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hum lec18 - February 20th 2008 Humanities Week 7 lecture 1...

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February 20 th , 2008 Humanities Week 7 lecture 1 What Oedipus Knew I. What this play is NOT about Character Flaw o Aristotle on Harmartia (error of judgement, character flaw) o Oedipus’ Character: Vice or Virtue? o Does the Punishment fit the crime? NO o Predestination His character is irrelevant if predestined to this penalty o Character flaw isn’t Morally palpable o Punishment is not proportioned to his crime (of his character flaw) Being ill-tempered is punished by having to kill your father and sleep with your mother? o It would be a vain struggle Fate and Free Will o Identity as Fate o Already too late o Character as Destiny “A man’s character is his destiny” If Oedipus is predestined, it doesn’t matter how his character is o It’s his ignorance to his identity, “know your evil birth and fate” (Shepard says this) One’s own identity is not a matter of free will Observation: when Sophocles chooses to enter the story, the calamities that Oedipus wants to exercise his free will, makes his struggle purposeless. o Greeks didn’t a conflict between fate and free will Not that they couldn’t understand the notion, they just didn’t see it as an important issue
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