Oedipus 4

Topics: Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus, Suffering Pages: 3 (914 words) Published: August 9, 2008
“Tragic hero is the man who on the one hand is not pre-eminent in virtue and justice, and yet on the other hand does not fall into misfortune through vice or depravity, but falls because of some mistake; one among the number of the highly renowned and prosperous.” Aristotle

Justice is presented in different forms by authors throughout history. The justice in the Ancient Greek writing is often swift and harsh, almost direct. The Bible stories, in contrast, are more of an indirect punishment on the wrongdoers by rewarding the victim. In the Greek literature, there is a lot of direct involvement by the gods. They seem to grant permission to a sort of divine justice. The gods often directly punished people themselves at their own discretion. Many times there are different standards of what are right and wrong. One god might deem something as justified, while another feels there must be punishment for the action. Sophocles' “Oedipus the King” is considered by many scholars to be the most significant masterpiece of Greek drama. Through this play, Sophocles was able to develop and establish dramatic irony, a theatrical device that allows the audience to understand the hidden meanings of the words and actions of the characters, though the characters themselves remain oblivious. “Oedipus the King” is not a play about sex or murder; it is a play about the inadequacy of human knowledge and man's capacity to survive almost intolerable suffering. The worst of all things happens to Oedipus: unknowingly he kills his own father, Laius, and is given his own mother, Jocasta, in marriage for slaying the Sphinx. When a plague at Thebes compels him to consult the oracle, he finds that he himself is the cause of the affliction. Sophocles brought up the question of justice. Why does the very man who is basically good suffer intolerably? Does he deserve a punishment for his sins, committed because of fate? The Chorus’s first ode (1474–1476) piously calls to the gods to...
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