Saturday, September 26, 2015

So in class last week, I said that there is a archetypal occurance in Greek history/literature that emphasizes revealing a persons fate. In Oedipus, when he actually finds out that he is destined to kill his father and sleep with his mother, he takes actions that eventually lead him to his fate. Similarly in the story of Paris and the fall of Troy. The night before Paris was born, his mother had a dream that she would give birth to a torch that would lead to the fall of the Troy. His parents decided that the baby must be killed in order to protect Troy from this prophecy. They gave  baby Paris to a herdsman to kill and the herdsman couldn't do it...(sound familiar?). Anyway when I said this in clas, everyone dismissed me as just making stupid accusation but I actually think it's a pretty important similarity that we see throughout the origins, myths, and history of Greek literature and civilization.

2 comments:

Abbey said...

I would just like to correct you when you say, "his parents decided that the baby must be killed." It was Aesacus, the seer, who interpreted Hecuba's dream (here is the idea that humans have to interpret the god's messages in Oedipus!) and said that the baby must be killed to protect the kingdom of Troy. Therefore, it was not Priam and Hecuba, Paris's parents, that wanted to kill Paris; in fact, neither Hecuba nor Priam could kill their son. When Priam dismissed the baby to the herdsmen, the herdsmen actually left him to die on a mountain (another connection to Oedipus). Paris, however, (like Oedipus) survived, obviously. He was supposed to be killed so he would not destroy his homeland, but in the end everything came full circle because his love for Helen, leading to the Trojan War, is what ended up destroying Troy. While there are strong similarities between Oedipus and Paris, one of the major differences is that Paris did not know his fate beforehand like Oedipus did, so he could not escape it. Once again, everyone wanted to avoid the devastating prophecy, but once again, the prophecy was fulfilled and the rest is history. There definitely is this type of pattern throughout Greek literature, and I appreciate you for bringing up this point.

Belin Manalle said...

This situation also reminds me of the story of Moses. The king of Egypt hears a prophecy that the Israelites are going to lead a revolt and fight against him. Therefore, he orders for all of the males born in the land to be killed. However, Moses is saved by being put in a basket to float down the river and does in fact, end up leading a revolt against Egypt. Oedipus'/the king's intentions are to prevent the prophecy from coming true but the interference of the gods/God prevails.