Saturday, September 15, 2012

What happens now?

According to the presentation that we received just a few days back, Greek tradition dictates that the son is responsible for avenging his father's death. I had made a comment in class to Ms. King, and to Mrs. Quinet, but I 'm not sure the rest of you guys heard it... so here it is: Laius was killed by Oedipus, and since Oedipus has to avenge the death of his father, doesn't Oedipus have to kill himself? Instead of killing himself, Oedipus intentionally blinds himself. This action only serves to influence the central role of irony, as Oedipus is only capable of metaphorically seeing the truth of his past after he becomes blind. Does anyone else think this was sort of odd?


Madeline Davis said...

I think within the play, it wasn't odd at all. He punished himself in a way that he felt was harsher than death. However, I don't believe that blinding himself fulfills the "eye for an eye" tradition of the Greeks. Perhaps Oedipus felt that this form of avenging Laius' death was sufficient, but I don't feel that the rest of Greek society would have deemed it as an acceptable substitute for death. Then again, who would have been angered by Laius' death, since Oedipus was his son? In my opinion, Oedipus's self-inflicted punishment forms a sort of paradox of Greek punishment.

Ian J said...

Very true, indeed Oedipus should have to kill himself, but it is through his process of gouging out his eyes he becomes able to see his ironic life. It is odd that he had to gouge his eyes out to see clearly, but isn't that the whole point of a Tragedy? This irony stems from Sophocles's whole objective in writing a Tragedy with a tragic flaw. Oedipus's tragic flaw is his past and his ultimate fate and in the fact that he had to make himself blind before he could see.