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Published: 13-12-2019

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Comparing And Contrasting Themes In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex And Antigone

Sophocles employed his plays to encourage Athenians to take duty for their own actions. In the fifth century B.C., Greece was experiencing an era of military exploration, political turmoil and social revolution, including women’s empowerment. Sophocles incorporated all of these elements in plays, especially in Oedipus Rex and Antigone. Despite his upper class upbringing, Sophocles became a kind of “man of the people” who was quite concerned with social matters. For this explanation, Sophocles developed heroes in contrast to those of earlier mythology and utilized their flaws to emphasize the importance of private accountability.

Oedipus’ pride is the 1st instance of the flawed hero. He refuses to recognize the indicators of the prophecy that foretold he would kill his father and marry his mother at the identical time, he is eager to uncover the truth. As a lot more and a lot more proof is presented to him in favor of the prophecy, he tries to find a way around it and calls one more witness. Referring to a slave that he desires to question, he tells Jocasta: “There may possibly be things, my wife, that I have said very best left unsaid, which makes me want him here” (Sophocles 43).

Via this dialogue, one particular can inform that Oedipus is suppressing the information that the prophecy is gradually unraveling and proving itself accurate. His flaw of pride not only suppresses his acceptance of the truth, but also leads him to fulfill the prophecy. He unknowingly kills Laius, his father, for insulting him as he made his passage into Thebes. None but a prideful man would kill more than a straightforward insult. Sooner or later he starts to realize that the man he killed may have been his father: “‘Laius was killed – I thought I caught the words – exactly where 3 highways meet?’ ‘So they said. That is how the story goes.’ ‘The place? Where did the mishap fall?’”(Sophocles 41). When he eventually learns the truth, he knows he have to face the grim consequences.

The chorus is used extensively as each a voice of cause and to convey emotions to the audience. In the third choral ode, the chorus doubts Oedipus and notes his pride. “But what if a brazen man parade in word or deed, impiety and brash disdain of principalities and canons? Then dog him and pay him pride wages for his haughty greed, his sacrilege and folly. What shield is there for such a man against all heaven’s arrows? Could I celebrate such wantonness and celebrate the dance?” (Sophocles 48). This antistrophe illustrates the chorus’ distrust in Oedipus towards the end of the story and foreshadows his eventual downfall.

The climax and falling action most likely are the greatest examples of Oedipus taking responsibility for his personal actions. When Oedipus has learned that his wife has hung herself, he realizes what must be accomplished. Oedipus then performs the excellent act of symbolic retribution. Blinding himself with her brooch pins, he cries: “‘Wicked, wicked eyes, you shall not see me nor my crime, not see my present shame. Go dark for all time blind to what you by no means should have seen, and blind to the love this heart has cried to see” (Sophocles 70). He thereby requires the ultimate duty for his actions and fulfills Teiresias’ prophecy that he would enter the city seeing and leave it blind (Sophocles 16).

The play Antigone addresses many of the identical themes, but there is an exceptional distinction between this play and Oedipus Rex. Antigone, whom we already know is ill fated due to her father’s sin, is virtuous and does not have her father’s prideful nature or any other key flaws to speak of. Her story is about undertaking what she knows is correct, standing up to oppression, and taking duty for her personal actions.

In this story, no time is wasted in arriving at the conflict. Antigone’s character is shown at the very beginning of the story when she speaks to her sister, Ismene, of the require to bury her beloved brother, Polyneices. “He is my brother still, and yours even though you would have it otherwise, but I shall not abandon him” (Sophocles 201). She continues attempting to persuade Ismene, but it is no use and she does the deed alone and unflinching.

When Antigone is brought to trial, there is a excellent debate over the power of state. Even so, Creon was interested in anything but the interests of the state and is a despot rather than a voice of the people. In the finish, the side of both the Gods and the folks lie with Antigone, who knew she was appropriate. Creon, the tyrant, sides with the State and shows his desire for power more than the greater very good. Antigone could have argued her case to Creon that she was not guilty of the crime instead, she requires total responsibility for her actions and admits all her law-breaking actions. Her admirable – if damning – morality is precisely the quality that Sophocles tries to promote. He desires to show Athenians that to be a morally very good particular person, she need to take duty for her actions.

At initial the chorus in Antigone sides with Creon, as they do not think in divine justice over state justice as the story concludes, nonetheless, they are swayed to side with Antigone, whose devotion and compassion has changed their minds. In the fourth choral ode the chorus attempts to comfort Antigone by recalling similar fateful scenarios, displaying they have begun to side with her. Since the chorus represents the collective individuals of Greece, its modify of heart shows that Antigone is intended to represent the men and women

One particular widespread theme in between the two plays is the notion of females taking manage of their own fates. Jocasta hangs herself in shame and Antigone takes her personal life just before she can be executed. This was quite uncommon in Sophocles’ time and culture. Suicide was a private fate that was far more often completed by men than women of the time. In this way, Sophocles challenges the barrier of gender expectations. By taking handle of their own deaths, Jocasta and Antigone had accepted duty for their own actions. In the case of Antigone, she was prepared to obtain what ever her consequence may well be in the afterlife, no matter whether excellent or poor. She had absolutely nothing to worry since she knew that she had done the correct issue. The main characters in Oedipus Rex and Antigone are flawed in diverse ways, but they share a typical and admirable trait – they take total responsibility for all of their actions.
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