Oracles, seers, and prophets are used in Greek tragedy to provide foreshadowing for the audience and characters. The seers’ wisdom is conveyed through the pronouncement of oracles or prophecies. They confer forecasts to principal characters that affect the characters’ future. Although not always believed, and often endeavored to be foiled, seers, oracles, and prophets in Greek tragedies foretell events that greatly affect the lives of prominent characters. Cassandra in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, the Oracle at Delphi in Sophocles’ Oedipus, and Teiresias in Sophocles’ Antigone pronounce damning prophecies that, despite ignorance, evasion, or disregard, are inevitably fulfilled to the downfall and destruction of the characters.
The seer Cassandra in The Agamemnon foretells the downfall and destruction of Agamemnon. Cassandra delivers several predictions of Agamemnon’s impending death. “Agamemnon’s dead is what you’ll see.”[p77] “The room- it reeks! Drips red with murder.” p80 She also sees her murder that is unavoidable. “So, then I go / To sing the dirge of my own demise / And Agamemnon’s too within the palace.” p81 Cassandra’s visions are heard by the chorus who are skeptical of her claims. Her visions are not believed by Agamemnon because of a curse set on her by the Greek god Apollo.
Agamemnon is oblivious to her forecasts and believes he will live on and remain king. “So, overborne by you, I shall proceed / To tread the purple to my palace halls.” Agamemnon infers that he will be able to safely return to power in his kingdom and is unaware of the treasonous plot calculated by his wife Clytemnestra and …
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…t suicide in anger at Kreon. Lives are lost and Kreon is disgraced as a king. In spite of his avoidance the prophecy is realized.
Although not always believed, and often endeavored to be foiled, seers, oracles, and prophets in Greek tragedies foretell events that greatly affect the lives of prominent characters. Cassandra in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, the Oracle at Delphi in Sophocles’ Oedipus, and Teiresias in Sophocles’ Antigone pronounce damning prophecies that, despite ignorance, evasion, or disregard, are inevitably fulfilled to the downfall and destruction of the characters. Oracles, seers, and prophets from Greek tragedy correctly predict the destruction of important characters. Despite the characters’ arrogance or avoidance, the prophecies are fulfilled. The characters’ blatant contempt for prophecy contributes to the irony of their situations.
Language in Braham Stoker’s Dracula
The Importance of Language in Dracula
Braham Stoker’s Dracula exhibits a noticeable tie to other monster stories, in that the creature is hindered by language, and often defeated by it. In Beowulf, the monster Grendel is unable to speak, and is excluded from the community. Shakespeare’s Caliban of The Tempest was taught speech, and used it to curse. In Shelly’s Frankenstein, the creature was hindered by knowing nothing at his creation as an adult, and becomes a monster partly from the treatment he receives by the people he meets, but also from the books he reads, which leads to his education of hatred and eventual downfall.
Count Dracula’s problem was not that he was unintelligent in the use of language. He understood the power of language very well, and uses Jonathan Harker in order to perfect his own English. The Count’s problem is that the mortals he wishes to prey upon are able to communicate with each other very well and very efficiently. Because they are able to communicate so well, they are all able to join their stories of the count and discover, first, his existence, and second, his intentions.
This begins with Jonathan Harker’s journal, in which he records his adventures in the Carpathians. This is important, because his journal is an important clue in finally determining what exactly is happening. His fiancé, and later wife, Mina transcribes the journal, and then shows it to Dr. Van Helsing, a noted physician, attorney, philosopher, and metaphysicist. Through the journal, Van Helsing is able to determine what exactly happened to Lucy, who earlier in the novel was a victim of The Count. The phonographic journal of Dr. Seward was useful in observing Mr. Renfield, also a victim of Dracula, who the protagonists used in order to locate The Count’s London abode.
Another example of language defeating Dracula is Dr. Van Helsing himself. Van Helsing was educated through books and folklore, and was thus empowered with the knowledge of how to defeat the count and his minions. The doctor’s knowledge of medicine allowed him to provide the transfusions to prolong Lucy’s life. Through his knowledge of vampire lore, he knew to place garlic cloves to ward off the dæmon, how to use the holy wafers to “purify” that which was infected with the Vampire’s curse, and the necessary ritual to destroy a vampire.