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The Root Of All Fear Essay

917 words - 4 pages

In The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “…fear is simply the consequence of every lie.” Dostoevsky is stating how people are afraid of what will happen when their lie(s) is/are put out in the open. Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined. This line suggests that people are afraid of the truth, which inevitably is the consequence of every lie. Even though this quote was written by a 19th century author it can still relate to texts that were made centuries prior. Both Sophocles and Shakespeare’s plays support Dostoevky because both plays deal with the act of lying and its consequences as a major motif.
Oedipus the King is a very famous Greek tragedy written by Sophocles that was first performed in 429 B.C. A major theme during the course of the play is the characters keenness to ignore the truth. Many times in the play, there are circumstances in which the truth is blatantly obvious, however the major protagonists are blinded by their own self-preservation to see it. For instance, when the messenger says, “Your ankles… they tell the story. Look at them”(1032). When Oedipus was a child, his birth parents, Jocasta and Laius, bound his feet together. The fact that Jocasta never made the connection between Oedipus and her once baby illustrates that she doesn’t want to hear the truth.
Another major theme in the play is that characters are reluctant to tell the truth because they are afraid of the consequences. In the play there are several occasions when one or more characters don’t want to tell the truth because they are afraid of the consequences. For example, Jocasta says, “Stop- in the name of god, if you love your own life, call of this search! My suffering is enough”(1163-6). During this point in the play, Jocasta realizes the corollary if the truth about Oedipus’s birth come out. This is when she experiences the fear of the consequences of her lies. Another line in the play that shows the reluctance to tell the truth is when the shepherd doesn’t want Oedipus to know about the truth. The shepherd says, “Oh no, I’m right at the edge, the horrible truth-“(1284-1285) Before the shepherd states this line Oedipus is torturing him until he tells the truth. The shepherd did not want the truth to come out because he knows just how horrible and wretched the truth actually is. The shepherd even goes far enough by saying, “I did… I wish to god I’d died that day”(1272). This shows how much this lie has...

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