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The Diversity Of Characters, Attitudes, And Messages Through Different Translations

999 words - 4 pages

The different translations of The Oedipus Cycle emphasize and suggest different aspects of the presented scene. There are multiple examples of this in the comparison of The Fitts and Fitzgerald’s Translation and the Luci Berkowitz and Theodore F. Brunner’s Translation. Such as the differences in format, sentence structure, and diction imply different characteristics. Also, similarities in the two translations reinforce the importance of the concepts.
     The most noticeable difference in the two translations is the format of writing. The Fitts and Fitzgerald’s Translation was in a formal poem format whereas the Luci Berkowitz and Theodore F. Brunner’s Translation was in a more informal paragraph. The diction of the two paragraphs reflects the formal versus informal aspect as well. For example, in comparing the first lines of both translations, it was noticed that the Fitts and Fitzgerald’s Translation referred to the public as, “generations of the living in the line of Kadmos, nursed at his ancient hearth” (F & F,) while the translators of Luci Berkowitz and Theodore F. Brunner’s Translation referred to the public as simply, “the sons of the ancient house of Cadmus” (LB & TB.) The first translation offered much more information and description of the population of Thebes. Also, the phrase “nursed at his… hearth” requires the reader to be of a higher education because “hearth” is not in the everyday vocabulary of just anyone.
     On of the most dominant similarities between the two translations is the Oedipus’s arrogance. The first part of the sentence, if it were viewed separately, sounded like Oedipus genuinely cared for the people when he said, “I choose not to hear it from my messengers, but came myself” (LB & TB.) This quote showed how Oedipus was putting out the effort of coming out to the general public to see how bad things were. He did not wish to just sit back and find out the news through hearsay. He wished to see it for himself. All of his sensitivity was then void with the rest of the sentence when he said, “I have come myself to hear you – I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name” (F & F.) The rest of the sentence gave off the impression that Oedipus was telling his own people that they were lucky that he even came out to see them. A man as important and famous as he should not need to do any work for himself or for the people he is responsible for.
     Later in the passage, there was another similarity between the two translations. It was also somewhat of a redemption for Oedipus’s character. There was a strong emphasis at the end of the passages on the necessity to help the people of Thebes. In both passages Oedipus said that he, “will help [them] in every way [he] can” (F & F.) He made a promise to his people that he would help. It is not as if he just said something to a random person that he had no intention of following through...

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