{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Classics - J ae Shin Classics 28 Section 116 Final Paper 30...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Jae Shin Classics 28: Section 116 Final Paper 30 April 2010 Oedipus & Odysseus Paradox No awesome, forbidding hero in Greek drama more powerfully and tragically exemplifies the paradoxes of man’s civilizing power than Oedipus. Ruler of a grand and ancient city by virtue of his intelligence, conqueror of a mysterious half-human and half-beast monster, Oedipus represents a man of great achievement. And yet this solver of riddles does not know the most elemental thing about himself. He lacks the fundamental information about his origins that gives man his human identity and sets him apart from the undifferentiated realm of nature and the realm of beasts. Oedipus’ very identity conceals an appalling violation of civilized norms, the deliberate exposure of a child by its parents on a perilous mountainside. Cast out from the shelter of his own house, Oedipus is made a creature of the wild, a child of
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
nature and a child of absolute chance. He is saved from death by shepherds, men who also portray men’s ambiguous position between the wild and the civilized community. Thrust from his oikos or household, he has no name, no fundamental human identity, the most basic possession of even the humblest human being. The very name which he does possess, the “Swollen-Footed”, confirms of the atrocious act which separated him from the civilized world to his equivocal position in the wild. And yet the Oedipus whose very name places him in the untamed world is also, ironically, a civilized man. Intelligent but petulant, humane but vicious, compassionate but pitiless, Oedipus embodies all the fundamental paradoxes of man’s nature. Alienated from the nurture of his house, Oedipus, though king, is also a stranger to the town or city he rules. His synthesis of nearness and distance causes him to cut off from stranger and townsman; when he fears that he may have killed Laius (Sophocles, Oedipus the King , 804-824), he is still sheltered from the most dreadful part of the truth by his blind assumption that Laius is a stranger. Only after telling how he killed the whole group at the crossroads, he solemnly concludes, “Oh, but if there is any blood-tie between Laius and this stranger… what man alive
Image of page 2
more miserable than I? More hated by the gods? I am the man no alien, no citizen welcomes to his house.” ( Oedipus the King , 899-903) In the context of the play, Oedipus’ exile as a human scapegoat or pharmakos , is ambiguous and complicated. At the end of the play, he is not actually expelled, but remains suspended between exile and the house. Thus in some sense Oedipus continues the ambiguities of his previous life. Yet at this point, the hero, revealed as
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern