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Dialectical Journals - Susan Wang Dialectical Journals...

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Susan Wang 9/3/08 Dialectical Journals Oedipus the King by Sophocles Entry 1, 8/20/08, page 3. lines 27-35 “– she cannot raise her head above the depths of so much surging death. Disease infects fruit blossoms in our land, disease infects our herds of grazing cattle, makes women in labour lose their children. And deadly pestilence, that fiery god, swoops down to blast the city, emptying the House of Cadmus, and fills black Hades with groans and howls.” The priest speaks these lines to describe the condition of the city, Thebes. The “disease” destroys all that comes into contact with. The city is almost in ruins because the “fruit blossoms” are dying and the “cattle” can barely survive. Without the basic necessities, it is impossible for survival within Thebes. The situation is even too poor for pregnant mothers to go into labor. “Hades” represents hell in Greek mythology. Thebes is being compared to the underworld as the city is being “blasted” by the diseases. The Priest utilizes these descriptions to emphasize the importance of saving Thebes as fast as possible. It signifies the current tension within the city. This quote develops the setting for the entire play. Oedipus the King by Sophocles Entry 2, 8/20/08, page 3. lines 40-43 “For you came here, to our Cadmeian city, and freed us from the tribute we were paying to that cruel singer – and yet you knew no more than we did and had not been taught.” These lines, spoken by the Priest, clearly characterize Oedipus. In the eyes of the people, he is a hero because he “freed” them from their misery when they were under the control of the Sphinx. The Priest describes Oedipus as someone who is smarter than the average man because he did not know “more” than what the others already knew. Besides, he also was not “taught” what to do with the situation within Thebes. Thus, Oedipus has great knowledge and power that is significantly important when it comes to saving the lives of people. These few words plot the story behind why Oedipus became the king of Thebes. It also displays how anyone, despite of their origins, has the ability to rescue a society and become the leader as long as he/she gets the job done and obtains the respect of the people.
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Susan Wang 9/3/08 Oedipus the King by Sophocles Entry 3, 8/20/08, page 20. lines 652-660 “CREON: Will you listen to me? It’s your turn now to hear me make a suitable response. Once you know, then judge me for yourself. OEDIPUS: You are a clever talker. But from you I will learn nothing. I know you now – a troublemaker, an enemy of mine. CREON: At least first listen to what I have to say. OEDIPUS: There’s one thing you do not have to tell me – you have betrayed me.” This dialogue between Creon and Oedipus clearly characterizes Oedipus. Creon pleads Oedipus to listen to his side of the story; however, Oedipus wants to know “nothing” from Creon’s perspective. It is usually logical to hear a “suitable response” from the opposing side.
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