Oedipus Vs Cathedreal Essay

1311 words - 6 pages

Comparison Essay The following essay will compare the themes of the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, and the short story "Cathedral", by Raymond Carver. Oedipus Rex, is the story of a family who received a disturbing prophecy about there newborn son, and are forced to give him up. As a result, the child, Oedipus is to be killed, but rather he is given to a king as a gift from one of his shepherds. Oedipus did indeed fulfill the prophecy that stated he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, and his realization of this leads to his tragic downfall. "Cathedral" is about a blind widower who goes to visit an old friend and her husband. At first, the husband is quite ...view middle of the document...

Oedipus, the great leader of Thebes, never thought that he could be the answer to the Sphinx's query. Maybe it is an overactive ego that did not allow Oedipus to see the facts right in front of his nose? Could it be that he is so cocky that it is beyond him that he could be the star of this sick riddle? It appears as if he can not see fault in himself, but ironically he is the one at fault. Likewise in "Cathedral", the husband can not see any dysfunction in himself. It seems blatantly obvious to him that he is normal and Robert is disabled and Robert envies the husband and his ability to see. It is so bad that the husband spends a good portion of the story talking about how he can not begin to conceive the thought of never being able to see. Ironically, at the end of the story it is the husband that will not open his eyes to see the drawing, the husband keeps his eyes closed which shows that he now envies the perspective of Robert imagining the drawing, as opposed to Robert envying his ability to actually see it.The tone set by both authors appears to be that people are blind to themselves. Oedipus spends countless hours trying to find the man who is the missing link to his riddle only to find later that it was himself all along. Through this Greek tragedy Oedipus ignored so many facts that should have led him to the truth. One major clue is when Oedipus kills a man old enough to be his father, and after marries a woman old enough to be his mother. Logically, Oedipus should have been able to put these two instances together, along with the fact that he has never met his real parents. These three facts alone should have been enough to at least make him suspicious of the Sphinx's riddle. The husband is unable to conceive that the blind man could have a better perspective than his own. Instead the husband only sees the obvious. For example, he is able to see the cathedral and Robert cannot. Although he tries, he cannot describe the cathedral to Robert, but Robert is able to see it through the husband's hands as he draws. The husband learns something new about himself; he is so sure that he has no chance of describing the cathedral to Robert, but through the drawing he is able to give the best description the blind man has ever received.Blindness is not only a literal description of the character's...

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