Oedipus The King And Ragtime: A Literary Analysis

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Throughout literature, especially in tragedies, characters are often plagued with a hamartia, a fatal flaw. These fatal flaws often incite dire consequences; resulting in a character’s downfall. This circumstance is evident through the Jewish Proverb, “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.” The sorrows that emanate from the prideful could range from destruction and turmoil, sadness experienced by others, or one’s own unfortunate defeat. Oedipus from Oedipus the King and Coalhouse Walker Jr. from Ragtime relate to this proverb because both let their pride manipulate their actions, thus resulting in their breeding of sorrows, or in this case their downfall. Coalhouse Walker undoubtedly breeds sorrows for himself through his prideful …show more content…
Oedipus, prideful in his actions, unintentionally bestows a curse upon himself, meaning to curse the murderer of his father and husband of his mother. Oedipus is, in fact, the person that he cursed, which results with him having to face grim ramifications. Oedipus’ pride is evident through his belief that he can overcome his fate. Oedipus actually believes that his destiny will not apply to him, regardless of what the famed prophet Tiresias says will come of him. Ultimately, Oedipus’ ego is the driving force in what does, says, and thinks. Thus, his pride leads to his downfall, his gouging out of his eyes and his banishment from Thebes. Sophocles writes, “Pride breeds the tyrant violent pride, gorging, crammed to bursting with all that is overripe and rich with ruin—clawing up to the heights, headlong pride crashes down the abyss—sheer doom!” (963-967). The chorus, aware of Oedipus’ excessive pride and arrogance, practically predicts Oedipus’ downfall. By saying “headlong pride crashes down the abyss”, the Chorus claims that pride will disintegrate Oedipus’ life with full force, crashing down upon him with such an impact as to cause him a great doom. The chorus accurately compares and connects Oedipus’ hubris with his downfall. Yet again, in the final lines of the play, the Chorus states, …show more content…
Sometimes, a person can change so drastically that their alteration is a rebirth, a complete volte-face of his or her attitude, opinions, and actions. As for Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Joey Margolis from Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger, a rebirth proves to be beneficial for themselves and the people around them. A quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez relates to this; “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” The quote says that life graciously allows you to rebirth, or change; however, it is your choice whether to decide to change or not. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly curmudgeon, changes the way he acts in such a fashion. Before his encounter with the three spirits, Scrooge was cheap, unkind, inconsiderate, and spiteful. Many of the people he encountered disliked him. After three Spirits reveal Scrooge’s tender and sincere side, Scrooge decides to change for the better. He finally realizes that his actions have extremely negative effects on those around him, especially his poor clerk, Bob Cratchit. Dickens describes Scrooge’s transformation: “Spirit’, he cried, tight clutching at its robe, ‘hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must

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