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Comparison of King Oedipus and Things Fall Apart

[i:5511a9d18a]"King Oedipus" and "Things Fall Apart": Talk about how these tragedies are similar in structure and how both demonstrate their belief in heroes who posses a tragic flaw.[/i:5511a9d18a]

Many ancient societies have a record of tragic tales that observe problems of human life and the nature of the gods. For instance, both Greek and Nigerian tragic tales of King Oedipus and Things Fall Apart prove to be similar in structure. Both civilizations demonstrate their belief in tragic heroes who posses a tragic flaw as well as a belief in the ultimate powers of their gods. In Greek tragedies, the audience was often familiar with the storyline, so the authors had to incorporate tragic traits of heroes and climactic plot structure for the audience to be in suspense. The structure of the prologue, plot, and the characteristic of the protagonist in Things Fall Apart and King Oedipus help the authors arise the emotion of suspense in the reader.

The prologue, or the brief introduction, of both stories establishes the background of the story in order to begin in media res. In King Oedipus, Sophocles sets up the background information and gives the reader a sense of the present situation. Quickly, the Priest announces the purpose of the story when he explains that blight has taken over Thebes and has caused famine in the country. Oedipus pledges to find and punish the murderer of King Lais to stop the curse on their land. Sophocles assumes the audience is familiar with this tragic story, so he presents this information to the reader for the effect of dramatic irony to work properly. Similarly, in Things Fall Apart, the first chapter acts as an introduction as it presents details about life and culture in the Nigerian area during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The legends of the fight with a spirit of the wild by the founder of the village and social rituals dealing with kola nuts and alligator pepper help familiarize the reader with the society. Achebe also sets up Okonkwo's character and social standing. Many townspeople respect him for his strength and noble virtues. The tragic heroes are introduced and both stories begin in media res, or in the midst of action. The prologue has the effect of familiarizing the reader with the protagonist so that suspense builds up during dramatic irony when the reader is aware of the hero's downfall before the hero...

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