Glass Menagerie, Death Of A Salesman, Oedipus Rex Theme

Glass Menagerie, Death Of A Salesman, Oedipus Rex Theme

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The Glass Menagerie, The Death of a Salesman, and Oedipus Rex are complex, deep stories that any reader can enjoy. The Glass Menagerie is a story about a family of three, a mother, a son, and a daughter who all struggle to cope with how their lives turned out. They sometimes reminisce of a happier life or a way to somehow escape life itself. The Death of a Salesman is about a depressed man named Willy who often has day dreams of what he perceives as a perfect life. Willy is angry with his life and wishes his children would be more successful. Towards the end of the story Willy decides that life is not worth living and commits suicide. Oedipus Rex is a story about the King and Queen of Thebes who was told by a prophet that one day their newly born baby, Oedipus, will kill his father (King Laius). The King decides to have a shepherd take Oedipus to a far-away mountain to be left for dead. But the shepherd shows pity on the baby and ends up giving Oedipus to the King and Queen of Corinth. Oedipus ends up crossing paths with his father and kills him. Oedipus then correctly answers a riddle from a Sphinx who then rewards Oedipus by making him the new King of Thebes. Unbeknownst to him that his father and mother were the King and Queen of Thebes, he ends up marrying and having children with his own mother and searches for the killer of King Laius. The theme in The Glass Menagerie, The Death of a Salesman, and Oedipus Rex gives the reader a chance to get a more in-depth interpretation of the story.
If you know the theme of The Glass Menagerie you get a much clearer interpretation of what the Author was trying to say to his audience. The theme is how difficult it is to accept reality. Each character in the story has trouble facing reality and in result withdraws into a perfect fantasy land that the real world does not offer. Knowing the theme lets the reader know how much thought is put into the story. It lets the reader know that every word in the story has meaning which makes the reader respect and appreciate the Author’s work even further. Laura wishes she had real friends but cannot overcome her own insecurity so she instead plays with her glass animals as if they are her only friends.

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Tom struggles to support his mother and sister. Tom often gets in fights with his mother. In Chapter three, Tom comes home bitter and frustrated after a bad day at work and tells his mother and sister he has put aside his dreams to supports them. He feels insulted when Amanda (his sister) calls him selfish and tells them that if he were selfish he would have left like his father long ago. In chapter four Tommy is puzzled by how the magician could get out of a coffin without disturbing a single nail. This represents how Tommy wants to free himself from the suffocating grasp from his mother and sister but can’t because he cannot figure out a way to escape without disturbing his nail like family. Amanda (the mother) constantly brings up to her children and guest how men use to call her all the time. She does this in hopes that people she tells this to will know that she wasn’t always a loser and was once an important person at one point in her life. It is also a constant reminder to her and others that she might have had a better life if she would have chose a better man. Laura slips on the fire escape in scene four. This represents her inability to escape from her situation on her own. Tom on the other hand frequently steps out onto the fire escape usually thinking about his eventual getaway. These events just pointed out all have to do with the theme of the story, accepting reality. Recognizing the theme gives you a better interpretation of the purpose of the story and the message the author is trying to send to his or her audience.
The reader can relate to the theme of The Death of a Salesman with memories of their own life which gives you a better understanding of the story. The theme of the story is life does not always meet expectations. When Willy is recalling his first memory in act I he says he will one day open a bigger business then his neighbor Charlie because he is not as “well-liked’ as he is. Willy often has flashbacks of better times. Willy begins to get frustrated when he realizes it’s much more rewarding to be hard working then well-liked. Willy’s frustration leads to his psychological demise. He wanted his kids to grow up to be successful, but it was his own selfish act (Willy getting caught cheating on his wife) that made Biff gives up on life. In act II Willy speaks of David Singleman as a legend and imagines that his death was beautiful. He also compares his sons to Greek mythology figures Adonis and Hercules. This only adds to Willy’s sad life of delusion. Willy does not realize that Singleman was just a lonesome man who just happened to die on the job. Willy kills himself in hopes that it will bring meaning to his legacy just like it did Singleman. But his death was pathetic and meaningless and his sons’ are far from the god like Greek figures. Willy expresses himself in more than just words. Willy’s desperate attempt to grow vegetables signifies his shame of barely being able to put food on the table for his family. Linda’s stockings are a constant reminder to Willy of how he betrayed his wife by cheating on her. Biff knows his father gave Linda’s stockings to his mistress. Ever since the betrayal Willy has been fixated on making sure Linda always has fresh new stockings now. Pointing out the theme lets the audience know that the story is more than just a pathetic man who reminisces about his past it’s about a man who counted on his personality to be successful and wanted to live the American dream. Most readers can relate to what happened to Willy which gives them a further appreciation of the story. If the theme relates to you it is much easier to interpret the story.
Oedipus Rex’s theme is that you can’t change your fate no matter how much you try to ignore it. Oedipus starts to get frustrated and fastens the pace of his search in hopes to find the killer so he can relieve himself of blame as quick as possible. Jocasta points out that she knows Laius was killed by strangers, whereas Oedipus knows he was alone when he killed that man in a similar act. This is the rising climax of the story because it calls into question the entire truth seeking process Oedipus believes himself to be undertaking. Even when Jocasta and Oedipus inform each other on their similar prophecies they both never even consider that the oracle might be true which goes along with the theme of ignoring fate. Jocasta even tells him the story about her binding her child’s ankles but Oedipus still somehow blocks out the coincidence of his own ankles being swollen as well. This proves that Jocasta and Oedipus do not want to face the truth. Oedipus Rex has literal and metaphorical meaning of sight. Oedipus has clear eye sight and quick comprehension, but he discovers that he has been blind to the truth for many years. He blinds himself at the end of the story so he does not have to look at his children. Tiresias is literally blind but sees the truth better than everyone. The story tries to tell the reader that humans can demonstrate remarkable powers of intellect but all humans are flawed because their knowledge is limited or unreliable. The three-way cross road where Oedipus kills has father represents an important decision. Oedipus chooses the same road his fate has already chosen for him, to kill his father. Oedipus Rex gives off a constant reminder that the theme is you cannot change your fate. It proves that every part of the story has meaning. The theme lets the audience know that it is much more than a disturbing story about a bastard son who kills his father and has children with his mother. It is about a man who tried to deny his fate but could not. Oedipus had the option to go down another road and not kill his father but because of fate he did. Once you thoroughly understand the meaning of the authors theme you understand the story better.
You have a much better understanding of the purpose and message the author is trying to tell his or her audience when you thoroughly understand the theme. The Glass Menagerie, The Death of a Salesman, and Oedipus Rex are dark stories because they display traits of people’s real life struggles and fears. They are stories that are well thought out and much more believable then fairy tales such as Cinderella. There are a lot of people that could easily relate to Tom, Willy, or many other characters in the stories. Most people have seemed trapped in a life they are not happy with before. It lets the readers know that there are other people out there with the same feelings and thoughts that you have and that is what makes the books so interesting to read. There is no purpose or meaning to a story without theme.
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