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The Tale of Sohrab and Oedipus Tyrannus Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2021

Introduction

“The Tale of Sohrab” from the Shahnameh and Oedipus plays from Sophocles focus on mighty warriors of their times, who were famous. They lived in different time periods and had different cultures. These two literary works have more similarities than differences. Both protagonists are heroes who killed their family members by ignorance and end in tragedy. The main similarity that will be discussed in this paper is the theme of fate that can be traced in both plays.

The Theme of Fate

Sophocles tells about the fate of Oedipus Tyrannus, a son of Theban King Laius. Raised by a Corinthian King Polybus, he quarreled with an unknown old man on the way to Thebes and killed him, who turned out to be his father. Oedipus managed to free Thebes from the monster, the Sphinx: “You came to Cadmus’ city and freed us from the tribute payment the Sphinx demanded” (Fainlight and Littman 4).

Then he unwittingly married Jocasta, the widow of Laius, his own mother. The tragedy of Oedipus begins from the moment when the chorus prays to him to save the city from a terrible disaster. Delphic oracle announced that the reason for this misfortune is that among the citizens, there is a murderer who should be expelled. Oedipus, with all his might, tried to find a criminal, not knowing that he is this person. When Oedipus became aware of the truth, he blinded himself, believing that it was a well-deserved punishment for the crime he committed. The fate of Oedipus was as if predetermined.

The impetuous nature of Oedipus was the cause of the murder of his father. A reader sees that Oedipus can feel deeply and understands his destiny: “Such is my nature, I have no wish to change it—nor not seek out the truth of my birth” (Fainlight and Littman 47). He is guilty before his parents and children born in a sinful marriage. For this guilt, Oedipus punishes himself cruelly: “How could someone, judging such a fate, not think me the plaything of a savage god?” (Fainlight and Littman 35).

In the third section, which from the very beginning prepares the denouement of this tragedy of Sophocles, emotions are felt, attaining the highest point in exposing the activities of the mother who gave her son to death. Songs of the choir, often expressing the view of the author, are closely related to developing events. Recognizing the divine predestination against which a man is helpless, Sophocles showed a man in a free desire to evade the intended events and fight against them in the conditions of separated personality: “Chance rules us all. No one can foresee the future” (Fainlight and Littman 41).

Consequently, Oedipu’s play is not only the tragedy of fate, where although a man’s dependence on the will of the gods is recognized, but also an idea of ​​spiritual freedom of a person, which he or she takes with courage in the midst of the blows of fate.

Likewise, in the play, Oedipus, Sohrab’s story presents various tragedies and the power of fate. The story of the poetic love of Rustam to a beautiful Tahmina and the betrayal of the insidious and envious Shah of Cavus create an atmosphere of tragedy and inevitability. This story about the legendary heroes Rustam and his son Sohrab who perished in the war begun by the evil shah is full of profound meaning. A set of dramatic struggles may be noted in the mentioned poem.

There is a struggle of kindness, loyalty, and nobility with human baseness, greed, and cunning in the eternal search for one’s destiny. The forces of evil manage to hide the truth from the protagonists, and the father kills his son. Rustam’s insight, as well as the grief of his mother, is truly tragic. In their mouths, the curse of the war sounds particularly strong. The idea of war hostility as a destructive force becomes the leitmotif of the story.

“The Tale of Sohrab” attracts by its poetic charm, an intricate pattern of the plot, an eastern floridity of the artistic language, and true emotions. Along with heroes, there are wizards such as divas and miracles that add the feeling of predetermined fate. Firdausi’s sonorous stanzas sound here, and one gradually finds himself or herself involved in the imaginative world of the poem. The tragedy of human destiny and depth of human feelings remain the key issues, which have not lost their relevance even after ten centuries. In this tragedy, there is a deep meaning. It shows the cruelty of bloody wars along with their unnaturalness and senselessness.

Conclusion

To conclude, the passionate appeal to stop the folly of devastating wars sounds through these dramas, showing the suffering they bring to people. That is why both tragedies are surpassed by a modern sound. The characters of Oedipus and Sohrab illustrate the variability of human destiny and the impermanence of happiness. The main thematic similarity of the mentioned stories is the fate that encompasses the lives of protagonists.

Work Cited

Fainlight, Ruth, and Robert J. Littman. The Theban Plays: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.

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IvyPanda. "The Tale of Sohrab and Oedipus Tyrannus." May 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-tale-of-sohrab-and-oedipus-tyrannus/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "The Tale of Sohrab and Oedipus Tyrannus." May 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-tale-of-sohrab-and-oedipus-tyrannus/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Tale of Sohrab and Oedipus Tyrannus'. 9 May.

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