Oedipus the King
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Free will in the play Oedipus the King.
The theme of fate and free will is developed in Oedipus the King. The freedom of a person is not in doing all that he or she wants, but in taking up responsibility even for what he or she does not want. In the tragedy, Sophocles puts one of the most vital questions of the time - will of gods and free will of a person.
According to Greek mythology, everything depends on a blind fate. However, very often aspirations of a man come into a conflict with will of gods, and then disaster happens. Sophocles considers that the highest wisdom for a man is unreserved implantation of gods’ will.
The focus in the play is made on the interaction between free will and fate. In the bizarre world, all illusive is actual, and all actual can become illusive. Therefore, the will of the main hero is given as freedom, and he perishes from it. Oedipus the King describes the tragic life of the protagonist as the main hero fights with both people and spirits in determining his fate. He is the son of the King Luis and Jocasta, the Queen of Thebes.
Six episodes in the tragedy that are separated one from other by songs of choir serve as comments to events. These six episodes are six steps of Oedipus who aims to clarify his past. Fate follows him as he seeks to follow his own will.
In the first part, Oedipus can see. He makes blind himself when he realizes the balefulness of self-confidence. He made two crimes: father’s murder and incest. Everything happened because of the prophecy of the oracle.
On the way to Thebes, he meets his real father, Luis, and, unknowingly, he kills him in the quarrels (Sophocles 25). Then he married his own mother. He wanted to omit his fate predicted by gods with his will, but could not as he was blind in his deeds. The play vividly shows the impossibility of the person’s own choice of life's way, as fate is programmed and determined by gods that cannot be changed in any way.
Oedipus becomes a criminal through ignorance. He loses his mind and decides to become blind as he was all his life, especially when he realizes that his wife, who happens to be his mother, has hanged herself and died. He does not understand what for he needs eyes.
Darkness is better than deception, and then Oedipus makes himself blind. His character changes a lot. Now he knows the truth and accepts the whole responsibility for his deeds. The internal world is opened to him.
Only by passing this way, Oedipus understood secret of knowledge and began to see clearly. The tragedy of Sophocles is built on the secret of human knowledge. It is the tragedy of blindness and recovery of sight. Blindness is used as irony in the story so as to bring out the magnitude of Oedipus’s errors and diversion from the truth.
On the other hand, the theme of limited free will is clearly depicted through Tiresias. It is through Tiresias where the truth of the matter is laid down on the table. He mediates between gods and man.
The positive moment of the tragedy is that the man is closer to gods, but decides for himself. It shows strength of the human mind and aspiration of the person to direct life according to his own free will. Oedipus punished himself; thus, he won over fate. Oedipus makes the act of self-affirmation directed against Destiny. This decision develops all further events. The dark side is that when person’s power of own will becomes separated from will of gods it leads to the tragedy.
Maybe, sometimes human is not able to avoid troubles intended by gods, but the reason of these troubles is his character, which is shown in the actions directed to execution of gods’ will. Free will of the person and his hopelessness is the main contradiction in the tragedy Oedipus the King.
Hamlet as a portrait of a tormented hero in the play Hamlet.
Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s greatest creations, and it is also considered the hardest of his works to understand. Hamlet is full of riddles, mysteries, and questions. In this tragedy, one can observe a conflict between old ideas and new ones. Even a specific term, “hamletism”, was invented. It means a tendency to treat everything as futile, to doubt everything, and to let thought prevail over action.
The main hero suffers from cynicism, weaknesses, evil in the surrounding world, and all the destructive consequences that they create. Hamlet seems to be in a psychological torment, and some events like the marriage of his mother and the death of his father drive him crazy.
Hamlet is the most intellectual of all Shakespearean characters. Firstly, we see him plunged into the depths of despair: he is grieved by the death of his father, shocked and horrified by the inconstancy and immorality of his mother, filled with disgust and hatred for Claudius, and begins to be disgusted with life in general. These thoughts bring him a lot of anxiety.
Later, after talking to the Ghost, he learns about the foulest crime: the murder of his father. The blow is the greatest he has ever felt, and he exclaims that life is out of joint (Shakespeare 53).
The net scene begins with the dialogue of Polonius and Reynaldo. From it, it becomes clear that a considerable amount of time has passed since the previous scene. During that time, Hamlet has come to the conclusion that prevents him from avenging his father. Hamlet is betrayed again and again: by his former close friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Ophelia, his mother, Laertes, and Osric. He understands that his struggle against the evils of Elsinore can only take the form of a struggle for the throne, and he hates the idea; it would only mean his sinking to the level of Claudius, Polonius, and others like them.
Hamlet is hesitating to commit suicide and escape all the turmoil that he is undergoing. However, his option of committing suicide is against the Bible, and he is very uncertain in the afterlife.
The soliloquy “To be or not to be…” (Shakespeare 285) is a philosophical question about the existence and mortality. It also means that there is a paradox about life and the value of life. It is rather the paradox of living in this world where there is no value of life. Hamlet is troubled by the fundamental question whether to act or not to act in a given situation. Throughout the whole play, he fights with himself.
Thus, he knows the consequences in view of his action against the King, and he is brave enough to admit, at least to himself, “conscience does make cowards of us all” (Shakespeare 285).
The most valuable part of the play is when Hamlet hesitates to kill Claudius while he is praying. Though killing Claudius was a moral deed for Hamlet, he also faced a moral repulsion to being a murderer.
It is a surprise that Hamlet, who is loved by the people, possesses all the qualities of an ideal monarch. There is only one quality of a king he does not possess: the ability to be cunning and diplomatic, and to hatch intrigues. Even when for strategic reasons he pretends to be mad, his pretence consists of speaking the truth straight out, and, as a result, Claudius’s suspicion of him is only heightened.
The ease with which Hamlet kills Claudius in the last scene is precisely explained by the fact that Hamlet knows there is no danger of him becoming a tyrant and villain. In such situation his inaction called for greater wisdom and willpower rather than the most violent action. Nevertheless, his vengeance leads to the death of the whole royal family, including Hamlet himself. He punished Claudius, but he could not eradicate all evil; that is why it was not Hamlet’s victory.
The role of nature in the poems of William Wordsworth.
The Lake School is a group of English poets-romanticists who lived and created in the legendary Lacustrine edge. They wanted to discover the natural state of man which consisted in the perfect balance of man and nature. William Wordsworth belonged to this group of romanticists who called for return to the nature. While spending time in Germany in 1798-99, he wrote a number of poems under a name “Lucy” where he expressed vision of shores and mountains, land and sea, fires and fields, mornings and nights (Wordsworth 173). William compared Lucy to a flower, growing “in the sun and shower” (Wordsworth 171). He portrayed how his darling had been full of tender care for nature since her childhood. He confirmed that willows, storms, clouds, and the stars of the midnight were surrounded by her solicitude.
A tie between Lucy and nature became stronger in A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal, where she was connected with trees, rocks, and stones (Wordsworth 173). Another work marked with Lucy’s theme was She dwelt among the Untraded Ways.
“Lucy” poems demonstrate a particular concentration on the nature as other works of the author express. In his autobiographical epic poem The Prelude, Wordsworth shows that his love for people is directed by his adoration for nature. Nature became his greatest joy and muse as a nurturing, benevolent woman.
The Lacustrine edge, which became a source of inspiration for him, is famous by its unique mountain and lacustrine landscape. Unique natural beauty, such as green meadows, mirror surfaces of lakes, majestic hills and mysterious valleys inspired the poet. William Wordsworth was fond of walks on this picturesque locality, and, in 1810, he published Guide on Lakes.
Wordsworth was a great master of description. In his descriptions of the landscape, one feels not only his love to nature, but also his great fear at its being blemished by the inroad of industrialism.
The poet found themes for his works in everyday life. He also highlighted the determining role of nature in his own life: “Nature is cognized by not a mind, but a sensitive heart” (Wordsworth 57). William was convinced that nature is a great teacher.
In a preface to the second edition of The Lyric Ballads, the poet proclaimed that nature was able to make the most different experiences and feelings in one’s soul. Therefore, his poetry marked with exactly new perception of nature. Wordsworth understood it in a dual sense: from the external world and the internal nature of a person. It was important for Wordsworth that nature had positive forces that helped to bring back lost joys and positive emotions to people. The poet succeeded in opening enthusiasm and magic in the soul of a simple man. He thought that love to nature stimulated the development of the world of senses.
Love to God and fellow men also depends on love to nature. Such strophes serve as eloquent confirmation of it: “Well pleased to recognize/ In nature and the language of the sense/ The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse/ The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul/ Of all my moral being” (Wordsworth 52). This spirit of God or nature is present in almost all his poems.
A style of Wordsworth’s verses was psychologically persuasive. The principal subject of his poems was a deep love to woods, meadows, mountains and all natural in the world. His type of poetry is focused on the real language of people, memory and emotions, a return to nature. Wordsworth supposed poetry to be the image of nature and man. Nature symbolized purity as childhood experience, memory, the real language, and emotions did. This purity became a heart of The Romantic Movement and rose to the level of religion. Hence, William Wordsworth never stopped praising it. Nature was given a new meaning in his poems, and it reached new heights. Thus, Wordsworth was an innovative poet, whose ideas are very actual nowadays, in our eco-sensitive age.