Comparing Oedipus and Prufrock

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Everyone has at least one personal flaw that somehow overcomes or defeats them in a certain place in time. In this essay, two characters of completely different fields will be put side by side to compare their own tragic flaws. On one hand, Sophocles’ Oedipus is proud, arrogant and persistent; while on the other hand, Eliot’s Prufrock is self conscious, insecure, and indecisive. While the two characters are complete polar opposites, they also share a devastating similarity: they are paranoid and in fear of their own fate.

Oedipus’ personality is clearly conveyed as having excessive pride and determination throughout the play. He first travels far from Corinth to prevent an oracle’s prediction that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He arrives in Thebes where the people were distressed over the Sphinx’s riddle. Oedipus then sets his mind on solving this riddle in which he succeeds and is awarded the throne to Thebes. This should have been a huge boost of confidence for a man who was worried he would be cursed for the rest of his life. He serves as a loyal King for his people, seeming to want to do the right thing for Thebes, but talks with such a conceited attitude. In the play, right after receiving news that the preceding king’s killer is residing in Thebes, Oedipus states “Well, I will start afresh and once again make dark things clear. Right worthy the concern of Phoebus, worthy thine too, for the dead; I also, as is meet, will lend my aid to avenge this wrong to Thebes and to the God” (Sophocles). With both assurance and superiority in his voice, Oedipus throws it in Thebes face that he has saved them once before, and will do it again by bringing Laius’ killer to justice. He sets out on finding the person that murdered King Laius and puts all of his energy, pride, and persistence into it. He acts as a great detective and follows each clue diligently. This helps the play revolve around the question of solving a crime (Rix). By putting together...
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