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"King Oedipus" And "Things Fall Apart": Talks About How These Tragidies Are Similar In Structure In How Both Demonstrate Their Belief In Heroes Who Posses A Tragic Flaw.

1061 words - 4 pages

Many ancient societies have a record of tragic tales that observe problems of human life and the nature of the gods. For instance, both Greek and Nigerian tragic tales of King Oedipus and Things Fall Apart prove to be similar in structure. Both civilizations demonstrate their belief in tragic heroes who posses a tragic flaw as well as a belief in the ultimate powers of their gods. In Greek tragedies, the audience was often familiar with the storyline, so the authors had to incorporate tragic traits of heroes and climactic plot structure for the audience to be in suspense. The structure of the prologue, plot, and the characteristic of the protagonist in Things Fall Apart and King Oedipus help the authors arise the emotion of suspense in the reader.The prologue, or the brief introduction, of both stories establishes the background of the story in order to begin in media res. In King Oedipus, Sophocles sets up the background information and gives the reader a sense of the present situation. Quickly, the Priest announces the purpose of the story when he explains that blight has taken over Thebes and has caused famine in the country. Oedipus pledges to find and punish the murderer of King Lais to stop the curse on their land. Sophocles assumes the audience is familiar with this tragic story, so he presents this information to the reader for the effect of dramatic irony to work properly. Similarly, in Things Fall Apart, the first chapter acts as an introduction as it presents details about life and culture in the Nigerian area during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The legends of the fight with a spirit of the wild by the founder of the village and social rituals dealing with kola nuts and alligator pepper help familiarize the reader with the society. Achebe also sets up Okonkwo's character and social standing. Many townspeople respect him for his strength and noble virtues. The tragic heroes are introduced and both stories begin in media res, or in the midst of action. The prologue has the effect of familiarizing the reader with the protagonist so that suspense builds up during dramatic irony when the reader is aware of the hero's downfall before the hero knows about it himself.The plot structures of both works are similar in that the lives of the protagonists reach a climatic peak and then their fate causes their downfall. Since the audience was familiar with the plot and its characters, Sophocles had to rely on the plot structure to create suspense in the reader and produce the emotional effect of catharsis. Initially, Oedipus' tragic flaw is not obvious, but it intensifies as the story progresses. The climactic point is when Oedipus realizes that he killed King Lais, his own father. Tiresias warns Oedipus not to question him about the true killer, but he forces the prophet to tell the truth. Oedipus is not convinced and his arrogant attitude makes him accuse Creon. The reader's suspense increases as these hasty acts, along the rising action, stack...

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