Oedipus Vs Hurston

1501 Words7 Pages
In Sophocles’s Oedipus and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, both protagonists, Oedipus and Janie, fight hardship and misery throughout their life. They are faced with adversity, and their ability to withstand and survive their suffering determine their potential for personal fulfillment, wisdom, and happiness. Both individuals have a set pathway paved for them, either through their upbringing and social class, or through the prognostication of a curse placed upon them. Oedipus and Janie are both strong-willed and dedicated to the things most important to them, love and justice. In the end, their association with each other is split when Janie finds her happiness and self-fulfillment, while Oedipus wallows in his own self misfortune…show more content…
The prophet, Teiresias, reveals Oedipus’s curse of murdering his father and sleeping with his mother. “To Delphi, and Apollo sent me back / Baulked of the knowledge that I came to seek. / But other grievous things he prophesied, / Woes, lamentations, mourning, portents dire; / To wit I should defile my mother’s bed / And raise up seed too loathsome to behold, / And slay the father from whose loins I sprang” (Oedipus, 791-797). This is Oedipus’s true reality, but his acerbic attitude denies the possibility of its legitimacy. His excuses swell to the extent that when the truth unfolds, his mental stability plummets. Other than the burdens that lace his curse, Oedipus’s upbringing was painless. He has never had to sweat over money, abuse, or lack of control over his own decisions. His gradual rise to power furthers the understanding of his pleasant life. In opposition, Hurston’s own upbringing is greatly opposite of her character’s, Janie, thus prompting the contradictory differences between their stories. Janie’s upbringing includes absent parents, tormenting from peers because of her race and family, poverty, and a controlling grandmother. Janie’s childhood is one of devastation and hopelessness. “So she would pick at me all de time and put some others up tuh do de same. They’d push me ’way from de ring plays and make out they couldn’t play wid nobody dat lived on…show more content…
Oedipus’s duty as King is to resolve any conflicts, including the mystery of the murder of King Laius. His pride takes over, and Oedipus becomes very single-minded. His cynical stubbornness writes the story itself, “Let the storm burst, my fixed resolve still holds, / To learn my lineage, be it ne’er so low. / It may be she will all a woman’s pride / Thinks scorn of my base parentage. But I / who rank myself as fortune’s favorite child, / the giver of good gifts, shall not be shamed… nothing can make me other than I am” (Sophocles, 1077-1086). He learns he has proved his fate through persistent searching. Therefore, it is his own fault for realizing this discovery. In comparison, Janie’s adherence to finding what she yearns most comes after an unhappy arranged marriage with Logan Killicks, and therefore dedicates herself to finding what she desires most: true love. This blossoming of maturity represents Janie’s strength to move on, even if it means going against her own Nanny. After all Nanny did for Janie out of her own love, it couldn’t please Janie as she grew older and became more independent. It broke Nanny’s heart to see her grandchild’s rebellious attitude, but it is ultimately Janie’s own willpower to pull away from Nanny’s constructs that guided her journey to love and contentment. At a young age, she became
Open Document