– Compared To Things Fall Apart Essay, Research Paper
“Oedipus the King” and “Things Fall Apart”
The poem “Oedipus the King” and the novel “Things Fall Apart, there is some differences between these two stories. These two stories were very famous in the ancient time. “Things Fall Apart has won the following awards: Nigerian National Trophy, Commonwealth Poetry Prize, Nigerian National Merit Award. Things Fall Apart and Related Readings becomes a complete literature unit with the Teacher’s Source Book which includes author information, background, chapter notes and 15 reproducible pages for student use” (Things Online). “Oedipus the King” was also prized: “Aristotle prized ‘Oedipus the King’ so highly that he used it to illustrate many of his principles of tragedy” (Sophocles 906). The background of “Oedipus the King” was also well-known. Many Americans have already known what is the poetry is about. “Although these details were commonly known, there was disagreement about the outcome of Oedipus’s life” (Sophocles 906).
“The author of “Oedipus the King”, Sophocles, “was born between 500 and 494 B.C.E. into an affluent Athenian family. He began acting and singing early, and her served as a choral leader in the celebrations for the defeat of the Persians at Marathon in 480 B.C.E.” (Sophocles 906). He was a very famous author in the around in ancient time: “Because of his dramatic and public achievements, he was venerated during his
lifetime, and after his death in 406-405 B.C.E., a cult was established in his honor” (Sophocles 906). The author of “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe, “was born the son of Isaiah Okafo” (Culross Online). “He married Chrisitie Chinwe Okoli, and now has four children: Chinelo, Ikechukwu, Chidi, and Nwando” (Culross Online). Achebe wrote this novel to reflect the African cultures: “He also fiercely resents the stereotype of Africa as an undifferentiated ‘primitive’ land, the ‘heart of darkness,’ as Conrad called it. Throughout the novel he shows how African cultures vary among themselves and how they change over time” (Chinua Online). However, Sophocles used a lot of irony in poetry, especially dramatic irony. For example, Oedipus the King killed his own father, Lauis, is major dramatic irony in this poetry. However, Chinua Achebe, “has been able to avoid imitating the trends in English literature.” (Culross Online). He “rejecting the European notion that art should be accountable to no one, and [needs] to justify itself to nobody, as he puts it in his book of essays, Morning Yet on Creation Day” (Culross Online).
The characters of “Oedipus the King” and ” Things Fall Apart”, Oedipus and Okonkwo, they were both experienced difficulty when they achieved their goal. That is really a tragedy for each a matter of their own personal failing and also a tragedy each experiences caused by outside forces over which they have no control. Indeed, they both a short temper. Oedipus is a person who gets angry easily. We can prove by examining his conversion with his brother-in-law: ” What is our trouble? How shall we cleanse
ourselves?” (Sophocles 910). However, Okonkwo is also with the same personality. Okonkwo has a very short, violent temper that is immediately triggered in response t actions that he deems to be weak. Okonkwo is a man who afraid he did not hold a title and he would be described as a woman; thus being an outcast of this society. “That was how Okonkwo first came to know that agbala was not only anther name for woman, it could also mean a mean who had taken no tiltle. And so Okonkwo was ruled by one passion–to hate everything that his father Unoka and had loved” (Achebe 13). Okonkwo basically lived by the phrase, act first and think it thought later. Unfortunately, almost every time that Okonkwo lets loose his violent temper in his manly way, he brings trouble upon himself, as well as those around him. One way to explain his actions and the misfortunes that usually follow is to conclude that Okonkwo has bad luck. Another way of looking at this fact is to say that the events are a result of coincidence. However, I disagree with these views, and instead assets that Achebe deliberately made sure that after each of Okonkwo’s outbursts, a tragedy befell him and those around him. I think that Achebe could have been trying to hint to the reader that placing too much emphasis on acting manly is bad.
Women role in and Africa in the ancient time is also discussed in novel. They were both married when they were a young lady: “Young women were considered marriageable in their mid-teen” (Chinua Online). Women were treated as a servant; their duties are cooking for their husbands, taking care everything of the household etc.
“And as he told them of the past they sat in darkness or the dim glow of logs, waiting for the women to finish their cooking. When they finished, each brought her bowl of foo-foo and bowl of soup to her husband” (Achebe 54). “The women had gone to the bush to children to visit their playmates in the neighboring compounds” (Achebe 55). However, if they did something wrong, they may be suffered from beating: “In keeping with the IBO view of female nature, the tribe allowed wife beating” (Chun Online). A good example is found when Okonkwo beat his wife, Ojiugo, only because she went out to plait her hair. “He walked back to his obi to await Ojiugo’s return. And when she returned he beat her very heavily” (Achebe 29). Actually, it was really a big fault of Okonkwo since he beat her in the Week of Peace: “You have committed a great evil” (Achebe 30). “But Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through, not even for fear of a goddess” (Achebe 30). He was really an irritable man that could not control himself. He had no respect for women. In fact, not only wives were treated badly, mothers were always ignored by their children. They forget their mothers when they were rich and happy; however, they refuge their mothers when they met difficulties and sadness: “A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. A man has both joy and sorrow in his life and when the bad times come his mother is always there to comfort him” (Chun Online). The importance of respecting mother nature is depicted in a story, for the gods of the sky withheld rain for seven years. “He remembered the story
she often told of the quarral between Earth and Sky long ago, and how Sky withheld rain for seven years, until crops withered and the dead could not be buried because the hoes broke on the stony Earth” (Achebe 53). The earth goddess is to the Ibo people what mother nature is to the westerners, and without balance order is lost.
Women were treated unfairly in ancient Greek. In “Oedipus the King”, “Jacasta the Queen is a victim, but not as much as she is a catalyst for Oedipus’ own victimization. She keeps her faith throughout and tried to relieve Oedipus of his” (Boyer Online). She finally committed suicide when the past of Oedipus was revealed. “Hanging from above, entangled in some twisted hanging strands” (Sophocles 938). “Because of this, readers may in turn pity her and loathe her” (Boyer Online). She However, as we referred to the article of “The Goddess Eileithyia and the Role of Women in Ancient Greece”, ” women played an interesting role in ancient Greek culture. While they were considered citizens of the state, they were not allowed to vote or even to compete in the Olympic games” (The Goddess Online). That means women in ancient Greek, they were also trapped by the publics; they had no equal rights as men.
“Oedipus the King” and “Things fall apart” are both tragedy which is “form of drama, central to Western literature, in which a person of superior intelligence and character, a leader of the community. Overcome by the very obstacles he is struggling to remove” (Encyclopedia Online). Tragedy can reflect another vision of life, again rooted in religious drama-the mystery plays and morality plays of medieval France and
England” (Encyclopedia Online). There is also a tragedy when a drama or other literary work that recounts that fall of an individual who, while undergoing suffering, deals responsibly with the situations and dilemmas that her or she faces, and who thus demonstrates that value of human effort. In ” Oedipus the King”, there is tragedy because Oedipus the King unwittingly killing his father and hen marrying his mother, the queen Jocasta. When the past of Oedipus the King was revealed, the queen Jocasta committed suicide and Oedipus decided to blind his eyes. “After years of wandering as an exile, sustained by the loving care of his daughter Antigone” (Sophocles Online). In the “Things Fall Apart”, there is also a tragedy because of the exile of Okonkwo in Mbanta: “But the missionaries persevered, and in the end they were received by the rulers of Mbanta” (Achebe 148). He was exiled since he killed many people. He killed the head of messenger who came to Umuofia to beak up a town meeting in order to show he was not weak.
The setting of two stories had differences. In “Things Fall Apart”, the setting in the personal tragedy of Okonkwo. “It set in an Ibo village in Nigeria in the late 1800s, this story unfolds like a Greek tragedy as traditional Ibo customs are challenged by new European ways. This classic was the first novel by an African writer included in the syllabus for students in English-speaking Africa” (Things Online). In “Oedipus the King”, the setting in the case of most Greek tragedies, does not require a change of scene. Throughout the play the scene with at least one door represents the façade of the
royal palace of Thebes. Even when action takes place inside the palace, such as Jocasta committed suicide and Oedipus blinded his eyes, there is no shift of scene. These interior actions are described in a speech delivered by a messenger rather than enacted before the audience. The messenger speech eliminates the need for scene changes, which, due to the limited resources of the ancient theater, would have been difficult and awkward. Sophocles, like Aeschylus and Euripides, made a virtue of the necessity of this convention of the ancient theater by writing elaborate messenger speeches which provide a vivid word picture of the offstage action. Dramatic irony is much-used literary device in this play.
In conclusion, Oedipus the King and Okonkwo should have fought again his manly pride, which reminds them that killing someone should not bother them. However, Okonkwo has trouble accepting this, but must for fear of being considered weak, like a ’shivering old woman’ (Achebe 45). Another instance of Okonkwo’s hot temper arise while he and some other men are locked up in a cell and Okonkwo reaffirms how he believes they should have skilled Mr. Smith. Messenger overhears this remark and beats each of the men on their backs and heads with a large stick. A final illustration of Okonkwo’s rash actions leading to suffering for himself and hose around him occurs when he hastily kills the head messenger. The messenger was only able to speak 2 short sentences, before a furious Okonkwo assassinated him. This brings the ultimate suffering to Okonkwo, who hanged himself, as well as suffering for the rest of the tribe, who may
not bury him and some of whom were brought to the curt where Okonkwo and the others suffered earlier. Okonkwo’s tragic flaw was his constantly flared temper, which was a result of a fear of being considered weak, or womanly. It was this temper that was constantly bringing problems to Okonkwo and others around him. In the end, Okonkwo could fight no more and had to take his own life. I believe that Achebe purposefully arranged the novel in this manner in order to convey that being manly is not as important as some believe it to be. In ” Oedipus the King”, the story warns us against parricide and incest, and may cause its audience to feel guilty about violence against parents and incestuous behavior or desires. The message embodied in the story is a powerful one, even thought we may not at first find it striking since we have become accustomed to the incest taboo. However, I think the theory about the Oedipus the king may have the same effect as the Oedipus story itself, as expressed in the form of myth, tragedy, and comedy.