Tragedy Across the Mediterranean Essay
Destiny in Oedipus in Tyrannus and the Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam
Destiny is defined in terms of the preordained path of events that humans have no influence to control or change. The term also refers to a force that shapes, steers, distresses and rewards human life. By analyzing the components of the true personality and attitudes of a character, fate is made into reality and his or her fate becomes the destination. The two tales, Oedipus the King and The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam have the intertwinement of fate and character as the central theme.
While it is evident that the tragic hero, Oedipus, has particular blemishes that give the outcome of the events of the narration, he is also viewed as a pawn of providence with no real ability and chance to modify what destiny has in store for him. Oedipus’ inability to alter what the augur had predicted for him strongly supports this argument. He tells the herald that Apollo had once told him that it is his destiny to someday marry his own mother and slaughter his father in the process with his own hands. This portend was told to him at a tender age and he sets out to change his fate albeit unsuccessfully by leaving Corinth where he thinks his true parents live in an attempt to escape his future. Oedipus acknowledges that he had heard of what the oracle had said and he neglected Corinth. In essence, what he did was to put fate into motion (Vernant et al. 479).
As fate would have it, the careless quarrelsome Oedipus ends up slaying his father after a minor squabble. He is of course not oblivious to the fact the victim is his father. In addition, he marries Jocasta the queen, who was now a widow and a woman older enough to be his own mother. One can argue that if indeed Oedipus had taken the prophecy seriously, his interactions and associations with older people could have been avoided. As a result, his rush actions have led to the fulfillment of the prophecy (Vernant, et al., 510).
Besides, Oedipus had heard a drunken man say that he was not a son of his father and yet he did not pay any attention to these words. Upon discovering that he had killed his father, he tells Jocasta that he might have as well summoned a curse upon himself (Vernant, et al., 520). It is evident throughout the play that the author believes that while a human has a free will, they are under control of a larger order that is in charge of all things. Jocasta and Oedipus altered the framework of their families in an attempt to change their fate. The decision to move away from their families in every aspect sets the course for the story. It does not matter what they attempted, they were unsuccessful in altering their destiny. The chorus sums it up “Time sees all” to mean that time and fate has a great influence than anything humans can do (Vernant, et al., 520).
Just like the story of Oedipus, the tragic story of Sohrab and Rostam talks about a young man and his father who meet at war by coincidence. Sohrab, the youngster realizes that he has been destined to defeat all adversaries and hand the leadership of Iran to his father. He says that he was meant to give Rostam the throne by overthrowing Shah Kavus (Amanat, 19). Unfortunately, they are unable to identify who the other is when they finally meet. They engage in combat three times where the first fight end without a winner. The second fight sees Sohrab fling Rostam who tricks him for another chance (Amanat, 19). On the third and final day, Rostam manages to throw his son and stabs him. It is during this time when Sohrab, in his final breath, confesses that he came to fight with the aim of joining his father and making him the ruler of Iran. It took the armband on Sohrab’s hand that Rostam had given to his mother to wrap around the child when he left her to realize that indeed he had just killed his own son. He embraced Sohrab even as he was dying and mourned this death in moving ways. He asks, “What father’s ever done this?” (921). He wondered if there was anybody else in the world that can kill his own son.
These two characters are driven by gracious reasons. Sohrab has the aspiration to overthrow Kay Kavus and Afrasiyab, in his place have Rostam who is a worthier figure, and possess justifiable and laudable attributes. Their fate, however, seems unfair because he dies at the hands of his own father (Amanat, 26). Sohrab seems to blame fate when he tells his father in his final moments that whatever happened was meant to be because it was his destiny.
The two stories, Oedipus Tyrannus and The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam are very similar in terms of addressing the issue of fate and destiny. They both begin with a noble objective of trying to change the status quo but in the end, they fail because fate had determined their destiny.
Tragedy Across the Mediterranean Essay
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