Comparing Oedipus The King And The Peloponnesian War

1499 Words 6 Pages
History as a Tragedy

When first reading the History of the Peloponnesian War most would assume it to be a historical narrative in its entirety. Yet when read carefully, History does have an episode framed in a way other than a historical narrative. For the Sicilian expedition in particular, the structure of the episode was written alike to that of Oedipus the King, a known tragedy. One might say that the details of both History and Oedipus the King differ so much so that they cannot be compared. However, although the heroes’ degree of misfortune, and the advice given to the heroes, differs the general structure of the Sicilian expedition and Oedipus the King is so much the same that the Sicilian expedition can be seen as a tragic plot within
…show more content…
This consideration led to another correlation between the plot of Oedipus the King and the Sicilian expedition, in that both of the heroes actively disregard the advice of influential figures. Oedipus can be clearly seen to disregard Teiresias’ advice who says that he should no longer inquire to his origin or else he is to face a terrible realization (316-360), whose advice is of course ignored and subsequently angers Oedipus. In the Sicilian expedition, this same disregard is seen when the Athenians proceed with the expedition despite Nicias’ warnings. He tells them that “I still think that this is a question that requires further thought – is it really a good thing for us to send the ships at all… we ought to not give such hast consideration to so important a matter” (6.9). He even tries to put them off by requesting a grandiose scale of armament. But instead of the vast majority of Athenians being put off by Nicias’ speeches, they actually became more enthusiastic about the expedition. So rather than just disregarding the advice of Nicias, the majority of Athenians actually became more compelled by his warnings. In Oedipus the King it seems also that by Teiresias warning Oedipus, it only angers and thus compels Oedipus to …show more content…
At once Alcibiades takes the stage to refute Nicias and because of his own self-interests, encourages the Athenians to continue with the expedition. In Oedipus the King there is a lack of such a character, although there is a driving force that encourages Oedipus to continue in his inquiry. This force is the plague, that drives Oedipus to find the cause and thus find his origin. So although no respected character encourages Oedipus to explore his birth, Oedipus is driven by the epidemic (58-77). Nevertheless, in both Oedipus the King and the Sicilian expedition there is a respected character whose advice is ignored by the heroes, and a force that causes both heroes to pursue with their judgement

Related Documents