In the tragic play, Oedipus Rex, the Gods and religion greatly influence the social structure which in turn has a profound effect upon how the events unfold. Oedipus is the head of the state. There is a direct parallel in the demise of his household and city state which eventually comes to a full circle to destroy him. Even though Oedipus is praised by his people for being a responsible and honest king, he possesses a major character flaw in his attitude towards the gods which causes the tragic torture he faces in the end. Over the duration of the play, there is a strong sense of contamination towards the state, because it is facing a time of plague, and towards the leader Oedipus, because he is unknowingly in a relationship with his own mother.
Gilgamesh, who before was enthralled with the idea of dying a hero, suddenly became terrified of death. This growth, albeit not positive growth, was a direct result of the prior circumstances. The heroes’ shared hubris angered the gods who struck Enkidu down, causing Gilgamesh to lose his best friends. This loss causes gilgamesh to grow by fearing
For example, “the gods have said that one of us must die, because we killed Humbaba and the Bull of Heavens… But Shamash spoke for me and called me innocent,” 4 (Mason, 1970) pg 46 shows when Shamash, Gilgamesh’s protector tries to plead other gods for Enkidu’s life, they ignore it and let him suffer. Enkidu suffers and eventually dies from an illness, leaving Gilgamesh heartbroken. The interactions between the divine and the mundane show a sense of inferiority and superiority. The gods are very superior and get their ways, while the people have to obey them. For example, the gods decided Enkidu’s death and there was no way out but to abide to it.
The Epic of Gilgamesh opens on the selfish demigod, Gilgamesh, who is consumed with power. His lack of compassion for the subjects that he leads illustrates the abusive nature of his not-so-humble attitude. His partner in crime, Enkidu, a wild man, who also happens to be more than human, is also part beast. At the start of their quest to prove their strength and maintain their overwhelming power the two friends are convinced that their god-like qualities trump their human assets. However, the human condition prevails, showing them just how mortal they really are and how death and one’s fate, chosen by the gods, are in fact inescapable.
In this play, the gods are everything to man, to be hated by the gods is to be hated by everyone. When Oedipus says this, he has realized where he stands in the eyes of the gods. This is one of Oedipus’s tragic fall’s during the play. In the very end of the play, Oedipus say’s “Do not take them from me” (Sophocles 1776). The King now has a major tragic flaw, when realizing he is losing his children as well.
Kings also needed to be accountable to the people. In the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is a cruel ruler, and the people hate him. The gods decide, therefore, to give him a rival who can dethrone him. The Pharaoh also writes to his son, “Don 't be evil, kindness is good, Make your memorial last
In the tragic play, Antigone, Sophocles warns his audience against defying the will of the gods. As a result of a clash between the laws of the state of Thebes and the unwritten laws of the gods, main characters Antigone and Creon experience downfalls characteristic of the Aristotelian tragic hero. Antigone meets her demise because of her decision to bury her brother and hold herself accountable for her actions. While her defiant actions may be characteristic of an ambitious tragic hero, Creon’s unwavering pride and series of offenses towards the gods lead him to an arguably more tragic downfall of his own. Through careful consideration of his personality, his actions, and the circumstances surrounding his downfall, Creon shows that he is
Among the oldest surviving literature today is the Epic of Gilgamesh, and it illustrates this point perfectly. Gilgamesh, created by the gods, two thirds god and one third human, to lord over humanity, has no compassion. In his Kingdom, Uruk, Gilgamesh rules like a despot. Any woman he fancies, he rapes. His people are oppressed.
Oedipus is damned for his fearful deed and, because of his deed he had almost destroyed the city of Thebes. Right after the death of Laius the kingdom didn't have a ruler, and the Sphinx took advantage of that. The gods were unhappy as a result of the death of Laius, and the city of Thebes was once again damned. This time it was the plague. The actions of this tragic hero at the end catch up with him and destroys him.