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Oedipus Rex Vs. Antigone Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

Daniel Nierenberg Comparative Essay 11-20-01 "Oedipus Rex" & "Antigone" It is only natural that an author use similar vessels of literature, such as figurative language, literary devices, and elements in his/her work. It is even more apparent between works that are connected by character, time, and theme. Sophocles did this when he wrote "Oedipus Rex" and "Antigone". When comparing the two pieces, it becomes evident that very similar vessels connected these very different plays.Sophocles uses a specific type of figurative language in both pieces known as hamartia. Hamartia is a characters flaw. The flaw often leads to a major downfall by its owner. In both "Oedipus Rex" and "Antigone", there are three reoccurring hamartias: hubris, irrationality, and unyielding stubbornness. When speaking of hubris, the characters Oedipus and Antigone come to mind. Hubris is pride or an extreme sense of self-admiration. Oedipus is quoted saying such things as, "I, Oedipus, who all men call great". His hubris clouds his vision and prevents him from seeing things as they are. Oedipus takes on the act of finding out who the murderer of the king is but when all the evidence points to him, he cannot see it because of his arrogance. Antigone, Oedipus' daughter, has the same character flaw. She is arrogant and as power hungry as Oedipus was. She decides to go against Creon's decry and bury her traitorous brother. Antigone believes herself to be so high above others, she even says she's above the king himself. "Creon is not strong enough to stand in my way". It appears that Antigone wants to bury her brother so she can become a martyr. She tells her sister, Ismene, not to help her so she can get all the credit of defying the king and doing what is religiously right.Irrationality is evident in both works as well. We see it first with Oedipus. We see him not listening to or acting according to reason. Oedipus blames Creon for the murder because Creon was the one who recommended Teriesias to Oedipus. When Teriesias began to say things to Oedipus that he didn't like, he assumed that Creon told the soothsayer to say these things. We also see it at the end when the truth finally hits the tragic hero. He rushes into the castle looking for Jocasta and "rips [the doors] off the hinges".In Antigone, Creon contains the most irrationality. When he is talking with his son, Haimon, he says he is going to punish both Antigone and Ismene. But Ismene never did anything to break Creon's law. A huge parallelism between Oedipus and Creon is their scenes with Teriesias. Creon gets as bent out of shape as Oedipus, mainly because he does not want to hear what is in store for him.The third hamartia is unyielding stubbornness. Once again Oedipus shows up as a prime candidate. As stated before, he just doesn't put all the clues together to find he murdered the king. Jocasta even says, "In form you look like Laius." Even when everyone has figured it out, Oedipus turns to the newly horrified...

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