A Closer Look at the Relation Between Oedipus the King and An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

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A Closer Look at the Relation Between Oedipus the King and An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce is a 19th Century mystery story that is set at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865), when the Slave owning Confederate States in the South engaged in conflict with the Federal Government of the USA. The story focuses on a character called Peyton Farquhar, who was about to be hung for trespassing the Owl Creek Bridge. The story ends with a curious twist in the plot. The main aspect of the story is set in Farquhar’s mind, however while reading, at the first instinct, the reader is …show more content…
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” begins powerfully with an unnamed protagonist. At this point, Bierce creates an atmosphere of mystery. The author only describes the problematic situation of the character, “The man’s hands were behind his back, his wrists bound with cord. A rope closely encircled his neck” (Bierce). The reader does not know it, yet the situation alludes to death. The author attempts to initiate the reader to question the man's entrapment and his ability to break away. Further, the author only details the man has committed a crime. What crime? Bierce forces the reader to continue through curiosity. The author sets no preliminaries for the actions taking place. Bierce firmly plants the reader inside the story here. During Part One, the author also shows intense time distortion. Literary critic Cathy Davidson states, “[…] it is a speculation on the nature of time and the nature of the abnormal psychology […]” (Davidson 196). The author introduces minor thoughts of the protagonist, “[…] a piece of driftwood caught his attention and his eyes followed it down the current. How slow it appeared to move!” (Bierce). The author’s manipulation of the time allows readers to question the trivial nature of the protagonist's thoughts, as well as, to pull the reader's attention away from the reality of the time span. Bierce

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