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Example research essay topic: Oedipus The King Oedipus Tyrannus - 1,012 words

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Different translations of Oedipus the King Sophocles was one of the great Greek play writes of all time. He wrote many Greek plays, but only seven seemed to survive over 2400 years. One of his most famous plays was part of a trilogy. The reader must have read or viewed the previous play in order to understand the next. However, his trilogy which was out of order, made it much more difficult to understand his plays despite reading all of them. Oedipus the King was part of this famous trilogy, which was also known as Oedipus Rex, and universally known as The Oedipus Tyrannus.

It is not understood why this one play has different names, except for the theory to translate it into different languages, which was explained by Pierre Vidal-Naguet, a French professor. The confusion of translating to ones language sprawled the many translations of the play itself. Two example authors that will be discussed in this paper is Gilbert Norwood, M. A. , author of Greek Tragedy, and J. Peter Euben, author of The Tragedy of Political The!

ory. The authors translation of Oedipus the King will be compared and contrasted to prove how widespread the play is studied. The exact date of Sophocles life span is not certain, neither is when Oedipus the King was written. Gilbert Norwood, however, estimates the play was written about c. 431 B.

C. He has dedicated his life on studying Greek tragedy. Norwood feels Oedipus Tyrannus (as he calls it) is universally considered to be a masterpiece because people all people can identify with the plays' concept. J.

Peter Euben agrees with Norwood claiming that all humans are searching for Who they really are, as what the plays main theme is. This is explained why it is easy to associate with the plays atmosphere. Some parts of the play are very uncomfortable for one to deal with. The fact that Oedipus ends up marrying his own mother is unsettling for many. For centuries, no one could associate with this concept until Sigmund Freud came up with his theory on The Oedipus Complex.

This is explained when a young infant instinctively wants to murder his father and marry his mother. Authors, Norwood and Euben, both agree and explain the reason for this theory. Norwood mostly explains the characters' characteristics and how Oedipus was responsible for his own downfall. He shows how one simple decision that Oedipus would make, due to his characteristics, caused a domino effect. Oedipus had the same intention as his biological parents, which was to trying and stop the fate that a soothsayer had prophesied.

By taking an aggressive step to change his fate, he was only helping it come true. This is exactly what his parents had done. They had taken the aggressive step, which caused their prophecy to eventually come true, which would doom them both in the end. Oedipus, Norwood further explains, goes on through the play trying to find only himself. He finally realizes his fate when he, himself, starts a domino effect, accusing Tiresius of treason for trying to help Creon take the thrown. Euben, as well, discusses the characteristics in the play, but instead, he mainly focuses on Oedipus characteristics and tries to explain them.

He says even though Oedipus appears to be a very commanding king, Oedipus still does not know who he is, where he is, or what he is doing to himself and others. This is due to the fact that Oedipus is very unclear about his life before he came to Thebes. He doesnt even know who to trust anymore, including himself. This makes him a very isolated and hardheaded king. Ever since he was told that the parents he thought were his were not, he has become a man that would try not listen to anyone anymore. This, as well, played an affect toward his own downfall.

Euben explained how Oedipus had ears, but would not listen to the truth; he had eyes, but would not see the truth; he had common sense, but would not speak the truth. The truth was in front of Oedipus through the whole play, but both authors agreed that Oedipus didnt know the truth because he didnt want to. This is a classic example of, what Norwood explains to be tragic irony. Sophocles was big in using tragic irony in his plays. Euben felt Sophocles laid it on too thick, using too many puns and making the obvious too obvious. Norwood, on the other hand, felt Sophocles made three distinct mistakes, according to the reality-based play. 1) Even though both were warned, neither Jocasta nor Oedipus bothered on thinking about the prophecy when they got married. 2) Oedipus never really inquired on Laius death all those years. 3) Jocasta never asked about Oedipus past in Corinth.

Norwood felt Sophocles left these explanations out of the play because trying to explain them would make the play even more complicated. It was understood and dwelt on as little as possible. Oedipus the King was felt, by both authors, to be one of the best plays in history, which is why it is one of the most wide spread studied plays. Euben and Norwood mainly agree on all aspects of the play, but find different parts to study. Both focus and concentrate on the way that Sophocles uses his words, puns, irony, phrases, and explanations in his plays.

This causes both authors to agree that Sophocles is one of the most well known, respected, and admired authors in history. Bibliography References 1) Seven Famous Greek Plays; Oates, Whitney J. , Publisher: Vintage Books, copyright 1938 2) Collected Ancient Greek Novels; Edited by: Reardon, B. P. , Publisher: University of Carolina Press, copyright 1989 3) The complete Greek Drama: Volume I; Oates & ONeill, Publisher: Random House New York, copyright 1938 4) The complete Greek Drama: Volume II; Oates & ONeill, Publisher: Random House New York, copyright 1938 5) A commentary on the plays of Sophocles; Hogan, James C. , Publisher Southern Illinois University Press, copyright 1991 Bibliography:

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