Essay on Oedipus the King - Exploited or Exploiter?

Essay on Oedipus the King - Exploited or Exploiter?

Length: 902 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Oedipus the King - Exploited or Exploiter?

 
    Great thinkers throughout history have contrived intricate theories of social order. By applying these particular ideologies to literature, we as readers are able to see a great work through the eyes of one or many of history's most celebrated philosophers. Sophocles' Oedipus the King has been open to many interpretations. With its intricate plot, archetypical tragic character, and lofty social issues, Oedipus the King provides for virtually any and all interpretations. One such literary theory is Marxism.

Marxism, the sociological system of belief created and presented by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, has had profound influence on western politics and world sociologic theory since its introduction in the mid 19th Century. During this time, the Age of Industrialization was in full swing, and many workers were exploited and forced to work unreasonable hours. Marx noticed that in this society the rich upper echelon took advantage of huge lower class.

In response to these observations, Marx developed a set of ideals in which one faction of people could not dominate another. The cornerstone of this sociological and economic theory is the strict belief that "an upper class arises to dominate a working class of unconscious individuals" (Cole 76). In order to counteract this negative trend, a society must rid itself of the caste-like class system that divides its peoples into different economic and social levels.

Marxists argue that in a democratic or monarchical society, two major classes come into being: the Bourgeoisie, or exploiters, and the Proletariat, or exploited. Marx and Engels believed that the upper class (Bourgeoisie) controlled the financial situation w...


... middle of paper ...


...ial system. However, in recent history, this political theory has all but been totally refuted by modern idea and new edicts. In today's society, classes still remain, but in virtually all industrialized countries the middle class overwhelmingly dominates all other factions. Much of this sociological triumph can be accredited to the insight of Karl Marx and his colleagues who presented the idea that the common man should be the ultimate focus of a society.

Works Cited and Consulted

Cole, G.D.H. The Meaning of Marxism. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1964.

Frow, John. Marxism and Literary History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard U P, 1986.

Kumar, Amitava. Class Issues, Pedagogy, Cultural Studies, and the Public Sphere. NewYork: New York U P, 1997.

Peck, John, and Martin Coyle. Literary Terms and Criticism. Hong Kong: Macmillan , 1984.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Marxist Theory and Oedipus the King

- Marxist Theory and Oedipus the King       "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" (Marx and Engels 2). This excerpt, taken from Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engels' The Communist Manifesto, explains the two primary classes found throughout most of Europe during the era of the Industrial Revolution. These classes were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The former were known as the "exploiters" and the latter as the "exploited". The wealth, power, and prestige of the bourgeoisie, acquired mostly from their control of institutions, industries, and means of production, enabled them to force upon the proletariat their economic, political, and religious i...   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
1332 words (3.8 pages)

Essay about Oedipus as Scapegoat in Oedipus the King

- Oedipus as Scapegoat in Oedipus the King        The great psychologist-philosopher Carl Jung was briefly a student of Freud. Because Jung felt that Freud's approach to psychoanalysis was by far too narrow, he broke off from his teachings, and made significant contributions to mythological criticism. Jung's greatest contribution was his theory of archetypes. His proposal of archetypes argues that there is one original pattern or model of all things of the same type. According to Jung, beneath the personal unconscious is a collective unconscious that is in the psychic inheritance of all humans....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)

The Punishment of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) Essay

- The Punishment of Oedipus the King At the end of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, king of Thebes, ends up banished forever from his kingdom. Additionally, Oedipus physically puts out his own eyes, for several reasons which will be discussed later. The question is: Did Oedipus deserve his punishments. There are many factors that must be considered in answering this, including how Oedipus himself felt about his situation. His blinding was as much symbolic as it was physical pain....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
1180 words (3.4 pages)

Essay Oedipus the King

- Oedipus the King The uniqueness of the story of Oedipus the King lies in the fact that it is not told, but uncovered. Intertwined within are the workings of fate, which ultimately propel the uncovering of the story (Driver 247). The past is relied upon to solve the mystery of the present; however, it is learned by all that actions taken in the past will not change the fate of the future. The gods of Sophocles are the forces which operate within the cosmos, thus giving its consistency and order....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
394 words (1.1 pages)

The Pride of Sophocles' Oedipus The King Essay

- The Pride of Sophocles' Oedipus The King        Greek tragedy is characterized by the emotional catharsis brought about by the horrific suffering of a heroic figure. In Oedipus The King, by Sophocles, the onslaught of pain assailing the protagonist is a result of his tragic flaw. Sophocles often used a characters hamartia to alter or influence the outcome or future of the hero. Oedipus' hubris traps him to fulfil the oracle and intensifies his punishment.   Oedipus' pride is an innate characteristic....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
1434 words (4.1 pages)

An Analysis of Oedipus the King Essays

- An Analysis of Oedipus the King Here is a story where Oedipus the King, who has accomplished great things in his life, discovers that the gods were only playing with him. He has everything a man of that time could want; he is king of Thebes, he has a wonderful wife and children, and great fame through out the lands. He has lived a good life, but in the end everything is taken from him. The priests of Thebes have come to Oedipus to stop the plague that is killing the people of Thebes. They revere him for his knowledge, since he solved the riddle of the Sphix many years before and became the king....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
465 words (1.3 pages)

Essay on Jungian Archetypes and Oedipus the King

- Jungian Archetypes and Oedipus the King      The play Oedipus the King by Sophocles has multiple examples of collective unconscious archetypes from the theories of Carl G. Jung. In general Jung's theories say that there are archetypes that define the world, its people, and why people participate or commit certain activities. Jung explains that these archetypes are harbored in the collective unconscious of every person's mind. The archetype of the hero is one of them. The middle of Oedipus the King shows the character Oedipus as the Jungian archetypal hero and sacrificial scapegoat....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

Temporarily Exploited Essays

- Each year over 30,000 foreign workers migrate to Canada on a temporary basis, which means that every year more and more foreign workers are at risk of being exploited by their employers (Pysklywec 1039). The large amount of foreign workers migrating to Canada and taking the jobs of Canadians has been known to most of the public as the major issue on the topic of temporary foreign workers. However, for a change, the perspective of foreign workers is what these people need to see. The mistreatment foreign workers endure should be brought to the attention of the federal government and people who oppose the migration of foreign workers in Canada, and by recognizing the harsh living conditions, i...   [tags: foreign, workers, migration, health, conditions]

Better Essays
1078 words (3.1 pages)

Oedipus the King Essay

- Oedipus the King Oedipus the King is the perfect example of a tragedy. It contains a complete combination of all the features of a tragedy. Aristotle in his Poetics[1] defines Oedipus as being 'a definite example of the form and purpose of tragedy'. In tragedies the Greeks dramatized climactic events in the lives of heroes, and Oedipus' story is no exception. By using many different literary devices it brings moral dilemmas of action and motive to the public stage. The action is set out over the timeframe of one day, which will according to the prophet Tiresias will bring Oedipus' 'birth' and 'destruction'....   [tags: Classics Oedipus King Essays]

Better Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

Oedipus the King Essay

- Oedipus the King The ancient Greeks were famous for their tragedies. These dramas functioned to “ask questions about the nature of man, his position in the universe, and the powers that govern his life” (“Greek” 1). Brereton (1968) stated that tragedies typically “involved a final and impressive disaster due to an unforeseen or unrealized failure involving people who command respect and sympathy. It often entails an ironical change of fortune and usually conveys a strong impression of waste....   [tags: Greek Tragedy Oedipus King Essays]

Better Essays
1074 words (3.1 pages)