Oedipus Rex vs. Paranoid Android
In Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King, Sophocles seizes every opportunity to exploit the dramatic irony of the willingness to ignore the painful truth and the song ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead demonstrates that same approach to truth in its lyrics. The first example of Oedipus’ willingness to ignore the painful truth takes place when Jocasta says that she was told that Laius was killed by “strangers,” whereas Oedipus knows that he acted alone when he killed a man in similar circumstances. Both Oedipus and Jocasta act as though the servant’s story of Laius’ death is unquestionable history. Both Oedipus and Jocasta cannot face the possibility of what it would mean if the servant were wrong. This might be why Jocasta feels she can tell Oedipus of the prophecy that her son would kill his father, and Oedipus can tell her about the similar prophecy given him by an oracle (lines 867–875), and neither feels compelled to remark on the coincidence; or why Oedipus can hear the story of Jocasta binding her child’s ankles (lines 780–781) and not think of his own swollen feet. While the information in these speeches is largely intended to make the audience painfully aware of the tragic irony, it also emphasizes just how desperately Oedipus and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth: they look at the circumstances and details of everyday life and pretend not to see them because of the damage that will be done. In comparison to Oedipus and Jocasta’s willful ignoring of the truth, the lyrics in the song Radiohead demonstrate the same situation. The lyrics “Please could you stop the noise, I'm trying to get some rest from all the unborn chicken voices in my head,” is sung in a timid and sarcastic manner. The “noise,” may be referring to the painful truths surrounding the speaker that he or she wants to ignore. “Unborn chicken voices,” lyric gives a strange and perverse imagery and can be interpreted as the paranoia (“unborn”)...
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