World Literature Essay

Topics: Oedipus, Love, Cyrano de Bergerac Pages: 5 (2029 words) Published: December 22, 2006
World Literature Essay

A young boy who tries to survive the Holocaust, a king who sleeps with his mother and kills his father, and a brave man who is unable to reveal his love for a women, these are the stories that three different books tell, written by authors coming from all over Europe. These works of literature namely are "Night", "Oedipus the King" and "Cyrano de Bergerac". All three of these stories appear to be rather dissimilar since they are written and take place during time periods which lie thousands of years apart. "Oedipus the King" is a legendary story which takes place hundreds before the birth of Christ and contrasting to this play are "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Night" which in comparison to Oedipus are new, since they have only been published in roughly the last 100 years. Not only are the time periods and the topics of these pieces of literature varied but also the types of the works are different with Oedipus and Cyrano being plays and "Night" being written as a memoir. Nonetheless, these pieces have more similarities than one at first might imagine, due to the fact they deal with identical themes that have moved, inspired and provoked people to think over many millennia. "Oedipus the King", "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Night" all discuss the themes of fear, love and the limits of the free will, however, the themes are incorporated in a variety of different ways in each of these pieces, creating powerful emotions and a strong feeling of empathy in the reader. Fear is one of the most commonly used themes in literature because the audience can easily identify with the characters since everyone at sometime has experienced this intense emotion and this is also one of the reasons for which all of these pieces of World Literature have used and included the theme of fear through out their stories. "Night" is the book in which fear plays the most important role of all the three pieces, since it is told by a Holocaust survivor, who tells his horrible story about what unimaginably cruel events he and his family had to go through. There are three major fears that are discussed; fear of pain and death, fear of loss and fear of the unknown. The first actual signs of terror in Eliezer first appeared when his father is being told about the deportation of the Jews of Sighet and when Elie states that "night fell". This night is a strong symbol and motif which constantly reappears throughout the course of the book. It symbolizes the terror and fear, and therefore night is also mentioned when Eliezer arrives at Auschwitz and when the Death March from Buna begins. Elie first suffers from not knowing of what is going to take place next: "Where are we being taken?" "What is going to happen?" These are the questions that are filling the minds of the people in Sighet. This passage of the book is filled with doubts and the search for answers, since the greatest terrors arose from people not being certain of what would happen next. When he arrives at the concentration camp, one can clearly notice how the fear of losing his father is what Eliezer is scared of since he repeatedly says, "At all costs we (Eliezer and his father) must keep together". Like Night, Oedipus also has fear incorporated into its story, however, "Oedipus the King" uses a different kind of fear because Oedipus is not, like the Jewish threatened by deaths but by the truth about his life. Oedipus fears that he is the one who killed King Laius, who later on turns out to be his father, therefore Jocasta, who is Oedipus' wife, is also his mother. Oedipus tries to overlook all the clues, signs and evidence that are given to him throughout the play and which are pointing towards the truth. Even when the blind seer Tiresas tells him about how Oedipus is the one that has brought the plague to Thebes, since he is the murderer of the previous ruler, Oedipus does not want to believe this. The fear that he develops results in blaming the prophet and Creon for trying to...
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