Humanities Essay


Sophocles was among the three ancient Greek writers of the tragedian genre - Humanities Essay introduction. His works has received numerous and in-depth analysis both from historians and academicians. The most common tragedies that he penned are those concerning ant gone and Oedipus. Sophocles intoned the plots of most of his play basically by including a third actor and therefore minimizing the aspect of the chorus in the development and presentation of the plot. His emphasis on the development of the characters helped in the defining of his work to a greater extent the use of metaphors, imagery and various aspects of literature have shown remarkable artistic skill. Perhaps the main notable of his plays are the Theban plays. The three plays concern prehistory Thebes. Apart from the three, other plays include ajax, the Trachiniae, Electra and Philoctetes. Though all his plays are fashioned in the same literal development each is exception and resplendent in its own excellence. While it’s difficult to divide the plays into groups indicating periods in his writing, he defined three epochs in his literal style. This includes his own distinctive harshness in expression, grandeur expression and the style that seemed appropriate in the development of human character. All this qualities were instrumental in a major role in defining his style and weaving an intricate and deep plot heavy with meaning in all his plays. “An emphasis is also put on psychological, philosophical and social aspects which contribute to the development of the dialogue in oedipus the king, an Athenian tragedy, oracles, fate and free will dominate the plot. Fate plays a prominent role in the downfall of Oedipus” (Martindale, 1990, p. 45).

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This justifies a vital role in religion and ethics in particular on how people are called upon to submit to the wishes of the gods. Given our present day conception of the theme of fate, readers are wont to conclude that oedipus is just but a puppet controlled by forces beyond him. This however is inaccurate since oracles only predict but do not dictate the future. The oracle in the case of Oedipus is called a self fulfilling prophecy in that the prophecy initiates events that culminate in its fulfillment. This however, does not mean that Oedipus lacks free will and that he is a victim of fate. Sight and blindness is used further to metaphorically develop the plot. Clear vision metaphorically serves to highlight insight and knowledge but oedipus though clear sighted and with a burning desire to discover his origins is blind to the truth. “In essence, the continuous reference to sight and eyes entail a deeper meaning and message. Guilt also plays a pivotal role in the development of the plot. far from its literal meaning the aspect of guilt is in itself a complex  dichotomy between blessing and curse. in breaking the law of the land a rulers minimal knowledge may lead to assume innocence, however his obliviousness does not change the basic principles of the law neither does it exonerate him from guilt or blame” (Nelson, 1999, p.67).. The fact that Oedipus unknowingly committed incest decreases his guilt, making his self inflicted suffering sufficient settlement for his sins.

Ovid’s metamorphoses

Well versed in mythological work with interests in poems, Ovid’s metamorphoses influence on literature cannot be gainsaid. In great emphasis most of Ovoids stories are told with metamorphosis as a central aspect. In his writing Metamorphosis refers to the aspect of change in the characters. The idea is to keep the plot changing as often as possible through the transformation of one tale to another with little or no connection. In the opening of the poem, Ovid sets to write a continuous epic that is devoid of a central hero. All of his tales have a metamorphosis theme, which he intones as a universal principle. In essence, transformation is the key aspect in his works he invokes the gods in the opening lines of the poem who are responsible for the transformations to favor his abilities. The main agent of change or transformation is love which is denoted by the planet Venus and cupid. The changes are variant, from animal to human, human to animal in other aspects transformation is partial and may involve the retaining of the initial feature being preserved in the mutated form. Ovid uses the theme of change to highlight the apparent lack of permanence, it brings into fore the inevitability of change and how it affects humanity and aspects of life. For example in Daphne and Apollo her metamorphosis into a tree presents her with an opportunity to escape from her woes. This presents an opinion on how ones versatility can be used to fulfill or attain an agenda. The theme on love is given a central role in the development of the plot through out .it sets to ridicule how irrational love can upset the basic tenets of reason in otherwise reasonable people. In the poem the pessimism of Hessiod and the fatalism of Sophocles set to highlight the psychological aspect of a universal physical turbulence or lack of harmony. In the story about Troy Ovid sets to emphasis the invincibility of time with a myriad of political intonations. Rome in its greatness and grandeur inevitably is toppled great political men irregardless o their achievements eventually fall and fail giving credence that politics in all its aspects lacks stability and truth (Virgil, 1998).

Inferno by Dante

The great dialogues of Plato seek to enumerate the complex web of the nine circles of hell. The inferno articulates the nature of the Christian soul in regard to sin. The circles of hell are concentric which puts an emphasis on the increase of wickedness. Within every circle sinners are disciplined in away commensurate with their sins and crimes. In limbo which is the first circle, are found the anabaptized and pagans who did not accept Christ. Though deemed not sinful they are punished through their separation from God. The theme of reconciliation in highlighted here and dwelt at length. The second circle dwells on the power of lust and its powerful effect. The third circle gives an analysis of the effect of gluttony, liars and such like perversions their vile consequences are alos highlighted where the sinners do the opposite of the actions they committed in life. In essence with use of heavy imagery the inferno sets to elucidate issues of perversions, their effect on humanity and the repercussions that come with them. Each sin is treated differently and a different set of punishment meted out (Martindale, 1990).

The great dialogues of Plato

The dialogues of Plato are typically devoted in unearthing of single issue but which a decisive conclusion is never reached. The dialogues offer an in-depth of philosophical life that socrate used in his defense before the Athenian jury. The Crito outlines issues regarding Socrates imprisonment questioning the decision to incarcerate him and whether and individual can ever be justified in disobeying the law. The socrate dialogues offer a distinct description of the many forms of governments its administration and effects on citizenry as well as the description of the ideal form of government. Basically the dialogues puts an emphasis on issues dealing with morals and ethics .in the early dialogues which include apology,charmides,crito,ion, laches, lysis, the theme of ethics clearly comes into play . the authority of state is also questioned with the issue of citizens submitting to the whims of state questioned. In the middle dialogues, plato furnishes the answers to the questions he asks. The advancement of positive doctrines in regard to his queries is emphasized in the middle dialogues. The hallmark of the middle dialogue is perhaps the complex realization that knowledge comes of grasping essences coupled with the attempt to probe such senescence. He also dwells on doctrines about truth and justice. The last dialogues seek to give a philosophical assessment of the early dialogues. He tries to construct a logical aspect on issues raised in his early dialogues (Tarrant, 2004).


The mythological tales presented by this legendary writers offer an insight in their style and mode of delivery. While Plato sets to use letters and poems with a monologue aspect, he tends abandon the formal structure. Ovid through continuous poems succeeds in  giving a distinctive account of his works


Tarrant, T. (2004). Ouidi Nasonis Metamorphoses. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Martindale, C. (1990). Literature and Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century.           Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Virgil, F. (1998). The humanity and the repercussions. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Nelson, G. (1999). Politics lacks stability. New York: Binaddis.


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