This paper aims to point out the differences and similarities between A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. While Oedipus Rex was spun in a world of gods and goddesses and heroes and heroines, A Raisin in the Sun was set amidst the true state of living in this world…
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The future for them looks a lot better upon the arrival of the $10,000.00 insurance check from Walter Lee Younger, Sr. Unfortunately Walter Young lost the remaining money when he invested it to his "good-for-nothing loud-mouth" friend, Willy Harris, as his wife would like to call him. A series of misfortune has also befallen to Oedipus in Oedipus Rex. In the beginning, Oedipus as an infant was pinned in the ankle, thereby acquiring the name (which means "swollen foot") and left to die in the mountains to prevent the Oracle from happening wherein it is told that he will kill his father and marry his own mother. But as luck would have it the order was not carried out instead he was adopted by the King of Corinth, Polybus which he thought was really his natural father. Upon learning the oracle he exiled himself to avoid the prophecy from happening which lead to another disaster, on his way to Thebes, he met his father and slaughtered him to death after which he married his widowed mother. After many years, when they uncovered the truth, Jocasta, Oedipus' mother and wife killed herself and Oedipus blinded himself and was exiled from Thebes.
Some of them also share the same moral fibers, like for instance Lena Younger's (A Raisin in the Sun) pride will not allow his son Walter Lee Younger to accept Mr. Linder's offer to pay them more than their down payment if they won't push through with their plans to live in a white neighbourhood in Clybourne Park. She says to Walter, "Son-I cane from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers-but ain't nobody in my family never let nobody pay 'em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn't fit to walk the earth." On the other hand, Oedipus' pride would not stop him from ending his investigation even if it will greatly affect him in the end. Standing by what is rightful is the way that he does thing which lead to a disastrous ending for his life.
Love for the family. The characters exhibited these qualities in the story. When Oedipus heard the prophecy that he was to kill his father and marry his mother, he fled the kingdom leaving everything he had behind. This is a sign that he loves his family to the extent that he would give up what he already have just to ensure that no harm would come to them. This was a great sacrifice on his part taking into consideration that since birth he had enjoyed all the comforts of life. He never had second thoughts when he left Corinth. On the other hand, Walter Younger wanted a better life for his family. His desire for progress was very strong, he wants to put his son to college, provide his family with a nice home and even dreams of buying his wife pearls to wear. All he ever wanted was a better life style for his family. Lena Younger also inhibited this attribute when she gave up the remaining money for his son, Walter. She said, "There ain't nothing worth holding on to, money dreams nothing else-if-it means it's going to destroy my boy..."
Differences of A Raisin in the Sun and Oedipus Rex
Contrary to Oedipus' royal status, the Younger's poverty was
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(“A Raisin in the Sun and Oedipus Rex Book Report/Review”, n.d.)
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(A Raisin in the Sun and Oedipus Rex Book Report/Review)
“A Raisin in the Sun and Oedipus Rex Book Report/Review”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1529645-a-raisin-in-the-sun-and-oedipus-rex.
Younger. Each member of the family wanted things to do with it: Lena, or “Mama,” wants to use the money to buy a house to fulfill this shared dream with her husband; Walter wants to invest in a liquor store to solve the family’s financial problems; Walter’s wife, Ruth, favors Mama’s choice; and Beneatha, daughter of Mama and sister of Walter, wants to use the money for medical school.
In fact, in the most parts of the novel or story, race is depicted as the main obstacle in dream accomplishment. This allows Lorraine to draft a universally appealing story and enable the audience to understand the main effect of race in family lives of Americans.
This write-up is a comparison between Oedipus Rex and A Raisin In The Sun; the former written by Sophocles and the latter, by Lorraine Hansberry. The two belong to completely different time periods and literary genres. The former belongs to the Greek Drama, while the latter belongs to the genre of African-American literature of the modern era.
Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is set in the 1950s when the racial discrimination was overt and the play explicitly portrays the distress, anxiety and tragedy as well as the conviction, hope and commitment towards better prospects. This play is a part of the legacy which strived for equality and justice for the racially discriminated class.
This is a three-act drama that mainly concentrated on how a family handles emotional stress, coping with life in a more challenging environment-challenging prejudice and economic oppression. The concept of the story is based on a black family and their own experience thriving in an urban neighborhood in the heart of Washington Park Subdivision in Chicago.
This play also addresses the concept of free will and determinism, despite the fact that Oedipus did not become the victim of fate. Although he kills the ex-king, but this action was totally based on his intentions to get the throne. He has been criticised for his act, but his determination and will to have access to the throne is highlighted solidly in this play.
"Hansberry, an intellectual and activist, used the play as a vehicle to address significant issues of the day including segregation, poverty, political resistance, social justice, feminism and reproductive rights. This introspective look at one black family living in Chicago's south side brought into sharp focus the issues facing black people in America and abroad in the 1950s." (Penumbra Theatre Study Guide) Therefore, the play dealt with several significant issues concerning the black people in the 1950s and one of the most important issues in the play has been the issue of poverty.
On the other hand, pragmatism is defined as setting aside one idea to pursue a lesser, more achievable ideal, and involves pursuing practical approaches to problems. A pragmatist is said to be a person who is primarily concerned with the success or failure of his actions.
Sophocles uses blindness as a symbol for truth. Both the characters Teiresias who is a blind prophet and Oedipus after he is blind seem to see the truth most clearly in spite of their blindness. Oedipus was famous for clear-sightedness but discovers that he had
Polynices is the traitor and the enemy of the state as such Creon strongly believes that he deserves that treatment. Security of the state is the primary requirement for humankind, religion, family life and for the proper and peaceful existence. According
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