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Paper Topic:

Oedipus the King and Death of a Salesman

Oedipus the King and Death of a Salesman

In a theatrical setting , tragedy is defined as something which depicts the downfall of a noble hero or heroine , usually through some combination of hubris , fate , and the will of the gods

There are similarities and differences in the two plays Death of a Salesman and Oedipus the King , but both fall into the class of tragedy The tragic hero 's powerful wish to achieve some goal inevitably encounters limits , usually those of human frailty (flaws in reason hubris , society , the gods (through oracles

, prophets , fate , or nature Aristotle says that the tragic hero should have a flaw and / or make some mistake (hamartia . The hero need not die at the end , but he / she must undergo a change in fortune . In addition , the tragic hero may achieve some revelation or recognition (anagnorisis-- "knowing again " or "knowing back " or "knowing throughout ) about human fate , destiny , and the will of the gods . Aristotle quite nicely terms this sort of recognition "a change from ignorance to awareness of a bond of love or hate (Tragedy : The Basics , 2006 ) This is almost a complete direct quotation of this website . If something is a direct quotation it must be in quotation marks

There are similarities and differences in the two plays You haven 't mentioned which plays you 're discussing , but both fall into the class of tragedy . In summary of the above , aA tragedy can be loosely defined by the following : The tragic hero has a strong wish for good ,good the hero has a flaw , and during the course of the play both acquire knowledge about their own circumstancesa change of ignorance not sure what you mean here . occurs . In Oedipus the King , the steps are clear Oedipus himself is the tragic hero . He starts out as the noble king wishing to help his people , who he sees to be in distress

Then comes the flaws - the mistake . Oedipus takes the Pythian oracle as being very binding . He fails to understand that the oracle is a religious or literary statement which needs to be understood and interpreted (Fairchild , 2002 . You need textual support from the play to support your point .ThisThis suggests that he is in some way responsible for his own downfall - without these flaws , the downfall may not have occurred . Not sure how you jump to this conclusion . The entire play is underpinned by religious tracts of the day for example ? butBut he fails to take heed of what the chorus is saying where ? What do they say . They are warning him but he and fails to take preventative action . In fact he himself is the facilitator in some ways - for example , upon the death of his mother , he takes it upon himself to gouge out his own eyes

Oedipus ' journey seems , however , to be inevitable , much as he tries to act in to avoid it . The gods have predicted it , and it is his fate . For the most part it seems to be out of his control - he has gone from being ignorant about important matters from the past to being informed . In his ignorance he has committed a multitude of crimes crimes such as ?crimes including murder and socially unacceptable acts such as incest (although we must stress again he didn 't know it at the time ) but the truth has destroyed him and instead of himself now being the savior of his people , he is both ridiculed by them (he is called the man who married his mother ' and also relies upon them to assist him . It 's ironic that he blinds himself so that he cannot see the atrocities in front of him , whereas before , in his ignorant state , he could not see them anyway . And of course , unknowingly , Oedipus did solve the riddle of the Sphinx , and saved the kingdom from a plague

As Oedipus himself says to Theresias early on in the play When the Sphinx , that singing bitch , was here , you said nothing to set the people free . Why not ? Her riddle was not something the first man to stroll along could solve - a prophet was required . And there the people saw your knowledge was no use - nothing from birds or picked up from the gods . But then I came , Oedipus , who knew nothing . Yet I finished her off , using my wits rather than relying on birds

Yet this courage and bravado shown to be in the character of Oedipus does not prevent his later downfall . We can see therefore that Oedipus the King complies in every way with being a tragedy of the stage . There is no textual support here . You use the critics , but never show how any of this happens in the play

In Death of a Salesman ' Willy Loman too is a tragic hero , and this play is also compliant with the requirements of being a tragedy of the stage . Never have a one-sentence paragraph

OOne difference between the two is that Willy is not a King but an ordinary man . But like Oedipus he starts out with every good intention of making a success of himself . He sets out to be an excellent father and good husband . Similarly to Oedipus , however , he makes a mistake , by being unfaithful to his wife . This becomes evident to his son Biff , and although Willy does not realize that Biff knows about his infidelity , he does realize that he has lost the respect and awe of his son , which is something that he cannot accept . However , conversely to Oedipus , Willy Loman has far more control over his error than Oedipus did - everything which occurred was as a direct result of an action that Willy did which was under his control . Willy Loman was not blinded by ignorance , as was the case with Oedipus , but was fully aware of his actions . But similarly , once the mistake has occurred , Willy 's life goes on a downward slide until at the end of it , after reaching understanding of what it is that has brought him to this point , he takes his own life

Even though the plays were written 2400 years apart , and the difference in settings is vast and is perhaps one of the things that make comparisons between the two plays difficult , there are other similarities than those listed above which we can refer to . For example , the very humanity of the heroes is very similar - meaning perhaps , that the hopes and dreams of people have not altered very dramatically over the years . This suggests that a person does not start out wanting to make a mess . People start out wanting to do things well and this can get thwarted by mistakes which are made along the way

Oedipus was more courageous than Willy because even though he did inflict injury upon himself , he did not kill himself , but lived with his grief and his ostracism . Willy was a coward , for taking the easy way out , and also for never having the courage to follow his heart with his job choice , since it was mentioned that "there was more of him in those front steps than in all the sales he ever made , and he was good with his hands and enjoyed making and fixing things . One would wonder what would have happened to the Loman family had Willy decided years ago to follow his true calling and work with his hands , doing something he enjoyed and being true to himself instead of trying to make himself something grand with his big pipe dreams (VCCS Lit online , 2006 Perhaps there would have been a different outcome altogether . But Willy at the end of the play , takes control in the most final way possible , by killing himself . It is still evident that his intention is to look after his family - he leaves them an insurance policy worth 20 ,000 , and this act is symbolic of the fact that he wants to take control . But Hhad he been of stronger character , he would have tried to take control earlier on , and in a more suitable way . By contrast , Oedipus , himself a ruined man , will live to take responsibility , and deal with things in a much braver way

There are lessons for mankind to be learned from both plays . We can see that these tragedies are different , by a variety of things including settings , and moral fiber of the heroes , but that they are similar too in many ways , such as the very humanity , hopes and dreams of their heroes References

Fairchild , Terry (2002 ) Consciousness , Literature and the Arts retrieved 24 Oct 2006 from the website HYPERLINK "http /www .aber .ac .uk /cla /archive /fairchild .html http /www .aber .ac .uk /cla /archive /fairchild .html

Kennedy and Gioia (2005 ) Literature : An Introduction to fiction Poetry , and Drama

New York , Boston , San Francisco , London , Toronto , Singapore , Madrid Mexico City , Munich , Paris , Cape Town , Hong Kong , Montreal

Tragedy : The Basics (2006 , retrieved 24 Oct 2006 from the website HYPERLINK "http /faculty .gvsu .edu /websterm /Tragedy .htm http /faculty .gvsu .edu /websterm /Tragedy .htm

VCCS Litonline (2006 , retrieved 24 Oct 2006 from the website http /vccslitonline .vccs .edu /vcsamforum .htm

I would prefer to see what your observations are . You rely very heavily on these obscure critical sources but fail to support any of your assertions with real analysis or textual support . The entire introduction is almost verbatim from a website and fails to mention the name of either play

In the future , I would avoid looking at ANY outside sources and focus on analyzing the works with just the primary text . Your use of secondary material is problematic and unsupported with evidence from the plays

Grade : D ...

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