The two famous playwrights Oedipus the King by Sophocles, written thousands of years back for Greek audiences and Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen which was written as a criticism of the Norwegian society in the 1890’s. The universal theme that both Sophocles and Ibsen explored in their plays is that people are punished through their own actions, and unfortunately those ungrateful events can occur to essentially good people, who suffer through no fault of their own, but as a result of the actions by others.
In Oedipus the king, Oedipus was a very powerful figure in the play; he was born the son of Laius and Jocasta, the king and queen of Thebes. When they heard the Apollo’s ...view middle of the document...
Unfortunatly, Polybus and Merope never had the intension to reveal to Oedipus his true identity and origin, and that he is not their biological child. The result was disastrous when Oedipus was notified by Apollo’s prophecy that he was deceived to believe that Polybus and
Merope were his parents, and he murdered his biological father Laius on his journey and married his biological mother Jocasta after defeating the Sphinx which he was later announced the genuine king of Thebes. Oedipus suffers through the sin of his parents, he lives with the shame and embarrassment that haunts his life and he desperately looks for the answer which caused him to suffer in the end. Similarly, Regina’s true origins are hidden from both Captain Alving and Mrs Alving. More convincingly is the fact that Regina’s biological father was never revealed to her until the incident occurred between her and Oswald, which is ironically similar to which had happened between Captain Alving and Regina’s mother Johanna. When Mrs Alving stated that she saw ghosts in the conservatory, which she claims that it was back to haunt them, the ghost is an important symbol that represents the action of sins that she remembers from her past.
The parent’s action created negative effects on both Oedipus and Oswald, which caused them to become blind physically and metaphorically. In Oedipus the king, Oedipus blinds himself when he discovered his true identity and the actions associated with the crimes that he has committed against morality. He blinds himself as a result of his parent’s actions; he uses blindness to display shame and anxiety, which compensates for the actions that he has committed. Similarly, in Ghosts, Oswald‘s blindness is a direct result of Captain Alving’s intemperance. Oswald ungratefully received the disease that his father had passed on to him, which causes the brain to malfunction, and blindness is associated with the symptoms of the final stages of this disease before death. In a metaphorical way of understanding, Oedipus is blind to the truth of his origins and to the crimes which he has committed until all that is revealed at the end. On the other had, Oswald is blinded to the truth of his father’s characters.
The death of Jocasta and Captain Alving associated with their actions are presented in both playwrights. In Oedipus the king, Jocasta committed suicide when she discovered that Oedipus was the murderer of Laius and her biological son. She is suffering through the actions which she has committed; she can no longer live with the shameful and incestuous life. Her actions to defy the gods lead to her suffering and death. In...