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Common Factors Between Oedipus And Okonkwo

1601 words - 7 pages

The similarities between Okonkwo and Oedipus, of Things Fall Apart and of Oedipus the King are displayed on numerous occasions and are easy to recognize. Both men possess an egotistic nature and have an overwhelming sense of pride of their accomplishments, their successes of rising to power are short lived as they will lose along with their legacy as respected men, and Okonkwo and Oedipus were short tempered and were angered easily. The latter would contribute greatly to their downfalls. The tragedies of both Things Fall Apart and Oedipus the King link the protagonists regardless of the thousand year gap.
As highly regarded members of their community, Okonkwo and Oedipus never admitted to ever acting unjustly or being wrong and misjudging the input of others. For Oedipus, he was told on multiple occasions of how he would fulfill his dark fate of killing his own father and mating with his mother by a blind prophet and oracle, regardless of the applicable evidence of where Oedipus gets his name from and how he is not the son of the king of Corinth. Although others believed the words of the holy men, Oedipus dismissed them, satisfied that it would never come true because he thought he knew who his real parents were and was already making the caution to be wary of them. "Revealed at last, brother and father both to the children he embraces, to his mother son and husband both-he sowed the loins his father sowed, he spilled his father's blood!" ( Tiresias; 520-524).Okonkwo, is set in the traditional ways of his culture that he and his ancestors have followed for generations and naturally rejects any other way of life other than the Ibo culture. An example of such loyalty to his heritage includes attempting to beat down the beliefs into his son Nwoye because he does not agree with the ideals and customs of his native people, and Okonkwo did so in the set of mind that he would make his son more manly and to be more productive as a clansmen. “... he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating” (Pages;13-14). Later in the story when Okonkwo discovers of his son's involvement with the Christian converts he immediately disowned him, further proving his detestation towards anything that threatens his beliefs and ways of life. Nwoye reciprocated his father and refused to acknowledge he has a father when confronted about it.
In terms of the two protagonists' legacy, they generally started in the same situation, both men having to work to achieve success. Oedipus was saved by a shepherd as a newborn when he was sentenced to death by his father solely on the notice that when Oedipus grew up , he would kill his father and bear children with his mother. To escape execution, he was taken to Corinth and was then adopted and raised as the child of the king and queen. Never knowing of the identity of his true parents, he fled when he was told of his unchanging fate and left his home in pursuit to try to escape the path set for him by the gods. Once he felt...

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