Oedipus Rex Translations

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"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in the color and content according to the circumstances and the time which it is used"(Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1918). In the two different versions of Oedipus Rex, the first version translated by Fitts and Fitzgerald, and the second translated by Luci Berowitz and Theodore Brunner, the emotional appeal is quite different due to the different diction of each of the translation versions. The different diction in the two versions seems to give Oedipus two different characters. The diction that the four authors use in their translations of Oedipus Rex is very effective in conveying different emotional feelings about Oedipus and his thoughts about people and situation of Thebes.

The main contrast between the two translations is the fact that Oedipus in the Berowitz/Brunner translation seems to be more critical about giving his fellow citizens more respect than in the Fitts/Fitzgerald version. Oedipus questions the people "why do you sit as supplicants crowned with laurel branches"(Berowitz/Brunner)? Oedipus uses the word ‘crowned', which has a connotation of loyalty. He makes his citizens feel important through one word. His attitude seems caring, and less harsh than the other version, in which Oedipus questions, "why have you strewn…before these alters in supplication, with boughs and garlands"(Fitts/Fitzgerald)? In this version, he makes the Theban citizens look as if they have dragged themselves to his palace with garlands to embrace him with. Oedipus's self-centered nature is portrayed well through the diction of Fitts/Fitzgerald. Further, when Oedipus asks for reason in their coming, both translations provide a unique way of questioning.

When Oedipus questions the Thebans why they have come to the altar steps in the Berowitz/Brunner translation, he seems to want to know everything about the crisis of Thebes. His rapid questioning includes...
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