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English literature - Essay Example

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Pride in itself, can be seen as a positive attribute, but when it is expressed in arrogance and defiance of fate and the gods, it becomes a fatal flaw that leads to their downfall. Aristotle stated "the…
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English literature

Download file to see previous pages... both Oedipus from Oedipus the King by Sophocles and the character’s daughter Antigone from Antigone by Jean Anouilh are each protagonists driven by the passion of pride and how this largely contributes to their own downfall.
The opening actions of both tragedies illustrate this pride. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is approached by plague-stricken masses asking help from him. When he sees his people gathered around him like a god, his response to them is “What means this reek of incense everywhere, / From others, and am hither come, myself, / I Oedipus, your world-renowned king”1. Although the people of Oedipus’ day did turn to their kings to cure all societal ills, Oedipus here is taking on the persona of a god. His pride in his role is evident in the words he speaks. His last line, referring to himself as the “world-renowned king” helps to underscore that streak of pride. It is also obvious, with a touch of foreshadowing, that he is not secure in his position by his tendency to repeat his greatness. Personal experience has shown when people insist on being known by their title, they are not overly secure about its authority.
Antigone, on the other hand, enters the scene in a rage after learning that the new king, Creon, has forbidden to allow one of her brothers to be buried. She decides to go against the king’s orders, arguing that burying the dead is the right thing to do. Her pride in family makes it impossible for her to drop the issue. It is clear she’s outraged that the king would tell her what to do when she is talking to her sister at the very beginning of the play: “That’s what people say the noble Creon / has announced to you and me – I mean to me”2 . The repetition of “I mean to me” indicates she cannot believe someone else would tell her what to do, showing excessive pride in her own judgment. As her sister reminds her, women do not have any power in their culture, but Antigone does not listen. In the end, it ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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