Explain how understanding culture can clarify and affect the reading of a text - Essay Example

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As such, culture is a fundamental aspect of human life thus influencing every aspect of life in a society. Literature on the other hand is…
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Explain how understanding culture can clarify and affect the reading of a text
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Understanding how culture can clarify and affect the reading of a text Culture refers to the entirety of the transmitted social human behaviors, beliefs and arts among other products of human work and thought. As such, culture is a fundamental aspect of human life thus influencing every aspect of life in a society. Literature on the other hand is an art that often strives to represent the prevailing features of the society key among which is culture. As such, culture is an empirical factor that authors consider often ensuring that they capture the intricate features of the society in the form of the themes they write about in their books. In doing this, culture affects and often clarifies the reading of such texts as is portrayed in the analysis of Oedipus and The Iliad below.
The two are among the greatest literatures of the ancient Greek. The literatures capture various cultural features of the ancient Greek societies and therefore require an understanding of the early Greek culture to comprehend. The Iliad for example is set during the Trojan War (Homer 23). War was a central cultural feature that enabled societies to interact as they resolved their conflicts. The ambience of wars at the time was different from the contemporary wars. As a cultural feature, understanding the nature of the ancient Greek wars enables an audience understand the book since the wars would clarify the types of weapons the people used and the severity of the wars. The epic poem voices tales of clashes and the events preceding the war. The quarrels between King Agamemnon and Achilles help portray the cultural feature of the ancient Greek societies.
Another cultural trait in the tragedy Oedipus the King is prophecy. Set in the ancient Greek society the mythology portrays the effects of prophecies in an individual’s life. The prophecies were vital aspects of life since they affected the lives of everyone including the King (Sophocles 12). The portrayal of prophecy presents an ultimate conflict in the story between the will and destiny. As such, understanding the ancient Greek culture becomes essential in understanding the story. The prophecy in the story clarifies the actions of Oedipus who accidentally kills his parents thereby fulfilling the prophecy. The act leads to other subsequent occurrences the play. Culture helps clarify relationship between the events thus implying that culture helps develop the conflict that sustains the story.
The role of an Individual in the course of destiny is a theme in both ancient books. Additionally, the authors portray harsh societies in both books a feature that clarifies the role of an individual in the course of destiny. Such are cultural features that affected the lives of the key characters in the two literatures thereby affecting and clarifying the underlying issues in the books. The cultural setting for example helps develop Oedipus and King Agamemnon in both books. The role of the two and the nature of the conflicts in the two books require a substantial understanding of the early Greek culture in order to understand. The authors of the two books develop systematic conflicts in the books by addressing such intricate features of the early culture as the political setups and the position of prophecies and gods both of which require effective cultural comprehension in order to understand.
Works cited
Homer. The Iliad. New York: Bohn, 1851. Print.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Print. Read More
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