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Oedipus at Colonus Essays: Revenge

Revenge in Oedipus at Colonus

A prevailing concept throughout Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus is that of revenge. Oedipus is given the opportunity to avenge many of the wrongs he has accumulated in his lifetime, and he takes the opportunity.

Oedipus suffered through the latter portion of his life. Although the gods should be credited with the majority of his pain, he was wronged by mere mortals during his life. Did he have the right to seek revenge in general? Yes, he did. There is more to Oedipus’s vengeance than just to inflict pain upon others. Those who intentionally harm others must face the consequences, even if they themselves will not be changed by such consequences. If no person ever hated or sought revenge, the world might well become a paradise, especially for the thieves, liars, and other criminals. If no one seeks punishment for the actions of any other individual, the less moral will begin to take advantage of their unchecked acti…

Reality and Illusion in Death of a Salesman

Reality and Illusion in Death of a Salesman

In Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, the major theme as well as the main source of conflict is Willy’s inability to distinguish between reality and illusion. Willy has created a fantasy world for himself and his family, a world in which he and his sons are great men who “have what it takes” to make it in the context of business and free enterprise. In reality, none of them can achieve greatness until they confront and deal with this illusion.

Willy’s most prominent illusion is that success is dependant upon popularity and personal attractiveness. Willy builds his entire life around this idea and teaches it to his children. When Willy was young, he had met a man named Dave Singleman who was so well-liked that he was able to make a living simply by staying in his hotel room and telephoning buyers. When Dave Singleman died, buyers and salesmen from all over the country came to his funeral. This is what Willy has been trying to emulate his entire life. Willy’s need to feel well-liked is so strong that he often makes up lies about his popularity and success. At times, Willy even believes these lies himself. At one point in the play, Willy tells his family of how well-liked he is in all of his towns and how vital he is to New England. Later, however, he tells Linda that no one remembers him and that the people laugh at him behind his back. As this demonstrates, Willy’s need to feel well-liked also causes him to become intensely paranoid. When his son, Biff, for example, is trying to explain why he cannot become successful, Willy believes that Biff is just trying to spite him. Unfortunately, Willy never realizes that his values are flawed. As Biff points out at the end of the play, “he had the wrong dreams.”

In many ways Biff is similar to his father. In the beginning of the play we see that Biff shares many of the same ideas as Willy. He values being well-liked above everything else and sees little value in being smart or honest. One of Biff’s main flaws is his tendency to steal. Early in the play we learn that he has stolen a football from the school locker. When Willy finds out about this, instead of disciplining Biff, he says that the coach will probably congratulate him on his initiative.

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