Oedipus in Modern Times

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Oedipus in Modern Times
The dramatic story of Oedipus is one that was acted for years before Sophocles even wrote The Tree Theban Plays, and play of fate and pride still endures today. Critics and historians attribute Oedipus the King's long life to its timeless examination of fatal human flaws as well as to its poignant portrayal of the human condition. Even though our society is drastically different from that of classical Greece, Oedipus's tale of woe is still taught and performed in modern times. But how applicable can this ancient tale be to us? What if the events of Oedipus the King happened in contemporary America? It would be an entirely different story altogether.

First, one must consider the legal implications involved in a modern day Oedipus. Incest, sexual intercourse between closely related persons, is not only forbidden by current social standards but is also illegal. In many states in the U.S, a mother-son sexual relation is considered a serious crime. In New York State, for example, close-blood-relation incest is a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison. Oedipus and Jocasta would have to suffer the severe legal repercussions. Although the legal ramifications for Jocasta and Oedipus's incest would be severe, Oedipus's punishment for murdering the king and his men would be far worse. The punishment for killing a monarch, or a political leader in this modern case, would certainly warrant a life sentence in prison if not worse.

Next, the social repercussions for such an act would be socially devastating for Oedipus, Jocasta, and their children. Today, Jocasta and Oedipus would most likely be people of political importance such as the president and the first lady. If news of such a scandal in the high levels of the White House reached public knowledge, there would be pandemonium. Shocking headlines would scroll across MSNBC, citizens would protest against their leaders' immorality, and sensational captions would emblazon the front...
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