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Sophocles' Great Tragedies: Oedipus and Antigone Essay

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Sophocles, one the most famous ancient Greek playwrights, composed two Greek tragedies that have survived to today. Oedipus the King and Antigone are Sophocles’ most well-known dramas. These two plays emphasize the catastrophic events that take place following a series of incidents and decisions. Throughout the two plays the audience is continuously uncovering details that will eventually lead to the downfall of the main characters. By comparing the two plays, one can identify similar aspects of the plays that would eventually lead to the characters downfalls. The ancient Greek tragedies, Oedipus the King and Antigone, reveal subtle similarities in which one can compare the two on a deeper level.
Early in the Greek dramas, the audience is exposed to the main characters and their objectives throughout the play. Although one may believe a Greek tragedy involves only negative aspects, both Oedipus and Antigone begin their story with good intentions. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is told of two prophecies. The first prophecy is that he will kill his own father and the second is that he will marry his mother. Upon hearing these prophecies, he leaves Corinth to prevent them from occurring. By believing that Polybos and Merope are truly his parents, Oedipus believes that by leaving them the prophecy will be prevented. Oedipus’ original intention was to avoid hurting his parents through murder and incest, when in fact the prophecy eventually came true in regards to his biological parents. Another good intention that is displayed at the beginning of Oedipus the King is Oedipus’ revenge. Oedipus proclaims that he will resolve the mystery of the murder of Laios, the previous king of Thebes and Oedipus’ biological father. By doing so Oedipus...


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...oing so she defied the authority of the Gods. Although Antigone did not defy the laws of the Gods, she did defy the laws of the king Creon. In an attempt to bury her brother’s dead body, Antigone disregarded Creon’s authority. Meanwhile, Ismene ignored her moral authority and lived by the rules of the king. In both plays, authority was constantly defied by multiple characters. Upon defying authority, many of the characters in each play continuously tune out the advice from other characters. For example, Oedipus ignores the warnings of his fate and Creon ignores Tiresias and his son. Lastly, Oedipus the King and Antigone are extremely comparable with the fact that they both end in an endless punishment that creates pity from the audience. Oedipus the King and Antigone are two famous Greek tragedies that contain similar aspects and order in the way they were written.



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