Friday, May 22, 2020

Realism in Oedipus the King Essay - 1234 Words

Realism in Oedipus Rex This essay will examine a feature of Sophocles’ tragedy which causes the reader to doubt the realism underlying the literary work. Specifically, the essay will consider the feasability of the belief at that time – that the Delphi oracle possessed credibility with the people. At the outset of the drama the priest of Zeus and the crowd of citizens of Thebes are gathered before the royal palace of Thebes talking to King Oedipus about the plague which is ravaging the city. The king is sorely troubled and laments the sad situation. Then he says: I have sent Menoeceus son, Creon, my consorts brother, to inquire Of Pythian Phoebus at his Delphic shrine, How I might†¦show more content†¦Whats amiss? CREON Banishment, or the shedding blood for blood. This stain of blood makes shipwreck of our state. And for the duration of the tragedy the characters explicitly or implicitly acknowledge their total belief in the directions of the Delphic oracle as the only means of ridding Thebes of the plague. Historically speaking, did the Delphic oracle have such credibility among the populace? For an answer to this question we go to The Histories of Herodotus. Herodotus was called the â€Å"Father of History† by Cicero and others. He lived and wrote in the fifth century BC just like Sophocles. As a contemporary, Herodotus knew and wrote about the beliefs and customs of the ancient Greeks as an historian, not as a litterateur. Herodotus was therefore interested in a factual presentation, not in an imaginative presentation such as Sophocles sought for as a dramatist. Herodotus, therefore, can be relied upon to either substantiate or contradict the validity of the situation in Oedipus Rex where the realism of the drama rests considerably on the claimed belief in the infallibility of the Delphic oracle. Let us examine a portion of The Histories that describes Athens, since Sophocles lived in Athens and wrote for an Athenian audience and even had Oedipus die at Colonnus, a suburb of Athens. In Book V Herodotus describes the engagement between the Athenians and the Boeotians, who were defeated; then another victory for AthensShow MoreRelatedThe Use of Chance in Oedipus vs. Chronicle of a Death Foretold1172 Words   |  5 PagesJillian Smith anderson IB English Period 2 4 November 2012 The Use of Chance in Chronicle of a Death Foretold versus Oedipus the King Chance can serve many different purposes in works of literature. 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