which tells us that Creon’s decision to capture Antigone was his own, and was not backed up by the majority of the people. She feels that Creon is abusing his power as king and dealing with her task to a personal level. Creon’s actions are guided by the ideal that states “Man is the measure of all things.

The chorus emphasizes this point during the play by stating that “There is nothing beyond (man’s) power. ” Creon believes that the good of man comes before the gods. Setting the example using Polynices’ body left unburied is a symbol of Creon’s belief. “No man who is his country’s enemy shall call himself my friend. ” This quote shows that leaving the body unburied is done to show respect for Thebes. After all, how could the ruler of a city-state honor a man who attempted to invade and conquer his city. From that perspective, Creon’s actions are completely just and supported by the ideals.

Though most of Creon’s reasonings coincide with the Greek ideals, one ideal strongly contradicts his actions. The ideal states that the population would be granted freedom from political oppression and that freedom of religion would be carried out. Creon defied both of these. First, Antigone was “his prisoner”, not necessarily the publics. In fact, the general population supported Antigone, though they were too scared to say anything. Haemon, the son of Creon, knew of this, and told Creon, “Has she not rather earned a crown of gold? – Such is the secret talk of the town.

This proves that Creon was exercising complete domination of political power, which is strictly forbidden in the new ideals. Also, not allowing Antigone perform her religious ceremony of burying her brother is interfering with religious affairs. This denies Antigone freedom of religion, hence, contempt for this ideal. The contradictions between the beliefs of Creon and Antigone are strong throughout the play. Both have well-structured arguments, but neither completely dominates the other. Antigone is motivated by her strong religious feelings while Creon is out to make good for his city-state.

The chorus’ opinion is the determining factor, as in the end, they convince Creon to set Antigone free. Creon had to weigh each factor carefully, and in the end, he had to decide between ideals. His mind was torn in two. “It is hard to give way, and hard to stand and abide the coming of the curse. Both ways are hard. ” The contradiction of ideals was what led to Antigone’s, Haemon’s, and Megareus’ death. Both sides were just, all beliefs were supported. Creon was forced to decide the unanswerable, decipher the encoded, complete the impossible, and determine right from wrong when there was no clear answer.

A Tragic Situation – Antigone

Tragedy is a description of an event that evokes a sympathetic feeling of emotion by the audience. The events involve people emotionally who were not involved in the situation physically. In the story of Antigone, Sophecles forces the audience to take pity on the poor girl’s situation. This story impacts the audience in such a way that the audience becomes emotionally enthralled in the plot of the story. All of Steiner’s, “Principle constants of conflict in the condition of man,” (360) were present in the tragic tale of Antigone. The conflicts confirm a tragic sense about the story.

In a tragedy drama is experienced and the characters typically suffer extremely. Consequently, this can happen because of a tragic mistake. The first of the ageless conflicts of man is, “the confrontation of men and women” (360). This principle is applied in the conflict between Antigone and Creon. Antigone broke a law that her uncle, Creon, had created. As a result of this she was to be killed. Sympathy is felt for Antigone because she was punished for take a stand for what she believed to be the right thing. Unfortunately the risk she took was going against her uncle Creon, who so happened to have power over her.

It was a tragic situation that Antigone was to be killed for such a ridiculous crime. Although Antigone should not have been punished for that law she had broken, she was willing to accept her death sentence. She said to Creon, “These laws- I was not about to break them, not out of fear of some man’s wounded pride, and face the retribution of the gods. Die I must, I’ve known it all my life- how could I keep from knowing? – Even without your death-sentence ringing in my ears. And if I am to die before my time I consider that a gain. Who on earth alive in the midst of so much grief as I, could fail to find this death a rich reward? 374)

Antigone was willing to risk her own life for the sake of her dead brother’s pride. Creon wants Antigone to know that he has control over her. She defied him and now he has no choice but to punish her. Otherwise it would mean a bruise on his reputation as a ruler. It would prove that he was of weak character, especially since a girl went against him. Creon said, “This girl was an old hand at insolence when she overrode the edicts we made public. But once she’d done it- the insolence, twice over- to glory in it, laughing, mocking us to our face with what she’d done.

I am not the man, not now: She is the man if this victory goes to her and she goes free. ” (375) Antigone made a fool out of her uncle and as a result he is retaliating in order to win back the control and power. She made it very difficult for Creon to feel satisfied with her execution. Antigone told him that she does not care if she dies because she already got what she wanted by burying her brother against Creon’s wishes. Even though she knew she was going to die she would die happy. Antigone won the battle over her uncle and the power struggle he put her through.

Enough. Give me glory! What greater glory could I win than to give my own brother decent burial? ” (375-376) Antigone told her uncle. Eteocles, Antigone’s other brother, was buried a well. His burial was not illegal because was not an enemy of Creon. Antigone tired tells him that every death deserves a proper burial no matter who they are. He was much closed-minded and refused to listen to her. The conflict of Antigone and Creon is a battle over power between man and woman. What makes this story even more tragic was the power Creon held over Antigone and her fate.

It was the power to decide whether she should live or die. He had the chance to free her from her doom. Although he realized this too late. When he realized this he gathered his men. He said to them, “Now- I’m on my way! Come, each of you, take up axes, make for the high ground, over there quickly! I and my better judgment have come round to this- I shackled her, I’ll set her free myself. I am afraidit’s best to keep the established laws to the very day we die. “(394) In this battle of man versus woman, Antigone had won. Creon had changed his ways, although, Antigone still died.

The second of Steiner’s principles of man is the conflict of age and youth. Creon has a confrontation with his son, Haemon, as well as his niece Antigone. At first Haemon is behind his father in his decision. When he first speaks with his father about the verdict of his bride, Antigone, he says, “Father, I’m your sonyou in your wisdom set my bearings for me- I obey you. No marriage could ever mean more to me than you, whatever good direction you may offer. “(380) The father and son began- to disagree when Haemon told his father that the people of Thebes disagreed with his decision.

Creon accuses him of taking the side of Antigone, “This boy I do believe, is fighting on her side, the woman’s died. “(383) Creon insulted his son by accusing him of taking the side of Antigone. Creon tells Haemon that he will not be able to marry his bride because he is going to kill her. It is a tragedy that a father is going to kill the woman that his son is in love with. This confrontation makes the audience feel sympathetic for Haemon. The situation became more tragic when Creon said, “Now, by heaven, I promise you, you’ll pay- taunting, insulting me!

Bring her out, that hateful- she’ll die now, here, in front of his eyes, beside her groom! “(384) The young conflicted with the old and resulted in death. This tragic confrontation led to the suicide of Haemon. The messenger alerted the people of Thebes of the death of Haemon and said, “Haemon’s gone, his blood spilled by the very hand-. “(395) This conflict was avoidable, yet ended in tragedy. Man conflicted with society is the following principle. At first Creon believed that the people of Thebes were on his side. He thought that the people would not break the laws that he created.

Creon said to Antigone, “You alone, of all the people of Thebes see things that way. “(376) He responded this way when Antigone told him that everyone disagrees with his decision but were to scared to speak up to him. Creon is confronted again with this situation when his son made him aware of this. Haemon tells his father, “The man in the street, you know, dreads your glance, he’d never say anything displeasing to your face. But it’s for me to catch the murmurs in the dark, the way the city mourns for this young girl. “(382) Haemon believed his father to be very stubborn and closed-minded.

His son visited a prophecy. Tiresias, the prophecy, told Creon that he could undo his mistake. The death of Antigone would cause more trouble than Creon had bargained for. The audience is forced to fell bad for the situation because Creon had been warned many times that he did not make the right decision. He refused to listen to the warnings. Creon replied to Tiresias’s prophet and said, “No reverend old Tiresias, all men fall its only human but the wisest fall obscenely when they glorify obscene advice with rhetoric- all for their own good. 392) It is ironic that when Creon said this he did not realize that he would be the one falling. Had he listened to his warnings earlier he would not have made such a tragically regrettable mistake. Another, of the five conflicts, is the confrontation of the living and the dead. This entire play is based around death for the mere fact that it began and ended with it. The entire point of the story was that Antigone wanted to burry her dead bother in order to pay her respects to him. In the first scene Antigone says to Ismene, “Why not? Our own brothers’ burial!

Hasn’t Creon graced one with all the rites, disgraced the other? Eteocles, they say, has been given full military honors, rightly so- Creon’s laid him in the earth and he goes with glory down among the dead. But the body of Polynices, who died miserably- why, a citywide proclamation, rumor has it, forbids anyone to bury him, even mourn him. He’s to be left unwept, unburied, a lovely treasure for the birds that scan the field and feast to their heart’s content. “(361) Ismene and Antigone are emotionally torn apart because both of their bothers were killed in battle.

To make matters worse, only one of their brothers was allowed legally to have a proper burial. Since they broke this law their lives were taken away from them. They knew the consequences of their actions. Yet, they proceeded anyway. Antigone warned her sister, “Such I hear, is the martial law our good Creon lays down for you and me- yes, me, I tell you- and he’s coming here to alert the uninformed in no uncertain terms, and he wont treat the matter lightly. Whoever disobeys in the least will die, his doom is sealed: stoning to death inside the city walls. 361) Before they committed the crime they knew Creon would seal their doom. They handed over their fate to him. It was tragic that these two sisters were willing to sacrifice their own lives for the respect of their dead brother. They were very loyal to their family. The story was filled with death. Not only had their two brothers died, but their father had passed as well. Their mother was dead as well. The audience has no choice but to feel sorrow for these two girls. They had suffered many losses. Four people in their family had died.

Their mother and father had commit suicide and their two brothers were killed in battle. The audience is led to believe that the only two the sisters have left is each other. Ismene thought of her future in terms of being dead. She knew she was going to die for her sin so she said to her sister, “I, for one, I’ll beg the dead to forgive me- I’m forced, I have no choice- I must obey the ones who stand in power. “(362) Antigone on the other hand did not care if she died. She felt she had nothing to lose. She made it seem as though her life was so horribly tragic that death was the only escape for from her horrible life.

Antigone said to Ismene, “Ant even if I died in the act, that death will be a glory. I will lie with the one I love and loved by him. “(363) Death was seen as an escape. The dead were not seen as gone, but in another world. They still existed but not among the living. In the end of the play three people added to the death count. Each death occurred because of another death. Antigone was killed because she buried her dead brother and it was against the law. Haemon killed himself because Antigone was killed. It was a tragedy that his own father had killed his bride.

Eurydice killed her self also. She was devastated that her son had killed himself. The entire play is filled with death. A lot of the dialogue also contains death. This set a tragic mood to the story. The last and final conflict of man is; man conflicted with the gods. Creon went against the gods when he decided to take the lives of others into his own hands. Antigone said to him, “Of course I did. It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least, who made this proclamation- not to me. Nor did that justice dwelling with the gods beneath the earth, ordain such laws for man. 374)

Antigone did not think that it was right that Creon imposed such laws upon them. She believed that the gods had control over them and she put her faith in Zeus. When she was talking to Ismene she said, “Do you know one, I ask you, one grief that Zeus will not perfect for the two of us while we still live and breathe? “(360) The gods had dealt her a tragic hand of life. Above all else she held the gods in highest power. One of the reasons why she did not obey her uncle’s law was because it was not a law created by the gods. “Do as you like, dishonor the laws the gods hold in honor. 363)

It was the gods law that she burry her brother. The people of Thebes feel the same way as Antigone. “Zeus, yours is the power, Zeus, what on earth can override it, who can hold it back? Power that neither sleep, the all-ensnaring no, nor the tireless months of heaven can ever overmaster- young through all the time, mighty lord of power, you hold fast the dazzling crystal mansions of Olympus. And throughout the future, late and soon as through the past, your law prevails: no towering form of greatness enters into the lives of mortals free and clear of ruin. 379)

It was a tragedy that Creon felt he could play god. He killed Antigone because he thought that he had the power to do so. There were very few people of Thebes that were on his side. Since he was the ruler he had the power to create laws. However, he did not have the power to go against the gods. The power he possessed went to his head. Tragedy is also present in the Aeschylus’s, Oresteia. Agamemnon had sacrificed his daughter to the gods. He had killed her for his own benefit. Calchas said, “My captains, Artemis must have blood! 307) Agamemnon killed sacrificed his daughter in order to protect himself because of a prophecy.

The profit told that terrible things would happen if he did not sacrifice blood. He said, “Obey, obey, or a heavy doom will crush me! – Oh but doom will crush me once I rent my child, the glory of my house- a father’s hands are stained, blood of a young girl streaks the altar. Pain both ways and what is worse? Desert the fleets, fail the alliance? No, but stop the winds with the virgin’s blood, feed their lust, their fury? – Feed their fury! – Law is law! – Let all go well. 307) Clytemnestra killed her husband upon his return from the battle of Troy. She was so heartbroken that he had killed her daughter.

The tragedy in this story is almost the same as that of Antigone. Death follows another death. Iphigenia was sacrificed by her father. He was killed for killing her and so was his mistress. Since Clytemnestra killed the two people she was sentenced to death. The tragedy is death. In the beginning of the story of Antigone the audience is forced to feel sorrow for Antigone. Towards the end they began to feel sympathy for Creon as well.

His display of moral weakness was the cause of three unnecessary deaths. The story of Antigone and Clytemnestra were different because the Antigone was the innocent party in the story. Clytemnestra may appear innocent to the audience but to the people in the story she was a murderess. Tragedy plays a large role in these two plays. An emotion of sorrow is felt by the audience. The characters of the plays go through terrible situations. Tragedy makes the stories more appealing to the audience because they become emotionally involved.

Female Power in The Odyssey

Throughout time women have had to fight hard for respect and the rights that come with it. Many societies have potrayed women as second class citizens, teaching that they should be subservient to men. There have been those who have spent entire lifetimes working to break beyond the traditional concepts of women and power. It is very challenging, however, for the sex to achieve higher status, when a society teaches not to speak out or against men’s wishes. How can one try to express a more enlightened view when he or she is not allowed a voice with which to make it?

In The Odyssey, Homer shows the reader an ancient Greek society where women are given specific roles and are often underestimated simply because of gender. Characters, such as Penelope, who keeps quiet at the epic’s beginning about her wishes for the suitors to leave, and Odysseus’ nurse, who obediently washes his feet, are examples of the chauvinist mind set. Despite the unfairness of the period in which the story takes place, certain women try in their own way to rise above the binds of tradition and show feminine power.

In The Odyssey, through cunning manipulation and plotting three women stand their ground in individual protests to get what they want; Penelope’s trickery in evading the impatient marriage proposals by suitors, Helen’s deceit over Menelaos during the Trojan War, and finally the control that Nausicaa seems have upon first meeting Odysseus each illustrate power possessed by females of the epic. At the Epic’s beginning the reader finds Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in Ithica facing the pressure of suitors who wish her hand in marriage.

Despite the fact that her husband has been gone for twenty years, she holds true to her husband’s memory and refuses to remarry. At first glance her situation seems hopeless. The men have moved into her home, taking complete advantage of her husband’s land and riches, eating his prize livestock, and drinking his finest wine. Penelope is however in control, carefully plotting against her rude guests. It has been said that one must keep their friends close and their enemies closer. She does just that, by keeping the suitors in her home for three years in order to later seek vengeance:

Here is an instance of her trickery: she had a great loom standing in the hall and the fine warp of some vast fabric on it; we were attending her, and she said to us: “Young men, my suitors, now my lord is dead, let me finish my weaving before I marry, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . So every day she wove on the great loom- But every night by torchlight she unwove it; (98-103, 110-111, 2. 3) By sneaking to the loom at night to unweave her threads she is able to stall her decisions.

She further buys time by stating that she needs time to pick a husband, giving the impression that she is indeed considering remarriage. Penelope’s devotion in never swayed by the suitor’s begging, presents, or their threats. It is her trickery that is her strength, in which capacity she will have victory. The manipulation of men is also a source of power for Helen, wife of Menelaos. Helan has left her husband to be with Paris, upon his death she lives with Deiphobos for the remainder of the Trojan War, eventually returning to her husband.

Although it is easy to make character judgments on her, even perhaps blaming her for initial cause of the war, the focus must remain on her personal strength in achieving her goals. It is amazing the way that the text depicts her ability to take charge over her husband, even after all she has done to him. This is shown in book IV when Odysseus’ son, Telemacchus, goes the great hall of Menelaos, hiding his identity. With everyone gathered, ready to eat, Helen takes it upon herself to discover the identity of their guest: Menelaos, my lord, have we yet heard our new guests introduce themselves?

Shall I dissemble what I feel? No, I must say it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This boy must be the son of Odysseus Telemakhos, (145-147,4. 3, 150-151,4. 4) Helen, not even waiting for permission from Menelaos, lashes out at Telemakhos. Most women of this time would have never made such a bold move, especially without first consulting their husband. Helen is very secure in her authority using her sex to her benefit rather than as a handicapt. The third character of Focus, Nausikaa, seems at the start of book VI to be helplessly trapped by gender boundaries.

The reader sees her supposed innocence as she waits to be married. She is responsible for her brothers and for making sure that she gets herself married. The tables are suddenly changed when she wakes the sleeping Odysseus. This young woman, having no prier knowledge of the male body is face with this nude warrior: Streaked to the brine, and swollen, he terrified them, so that they ran this way and that. Only Alkinoos’ daughter stood her ground, being given a bold heart by Athena, and steady knees. (146-149,6. )

The fact that she stays with the stranger, although all others run displays great courage on her part. She does not allow fear of this strange man’s possible motives frighten her, standing her ground. She continues to show her bravery by providing Odysseus with clothing and a place to stay, inviting him into her own house. Even by today’s standards, her assertiveness to remain in control is remarkable. As individuals approaching the twenty first century it is hard to believe that the simple actions of the women of The Odyssey are to be viewed as acts of power.

It is only when one looks at the society described by Homer and the time period in which the epic is set, that the defiance of tradition can truly be respected for what is. Peneope, Helen, and Nausikaa, lived under strict constraints and were of a gender whose opinion was neither accepted nor wanted. These women are to be applauded as revolutionaries for their actions, no matter how small they may seem, in exercising their natural Feminine power.

Antigone and Creon

Greek theatre played a large role in Greece. The citizens were supposed to learn from the mistakes made in tragedies. The citizens should have learned what not to be like as a citizen or person. In a Greek trilogy written by Sophocles there are two ma in characters, Antigone and Creon. They are both strong willed and stubborn people. Both being unwilling to change, they both seal each others fate. Creon is passionate. . Antigone is full of rage. They are both so similar they can not see eye to eye. Although they may seem quite different, Creon and Antigone share many similarities throughout the story.

They are both very independent people. Antigone is extremely independent.. She doesn’t mind doing anything on her own. For example, in the beginning of the story when Antigone is talking with Ismene, she asks for her help . When Ismene refuses she is furious with her. Then Ismene decides to act independently. Creon is also very independent. He refuses to accept anyone’s opinions except his own. When his son Haimon comes to talk with him he refuses to listen , claiming that Haimon is “girlst ruck! ” and corrupted . Teirsesais comes and tells him a morbid prophecy.

Creon will not listen to this either. He claims that Teirsesais has been corrupted by money, like many prophets at that time. He finally listens to the Charagous when reminded th at Teiresias has never been wrong. Antigone has no problem working by her self either. She demonstrates this when she slipped by all the guards that were protecting the dead body of Polyneices. Creon and Antigone are both independent, and they are both very loyal. They are loyal to their views. Creon is especially loyal to his laws. Antigone is loyal to her beliefs. Creon will not change his laws.

An example of this occurs when he and An tigone argue. He calls her “A traitor” For giving a burial for her dead brother Polyneices. He is so loyal to his own laws that he fails to see that he is disobeying the law of the gods. Antigone puts the laws of the gods ahead of the laws of the state s. She goes ahead and buries her brother. Which was strictly prohibited by Creon. This shows her short-sightedness is because she only does what she thinks the gods want. Instead of abiding by the law that Creon decreed. Creon is also short-sighted because he refuses to believe any other opinions or laws than his own.

Creon and Antigone are both so loyal which can also ake them very extreme. Creon is an extremist in reason. He thinks his law is the most important. Antigone is an extremist of passion. Creon is unwilling to put the god’s law above his law. He is u nwilling to listen to the passionate pleas of his son to let Antigone live. He instead puts his laws first, and states that if he lets Antigone live after she has broken his law, “How shall I earn the worlds obedience? ” His extreme will, later leads to his son’s death because he thinks his son has been corrupted by Antigone.

Antigone is equally as extreme and she will not listen to the reasoning of her sister Ismene. Ismene reminds her of the problems and dangers she is undertaking when she goes ou t to bury Polyneices. Antigone will not listen though, and this ends up killing her as well. Because Creon and Antigone are very extreme in their ways this can also make them cruel and foolish people. Creon is quite cruel to everyone around him. He never once listens to anyone, but instead he acts foolishly and hurts everyone.

When he is talk ing to his son Haimon, he retorts that Haimon is “a fool” and that he is, “Taken in by a woman! These words and his fathers attitude hurts Haimon and he becomes filled ith rage towards his foolish father. Antigone is also cruel and foolish. Especial ly to her sister Ismene. Ismene tries to help Antigone in the start of the play. When she tries to tell Antigone not to risk everything to please the gods. Antigone won’t listen though, She just tells her “Go away Ismene. I will be hating you soon”, in a striking example of her cruelty. Ismene and Antigone have been caring sisters until suddenly Antigone abandons her because she does not agree to help bury their brother.

Creon also is cruel to his old friend and prophet, Teirsesias. Teirsesias o mes to warn him that if he does not free Antigone that bad things will happen, but Creon doesn’t believe him. He claims that Teirsesias has “sold out” as a prophet and shows how foolish he is not to trust a long standing friend who has never been wrong. Creon and Antigone are both plagued by hubris. Creon wants to stand by the law he has made. Antigone is willing to risk it all to stand by the law of the gods and what is right. Creon’s stubbornness is clear when his old friend and prophet Teirsesias. Tells him to free Antigone.

Creon stubbornly refuses and remarks to the old wise an, “Bribes are baser then any baseness” Creon does not even listen to Teirsesias, who made him king in the first place. He is so stubborn that he refuses to listen cl aiming that Teirsesias had been corrupted by money and so his pride hampers his good judgment. He is so concentrated on everyone being corrupted that he does not even listen to common sense. His son, Haimon tries to come tell him that he should not s entence Antigone to death.

Creon is outraged by his son siding with her. He tells Haimon that he is a “Fool, adolescent fool! Taken in by a woman! Haimon esponds to this by saying that he is “perverse” Creon, even more outraged, calls him a “Girls struck fool” Haimon storms off with a loathing hatred for his father’s arrogant pride and stubbornness. Antigone has equal hubris herself. She is so passionate on burying her brother that she will not listen to reason. Full of arrogance and indignati on, she will not listen to the words of her sister. Ismene warned her of the dangers of burying their brother Polyneices but Antigone will not listen. She calls Ismene a “traitor” for not coming to help her and Ismene shakingly replies “I am so afraid o f you”.

Antigone, instead f listening to the common sense of her sister, snaps back that “You need not be: you have yourself to consider, after all”. Later in the story Antigone is arrested for burying her brother and Ismene comes crawling back to her. Ismene breaks the conversation between Antigone and Creon by admitting that, “I am guilty, if she let me say so”. Antigone will not let her and retorts coldly, “No, Ismene. you have no right to say so. You would not help me, and I will not have you h elp me” This reveals clearly how arrogant and stubborn Antigone can be. Even after her sister wants to share in her punishment and crawls back to her.

She will not accept it to her own demise. Creon and Antigone are both remarkably similar people. Ironically, they are both so much the same that they can not see it. The flaws they share make neither of them willing to listen to the other. Many of their traits are identical, but their opinion s are so different that they can’t stand each other. Sophocles did an excellent job in portraying the two vast extremes of the spectrum, passion and reason. This story hopefully proves to people that neither extreme passion nor extreme reason, but rather be in the middle and achieve arete.

Sophocles’ Antigone Essay

The debate over who is the tragic hero in Antigone continue on to this day. The belief that Antigone is the hero is a strong one. There are many critics who believe, however, that Creon, the Ruler of Thebes, is the true protagonist. I have made my own judgments also, based on what I have researched of this work by Sophocles. Antigone is widely thought of as the tragic hero of the play bearing her name. She would seem to fit the part in light of the fact that she dies in doing what is right. She buries her brother without worrying what might happen to her.

She “Takes into consideration death and the reality that may be beyond death” (Hathorn 59). Those who do believe that Antigone was meant to be the true tragic hero argue against others who believe that Creon deserves that honor. They say that the Gods were against Creon, and that he did not truly love his country. “His patriotism is to narrow and negative and his conception of justice is too exclusive… to be dignified by the name of love for the state” (Hathorn 59). These arguments, and many others, make many people believe the Antigone is the rightful protagonist.

Many critics argue that Creon is the tragic hero of Antigone. They say that his noble quality is his caring for Antigone and Ismene when thier father was persecuted. Those who ezd behind Creon also argue that Antigone never had a true epiphany, a key element in being a tragic hero. Creon, on the other hand, realized his mistake when Teiresias made his prophecy. He is forced to live, knowing that three people are dead because of his ignorance, which is a punishment worse than death. My opinion on this debate is that Antigone is the tragic hero. She tries to help her brother without worrying bout what will happen to her.

She says, “I intend to give my brother burial. I’ll be glad to die in the attempt, -if it’s a crime, then it’s a crime that God commands” (Sophocles 4). She was also punished for doing what was right. Her epiphany came, hidden from the audience, before she hung herself. Creon’s “nobleness” of taking in young Antigone and Ismene is overshadowed by his egotistical nature. He will not allow justice to come about simply because he wants to protect his image. He says, “If she gets away with this behavior, call me a woman and call her a an” (Sophocles 13).

These elements prove that Antigone is the tragic hero. Creon, underezding his ignorance may lead one to believe that he is the true protagonist. But, if you define the word protagonist you would find that a protagonist is one who is a leader or supporter of a cause. Antigone is in support of her own actions in the burial of her brother Polyneices. She entrusts that she is doing what the Gods want, contrary to the belief of Creon. Many readers and critics may say Creon suffered greator hardships. Some may say Antigone never had an epiphany.

Who ould underezd it if their own brother were left to the birds and dogs. There would be no rational thinking involved in a act like this. These are arguments envolved in deciding who is the tragic hero of Antigone. Critics, to this day, still argue about who is the tragic hero of Antigone. Many say that Antigone is the heroin. Others say that it is Creon. My research favors Antigone as the perfect protagonist. No matter who the reader sides with, it is agreed by most that there is a valid argument either way, in light of the fact that they both endure great hardships.

Sophocles Short Biography

Sophocles was born in Colonus, near Athens, c. 497 B. C. Sophocles father was a wealthy armorer named Sophillus. When he reached adulthood he was already established as a great tragic playwright, and the citizens of Athens loved him. He was nicknamed Attic-bee by the Athenians because he could take pure honey from words. Sophocles was born in Colonus, near Athens, c. 497 B. C. Sophocles father was a wealthy armorer named Sophillus. Sophocles had a good childhood. Sophocles, at age sixteen, led a boy’s chorus for the victory celebration over defeat of the Persians at Salamis.

When he was twenty-eight, he beat Aeschylus in a dramatic contest. Already Sophocles was showing true talent in play writing. At this time he also wrote poetry, none of which has been recovered. As a young man Sophocles was popular, handsome, a good athlete, and a great writer. When he reached adulthood he was already established as a great tragic playwright, and the citizens of Athens loved him. He was nicknamed Attic-bee by the Athenians because he could take pure honey from words. Sophocles had many friends, one of which was the historian Herodotus. This friendship may be a reason that we know so much about Sophocles.

After a long and prosperous career, he died of old age in Athens at the age of ninety. Sophocles wrote 123 plays, and won 24 dramatic victories for Athens. Of his 123 plays, only seven are preserved in entirety. However, there still remains a large portion of his satyr Ichbeutae that remains intact. His seven plays are Ajax, Antigone, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus, and Oedipus Rex. Sophocles went through three artistic periods. The first, his earliest years, were influenced greatly by Aeschylus. Ajax was produced in this period. The second was in a \”harsh, contrived\” style.

Antigone was produced during this period. He produced all his other plays in his mature years, or his third period. In this period, he worked on developing his characters. Sophocles contributed more to theatre than just his work. He also changes the technical side to theatre in three important ways. First, he added three more singers to the chorus, so that there were fifteen instead of the usual twelve singers. He also added a third actor, which gave more depth to the play. Lastly, he was the first playwright to use lots of painted scenery. These changes helped improve theatre.

Antigone Was Right

The story of Antigone deals with Antigone’s brother who’s body has been left unburied because of crimes against the state. The sight of her brother being unburied drives Antigone to take action against the state and bury her brother regardless of the consequences. The concept of the Greek afterlife was far more important and sacred than living life itself. Everything they did while they were alive was to please the many gods they worshipped. They built temples for their Gods, made statues to symbolize their Gods, and had a different God to explain things that we now say are an act of mother nature.

Antigone percieved her actions to be courageous and valid, and Kreone, the King, percieved them as blasphemous. The entire story focuses on deciding who’s right. The question arises, “Did Antigone take proper action? ” Was it right to go against her Uncle Kreon’s wishes and go ahead and bury her brother that was to be left out for the vultures? Would it have been better just to leave the situation how it was? The fact is, Antigone did the right thing. She was acting out of divine influence so to speak. Since divinity and humanity are shown to be colliding forces where divinity out weighs humanity in ancient Greece.

Antigone was justified in her actions. Antigone was following divine laws, or walking with divine shoes, while Kreone followed the laws of the state. Her brother’s afterlife was so important to Antigone that she was willing to give up anything to ensure her brother’s happiness and “future” after his death. This supported in the play by the way she is so outspoken about what she had done after she is caught and while she is being questioned. “Why should I be ashamed of my loyalty to my brother? ” (Sophocles line 624).

Kreon didn’t like her speaking in the manner such as this because it shows him that she has no remorse for disobeying his orders. Furthermore, it damaged Kreone’s incredible pride. Kreone’s pride is so great in fact, that he can’t even be swayed by his son Haimon. Haimon asks his father to take his advice and not have Antigone executed, but, because of Kreon’s stubborness for the law of the state, Kreon gets furious and makes the situation worse then it already was.

He was way too proud to take advice from someone younger, and in his anger he decided to kill Antigone right away in front of Haimon’s eyes. Just understand: You don’t insult me and go off laughing. Bring her here! Let him see her. Kill her here, beside her bridegroom'” (Sophocles 919-921). This was too much for Haimon to take, and he runs out of the room, yelling, “‘her death will destroy others'” (Sophocles 908). Blinded by his pride and arrogance, Kreon takes that remark as a threat to himself, unknowing that it wasn’t directed to him, but was a suicide threat by his own son. Yet, Kreone may have been viewed as justified in his actions as well.

Kreon states that the gods would be unhappy if a traitor to their earth were to be buried. Someone that was a traitor to the Gods land would not be admired. The gods would agree that the person should be punished. Kreon “should” have been taken as correct on this argument because kings were the lawgivers and thought to be god-like. The same type of thing goes on in today’s government with our president. If we don’t like him , which many may not, that does not give us the right to ignore his laws or the laws of this country. The fact is laws are made for a reason, be it good or bad.

Even though they may seem a little far-fetched now, they were probably very reasonable then. The law may seem to be unjust to us in today’s society but that does not give anyone the right to create their own laws to live by. Unless, they are rebeling against a absoulutism; and this is precisely what Antigone was doing. In the story, Kreone was refferred to as a tyrant. “In the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. E. in one city-state after another, an individual “tyrant”-by which the Greeks meant someone who held the power contrary to the established traditions of the commmunity” (Bulliet pg. 1).

In other words, by defining Kreone as a tyrant in the text, they meant that he was dictator who took control and changed the laws of the land. Therefore, his laws were absoulute, and unjust in the first place. The morals that Antigone had instilled in her since the day of her birth are what caused her to rise above Kreone’s tyrany. Her moral concious could not allow her brother not to be burried. The fact that she was a woman standing up to the King, of all people, didn’t help sway Kreone’s decision.

Back then women did not have any more rights than the slaves did and to be talked to in such a powerful way by a woman was just unheard of, especially to a ruler. Only a strong willed woman with divine law in her corner could hope to accomplish a goal like standing up to a tyrant. Yet, Kreone had a chance to make amends. He was forewarned of his stupidity by many people “All mankind is subject to error. Once a mistake is made it is wise of him to make amends and not be unbending. Stubbornness is stupidity'” (Sophocles 1180-1184).

Teiresias, a old man who could accuratley tell the future, spoke these words to Kreone. However, Kreone’s stubborness held strong. This is why Kreone’s ego kept him from being righteous. Antigone’s actions were justified in tragedy of Antigone. But the magnitude of her actions can only be viewed when set against the background of the time period. A strong woman was unheard of in ancient Greece. But the interpretation that Antigone was justified in her actions and that she acted on the side of divinity, can help to visualize the text and the culture that produced Antigone.

Antigone vs. Creon

According to Aristotle, “tragedy is a representation of an action, which is serious, complete in itself, and of a certain length, it is expressed in speech made beautiful in different ways in different parts of the play; it is acted, not narrated; and by exciting pity and fear it gives a healthy relief to such emotion” (Lucas 25). This definition categorizes Sophocles’ Antigone as a model tragedy. Aristotle also states that ” a tragedy must include pain and sorrow, and a tragedy goes from happiness to misery” (Leech 33).

The main idea throughout the play is entrenched in the conflict between Antigone and Creon, the two protagonists, on the basis of morale and justice. Antigone’s actions are out of eros, or love and Creon’s actions are based on state laws and hubris, or pride. In Sophocles’ Antigone, tragedy predominates the drama from the beginning of the story when Polynices and Eteocles, two brothers, fight in a battle for the throne of Thebes. Although the city of Thebes has won the battle, the two brothers have killed one another and Thebes has no king. The brothers uncle, Creon, assumes position of king of Thebes.

Under his first decree Creon declares that no man will be allowed to bury Polynices since he brought an outside army from Argos to battle against Eteocles in Thebes. Antigone, Polynices and Eteocles’s sister, ignores Creon’s decree and gives Polynices a proper burial to honor the gods in spite of Creon’s decree. Now the battle between Antigone and Creon begins, and they are the focal point of the drama. Antigone and Creon have totally opposite views of justice. Creon feels that justice is given in regards to the state whereas, Antigone goes against the ideas of Creon and sets with the laws of the gods.

She appeals to the “justice that dwells with the gods below” (Sophocles 135), and she is ready for her fate, which is death. Antigone is unreasonable and unsensible, and she insist that sometimes justice is more important than the laws set by man. Since she defines her own laws, she must suffer the consequences for trying to disobey the laws of the state. Antigone makes no effort to conceal her deed and challenges Creon’s right to make laws that are in conflict with the will of the gods. Creon is an example of an authority figure who is too rigid an inflexible to admit his mistakes and errors in judgment until it is too late.

Eventhough Creon sets the laws of the state higher than the laws of the gods by denying Polynices a decent burial, Antigone knows that she must please the gods by burying Polynices. Antigone and Creon not only struggle on the basis of laws but also on family matters. Antigone not only lost her two brothers, but she will lose her respect for her family and the gods if she does not bury Polynices. Creon does not let his relation with Antigone as her uncle affect his dealings with Antigone in any way. He swears to punish her even if she is a “sister’s child or closer in blood”( Sophocles 784).

His job now is to protect and serve the people of Thebes in any way he possibly can, but most of all he must uphold the laws of the state. If he does not punish Antigone, he will look as though he is a weak ruler. Since Creon is related to Antigone, he must carry out the punishment of Antigone so the Thebians will see him as a strong and powerful king. Antigone goes alone to bury Polynices because Ismene, her sister, will not disobey Creon’s law. Ismene says “I do them no dishonor, but to defy the city, I have no strength for that” (Sophocles 771).

Ismene pleads with Antigone to change her mind because Ismene has no other immediate family besides Antigone. Ismene asks “how can I live alone, without her? ” (Sophocles 789). The disagreement between Antigone and Ismene is between their views of “idealism and realism” (Webster 88). Ismene tries to persuade Antigone to change her mind and to remember “that we are women we’re not born to contend with men” and “we must submit”( Sophocles 61). Antigone’s strong will ignores Ismene’s pleas for her to change her mind, and she buries Polynices to satisfy the gods.

When Creon finds out that Antigone has disobeyed him and only wants to die, he tries to argue with her, but she remains arrogant and says “if you think I am behaving like a fool, it is perhaps a fool calling me a fool” (Sophocles 135). Immediately, Creon realizes he cannot argue with Antigone and says “while I live, no woman shall rule me” (Sophocles 135). This statement suggests the motive of Creon as hubris, or excessive pride. Antigone declares that “is not my nature to share in hating, but to share in loving” (Sophocles 135). Antigone’s motive of eros, or love is evident.

Creon’s attitude expresses his fear of being controlled by a woman and makes that known to his son, Haemon, who cares for Antigone. To conquer his fear he must follow through with his decree to punish Antigone. Antigone sees her womanhood as a source for strength and accepts her role to die as an act of audacity. Unlike Creon, Antigone does not the support of anyone but herself. Haemon, the son of Creon, does not want Antigone to die for what she has done. He attempts to convince his father that he should change his view about Antigone going against Creon’s decree.

Creon tells him that he is young and is blinded by the fact that he is the “woman’s champion” (Sophocles 137). Haemen does not want to displease his father, but he is not willing to back down from what he believes is right. He want to marry Antigone someday and in his opinion his father is interfering with his life all because of a decree. Creon gets angry and says “bring forth that hated thing, that she may die forthwith in his presence–before his eyes–and her bridegroom’s side” (Sophocles 137). Haemen leaves his father’s side and dies beside his true love, Antigone.

Aristotle’s happiness to misery concept is now being unleashed on Creon in an extreme. He loses his son and soon will lose his authority over Thebes. The Family curse has finally taken the course on Antigone and her fate is beginning to be sealed ( Adams 57). Creon has not yet stated a death punishment in Antigone, but in order to portray his strong leadership image he must execute his decree even if Antigone is his niece. When Antigone enters before Creon again she is ready to pay the price for her actions against Creon’s decree.

Antigone compares her destiny with Niobe’s, the wife of a former ruler of Thebes, because Niobe was turned into stone and Antigone will be isolated in a stone cave. Also, Niobe’s children were taken away from her, and Antigone will never get to experience having a family with Haemon, Creon’s son. In the end Antigone feels deserted by everyone including the gods, who she honored by burying Polynices. Now Antigone must die alone like the “typical Sophoclean tragic hero” ( Adams 55). Creon regains his authority over Antigone by finally sentencing her to death.

Now he is assured of his power because he places the state before his own kin. But his own fate is being quietly sealed because he has put his own aspirations and goals higher than his reverence for the gods. In Sophoclean tragedy, the divine laws are always more prevalent then man’s or state’s law. By exposing Antigone to isolation Creon is not human but animal-like. Antigone and Creon accept their fates very differently. Antigone has “accepted death heroically” (Sophocles 138) while Creon has not acknowledged his fate until he has to suffer immensely for sentencing Antigone to death.

Now their roles are reversing in that Antigone strongly accepts her fate and Creon weakens at the sight of his fate. Creon is blinded by his hubris until it is too late, and Antigone understands the price she will pay for the eros of Polynices. In Antigone, there are many different antitheses and conflicts, and this state of conflict is embodied in the presence on stage of two protagonists, each diametrically opposed to the other (Segal 62). Antigone receives her punishment through death, but Creon will receive his chastisement when he is exiled from Thebes from the gods.

Antigone’s “self-accepted death is the source of what is beautiful and heroic in the play” (Segal 85). The main conflict in Antigone revolves around what is right and what is wrong. Of the two protagonists, Antigone stands on the correct laws and morale. She believes in divine law and not human law as Creon did. “Antigone feels her duty is to the gods, and Creon feels his duty is to the state (Webster 88). The death of the tragic hero, Antigone, brings Aristotle’s idea of a tragedy to life.

Antigone by Sophocles

Family is supposed to be the ultimate support, everlasting, and always ready to forgive. In Antigone by Sophocles, Creon is immersed in a “power trip” that alienates and even kills his family. He caused his son, Haemon’s death, his wife, Eurydice’s death and Antigone’s death. Creon views himself as the perfect leader, believes he is always correct, and in turn has to live with the guilt of three deaths that were his fault. Antigone goes alone to bury Polynices and deliberately disobeys Creon’s law.

Antigone not only lost her two brothers, but she will lose her respect for her family and the gods if she does not bury Polynices. When Creon finds out that Antigone has disobeyed him and only wants to die, he tries to argue with her, but she remains strong to her word. Immediately, Creon realizes he cannot argue with Antigone and says, “While I’m alive, no woman is going to lord it over me”(86). Creon does not let his relation with Antigone as her uncle affect his dealing with Antigone in any way. He swears to punish her even if she is family.

His job is to protect and uphold the laws of the state. If he does not punish Antigone he will look as though he is a weak ruler. Since Creon is related to Antigone, he must carry out the punishment of Antigone so the people of Thebes will see him as a strong and powerful king. Haemon does not want to Antigone to die for what she has done. He attempts to convince his father that he should change his view about Antigone going against Creon’s decree. Creon tells him that he young and has lost his “sense of judgement over a woman”(93).

Haemon does not want to displease his father, but he is not willing to back down from what he believe is right. Creon gets angry and says, “bring her out, that hateful-she’ll die now, here, in front of his eyes, beside her groom”(99). Haemon leaves his father’s side and dies beside his true love, Antigone. When Eurydice enters the palace she is faced with the news of her son’s death. She demands that the messenger tell her “the news, again, whatever it issorrow and [her] are hardly strangers”(121).

Eurydice blames Creon for the death of her son. She is so alarmed with the death that she kills herself. Creon returns with the body of Haemon only to find “a new corpse rising before [his] eyes”(125). Creon’s own destiny came about him, to prove that what he claims to be just isn’t always, and that the worst happenings and mistakes were his overconfidence and his pride. The rest of his life will forever be plagued with the tragedy and he will not be able to think the same way ever again.

Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King”

In Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King”, Oedipus proclaims ” it was I who have pronounced these curses on myself” (Madden 37). With this announcement, Oedipus is aware that his pursuit for order has led to a life of chaos. The central thesis is that the presumption of order establishes physical, intellectual, and spiritual chaos. The text’s reference to the sphinx, Oedipus, and Tiresias creates this notion.

These three literal signifiers are the metaphoric symbolizers of physical, intellectual, and spiritual The concept of physical chaos is first introduced during the first speech of the riest when reference is made to the “harsh singer” (Madden 37), the sphinx. In greek mythology, the sphinx is recognised as a hybrid creature with a woman’s head, a lion’s body, an eagle’s wings, and a serpent’s tail. In reality, “the virgin with the crooked talons” (Madden 48), is a unique archetype for many things in one single being.

The sphinx is an epitome of destruction and chaos who establishes “the tax [they] had to pay [her]” (Madden 17) because she devourers all who fail to answer her riddle. Her domination of Thebes causes havoc and melancholic responses that are directly related o the degree of her physical chaos. The confrontation between Oedipus and the sphinx ends with the latter destroying herself, “the winged maiden came against him: he was seen then to be skilled” (Madden 29), due to Oedipus answering her riddle. By destroying herself, the sphinx makes it possible for the oracles to come true.

With her reign of terror at an end, the sphinx makes it possible for Oedipus to continue with his life in pursuit of order. Chaos is established because of the opportunity for the prophecies to become an actuality. The physical appearance of the sphinx and her self- estruction foreshadow chaos for Oedipus in the near future. As the sphinx is the measure of highest physical chaos, so Oedipus is a measure of utmost intellectual chaos. Oedipus, being the king of Thebes, portrays qualities that signify intelligence, fortitude, and freedom from doubt.

Oedipus’ intelligence is prominent upon knowledge of his ill faith; Oedipus, in his present state of mind, interprets the prophecies made to him literally. This course of action assists in the “[Phoebus] said [Oedipus] would be [his] mother’s lover, show offspring to mankind [that] they could not look at, and be his [father’s] murderer. When [Oedipus] heard this, and ever since, [he] gauged the way to Corinth by the stars alone, running to a place where [he] would never see the disgrace in the oracle’s words come true. ” (Madden 37).

By trying to set down a systematic life, Oedipus ironically commits the “wretched horrors” (Madden 37) he intends to avoid, thus coming to the realization that “[he] struck them with his hand”(Madden 52). Oedipus answers the riddle of the sphinx “and stopped her-by using thought” (Madden 26). By doing so, Oedipus’ reward for freeing Thebes was the throne and the hand in marriage of the widowed Jocasta. His intelligence-driven fulfilment of the prophecies induced chaos because “[her] riddle wasn’t for a man chancing by to interpret, prophetic art was needed” (Madden 26).

The realization that “[he has] pronounced these curses on [himself]” (Madden 37) depicts how Oedipus establishes intellectual chaos because the choices he makes to secure order in his life strangely enough provoke a chaotic time to come. The mention of Tiresias in the play signifies spiritual chaos. He is a blind but wise prophet who “sees more [] than Lord Phoebus” (Madden 24). Tiresias knows the ruth about Oedipus and states: “he’ll be shown a father who is also brother; to the one who bore him, son and husband; to his father, his seed-fellow and killer” (Madden 28).

Tiresias has “the strength of the truth” (Madden 25) and chaos evolves when he does not speak of the truth he knows. With this, Oedipus accuses him of being “[part] of [the] plot [to murder Laius]” (Madden 26), when in reality, “[Oedipus is the] enemy” (Madden 27). Tiresias is blind due to natural causes, but when Oedipus tries to achieve his level of wisdom, all that is obtained is chaos. “[H]e snatched the pins [] and struck them] into [his eyeballs]” (Madden 50) in attempt to see spiritually.

Tiresias deceives Oedipus unintentionally into believing that wisdom can be achieved by blindness; Tiresias says: “since you have thrown my blindness at me: Your eyes can’t see the evil to which you’ve come” (Madden 27). This incident depicts how Tiresias’ order establishes Acquiring order cannot exist without the concept of chaos. The realization that order leads to chaos manifests man’s pursuit for an unreachable end. The challenge to accomplish a life of order involves smart decision making, and this process is essential for physical, intellectual and spiritual chaos.

Sophocles’ trilogy of Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone

Sophocles’ trilogy of Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone is a powerful, tragic tale that examines the nature of human guilt, fate and punishment. Creon, Oedipus’ uncle and brother-in-law, is the story’s most dynamic character. His character experiences a drastic metamorphosis through the span of the three dramas. Creon’s vision of a monarch’s proper role, his concept of and respect for justice, as well as his respect for the design evolve considerably by the trilogy’s tragic conclusion. In Oedipus the King (OK) , the audience is introduced to a Creon who seems to put loyalty to he king above all.

He sympathizes with the tragic plight of King Oedipus and asserts no apparent ambition himself. His attitude toward the king is one of yielding and fulfilling reverence. Creon’s notion of justice in OK stems directly from the divine. That which the gods have decreed must become law. It pains Creon to have Oedipus exiled, but he must do so as the gods have willed it. Creon’s respect for divinity and prophecy seems to be his defining trait in OK. His attitude is one of unquestioning reverence. In Oedipus at Colonus (OC), one sees the beginning of Creon’s decline.

Creon has now come to occupy the throne that once belonged to Oedipus. It soon becomes apparent that his vision of the proper role of a king has changed to accommodate his new-found position. The emphasis shifts from that of a king who must rule wisely to one who must rule unyieldingly. The kingship becomes a selfserving instrument for Creon in his attempt to secure the return of Oedipus and the good fortune prophesied to accompany him. Creon’s notion of justice is severely distorted in OC. He becomes monomaniacal – conducting his affairs with tyranny and elligerence.

For example, he threatens to harm Oedipus’ daughters if the blind beggar does not return to Thebes. His view of rightness and fairness is no longer in line with that of his subjects. In OC, Creon still retains some respect for divine prophecies. These have after all motivated his desire to return Oedipus to Thebes. Antigone reveals the ultimate extent to which Creon’s character deteriorates. His transformation completes itself; he has become an unreasonable tyrant. Creon can no longer be called a king. He has become a despot.

There is absolutely no justice to be found. Violence and threats of violence are the tools by which he rules. For example, his senseless threats to an innocent sentry reveal the true extent of his loss of reason. Creon has distorted the proclamation against Polyneices’ burial, which was originally intended to foster Theban unity, into a display of rashness and incompetence. There is no mention of the gods and their intentions on Creon’s behalf in Antigone. He has been so far destroyed by his own power as to dismiss the divine will that he originally thrived on.

Antigone and Oedipus, by Sophocles

Antigone and Oedipus, written by Sophocles, are dramatic plays with a tragic ending. The main theme for Antigone is that people sometimes have to learn the hard way from their mistakes. This theme is expressed in the final four lines of the play. They read, There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are always punished, And proud men in old age learn to be wise. These lines are an important part of the play.

They symbolize Creons bad decisions he made, his defiance to the gods, the unishment he went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gained because of all his mistakes. “There is no happiness where there is no wisdom” demonstrates how Creon not using wisdom in his decision affected him. By declaring that Polyneices could not have a proper burial, he went against the gods and the other citizens of Thebess beliefs. This was not a wise decision on his part, and because of it he lost his wife, his son, and his happiness. Creon also defied the laws of the gods.

This is what is expressed in the line, No wisdom but in submission to the gods. ” In Antigone, the edict and decisions that Creon made demonstrated that his law was more important then the gods laws. His defiance of the laws eventually made him believe, by talking to Teirisias, that something bad would happen to him, so he gave in to his decision. When he gave into the gods he gained wisdom and learned that his actions would be punished. Creons edict is considered his big words.

In the third line it says, “Big words are always punished. Creons edict was unished by his loss of happiness. He proclaimed to his city that Polyneices may not be buried, when he did this he was very proud and demanding about his decision. He was determined not to change his mind for anything. These big words that he proclaimed would bring his downfall. Because Creon locked Antigone up, for burying Polyneices, she killed herself. Creons son Haimon, who was engaged to Antigone, also committed suicide upon seeing his beloved Antigone dead. Also Creon’s wife took her own life.

If Creon hadn’t gone against what was ight, by making his laws more important then the gods laws, and issuing his edict, he would not have suffered the way he did. By getting involved in stopping Polyneices burial by his edict he brought upon his own terrible punishment. The last line, “Proud men in old age learn to be wise” explains the main theme of Antigone. The proud man is Creon, the King of Thebes. By all the mistakes he makes he learns to be wiser. As a ruler he was a very proud man. He didn’t seem to care about anything as long as his commands were carried out.

By losing his son and wife and probably the respect of many citizens of Thebes he grew wiser. Creon’s bad decisions he made, his defiance to the gods, the punishment he went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gained because of all his mistakes, all contribute to the main theme of Antigone, that people sometimes have to learn the hard from their mistakes. The explication of the final four lines of the play really give a better understanding of the theme that Sophocles was trying to get across to his audience.

Morality in Sophocles’ Antigone

In Ancient Greece, life was full of complicated questions centered around the expanding field of science. Freedom of religion was encouraged to be exercised in the city-states and man was focused on more than the Gods or heavenly concerns. As a result many new ideals and beliefs surfaced. These new ideals and beliefs, though good in intentions, often conflicted with one another and created complex moral dilemmas. Such was the case in Sophocles play Antigone that was written in this era. In the play, Antigone and Creon battle a philosophical war concerning their ideals. They both base there actions on what they believe is right and wrong. The conflict arose when their ideals that backed up their actions on the burial of Polyneices clashed, creating a contradiction between morals.

Antigone’s side of the conflict held a much more divine approach, as opposed to the mundane path Creon chose to travel. Antigone feels that Creon is disregarding the laws of the heavens by ordering it unlawful for anyone to provide a proper burial for her brother Polyneices. Antigone’s opinion is one that supports the Gods and the laws of the heavens. Her reasoning is set by her belief that if someone were not given a proper burial, that person would not be accepted into heaven. Antigone was a very religious person and the acceptance of her brother by the Gods was very important to her. Creons order was personal to Antigone and his edict invaded her family life as well as the Gods. An important ideal in Ancient Greece was the belief that the government was to have no control in matters concerning religious beliefs. In

Antigone’s eyes, Creon betrayed that ideal by not allowing her to properly bury her brother, Polyneices. She believed that the burial was a religious ceremony, and Creon did not have the power to deny Polyneices that right. Antigone’s strong beliefs eventually led her to death by the hand of Creon.

Creon’s actions are guided by the ideal that man is the measure of all things. Creon believes that the good of man comes before the Gods. An example of Creons belief was the unburied body of Polyneices. Creon doesn’t want to give honor to a man who attempted to invade and conquer his city. He denies burial for Polyneices to show respect for Thebes. From this standpoint, Creons decisions for denying burial for Polyneices are completely just and supports the ideals. Creon’s reasoning’s coincide with the Greek ideals except for two that strongly contradicts his actions.

The first is that Creon exercises complete domination of political power. He defies this ideal by holding Antigone as his prisoner and not the publics. The people of Thebes supported Antigone but were too scared to do anything about it. Creon found out about this through his son Haemon. The second is freedom of religion. By denying Antigone to perform burial ceremonies for Polyneices, he is denying Antigone the ideal that supports freedom of religion.

The contradictions between the beliefs of Antigone and Creon are strong throughout the play. Neither of their arguments dominates the other even though they are both right and wrong at the same time. Antigone is following divine law while Creon is trying to protect the integrity of the city-state. In the end, Creon was convinced to set Antigone free after he weighed the factors and debated the ideals. But it was too late. The contradiction of ideals was the cause of Antigone’s, Haemons, and Megareus death. Both sides were just and all beliefs were supported. The downfall is that Creon had to decide the unanswerable, and determine right from wrong when there was no clear answer.

Medea vs. Antigone: Compare

The two Greek plays, Medea and Antigone both exhibit opening scenes that serve numerous purposes. Such as establishing loyalties, undermining assumptions on the part of the audience, foreshadowing the rest of the play, and outlining all of the issues. Medea and Antigone share many similarities in their openings.

Both plays begin with providing the audience with the history and the consequences of certain situations that the characters were involved in. It also brings the audience to the present time, in which the play occurs. This enables the audience to have a clear and refreshed image of what aspect of the legend the play emphasizes or if any alterations were made. In Medea, the nurse is the first character who enters the play and reminds the audience of the legend of the Golden Fleece, and the love between Jason and Medea, from beginning to the end.

She also brings them to the present state Medea is in, which is of complete despair and depression after Jason remarried. “And she hates her children now, and feels no joy at seeing them.” (Oates, 292). In Antigone, one of the purposes of the chorus is to provide history to the audience. Although, Sophocles did change the structure a little. The first to enter the play are Antigone and Ismene, who are engaging in conversation over defying the edict forbidding their brothers burial, which brings the audience to the present time.

Shortly after, the chorus enters and recounts the reasons for the battle and death of Polyneices and Eteocles, brothers to Antigone and Ismene. The chorus appears every scene to serve as the voice of the culture, and counsels to the characters. “Save those two of cruel fate, who, born of one sire and one mother, set against each other their twain conquering spears, and sharers in a common death.” (Oates, 192).

While the chorus and the nurse recount the background of the story they simultaneously set the mood of the play. Their speeches are expressed with such deep emotion that the audience can’t help but become involved. The nurse in Medea sets a very tense mood that remains throughout the whole play. “I fear she may contrive some untoward scheme; for her mood is dangerous nor will she brook her cruel treatment.” (Oates, 292).

Another similarity these two plays share is the defiance of the traditional role of women. The Greek culture was set in the role that women should take and it was rarely violated. Women were expected to take the submissive role and never question a superior male. Their voice was rarely heard and their opinions were insignificant, especially in society. As far as marriage went, women must buy their husbands with a dowry and it was necessary fro them to remain married, even if it was a bad marriage. Divorce was illegal for women, while a man could remarry if he chose to do so.

This defiance from the traditional role forces the audience to view their society from a different angle. These plays examine a woman who isn’t submissive and makes her own decision; based on her own values instead of he one’s society forces them to accept. Overall Antigone’s character was stubborn, angry, dogmatic, and she put her family and religious beliefs before the state. The opening conversation between Antigone and Ismene discusses Creon’s edict forbidding the burial of Polyneices.

Antigone confides in her sister that she plans to defy the order and asks for her help. Ismene reminds Antigone that they are women and not strong enough to defy the state. Antigone views the loyalty to her brother and the law of the gods above the state and will die for Polyneices burial. She is a woman ruled by instincts, emotions, and extreme pride. “I shall rest, a loved one with him whom I have loved, sinless in my crime; for I owe a longer allegiance to the dead than to the living But if thou wilt, be guilty of dishonoring laws which the gods have stablished in honour.” (Oates, 189).

Medea examines a female who also defies the traditional role. Medea is depicted as a violent, savage woman who will stop at nothing to seek harm to her enemies. She attacks the role of women in society and disagrees with the way women are treated as inferior. “And yet they say we live secure at home, while they are at the wars, with their sorry reasoning, for I would gladly take my stand in battle array three times o’er, than once give birth.” (Oates, 298).

Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides Medea are two Greek plays that share many similarities. For example, the way the audience is informed of history and the defiance of the traditional role of women are only two. Thus, Greek tragedy has many reoccurring themes, which can be directly related to the society in which they were written.

The Greek tragedy, Sophocles’s

A master artisan and innovator of the Greek tragedy, Sophocles’s insightful plays have held their value throughout countless time periods and societies. Through the use of common literary techniques, Sophocles was able to express themes and ideas that reflect all of humankind. On particular idea was that Sophocles believed that hubris is destructive and will eventually lead to one’s demise. Creon, the proud king of Thebes has such a fatal flaw. His hubris alienates Teiresias, Haimon, and his people. Teiresias attempts to explain to Creon the severity of Creon’s ctions, but Creon only shuns Teiresias.

No matter how potent the signs, Creon “would not yield,” (Scene 5, Line 47). Creon’s hubris prevents him from recognizing his self-destructive behavior. Instead, he accuses Teiresias of disloyalty and succumbing to bribery. He feels Teiresias has “sold out” (Scene 5, Line 65) and that Creon was “the butt for the dull arrows of doddering fortunetellers” (Scene 5, Line 42). Such inventions of Creon prove to be both counter-productive and foolish, for Teiresias did speak the truth and Creon is only further rawn into his false reality dictated by hubris.

Creon’s fatal flaw overcomes him in a discussion with his son. Haimon confronts his father about Creon’s reckless and unreasonable actions dealing with Antigone. His hubris transcends his better judgement and causes Creon to become defensive. Creon then ignores his son’s recommendations on the basis of age and seniority as follows: “You consider it right for a man of my years and experience to go to a school a boy? ” (Scene 3, Line 95).

His anger intensifies until he explodes at his son, “Fool, adolescent fool! Scene 3, Line 114). At that point, Creon was far too immersed in his own foolish pride to recognize his perverseness. His hubris had reduced him into a raving lunatic only capable of destructive behavior. Not even the Choragos was too insignificant to suffer the wrath of Creon’s fatal flaw. The Choragos asked if the gods might have had some part in the burial of Polyneices. To this he replied in a most vile manner, “Stop! Must you doddering wrecks go out of your head entirely? “The gods! ” Intolerable! ” (Scene 1, Line 92).

The attitude of Creon’s response emonstrates the counter-productivity of his fatal flaw. The resolution of Antigone is Creon’s loss of everything dear to him. Creon is left a pitiful wreck, “I am alone guilty. “, “My own heart… darkness to final darkness”, “I have been rash and foolish. “, “To risk everything for stubborn pride. ” (Scene 5, Lines 121, 87, 143, and 93 respectively). Creon is in such a position because he allowed hubris to cloud his judgement. While Creon did not directly kill his family, his foolish pride did, “I have killed my son and wife. ” (Scene, 5 Line 135).

Antigone committed suicide because her situation, which was dictated by Creon, seemed hopeless, “hanged herself… father had stolen her away… ” (Scene 5, Line 60). His hubris had led to the destruction of all he loved. Creon is the representation of all humanity and his misfortunes were brought about through hubris, which eventually leads to unhappiness, demise, and or destruction. Sophocles presented this idea to his audience over two centuries ago, and it is still a subject of much conversation. His plays have influenced past works and they will continue to affect literary works to come.

Sophocles, One Of The Greatest Tragedians Ever

Sophocles is perhaps one of the greatest tragedians ever. Sophocles said that a man should never consider himself fortunate unless he can look back on his life and remember that life without pain. For Oedipus Rex, looking back is impossible to do without pain. This pain stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. Oedipus freely chooses to pursue and accept his own life’s destruction. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him.

Oedipus’ pride, strung from his own heroic qualities, is one factor that ruined him. A hero prizes above all else his honor and the excellence of his life. When his honor is at stake, all other considerations become irrelevant. The hero valued strength and skill, courage and determination, for these attributes enabled the person who possessed them to achieve glory and honor, both in his lifetime and after he died (Rosenburg 38). Oedipus was certainly a hero who was exceptionally intelligent though one can argue that killing four men at Phokis single-handedly more than qualified him as a physical force of reckoning.

He obviously knew his heroic status when he greeted the supplicating citizens of Thebes before the palace doors saying, I would not have you speak through messengers, and therefore I have come myself to hear you – I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name(Sophocles 1088). Oedipus is guilty of Hubris- that is, that he is too sure of himself, too confident in his own powers [and] a little undermindful of the gods (Brooks 573). Oedipus, a hero of superior intelligence, also displays this uncompromising attitude in his fealty to Thebes.

Oedipus’ loyalty to Thebes is another factor that led to the tragic figure’s ruin. Aristotle explains that a tragic character is just and good, but his misfortune is brought about not by wickedness or depravity but by error, pride, or frailty. Oedipus fits this description perfectly. The story of Oedipus fascinates us because of the spectacle of a man freely choosing, from the highest motives, a series of actions which lead to his ruin. (Dodds 23). Oedipus could leave the city of Thebes and let the plague take its course but pity for the sufferings of his people compelled him to consult Delphi (Dodds 23).

When Apollo’s word comes back, he could leave the murder of Laius uninvestigated, but pride and justice cause him to act. Oedipus can not let a murder investigation go by without solving the riddle of who killed King Laius because his pride overpowers him. Oedipus’ pride reveals itself again in his loyalty to the truth. Oedipus’ constant struggle to discover the truth for the sake of his people ruined him most in the end. Even though he is warned many times to stop seeking the truth, he keeps on searching.

Oedipus has to choose between his doom and an alternative which if accepted would betray the hero’s own conception of himself, his rights, his duties, but in the end the hero refused to yield; he remains true to himself, to his physis (Knox 8). Therefore, one can see Oedipus’ need to uncover the truth about Laius and then about himself as proof of his commitment to uphold his own nature, pride. Oedipus’ quest for the truth fits his self image as a man of action, the revealer of truth, and the solver of riddles(Knox 28). He cannot live with a lie, and therefore must learn the truth behind the illusion he has lived for so long.

Teiresias, Iokaste, and the herdsman all try to stop Oedipus, but he must read the last riddle, that of his own life. As the truth unfolds, the people of Thebes see Oedipus as prideful and overweening, and they call on Zeus to correct his pride (Sewall 36). The hero’s conscious choice to pursue and accept his doom makes him a tragic figure. Oedipus Rex single-handedly ruined his own life through his overweening pride. Oedipus’ pride as a hero, a loyal King, and a truth seeker turned him into a tragic figure. He is a victim of fate, but not a puppet because he freely sought his doom though warned not to pursue it.

Fate may have determined his past actions, but what he did at Thebes he did as a free individual. It was his own choice to kill the men at Phokis, his own choice to seek an answer to heal his people and his own choice to learn the truth. He claimed full responsibility, as a hero would, when Choragos asked what god drove him to blind himself. Oedipus’ pride stood in the way of a life full of happiness. Sophocles ends this tragic story by warning his audience not to take anything for granted lest they suffer like Oedipus, a lesson many should take heed in.

Sophocles’ trilogy Essay

Sophocles’ trilogy of Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone is a powerful, tragic tale that examines the nature of human guilt, fate and punishment. Creon, Oedipus’ uncle and brother-in-law, is the story’s most dynamic character. His character experiences a drastic metamorphosis through the span of the three dramas. Creon’s vision of a monarch’s proper role, his concept of and respect for justice, as well as his respect for the design evolve considerably by the trilogy’s tragic conclusion. In Oedipus the King (OK) , the audience is introduced to a Creon who seems to put loyalty to he king above all.

He sympathizes with the tragic plight of King Oedipus and asserts no apparent ambition himself. His attitude toward the king is one of yielding and fulfilling reverence. Creon’s notion of justice in OK stems directly from the divine. That which the gods have decreed must become law. It pains Creon to have Oedipus exiled, but he must do so as the gods have willed it. Creon’s respect for divinity and prophecy seems to be his defining trait in OK. His attitude is one of unquestioning reverence. In Oedipus at Colonus (OC), one sees the beginning of Creon’s decline.

Creon has now come to occupy the throne that once belonged to Oedipus. It soon becomes apparent that his vision of the proper role of a king has changed to accommodate his new-found position. The emphasis shifts from that of a king who must rule wisely to one who must rule unyieldingly. The kingship becomes a selfserving instrument for Creon in his attempt to secure the return of Oedipus and the good fortune prophesied to accompany him. Creon’s notion of justice is severely distorted in OC. He becomes monomaniacal – conducting his affairs with tyranny and elligerence.

For example, he threatens to harm Oedipus’ daughters if the blind beggar does not return to Thebes. His view of rightness and fairness is no longer in line with that of his subjects. In OC, Creon still retains some respect for divine prophecies. These have after all motivated his desire to return Oedipus to Thebes. Antigone reveals the ultimate extent to which Creon’s character deteriorates. His transformation completes itself; he has become an unreasonable tyrant. Creon can no longer be called a king. He has become a despot.

There is absolutely no justice to be found. Violence and threats of violence are the tools by which he rules. For example, his senseless threats to an innocent sentry reveal the true extent of his loss of reason. Creon has distorted the proclamation against Polyneices’ burial, which was originally intended to foster Theban unity, into a display of rashness and incompetence. There is no mention of the gods and their intentions on Creon’s behalf in Antigone. He has been so far destroyed by his own power as to dismiss the divine will that he originally thrived on.

Sophocles’s, Innovator Of The Greek Tragedy

A master artisan and innovator of the Greek tragedy, Sophocles’s insightful plays have held their value throughout countless time periods and societies. Through the use of common literary techniques, Sophocles was able to express themes and ideas that reflect all of humankind. On particular idea was that Sophocles believed that hubris is destructive and will eventually lead to one’s demise. Creon, the proud king of Thebes has such a fatal flaw. His hubris alienates Teiresias, Haimon, and his people. Teiresias attempts to explain to Creon the severity of Creon’s ctions, but Creon only shuns Teiresias.

No matter how potent the signs, Creon “would not yield,” (Scene 5, Line 47). Creon’s hubris prevents him from recognizing his self-destructive behavior. Instead, he accuses Teiresias of disloyalty and succumbing to bribery. He feels Teiresias has “sold out” (Scene 5, Line 65) and that Creon was “the butt for the dull arrows of doddering fortunetellers” (Scene 5, Line 42). Such inventions of Creon prove to be both counter-productive and foolish, for Teiresias did speak the truth and Creon is only further rawn into his false reality dictated by hubris.

Creon’s fatal flaw overcomes him in a discussion with his son. Haimon confronts his father about Creon’s reckless and unreasonable actions dealing with Antigone. His hubris transcends his better judgement and causes Creon to become defensive. Creon then ignores his son’s recommendations on the basis of age and seniority as follows: “You consider it right for a man of my years and experience to go to a school a boy? ” (Scene 3, Line 95). His anger intensifies until he explodes at his son, “Fool, adolescent fool! Scene 3, Line 114).

At that point, Creon was far too immersed in his own foolish pride to recognize his perverseness. His hubris had reduced him into a raving lunatic only capable of destructive behavior. Not even the Choragos was too insignificant to suffer the wrath of Creon’s fatal flaw. The Choragos asked if the gods might have had some part in the burial of Polyneices. To this he replied in a most vile manner, “Stop! Must you doddering wrecks go out of your head entirely? “The gods! ” Intolerable! ” (Scene 1, Line 92).

The attitude of Creon’s response emonstrates the counter-productivity of his fatal flaw. The resolution of Antigone is Creon’s loss of everything dear to him. Creon is left a pitiful wreck, “I am alone guilty. “, “My own heart… darkness to final darkness”, “I have been rash and foolish. “, “To risk everything for stubborn pride. ” (Scene 5, Lines 121, 87, 143, and 93 respectively). Creon is in such a position because he allowed hubris to cloud his judgement. While Creon did not directly kill his family, his foolish pride did, “I have killed my son and wife. ” (Scene, 5 Line 135).

Antigone committed suicide because her situation, which was dictated by Creon, seemed hopeless, “hanged herself… father had stolen her away… ” (Scene 5, Line 60). His hubris had led to the destruction of all he loved. Creon is the representation of all humanity and his misfortunes were brought about through hubris, which eventually leads to unhappiness, demise, and or destruction. Sophocles presented this idea to his audience over two centuries ago, and it is still a subject of much conversation. His plays have influenced past works and they will continue to affect literary works to come.

“Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles

In many plays a character has a misconception of his her self and/or his or her world. When this misconception is destroyed it can be a major turning point in the story. “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is one such story. In the story Oedipus has such a misconception where he thinks he has a good life, but really his life is morally wrong. This contributes to the theme or themes of the play when they serve as the defining climax of the story. When the misconception is stopped Oedipus sees that you cannot escape or change your past, but you can still o great things even if you have been evil or immoral in your life.

When Oedipus was born it was prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother. His father naturally feared this and told a shepard to take the boy out and kill him when he was still a child. The kind old shepard could not bring himself to kill a innocent little boy so he gave him to a passing messenger to take as his own. When Oedipus was older he learned of this prophecy and left home because he loved his foster father who he believed to be his real father. A while fter he ran away he traveling down a road when he saw a coach coming.

It contained his true father, King Laios of Thebes and his bodyguards. When they almost ran him over Oedipus attacked them killing the bodyguards and his father, thinking that they were highway bandits, and by doing so he unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy. When he realizes this he is devastated. This really contributes to the theme, that you cannot escape your past. The fact that he killed a king and his father no less, is a major factor in his exile later in the story. When he discovers that King Laios was his real father he sees that by not running away that he could have prevented this whole catastrophe.

This just goes to show that hindsight is always 20/20, Oedipus saw this and realized his mistake. Him realizing that he cannot go back and change his past is also a big theme of the story. This fact too. plays a big part in his mental breakdown later in the story. After he kills his father he is walks further down the road when he is accosted by the Sphinx who tells him that if he cannot answer her riddle correctly that she ill kill him. He however does succeed in solving her riddle and she kills herself out of fury.

When word gets out the he was the one who caused the death of the Sphinx the people of Thebes ( whose king he just recently killed ) adopt him as their new king, thanking that their real king was killed by bandits, and give him the queen, Queen Jocasta ( his mother ) for his bride. They lived happily for many years and had four children. When Oedipus learns of the heinous crime he has committed he nearly dies. Jocasta upon learning that she had been married to her son hangs erself and when Oedipus sees her body dangling he cuts her down and stabs out his eyes with her brooch.

Having disgraced his country he is banished and he and his daughter Antigone leave Thebes. He later dies in exile at a shrine of Apollo in Colonus. Before he leaves Thebes however he states that he will do great things before he dies the horrible death he believes is reserved for him. He speaks with great hubris in the end of the play when he tells Creon to care for his daughters and tells of the things he will do before he dies. This, being able to still accomplish great hings even after doing such horrendous crimes such as incest and regicide.

Realization that you cannot change or escape your past and that you can still achieve great things even after committing awful crimes in your life are all the things that Oedipus sees after his misconception of his entire life is destroyed and he sees the things he could have prevented. When you look back on your life and see something that brought about bad consequences you most often see how you could have easily avoided the usually small detail that caused the whole ordeal. that is usually a great learning experience for you.

Creon as the Tragic Hero

In “Antigone” written by Sophocles, Creon is the tragic hero. Creon is the tragic hero because of his error in judgement, stubborn way of ruling Thebes, his change, and all the tragedy brought on by his actions. Although Creon changed only when a messenger told him there would be a tragic ending because of all his actions, he did try to correct what he had done. Creon ordered that Polyneices’ body be left out to be eaten by vultures andwhile dogs because Polyneices rebelled against his brother Esteocles’ rule in Thebes.

In this incident, both Polyneices and Esteocles (the ruler of Thebes) were killed. Creon’s stubborn way of ruling influenced everything that occurred because of him giving Esteocles a formal burial and leaving Polyneices’ body out to be eaten. Antigone, the sister of Polyneices and Esteocles, thought it was wrong that Esteocles had a formal burial and Polyneices was left out to be eaten by wild dogs and vultures.

Antigone then decided it was her duty to bury Polyneices, so she disobeyed Creon’s decree and covered Polyneices’ body with dirt and wine. Unfortunately, Antigone was caught in the act of burying Polyneices so, Creon sentenced her (his own sons finance) to be put into a stone vault, to die of starvation and for Polyneices’ body to be uncovered. Then a messenger came and told Creon that there would be a tragic ending because of his error in judgement. Creon then quickly ordered Antigone to be freed and Polyneices to be buried, but he was too late.

In the meantime, a messenger told Eurydice (Creon’s wife) that her son Haimon was dead and that his death was caused by Creon’s actions. Eurydice killed herself because the son she loved most was dead. In the meantime, Creon discovered that Polyneices’ body had been eaten by vultures and wild dogs so he quickly went to the vault Antigone was put in. WhenCreon arrived at the vault, he found Antigone had hung herself with her wedding dressand his son Haimon had killed himself because of the death of Antigone.

Creon returned home to tell his wife Eurydice of all the tragedy caused by his own error in judgement, only to find Eurydice dead too. In account of Creon’s stubborn rule and error in judgement, everyone he loved was dead. Although Creon did change and try to reverse his wrong doings, and was not able to do so, he was still an overall good man and didn’t mean to bring this tragedy upon himself. Just because of Creon’s mistakes he had to live the rest of his life with guilt for causing many deaths.

Oedipus And The Gods

In Ancient Greece the existence of gods and fate prevailed. In the Greek tragedy King Oedipus by the playwright Sophocles these topics are heavily involved. We receive a clear insight into their roles in the play such as they both control man’s actions and that challenging their authority leads to a fall. The concepts of the gods and fate were created to explain things. In Ancient Greece there was a lot that was not understood; science was in its infancy and everything that happened could be explained by the will of the gods or fate.

The gods were the height of power; they supposedly existed since the beginning of time. They were immortal, omnipresent and omnipotent. However, the different gods had different personalities. In this sense they were anthropomorphic. Having such mastery of the world would enable them to control man’s behavior, as is shown in King Oedipus. The idea of fate has existed for a long time and exists even today. Fate revolves around the idea that people’s lives are predetermined and that no matter what is done it cannot be changed.

With the gods it was used to explain events that seemed strange. Sophocles expands on this idea by introducing Oedipus’ fate. The thought of fate is strong considering no matter how hard he struggles he still receives what was predetermined. As a baby he survived the elements on Mount Cithaeron. As Oedipus was destined to live, it shows the dominance of fate. Having fate play such a large part of the play is certainly an insight into the Greek’s idea that fate controls us no matter how hard we struggle against it. In the play the dominance of the gods is shown again and again.

In the second stasimon after Tiresias leaves the chorus chants “Zeus and Apollo know, they know, the great masters of all the dark and depth of human life”, reasserting the belief in the god’s power. At the very opening of the play, the priest who converses with Oedipus says “. . . You cannot equal the gods, your children know that. . . “, proving again the Greek belief that the gods are the height of power. However, it is not only the people that revere the gods. After Oedipus blinds himself, Creon takes control of Thebes. When Oedipus asks to be banished, Creon replies “Not I.

Only the gods can give you that”, again acknowledging the higher authority of the gods. Thee numerous mention of the gods reiterates their importance in the eyes of Ancient Greek society. In the play the characters show great respect for the gods. Before the play’s beginning, Oedipus goes to Apollo’s oracle at Delphi. There he is told the prophecy of him murdering his father and marrying his mother. In any other case this statement would seem absurd, not worrying Oedipus in the slightest. However, the words came from the gods.

Oedipus was so shocked by this prognostication that he ran away from what he thought was him home, leading to the chain of events that lead to his downfall. Oedipus’ reaction to the prophecy he received is another indication of the power of the gods and their words. Not only does the play show that the gods are in control, it shows that man is not in control. The play’s final words are “count no man happy till he takes his happiness with him to the grave”. This is clearly trying to suggest that one can never say that he/she is happy because by doing so they are inadvertently saying that they are in control.

This can never be true as man cannot control everything. This message is just as true today as it was two thousand years ago in Sophocles’ time. By proving that man is not in control, the play is suggesting other forces control man’s destiny, such as fate and the gods. Throughout the whole play the importance of man not controlling his own fate is emphasised. An oracle predicted that any child that Laius and Jocasta had would kill his father and marry his mother. Jocasta and Laius try to control their fate by destroying the child by giving it to a shepherd to leave on Mount Cithaeron.

The baby lived despite the odds, reaffirms the power of fate and simultaneously proving that Laius and Jocasta are not in control. When Oedipus heard about his destiny, he tried to avoid it by running. Ironically, when he thinks he is running from his fate he is actually running to it, again proving fate’s power. Oedipus states in the play “I am content”, indicating that he thinks he is in command of his life. However, the gods and fate prove him wrong by giving him the worst of fates, again re-emphasising how little control man has over his life.

The theme of humans thinking they are in control is constantly being shown and then disproved, again demonstrating the importance of this idea in Ancient Greek society. All throughout the play, defying the gods sets up a downfall. The Greeks believed their gods had human qualities. When a man challenges the gods, as is done numerous times in King Oedipus, the gods, having personalities, use their power to “put him back in his place”. One cogent example of this is in the story of Arachne the weaver and Athene, god of wisdom. Arachne was so skilled at weaving that she challenged the god Athene to a contest.

When Athene won, she turned Arachne into a spider to spend eternity weaving and being destroyed by man as punishment for her brashness. This is an example of gods punishing man for challenging the gods, an action that is repeated in King Oedipus. Before the play begins, Jocasta and Laius have a child in full knowledge that they are going against the will of the gods. As previously stated, the gods having human qualities are liable to punish this behavior. At the beginning of the third stasimon, Jocasta asks the gods to help Oedipus.

When the messenger arrives and tells of the death of Polybus instead of thanking the gods for help she says “A fig for divination”. This is a prime example of disrespecting the gods. Later on in the play, both Laius and Jocasta were duly punished. Here is evidence of the one of the Greek theories, that contempt for the gods leads to being undone. It is clear that a breach in the god’s dominance resulted in the Laius and Jocasta being “taught a lesson”. Laius receives death by the hand by his own son. Strangely, this is one of the lighter penalties.

This end is ronic and cruel because a son is supposed to respect his father and instead he ends up killing him. Also, as the chances of killing somebody who happens to be their father are fairly slim, it shows that fate is also in play. Jocasta is forced to live with the pain of knowing she slept with her son, which in effect led her to suicide. There may also be some grief from the motherly instinct and knowing her son is also suffering immeasurable grief. While not as physically painful as Laius’ death, the emotional pain would be intolerable, as shown by Jocasta’s suicide.

Again, like Laius, the probabilities of these events occurring naturally are so small that it becomes almost impossible to ignore the factor of divine intervention. Both of these tragic fates were a result of defying the gods and fate, again highlighting the fact that going against the gods leads to tragedy. Another character who offends the gods is Oedipus. This starts before the play when he tried to run from his fortune. Trying to escape is a sign of challenging fate’s authority, which according to Greek belief leads to punishment.

Again he confronts the gods with his encounter with Tiresias. Firstly, he disregards what he says. Given that Tiresias’ words are the voice of the gods, this means he is indirectly defying the gods. Secondly, Oedipus quickly forms the assumption that Creon is plotting against him based on unsteady reasoning. By coming to this conclusion Oedipus is ignoring important evidence, proof that he thinks himself above other men and comparing himself to the gods. Again Greek beliefs state no man can be on the same level as the gods. So again he is exposing himself to destruction by the gods.

In the words of Tiresias “Creon is not your downfall, you are your own”, which sums up the consequences of his fast conclusions. Tiresias brings out the worst in Oedipus, being his hubris, or thinking one is higher than they actually are. For example, Oedipus says, “I stopped the Sphinx”, acknowledging nobody but himself. He has not considered that the gods are in control of all things and therefore must have helped him defeat the Sphinx. By leaving out their help, he is again saying he is on their level; another example of hubris. This yet again shows Oedipus disputing the god’s powers.

After the messenger delivers the news of Polybus’ death, Oedipus exclaims “But now, all those prophecies I feared. . . . They’re nothing, worthless”. Prophecies are sacred in the sense that they came from the gods who are said to be almighty. In no clearer way could Oedipus dispute the words of the gods. Disputing the words of the gods is in effect disputing the god’s control itself, which inevitably lead him to suffer the most horrible of ends. Shown here are numerous examples of how Oedipus disputes the god’s control, which in effect lead to his horrible punishment.

Of all the suffering in the play, Oedipus by far bears the most pain. Physically, there is the suffering of gouging his eyes out along with the blindness that follows. With the blindness comes the humiliation. However, all this physical pain was self-inflicted in the belief that he could never be punished enough for his crimes. This is also accompanied by fierce emotional torture. Firstly there is the anguish of knowing he killed his own father. This, as mentioned, is ironic as he should respect his father but in actual fact ends up killing him. Understandably, this would lead to great anguish.

Secondly, he slept with his mother. This kind of behavior was taboo in their society. Along with this is the sheer disgust in knowing that his brothers were his sons, his sisters were his daughters and his wife was his mother. Obviously, Oedipus has undergone extreme pain and suffering by the god’s will. Also there is the fact of knowing that his mother is suffering terrible pain. Again, this would cause Oedipus considerable agony. As a large part of the last stasimon explains, another way in which Oedipus is pained is in knowing that his daughters will suffer.

Living in a patriarchal society, they would have to marry a man in order for them to live a reasonable life. However, he knows that men would not want his daughters, considering their background. Again knowing his children will suffer troubles him. Oedipus quotes “. . . who will he be, my dear ones? Risking all to shoulder the curse that weighs down my parents. . . “, showing that he concerned about their future. Oedipus experiences great grief when he looks back and realises how much he has fallen from his former mighty perch of power.

This would be again painful in seeing how great he used to be compared to the wreck he is by the end of the play. In Oedipus’ words, “The blackest things a man can do, I have done them all! “, summarising the extremity of his pain. All of this goes to show that the gods indeed are in control in accordance with the Greek belief. As shown before, Oedipus tries to compare himself to the gods in power several times. Using the Greek belief that the gods and fate are in control of man, Oedipus comparing himself to the gods is in effect challenging them because no man can be on the same level as the gods.

As a result he is punished in a way that is more severe than even death. It is apparent that there are gods at work in engineering this most dreadful torture. Again this is proof that challenging the gods and fate sets up for a fall, as shown by the furthest decline in Oedipus. It is clearly apparent from this wide variety of evidence Greeks believed that the gods and fate are in control of man’s destiny, their lives being “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare, Macbeth) and also that confronting their authority leads to an undoing, showed in “what mortals dream, the gods frustrate” (Euripides, Medea).

Time and time again this message is re-emphasised through plot and character. We as the audience receive these ideas clearly and constantly, showing that man is not in control of his future, as shown by the tragic downfall of Oedipus, delivering a message as important now as in the days of the Ancient Greeks.

Antigone, What A Women

Although ancient Greece was a male-dominate society, Sophocles Antigone, portrays women as being strong and capable of making wise decisions. In this famous tragedy, Sophocles uses the characters Ismene and Antigone to show the different characteristics and roles that woman are typical of interpreting. Traditionally women are characterized as weak and subordinate and Ismene is portrayed in this way. Through the character of Antigone, women finally get to present realistic viewpoints about their character.

The sexist stereotypes presented in this tragedy address many perspectives of men at this time. Creon the arrogant and tyrant leader is, the very character that exemplifies this viewpoint. Antigones spirit is filled with bravery, passion and fury; which allow her to symbolize the very essence of women. She is strong enough to do what her conscious tells her despite the laws of the land. Many examples in the play prove that Antigones character is very capable of making her own decisions in the name of justice.

First, Antigone opposes Creons law and buries her slain brother; because in her mind it was immoral not to. She does this because she is compassionate and loves her brother very much. Creon, however, believes that his laws must be upheld and would do anything to prevent any type rebelling. He is even more infuriated when he learns that a woman has broken his laws. He tries to show Antigone whos in charge by sentencing her to a life of imprisonment. Secondly, Antigone shows how determined she is by accepting her consequences with pride.

She does not try to hide that she is responsible for breaking Creons laws, moreover, she takes all the credit. All the while she maintains her strength because she truly believes in her actions. These sorts of actions ultimately prove that Antigone is courageous and willing to stand up to men, which was completely against the norm at this time. Her spirit refuses to submit to the role of a helpless woman like her sister Ismenes character does. Ismene is a coward and refuses to help her sister because she feared men.

This fear propels her to turn her head to the disrespect that is been shown to her brother, Polyneices. Her character is a close representation of the viewpoints of the male gender regarding women. She is subordinate and weak-willed. She refuses to stand up to Creon even though in her heart she knows that his laws are morally wrong. This type of demeanor in famous works of art is very common for women to behave like, according to the position of men. Ismene proclaims, We are only women, we cannot fight with men, Antigone! (Sophocles, pg. 7)

Proving that she is unwilling to do the right thing if it means standing up to a man. Another example of how spineless Ismene is portrayed is when she tries to take credit for burying her brother with Antigone. She is so scared that she will be left all alone with out Antigone that she is willing to die with her. Creon demonstrates his lack of respect for women again when he tries to accuse Ismene of aiding Antigone. Then when he realizes she had no part in the crime does he describes her as, . she never had a mind at all. (Sophocles, pg. 8)

The play is also filled with instances of a sexist male viewpoint. Creon is the leader of the Theben throne a position he highly regards. He believes that he has a divine rule and therefor his laws are just and fair. He rules the kingdom with an iron fist and demonstrates his prejudices towards women throughout the play. First, Creon is so upset that his laws are broken by Antigone that tries to hurt her as much as possible. He tries to act as prideful as possible, he states, No woman shall seduce us. If we must lose, Lets lose to a man, at least.

Is a woman stronger than we? (Sophocles,pg. 212) This is proof that Creon does not see women as equal to the authority of men. He feels that women have no common sense and, therefor, must be punished for their irrationality. He eventually realizes that he has offended the Gods with his actions as ruler of Thebes. It is not until his own wife kills herself because of his tyranny against humanity does he realize his mistakes. This of course is way too late to redeem his lost loved ones or take back his contempt toward women.

Star-Crossed Ignorants

No matter what anyone tries, no matter what anyone does, no matter what anyone believes they have accomplished, they have not controlled fate. Fate is uncontrollable. Much like betting on a sure thing and knowing in the back of your mind that there are infinite factors in the outcome–anything could happen. Its unfortunate that the people of Ancient Greece sanctioned the concept of fate. In the Era of Enlightenment the idea of God-controlled fate was finally challenged with the notion of self-fulfilled destiny; until then, men turned to prophets and oracles.

In the play Oedipus, by Sophocles, there was a ongoing synergy between fate and knowledge that was constantly rejected. Oedipus, the main character, struggled to dominate his own destiny, but ironically fell back into his bizarre misfortune that was in the end, inevitable. Misfortune, false realities, deception: all a result of Oedipus knowing too much and at the same time too little of his true lot in life. Knowledge was what nurtured him into false pretenses. Knowledge was a false pretense. By knowing that his parents were out of harms way, namely his, he knew that his prophecy would not come true.

He knew that as long as his father was still alive and he was married to a woman not even related to his mother, he would not bear the offspring that men would shudder to look upon. It was the epitome of irony for Oedipus to know his fate, and try to avoid it with the knowledge that he had obtained: My father was Polybus of Corinth, my mother the Dorian Merope, and I was held the foremost man in all that town until a thing happened–a thing to startle a man, though not to make him angry as it made me.

We were sitting at the table, and a man who had drunk too much cried out that I was not my fathers son–and I, though angry, restrained my anger for that day; but the next day went to my father and my mother and questioned them. They were indignant at the taunt and that comforted me–and yet the mans words rankled… I sought where I might escape those infamous things–the doom that was laid upon me. When Oedipus fled from his parents, he started the chain reaction of ironic happenstance that would eventually direct him in a complete circle back into the same position he was when he left Corinth.

The destiny of doom that Oedipus was attempting to avoid, was the destiny that he was inadvertently fulfilling. Fate is defined as a destined outcome; nothing can alter that no matter what is tried. Anyway, this time it was too late for Oedipus to do anything about it, for the infinite factors that contributed to his demise were irreversible and dormant until the very ironically tragic end. Oedipus tried to master fate and it ultimately mastered him.

Oedipus Rex a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles

Oedipus Rex a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles in the early days of antiquity is based upon an even more ancient story in Greek mythology. Sophocles, however, knowing that his audience is aware of the outcome of the play utilizes that foreknowledge to create various situations in which dramatic and verbal irony play key roles. However, citing all of the irony in Oedipus Rex would require the writing of quite a hefty book, for time and convenience only a few examples will be cited.

Through his use of irony Sophocles manages to avoid simply retelling an old tale, though the audience is cognizant of the story’s end they are intrigued by the irony present in the story. For instance when Oedipus pronounces his curse upon the head of King Laius’s murderer in the opening scenes of the play :

So will I fight on the gods’ side,
And on the side of the slain man!
But my curse be on the one who did this, whether he is alone
Or conceals his share in it with others.
Let him be free of no misery if he share my house
Or sit at my hearth and I have knowledge of it.
On myself may it fall, as I have called it down!
-Oedipus from Oedipus Rex

When Oedipus pronounces this sentence he has already unwittingly judged himself, and to the excitement of the crowd foreshadowed later events to come. This statement, is a classic example of verbal irony. In it Oedipus thinking that he is directing his pronouncement upon some bandit, or conspirator, in all actuality he is truly condemning himself. Further examples of irony include his speech when he first answers the chorus “Because of all these things I will fight for him as I would my own murdered father.” The irony inherent in this speech that Oedipus makes to the chorus lies for the most part in this single line, since the murdered King Laius is his father.

Sophocles does not reserve his use of irony to verbal irony, but he also ranges into areas of irony dramatic in nature. The entire play could be said to be an example of this, after all throughout the entire play Oedipus is unaware of the fate that awaits him, even though the viewer is intensely aware that Oedipus the King will become Oedipus the Beggar.

Sophocles was a pioneer in his field. The plays that he penned, that survived through the eons are revered as much now as they were during his day. He often wrote scripts for events in mythology that had already “occurred” and were common knowledge to the populace that viewed his productions. In order to keep these audiences returning for more, Sophocles made liberal use of irony. By doing this he tantalized the viewer into wanting to see how the events that occurred later would mentally affect the main character, in this case Oedipus.

Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles

Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, (as translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald), is replete with dramatic devices – one of which is known as Sophoclean Irony. Sophoclean Irony can be divided into two terms: unconscious and conscious irony. Unconscious irony occurs when a character speaks what he believes is the truth, but the audience (fore-armed with knowledge of the truth) knows that it is not. Conscious irony is evident when a character knows the truth but is reluctant to reveal it: thus, he speaks cryptic lines deliberately intended to be ironic.

Both types of irony will be examined in this paper and passages from the text will be cited in support of this thesis. At the moment of his birth, Oedipus received a reading from the Delphic Oracle which stated that the baby was destined to grow up to murder his father and marry his mother. Shocked, his parents (King Laios and Queen Locaste of Thebes) try to circumvent Hera’s curse by turning the infant over to a loyal servant (The Theban Shepherd) to take to the top Mt. Cithaeron to be killed.

After nailing his ankles together and leaving him to die of the elements, the old shepherd relents and hands the child over to a traveling shepherd from Corinth to take back to the childless King and Queen to raise as their own son. For the next twenty years, Laios and Locaste rule in Thebes believing their son to be dead. Unfortunately, Hera sends a drought associated with a sphinx to bedevil Thebes. A desperate Laios travels back to the Delphic Oracle for a reading. Meanwhile, back in Corinth, Oedipus grows to manhood believing Polybos and Merope (the King and Queen of Corinth) are his real parents.

Soon, he too learns of his horrible fate and seeking to avoid it, he flees hi supposed homeland. As fate would have it, along the road, Oedipus meets Laios and kills him in a fit of rage. Thus, he has unwittingly fulfilled the first half of the prophecy. Traveling on to Thebes, Oedipus saves the city from the drought by solving the riddle of the sphinx. Declared the new King, he marries the widowed Queen (Locaste) – his mother. Thus, he has unknowingly fulfilled the second half of the prophecy. For the next two decades, Oedipus rules successfully in Thebes until Hera sends a second drought to plague the city.

After sending his brother-in-law, Creon, back to the Delphic oracle for a reading, Oedipus learns that the second drought will not be lifted until Laios’ killer is found and punished. An over-confident King takes charge of the investigation. At this point, Sophocles begins his play. Our first example of unconscious irony can be seen in a discussion about Laios by Oedipus and Creon. Oedipus says about Laios: “I know: I learned of him from others: I never saw him. ” (pg. 862, lines 108-109). This passage constitutes unconscious irony as Oedipus believes that he is speaking the truth – that he never met Laios.

Of course, the audience, armed with fore-knowledge, know that it is not. Oedipus not only has met Laios (his real father), he killed him at the crossroads “where three highways meet. ” Our second example of unconscious irony occurs a little in the same scene. Oedipus states that: “Then once more I must bring what is dark to light. It is most fitting that Apollo shows, as you do, this compunction for the dead. You shall see how I stand by you as I should, to avenge the city and the city’s god, and not as though it were some distant friend, but for my own sake, to be rid of evil.

Whoever killed King Laios might who knows? Decide at any moment to kill me as well. By avenging the murdered King I protect myself. ” (pg. 863, lines 101-104) Here, Oedipus refers to the fact the whoever killed Laios might someday attempt to kill Oedipus. Thus, ironically, he feels that by finding the killer of Laios, he will be protecting himself. Of course, this is nonsense. He is unaware that his finding of Laios’ killer will not protect him – but destroy him. Our third example of unconscious irony is evident later in scene I, when the King ironically condemns himself with his own proclamation: I make this proclamation to all Thebans”: “If any man knows by whose hand Laios , son of Labdakos, met his death, I direct that man to tell me everything, no matter what he fears for having so long withheld it. Let it stand as promised that no further trouble will come to him, but he may leave the land in safety. ” (pg. 865,lines 10-15) This passage constitutes unconscious irony as he condemns himself later in the play. He thinks that he is condemning the kill he is looking for. Our first example of conscious irony occurs later in scene I.

Again, following Creon’s advice, Oedipus decides to consult Tiresias, a famed blind prophet. Armed with mystical ability, Tiresias knows the truth about Oedipus’ horrible fate. He knows that the King is doomed so he is reluctant to reveal what he knows. As he enters the stage, the old man says: How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there is no help in truth. I know this well, but did not act on it. Else I should not have come. (pg. 868, lines 101-104) Since he knows how horrible the truth is about Oedipus’ fate, he is reluctant to reveal it. Thus, he speaks lines deliberately intended to be ironic.

Of course, Oedipus misinterprets Tiresias’ reluctance and begins to badger the old man. Our second example of conscious irony occurs moments later in the conversation when Tiresias know that Oedipus has no free will: “What does it matter? / Whether I speak or not, it is bound to come! ” (pg. 868, lines 120-121). These lines are spoken in a cryptic fashion deliberately intended to obscure the truth. Our third example of conscious irony takes place in scene III. After a visit by the Corinthian shepherd, Locaste has figured out the truth about Oedipus. She has crossed over from ignorance to knowledge.

Now she tries desperately to stop Oedipus from further investigation into his past: “For god’s love, let us have no more questioning;/ is your life nothing to you? / My own is pain enough for me to bear. ” (pg. 885, lines 140-142). She speaks Cryptic lines here deliberately intended to obscure the truth. In the play, Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles (as translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald), the playwright uses a dramatic device known as Sophoclean Irony. Both types of irony have been defined and passages were cited from the text in support of the thesis.

Sophocle’s “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenians. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx.

Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man. The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers.

Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being. Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to he mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died.

Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them. Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus hen answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes.

Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth. This fulfills the final part of the Sphinxs riddle for Oedipus ill have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years.

Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius. He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the orrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus intelligence was ultimately his flaw.

Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly. Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil rait but because of the person he was.

Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinxs riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life. Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery.

Effective Dramatic Irony In Oedipus The King

In Oedipus The King, Sophocles creates rising action by asking dramatic questions throughout the play. These questions generate suspense in the audience when they become dramatic irony and amplify the climax. During the falling action, Oedipus is engulfed in misery when he experiences a reversal of fortune. Finally, Oedipus goes through a discovery process ending when he discovers his tragic resolution. According to Aristotle, a tragedy consist of a drama that contains incidents that arouse pity, and a tragic hero that ordinarily is a man of noble stature not because of his own virtue but rather his own intelligence and reasoning.

Sophocles uses dramatic irony as an element of fiction in Oedipus The King that builds rising action, foreshadows, and shows a reversal of fortune. According to Literature, dramatic irony is a kind of suspenseful expectation, when the author and the audience understand the implications and meanings of situations on stage, and foreshadow the oncoming disaster, while the character does not. Aristotle describes dramatic irony used in the plot of Oedipus The King as a reversal.

When the first messenger arrived with the news that contrary to the prophecy that Oedipus would kill his father and begat children with his mother, his father had died of old age. However, the audience is privileged with the knowledge of the dramatic irony soon to unwind. In the Exodos, a midst the falling action, the Queen commits suicide by that bed where long ago the fatal son was conceived Oedipus who should bring about his fathers death. Exodos 20-22)

The reversal as described by Aristotle, is revealed when the Queens suicide was a result of the double fruit of her marriage, a husband by her husband, children by her child. (Exodos 23-34) This example of dramatic irony is important to the rising action, while the Exodos is a precursor to the falling action and resolution. In Oedipus The King, dramatic irony is used in order to create suspense among the audience. Oedipuss attitude toward the solution to the plague, allows for such uses of dramatic irony that bring the reader more in tune with the action on stage.

Oedipus strongly forbids the people of his country to receive that man (King Laius killer) or speak to him, no matter who he is. (Scene I 20-22) The dramatic irony, in the Exodos, is that Oedipus discovers that he is the killer of his father, King Laius and pleads to be driven out of this country as quickly may be, to a place where no human voice can ever greet [him]. (Exodos 207-208) According to Literature, the Exodos is the final scene of the play, also containing in this case, the resolution.

As said by Aristotle the tragic fall should arouse solemn emotions such as pity and fear, but if performed well does not leave the audience in a state of depression. Sophocles demonstrates this during the rising action when Oedipus has a hateful agitated perception of the perpetrator, while the audience feels pity toward Oedipus since he himself is the executioner that he seeks. Suspense is also shown by dramatic irony when Oedipus vows to take vengeance on the man that killed King Laius.

The audience is aware that Oedipus has just vowed to take vengeance on himself, thus evidence that the dramatic irony in the play contributes effectively to the readers perception of the play. These cases of dramatic irony result in the audience becoming more sympathetic to Oedipuss misfortune. Dramatic irony is an element of fiction that foreshadows the tragic fall of Oedipus. In the Prologue, Oedipus is begged to act quickly and to act effectively in liberating the city from the tyrannical rule of the plague.

Oedipus delivers assurance to his children of Thebes rendering sick as you are, not one as sick as I. (Prologue 62) Here, Oedipus is saying that as King, he has a responsibility to protect his kingdom. After Oedipus learns that he is the plague during the discovery process of the Exodos, Oedipus finds out that he is sick in [his] daily life, sick in [his] origin, (Exodos 171) and he will suffer it all twice over, remorse in pain, pain in remorse. Exodos 98-99)

Before the Exodos when Oedipus discovered he was truly sick, he eluded to his concern for his children in the Prologue, while also foreshadowing the tragic turn in events. In Oedipus The King, dramatic irony is the central tool that results in the audience becoming aware of events that the character is not. Answers to dramatic questions build suspense and anxiety for the audience. Dramatic irony builds rising action, foreshadows, and shows a reversal of fortune, thus contributing effectively to the plays plot.

Oedipus Rex: classic tragic hero

In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is a classic tragic hero. According to Aristotle’s definition, Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is a king whose life falls apart when he finds out his life story. There are a number of characteristics described by Aristotle that identify a tragic hero. For example, a tragic hero must cause his own downfall; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble stature and have greatness. Oedipus is in love with his idealized self, but neither the grandiose nor the depressive “Narcissus” can really love himself (Miller 67).

All of the above characteristics make Oedipus a tragic hero according to Aristotle’s ideas about tragedy, and a narcissist according to Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions. Those actions are seen when Oedipus forces Teiresias to reveal his destiny and his father’s name.

When Teiresias tries to warn him by saying “This day will give you parents and destroy you” (Sophocles line 428), Oedipus still does not care and proceeds with his questioning. The tragic hero must learn a lesson from his errors in judgment and become an example to the audience of what happens when great men fall from their lofty social or political positions. According to Miller, a person who is great, who is admired everywhere, and needs this admiration to survive, has one of the extreme forms of narcissism, which is grandiosity.

Grandiosity can be seen when a person admires himself, his qualities, such as beauty, cleverness, and talents, and his success and achievements greatly. If one of these happens to fail, then the catastrophe of a severe depression is near (Miller 34). Those actions happen when the Herdsman tells Oedipus who his mother is, and Oedipus replies “Oh, oh, then everything has come out true. Light, I shall not look on you Again. I have been born where I should not be born, I have been married where I should not marry, I have killed whom I should not kill; now all is clear” (Sophocles lines 1144).

Oedipus’s decision to pursue his questioning is wrong; his grandiosity blinded him and, therefore, his fate is not deserved, but it is far beyond his control. A prophecy is foretold to Laius, the father of Oedipus, that the destiny of Oedipus is a terrible one beyond his control. But when it is prophesized to Oedipus, he sets forth from the city of his foster parents in order to prevent this terrible fate from occurring. Oedipus’s destiny is not deserved because he is being punished for his parent’s actions. His birth parents seek the advice of the Delphi Oracle, who recommends that they should not have any children.

When the boy is born, Laius is overcome with terror when he remembers the oracle. Oedipus is abandoned by his birth parents and is denied their love, which is what results in what Miller calls “Depression as Denial of the Self”. Depression results from a denial of one’s own emotional reactions, and we cannot really love if we deny our truth, the truth about our parents and caregivers as, well as about ourselves (Miller 43). The birth of Oedipus presets his destiny to result in tragedy even though he is of noble birth.

In tragedies, protagonists are usually of the nobility to make their falls seem greater. Oedipus just happens to be born a prince, and he has saved a kingdom that is rightfully his from the Sphinx. His destiny is to be of noble stature from birth, which is denied to him by his parents, but given back by the Sphinx. His nobility deceived him as well as his reflection, since it shows only his perfect, wonderful face and not his inner world, his pain, his history (Miller 66). When he relies on his status, he is blind, not physically, but emotionally.

He is blind in his actions; therefore he does not see that the questioning would bring him only misery. Later, after his self-inflicted blinding, Oedipus sees his actions as wrongdoing when he says “What use are my eyes to me, who could never – See anything pleasant again? ” (Sophocles line 1293) and that blindness does not necessarily have to be physical as we can se when he says, “If I had sight, I know not with what eyes I would have looked” (Sophocles line 1325). In the play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays the main character, Oedipus, as a good-natured person who has bad judgment and is frail.

Oedipus makes a few fatal decisions and is condemned to profound suffering because of them. I agree with Aristotle that Oedipus’ misfortune happens because of his tragic flaw. If he hadn’t been so judgmental or narcissistic, as Miller would characterize a personality like Oedipus, he would never have killed King Laius and called Teiresias a liar. In the beginning, Teiresias is simply trying to ease him slowly into the truth; but Oedipus is too proud to see any truths, and he refuses to believe that he could have been responsible for such a horrible crime.

He learns a lesson about life and how there is more to it than just one person’s fate. Oedipus Rex: classic tragic hero In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is a classic tragic hero. According to Aristotle’s definition, Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is a king whose life falls apart when he finds out his life story. There are a number of characteristics described by Aristotle that identify a tragic hero. For example, a tragic hero must cause his own downfall; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble stature and have greatness.

Oedipus is in love with his idealized self, but neither the grandiose nor the depressive “Narcissus” can really love himself (Miller 67). All of the above characteristics make Oedipus a tragic hero according to Aristotle’s ideas about tragedy, and a narcissist according to Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions.

Those actions are seen when Oedipus forces Teiresias to reveal his destiny and his father’s name. When Teiresias tries to warn him by saying “This day will give you parents and destroy you” (Sophocles line 428), Oedipus still does not care and proceeds with his questioning. The tragic hero must learn a lesson from his errors in judgment and become an example to the audience of what happens when great men fall from their lofty social or political positions. According to Miller, a person who is great, who is admired everywhere, and needs this admiration to survive, has one of the extreme forms of narcissism, which is grandiosity.

Grandiosity can be seen when a person admires himself, his qualities, such as beauty, cleverness, and talents, and his success and achievements greatly. If one of these happens to fail, then the catastrophe of a severe depression is near (Miller 34). Those actions happen when the Herdsman tells Oedipus who his mother is, and Oedipus replies “Oh, oh, then everything has come out true. Light, I shall not look on you Again. I have been born where I should not be born, I have been married where I should not marry, I have killed whom I should not kill; now all is clear” (Sophocles lines 1144).

Oedipus’s decision to pursue his questioning is wrong; his grandiosity blinded him and, therefore, his fate is not deserved, but it is far beyond his control. A prophecy is foretold to Laius, the father of Oedipus, that the destiny of Oedipus is a terrible one beyond his control. But when it is prophesized to Oedipus, he sets forth from the city of his foster parents in order to prevent this terrible fate from occurring. Oedipus’s destiny is not deserved because he is being punished for his parent’s actions. His birth parents seek the advice of the Delphi Oracle, who recommends that they should not have any children.

When the boy is born, Laius is overcome with terror when he remembers the oracle. Oedipus is abandoned by his birth parents and is denied their love, which is what results in what Miller calls “Depression as Denial of the Self”. Depression results from a denial of one’s own emotional reactions, and we cannot really love if we deny our truth, the truth about our parents and caregivers as, well as about ourselves (Miller 43). The birth of Oedipus presets his destiny to result in tragedy even though he is of noble birth. In tragedies, protagonists are usually of the nobility to make their falls seem greater.

Oedipus just happens to be born a prince, and he has saved a kingdom that is rightfully his from the Sphinx. His destiny is to be of noble stature from birth, which is denied to him by his parents, but given back by the Sphinx. His nobility deceived him as well as his reflection, since it shows only his perfect, wonderful face and not his inner world, his pain, his history (Miller 66). When he relies on his status, he is blind, not physically, but emotionally. He is blind in his actions; therefore he does not see that the questioning would bring him only misery.

Later, after his self-inflicted blinding, Oedipus sees his actions as wrongdoing when he says “What use are my eyes to me, who could never – See anything pleasant again? ” (Sophocles line 1293) and that blindness does not necessarily have to be physical as we can se when he says, “If I had sight, I know not with what eyes I would have looked” (Sophocles line 1325). In the play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays the main character, Oedipus, as a good-natured person who has bad judgment and is frail. Oedipus makes a few fatal decisions and is condemned to profound suffering because of them.

I agree with Aristotle that Oedipus’ misfortune happens because of his tragic flaw. If he hadn’t been so judgmental or narcissistic, as Miller would characterize a personality like Oedipus, he would never have killed King Laius and called Teiresias a liar. In the beginning, Teiresias is simply trying to ease him slowly into the truth; but Oedipus is too proud to see any truths, and he refuses to believe that he could have been responsible for such a horrible crime. He learns a lesson about life and how there is more to it than just one person’s fate.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian’s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius’ son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx’s riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes have been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinx’s riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life.

Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found. They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity.

However, the driving force of Oedipus’ fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesn’t realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct. Bibliography:

Oedipus Fatre Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian’s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius’ son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx’s riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes have been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinx’s riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life.

Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found. They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity.

However, the driving force of Oedipus’ fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesn’t realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct.