This drama study will analyze the theme of fate/destiny in the tragedies of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. In Oedipus Rex, the tragedy of Oedipus’ own downfall is based on the Oracle’s future prediction that he will have intercourse with his mother and kill his father, which defines the unalterable destiny of a fall from heroism. In Miller’s character, Wily Loman, a 20th century salesman must also come to terms with the failure of his life to achieve success and the American Dream. Tragically, Oedipus and Loman have good intentions in seeing their family/kingdoms rise to prosperity, yet they are doomed to fail due to the errors of judgment and unforeseeable events that harm their family members. The theme of fate/destiny defines the uncontrollable events that guide Loman and Oedipus towards failure and ruin due to events that are out of their control. In essence, this drama study will analyze the theme of fate/destiny in the tragedies of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.
In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the main character, King Oedipus, is presented as the heroic King of Thebes that had tricked and defeated the Sphinx. The tragic part of this presentation of the heroism of Oedipus is that he will lose his power and his kingdom to events that are beyond his control. In this way, the theme of fate provides a context in which Oedipus struggles to accept a doomed prediction by the Oracle that he will have sexual intercourse with his mother and, eventually, murder his own father (Kolin 79). After Teiresias, Oedipus’ head priest, tells him of the Oracle’s doomed ...
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...s been a failure as a salesman, but more importantly, a failure to his family. These external forces define the madness and suffering that Oedipus and Loman endure because they cannot accept their fate/destiny, which tragically causes them to destroy themselves and those that they love. Oedipus falls from grace due to his pride and arrogance, which results in his being blinded for his own inability to see fate and accept it for what it represents. This is also true of Loman’s infidelity with his wife and loss of his son’s love due to his insatiable desire to be wealthy and famous through the ideology of the American Dream. In this manner, the theme of fate/destiny define the tragic downfall of well-intentioned men, such as Oedipus and Loman, that destroy themselves and those they love to retain their pride and vanity in the pursuit of vainglorious quests of heroism.
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