This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Self Destruction In Thebes And South Africa

1540 words - 7 pages

Oedipus Rex and “Master Harold” and the boys are dramatic tragedies that tell the story of two men who, as Kreon would put it, “serve [their] own destruction. Although the two plays are completely different in plot and setting, they are similar in respect to the irrational decisions that the main characters make. The main characters also share many of the same characteristics which include a false sense of pride, intelligence which is over shadowed by irrational decisions, clouded judgment, and shame of their actions. Although the characters serve their own destruction, it can be argued that the environment shaped the downfalls which take place in each play.
Pride is a personality trait ...view middle of the document...

Then, as the play progresses Hally begins to be influenced by the idea of false superiority, an idea he once disbelieved in. He begins to treat Sam as an inferior and puts a good friendship in peril because of his false sense of pride. Hally’s sense of superiority and moral destruction are demonstrated through his aggressive behavior and at one point he even grabs Sam and says “why don’t you also start calling me Master Harold”. (“Master Harold” and the boys, 620-1) As both characters progress in their stories, so does the pride that they carry. Their false pride leads each character to destructive paths that demonstrate the destruction of their humility and eventually their own character.
Intelligence is another character trait that Oedipus and Hally demonstrate, which is overshadowed by irrational and impulsive decision making. The effects of their irrational decisions eventually lead to each of their downfalls. Oedipus, king of Thebes, is an intelligent and knowledgeable man who proves to be a great ruler. Oedipus’ intelligence allows him to solve the riddle of the sphinx and eventually become king. Although he is a knowledgeable man with great insight he lacks good decision making. He impulsively leaves his home town, kills his father, marries his mother, and denies Teiresias prophecies. He also accuses Kreon of plotting against him which leads to the irrational action and rushed decision to ask for Kreon’s death to show everyone the consequences of betraying him. Despite his intelligence and rise to the kingdom, it is his irrational decision making which define his story and lead to the ultimate fate of him blinding himself. All his decisions prove just how blind he is to the truth and express his desire to ignore the consequences of his actions. Hally, on the other hand, demonstrates intelligence through his conversations with Sam. Both are very intellectual characters that have deep conversations about a better and more progressive world. Harry explains to Sam that “things will change” and that “one day somebody is going to get up and give history a kick up the backside and get it going again.” (“Master Harold” and the boys, 176-8) However, later in the story, Hally contradicts himself with his abuse towards Sam. Ironically, both characters’ intelligence is eventually overshadowed by decisions that are impulsive and destructive. Oedipus and Hally’s actions become what defies them and their downfalls, as opposed to their intelligence.
Oedipus and Hally also make obvious mistakes in judgment. Both characters suffer from clouded judgments due to external events. In Oedipus’ case, once he is king he begins to refuse to believe the prophecy foretold by the Oracle. As he refuses to accept reality, he also believes that he knows more than anyone he comes across and makes irrational decisions due to his false sense of pride. Oedipus thinks he knows better than Teiresias and confronts his prophecy by arguing “Has your mystic mummery ever...

Find Another Essay On Self-Destruction in Thebes and South Africa

Apartheid in South Africa Essay

1600 words - 6 pages The word apartheid comes in two forms, one being the system of racial segregation in South Africa, and the other form is the form that only those who were affected by apartheid can relate to, the deeper, truer, more horrifying, saddening and realistic form. The apartheid era truly began when white South Africans went to the polls to vote. Although the United Party and National Party were extremely close, the National party won. Since they

Apartheid in South Africa Essay

856 words - 3 pages Apartheid, the Afrikaans word for “apartness” was the system used in South Africa from the years 1948 to 1994. During these years the nearly 31.5 million blacks in South Africa were treated cruelly and without respect. They were given no representation in parliament even though they made up most of the country. It was not until 1994 when a black man named Nelson Mandela came to power in the South Africa congress. Once elected Mandela removed

Morality in South Africa

643 words - 3 pages Politicians, religious leaders and social commentators have all spoken about a breakdown in morality in South Africa, with crime as the most commonly cited evidence. The lack of respect for the sanctity of human life, for the next person, private property, disregard for the law of the land, lack of parental control over children, and the general blurring of the lines between right and wrong are continuing to plague our communities. To

Adolescence in South Africa

1729 words - 7 pages words the individual achieves psychological maturity and social maturity (Mwale, 2010). As a consequence of South Africa’s historical background of Apartheid, adolescence in South Africa and the identity development of nationals has to be carefully analysed as a result of such incidents. In my opinion adolescence is a sensitive period and not a critical period for identity development in South Africans. Critical periods involve the notion of an

Apartheid in South Africa

847 words - 4 pages Racial discrimination dominated South Africa in 1948, and this was further witnessed when the ruling party made the discriminatory apartheid policy into law, in the same year (Pfister, 2005). The Afrikaans word, which literally translates to racial discrimination ‘apartheid’, was legislated and it started with the Dutch and the British rulers. The initiators of apartheid applied it to all social nature of the South African people. For instance

Fear In South Africa

943 words - 4 pages instill these ideas in the people of South Africa. Another fear that influences characters in Paton's book is the fear of death, along with the instinct to survive. This fear forces Gertrude, Stephan Kumalo's sister, into the lowly job of prostitution. Life in Johannesburg is not easy. There is much crime, and one must be able to look out for one's self. Being a black woman, Gertrude has few other options. She could try to become a servant

Ecotourism in South Africa

1515 words - 6 pages species. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s website, eleven of the 229 mammal species in South Africa remain endangered, fifteen vulnerable, and thirteen near threatened. Mining, which contributes to 18% of the GDP, is detrimental to air quality, causes deforestation, and releases toxic amounts of minerals and heavy metals into the soil and water (“Effects of Mining,” para. 1). Based on a case study from the

Apartheid in South Africa

1807 words - 7 pages -- 20 April 1964. Rivonia trial Historical Background South Africa is a land of abundant natural resources, mild climate, and fertile lands. Their resources range from diamond and gold to platinum and their land is fertile enough to feed the rest of the world if cultivated intensively. Yet many believed Africa to be the Dark Continent, a continent of poverty, harsh climate, and political turmoil (Woods 10). Though apartheid officially began in

Agriculture in South Africa

1991 words - 8 pages increase as well or food imports should increase, but if production needs to increase this will need to be done by using the same amount of resources or possibly even less (Colin, 2014). Factors like what food production is critical will also be discussed .In this essay we will look at factors influencing the agricultural potential of South Africa’s soil , what the soil is used for , agricultural productions and why it’s so important… South Africa

Investment in South Africa

1223 words - 5 pages Caltex plant was established in South Africa in 1977 after the owners decided to expand its operations in South Africa. The construction of the plant brought controversy over the interested parties, there were two dimensions of the utilitarian benefits of the Caltex plant, and there were violations of the justice and of moral rights whereas on the other side there were possible benefits to the South Africans. The plant setup was helpful in that

Apartheid in South Africa

1347 words - 5 pages Nelson Mandela helped bring an end to Apartheid in South Africa because he was a believer in basic human rights, leading both peaceful and violent protests against the white South African Government. His beliefs landed him in prison for twenty-seven years, almost three decades. In doing so, he became the face of the apartheid movement both in his country and around the world. When released from prison in 1990, he continued to honor his

Similar Essays

Self Discovery, Destruction, And Preservation In Frankenstein

1815 words - 7 pages Self-discovery, Destruction, and Preservation in Frankenstein       Mary Shelley's Frankenstein explores the downfall of certain human characteristics, set to the backdrop of creation, destruction, and preservation. The subtitle denoted by Shelly herself supports this idea, by relating the fact that the title can be viewed as either Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. One scholar, Marilyn Butler, also maintains this by noting, "It

Unemployment And Poverty In South Africa

1634 words - 7 pages Poverty and Unemployment South Africa is a country that is known for its beautiful and colourful scenery and culture. Unfortunately, South Africa is also known for a very horrible time in its history, namely Apartheid. Apartheid was a time in South African history when racial groups were separated and segregated according to race. The black people were segregated on more than other races and treated very poorly. Unfortunately, this time in

Poverty In Egypt And South Africa

1398 words - 6 pages donations and different organization working toward eradicating poverty completely, there is still poverty found in every corner of the globe. One such belief that is used to presume why poverty exists greatly in certain areas is the type of governmental system used in said area. In Canada, democracy rules the country with equality and freedom, however, in Egypt and South Africa there are different methods of government. This paper will depict

Apartheid In South Africa Essay

2284 words - 9 pages -European groups in the Republic of South Africa” (“Apartheid”). According to Robin Cohen, South African apartheid was based on four basic premises: “white monopoly of political power, the manipulation of space to achieve racial segregation, the control of black labor, and urban social control” (qtd. in Massie 385). Apartheid was widely supported by powerful nations, including the United States. However, the validity of the arguments and