Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oepidus and American Sniper?

So far in class we have discussed the fact that Oepidus's potential downfall is his hunt for the truth/knowledge. I think another one of Oepidus's possible tragic flaws is courage. Oepidus shows outstanding courage throughout the play. He first has the courage to leave his home and go search out the oracle of Apollo, then to defeat the Sphinx, and to gauge his own eyes out. What I find most courageous of all about Oepidus is the fact that he confesses his wrongdoings directly to the town of Thebes and exiles himself. Rather than taking the "easy" way out and killing himself, Oepidus chooses to live a life filled with tremendous guilt. The first people I always think of when I think "courage" are soldiers. They risk their lives in order to defend a country, but their courage sometimes leads to their death, which we could assume to be their downfall. One movie in particular comes to mind when I try to connect all this. American Sniper is a movie about one American soldier (Chris Kyle) that chooses to go to Iraq to fight for his country because he is so disgusted about what he sees all these terrorists doing. He fearlessly and courageously volunteers his life in order to fight. In the case of this movie, his downfall is not death, but rather, it is extreme post traumatic stress resulting from the war. The most gut-wrenching part of the whole movie is the very end. He is done with all his tours to Iraq, has a family at home, and is slowly recovering. He takes a veteran out to a shooting range one day, and very ironically and horrifyingly, is shot by this veteran. He survived the war in Iraq only to be shot by a companion in his own country. I think this is very representative of Oepidus's situation. Oepidus, unknowingly fated for his life to unfold the exact way it does, many times does very risky things because of the fact that he strongly believes in his actions (like trying to find his real parents and trying to solve the murder of Laius). Like Kyle, Oepidus makes exceptional and commendable progress by doing all the "morally correct" things (granted that murder and incest were not looked down upon then as they are today and disregarding all questions of morality that war evokes). However, no matter how much courage Oepidus and the Kyle have, their courage proves, unfortunately, to be short lived in the end. Kyle's life quite literally ends and Oepidus's life as he knows it changes for the worse.

1 comment:

Madison Cummings said...

I think that this is a very interesting and accurate comparison. The similarity I find most interesting and also the most upsetting between the two is the fact that they tried to do everything morally right and they still couldn’t escape their horrible fates. Oedipus, throughout the play, pursues the knowledge that led to his downfall for the sake of his people just like Kyle fought for the safety and wellbeing of our country. Both men acted selflessly and did everything that we would consider to be “the right things to do” yet neither could escape their ultimate fate.