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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Oedipus The King: Existence Of Man - 1043 words
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Oedipus The King: Existence of ManSince the beginning of time, man has used various methods on which topass down stories, beliefs, and myths which explain different aspects of life.From oral tradition, to pictographs, to clay tablets, and onto paper, allcompose the world of literature. Literature has always been an infinite realm ofideas, morals, and trains of thought. Although the sphere of literature isencircled with extreme diversity of thought, its core is focused on one theme:man. All literature carries with itself three main characteristics: it iswritten by man, for man, and about man. Oedipus the King, the great Greektragedy by the unparalleled philosopher, Sophocles, is no exception toliterature's domain. It deals with one king, Oedipus, and his plight to avengethe death of his predecessor, King Laios.
In his determined search to find themurderer, he establishes a proclamation which would demand the banishment andeven the death of the murderer. In his ironic action, the reader discovers thatthis murderer that Oedipus is so determined to discover is none other thanOedipus himself. In adhesion to the definition of literature, this tragic plotreveals to the reader three main commentaries about the nature of man: mancannot escape his past, pride is the sin which leads man to greater evils, andalthough the life of man is in itself a positive good, there will always be ashadow of terrible tragedy that falls across it. All throughout literature, many works have portrayed characters whocarry with them a dark and gloomy past, and try to tear this shameful history oftheir lives from the books of their life. Unfortunately, this is impossible dueto the fact that the past is a precursor to the present which, in turn,determines one's future
It is one's past that makes one what he or she is today.For example, if an individual committed ruthless acts such as theft or murder,was not caught by the law, and later realizes that that particular aspect of hisor her life has caused them great grief and regret, he or she will make theeffort to change and become a new individual. Let us say that individual becomesone who cares about the welfare of others and takes social action against theinjustices of society. This individual became what he or she is today because ofan incident which occurred in his of her past. This "catching up" of the pastneed not always be negative and be portrayed as some type of revenge infringedupon the individual possibly due to a vile incident in the past, but the pastwill always effect the future and its toll is inevitable. As proclaimed by the Catholic church in the middle ages, seven deadlysins exist which ultimately lead to the loss of salvation by the soul whichindulges in such evils. Of the seven, pride has been the one which serves as thecatalyst for the remaining six. Pride creates in an individual a disposition ofexcessive self-love and the need to be better than another.
Once a person hasexcessive pride, he or she must have the satisfaction of knowing they are betterand must prove this 'higher status' through material possessions and/or power.This has led to the next sin, greed. This domino effect will continue on untilthe individual recognizes his or her faults and reconciles, or until he or shehas immersed themselves in the totality of evil and suffers the consequencesthrough death or horrible suffering. As evidenced in this work, pride was one ofthe factors which helped to create the tragic plot of the story. Both King Laiosand Oedipus exhibited the characteristics of pride. When King Laios wastraveling down the path where the three roads met, he and his men encountered aman walking alongside named Oedipus. King Laios, in his need to show he was morepowerful and of a higher status, requested his men to run Oedipus off the road.Oedipus was angered by this show of egotism, and in his need to show he was notsomeone who would take such an act, he went as far as to kill all but one of thetraveling party, even the king himself.
This show of pride, in the fulfillmentthe prophecy, contributed to the downfall of the protagonist and set the stagefor the plot. Man, through the definition of literature, is a fallible creature who issusceptible to the temptations of the immoral. It is in man's nature for him toerr. It is also in concordance with the very nature of the universe that heshould suffer for the actions of his errors. This brings into view the thirdcommentary about man and his existence: that although the life of man is initself a positive good, there will always be a shadow of terrible tragedy thatfalls across it. This shadow is always cast by either or both of two differentbodies: an unconscious error committed by an individual, and/or an errorcommitted due to some flaw in man's nature.
In this Greek tragedy, theprotagonist suffered through an aspect of his own nature which in Greek iscalled hubris, or as today's society knows it, the deadly sin of pride. Hispride led him to act irrationally in the incident at the place where three roadsmet, where he unknowingly committed the act of regicide, and later realizes thathe also has committed parricide, and fulfilled the prophecy of his destiny. Manhimself is not omnipotent, but a fragile, mortal being who unavoidably mustsuffer downfalls in his life. As in all literature, the main objective which exudes from each literarywork applies itself to the existence of man. In the Greek tragedy, Oedipus theKing, three dissertations of human nature are exhibited.
These three are: mancannot escape his past, pride is the sin which leads man to greater evils, andalthough the life of man is in itself a positive good, there will always be ashadow of terrible tragedy that falls across it. The plot in this renowned Greektragedy emphasizes the role of literature. With the protagonist having to sufferfor the acts he committed in his past, to the flaw of pride which led him tocommit the act, and finally, to the consequences he had to suffer due to hisactions, it clearly states and exhibits how the actions of the characters inthis story pertain to the common individual not of only the society ofSophocles' time, but also to the individual of the twentieth century as well.
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