Word-association in Oedipus The King

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1262 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Word-association in Oedipus The King

 
    Let us play a little game, shall we? We have all played this at one point in our lives; it's the word-association game. Think red- you may think apple. Now think green- you may once again think apple. Wait a minute, how can that be? How can two words that are unrelated have the same picture in the mind of an individual? This is the basic idea of perception. Now let us apply this basic concept to the text of Oedipus Tyrannus. The main character, Oedipus, has lived his entire life with basic preconceived notion of his own existence. Sophocles manipulates the audience's perception of Oedipus through oral dramatic presentation.

"Lacan insists that dialogue is the place where a certain subject comes into being, or perhaps more properly, where the subject comes into being in a certain kind of way" (Lee 38)

Jacques Lacan deals with the perception of individuals as well. However Lacan's perceptions are those dealt with in the mind of his subjects. Let us introduce Oedipus, as the subject, to Lacan the psychoanalyst. Now that the two have met in our minds' we can continue with the forum of one man's perception, Lacan's, of another man's life, Oedipus's.

Lacan has two complex theories. The first is the mirror theory. This theory deals with the internal world of the subject, and the phases of the conscious as well as the unconscious mind. The second is the inability to communicate one's desires adequately through the usage of oral communication- language. In both of these simplified concepts we will delve into the mind, and the actions of Oedipus the character.

Let us first discuss the mirror stage, with application to Oedipus the man. Within the mirror stage there are five phases. The first of which is the "fragmented body stage." While existing in this stage man is unaware of himself. In this dark, 'lost' state man is unaware of his surroundings as well as himself as a being. Oedipus prior to the opening of the play lives his entire life in this "fragmented" state; he is completely unaware of himself and his actions on his society. In this state Oedipus is caught up in the pomp of his title. The role of King carries an elevated perception of an idealized life (Lee 19).

The next movement in the five phases is the "spatial identity.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Word-association in Oedipus The King." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Feb 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=8916>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Oedipus Rex – a Christ Figure Essay - Oedipus Rex – a Christ Figure               Sophocles’ famous tragedy, Oedipus Rex, perhaps “the most important and influential drama ever written” (“Sophocles” 717), presents in the person of  Oedipus the model of a good ruler, a humanely intelligent and vigorously active leader, a man who earlier saved his adopted city Thebes from disaster. Is Oedipus an alter Christus besides.   The numerous parallels between the figure of the king Oedipus and the figure of Christ in the Scriptures prompts the reader to ask the above question....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 3 Works Cited
1014 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Jason Wishnow´s Oedipus the King Essay - The name “Oedipus” is commonly associated with concepts of power, incest, and fate due to Sophocles’ enduring play Oedipus the King, but it is not a word that many Greek historians or literary students would associate with vegetables. In 2005, however, Jason Wishnow created exactly this strange association by directing an eight-minute, stop-motion rendition of Oedipus the King where all of the characters were portrayed as different vegetables, speaking to each other in human voices and acting out the story of the King of Thebes and his tragic fate....   [tags: power, incest, fate, themes, vegetables] 1347 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Oedipus as Scapegoat in Oedipus the King - Oedipus as Scapegoat in Oedipus the King        The great psychologist-philosopher Carl Jung was briefly a student of Freud. Because Jung felt that Freud's approach to psychoanalysis was by far too narrow, he broke off from his teachings, and made significant contributions to mythological criticism. Jung's greatest contribution was his theory of archetypes. His proposal of archetypes argues that there is one original pattern or model of all things of the same type. According to Jung, beneath the personal unconscious is a collective unconscious that is in the psychic inheritance of all humans....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 4 Works Cited
1496 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Pride of Sophocles' Oedipus The King Essay - The Pride of Sophocles' Oedipus The King        Greek tragedy is characterized by the emotional catharsis brought about by the horrific suffering of a heroic figure. In Oedipus The King, by Sophocles, the onslaught of pain assailing the protagonist is a result of his tragic flaw. Sophocles often used a characters hamartia to alter or influence the outcome or future of the hero. Oedipus' hubris traps him to fulfil the oracle and intensifies his punishment.   Oedipus' pride is an innate characteristic....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 1 Works Cited
1434 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Role of Hamartia in Oedipus the King Essay - The Role of Hamartia in Oedipus the King Literary tragedy has roots that extend two and a half millennia into the past, but throughout this history the genre's defining characteristics have remained the same. At the very core of tragedy lies an uncertainty over the cause of the tragic predicament. The leading candidate for an explanation of this cause often comes under the name of hamartia, a Greek word that translates into "a defect in character", "an error" or "a mistake." However, the most common conception (or misconception) of this notion is that it involves "a moral or intellectual weakness," a view that often leads scholars to regard hamartia as the answer to questions of tragic fl...   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 1 Works Cited
1668 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Jocasta in Oedipus the King - The Role of Jocasta in Oedipus the King "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." (James 1:12) Such is the proclamation in the Holy Bible, and so was the proclamation in ancient Greece. Since the founding of religion, the gods have sought to test those with power. Jocasta was sent by Apollo to do just that: to test Oedipus' - the king of Thebes - faith and conviction. Throughout the play, Jocasta tested the beliefs of those around her by feigning disbelief in the gods herself....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex] 657 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Oedipus the King: Unrealistic or Realistic Essay - Oedipus Rex – Unrealistic or Realistic                Let’s explore the traces of realsim and its opposite in Sophocles’ tragedy, Oedipus Rex.   The first obvious question is: How can this drama possibly be considered realistic since it relies so heavily on predetermination and fate in the life of the protagonist, Oedipus. As Jocasta recounts to Oedipus:   An oracle Once came to Laius (I will not say 'Twas from the Delphic god himself, but from His ministers) declaring he was doomed To perish by the hand of his own son, A child that should be born to him by me....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 6 Works Cited
2005 words
(5.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Characterization in Oedipus the King Essay - Characterization in Oedipus Rex              The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the story (Abrams 32-33). It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in Sophocles’ tragic drama, Oedipus Rex, whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.   Werner Jaeger in “Sophocles’ Mastery of Character Development” pays the dramatist the very highest compliment with regard to character development:   The ineffaceable impression which Sophocles makes on us today and his imperishable position in the literature of the world are both due to his character-drawing....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 3 Works Cited
2177 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Realism in Oedipus the King Essay - Realism in Oedipus Rex              This essay will examine a feature of Sophocles’ tragedy which causes the reader to doubt the realism underlying the literary work. Specifically, the essay will consider the feasability of the belief at that time – that the Delphi oracle possessed credibility with the people.   At the outset of the drama the priest of Zeus and the crowd of citizens of Thebes are gathered before the royal palace of Thebes talking to King Oedipus about the plague which is ravaging the city....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 3 Works Cited
1230 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oedipus the King: Characterization Essay - Oedipus Rex – Characterization                This essay will illustrate the types of characters depicted in Sophocles’ tragic drama, Oedipus Rex, whether static or dynamic, flat or round, and whether protrayed through the showing or telling technique.   Seth Benardete in “Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus” portrays the protagonist in just one dimension of his well-rounded character, that of a suffering soul:   Everyone else is ill, but no one is as ill as Oedipus, for all the rest suffer individually, while he alone suffers collectively....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 4 Works Cited
2442 words
(7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




" In this stage a child becomes aware of himself as a physical being. This is when he discovers the physicality of his identity and the association of gender roles. In this stage Oedipus carries himself as the sole male leader of an entire country. He is in-fact the traditional dominant masculine figure. Although Oedipus is aware of his sexuality and dominance, he cannot make the connection of his status to his position of fate (Lee 19).

The third phase is the movement of "jubilation to alienation." This is when a child moves out of the joy of self-awareness to the fear of not being accepted for his sexuality. Oedipus moves through this phase when he discovers the truth about his marriage and the disgrace of his actions. In Oedipus we find that his perception of mother and wife becomes blurred. In vocal discussion of these two Oedipus sees that "speech [the spoken word] is the origin of alienation" (Flower 59). For it is in speech that he discovers his fault of morality.

The next two phases blend together. The "dialectic identification" and "social determination." In both of these phases a child becomes aware of his influence on society, and how society perceives that child. Oedipus, aware of the social implications of his actions, moves through both of these stages simultaneously. He weighs the consequences of his actions as well as the affect on his people. Oedipus has become a fully functioning, disfunctioning adult "Oedipus, when he finally 'sees' who Jocasta really is -his mother-he blinds himself in-order to atone for the fact that his eyes had failed to see what had so long been staring him in the face" (Stoltzfus 44). Here we see that the communication between people maintains a delicate balance of understanding. Thus in this understanding Oedipus gouges out his eyes to demonstrate, without the instability of oral communication, after all "actions speak louder than words."

Now that we have fully discussed the mirror stage let us move on to briefly talk about perception in language. Lee phrases the concept of speech when he says there are two kinds of speech, "empty speech and full speech" (38). This idea taken at its basic level is exhibited when Oedipus speaks the word "mother." Oedipus' perception of this word is a visual link to Dorian, the woman who raised him from infancy. This is full speech for Oedipus; it has a solid representation in his mind. Yet in the audience's perception it is empty. We know Oedipus' perception is incorrect. We have physical evidence to prove that Oedipus is in the wrong with his perception. Her name is Jocasta. Thus Oedipus's word 'mother' is empty and
without meaning, for he himself knows not the true definition of this word. It has become blurred in his mind- does it mean mother or lover? Flower best sums up this idea through the pretext of the oracle by saying " like the oracle, the word is the basic social contract because its form allows one to wriggle out of it: the word Lacan writes, is devoted to ambiguity. As a signififier, the word refuses to restrict itself to meaning" (47).

In the beginning I asked you to play a game with me, a word-association game. Let us now continue that game. We left off with red and green. We decided that apple is a common factor to these two words. With all the background information on Lacan, let us apply the game to Oedipus. When you think of Oedipus I want you to visualize a tire. Yes, seriously, a tire. Think of how a tire is built. Think of the layers, and what each layer symbolizes in accordance with Oedipus. The rubber encasing the wheel is the mirror effect. The process of turning perceptions back out into the word is represented in the reflective (rubber-bounce) ability of the tire. The inners layers of the tire represent the five phases of the mirror stage in their entirety. Each stage interwoven to support the preceding layer, or stage. Now think of the place where the air is pressurized. Think of how it moves inside the tire, how it changes with outside influences. This is the internal structure of Oedipus's language. He perceives that mother means a caretaker, but as time passes in his life he sees that the external pressure of language changes his perception to force him to realize that mother and lover, although the same woman, has very different connotations.

This basic overview of Language and its complexities has in some way altered the perception of the word Oedipus. Whether that perception is long term or short term is up to others to decide, but the outside 'pressure' of words has taken shape. On some level the word Oedipus will carry the 'visual' picture of a tire. For Oedipus is a well 'rounded' character that cannot 'spare' himself from his own folly.

Works Cited

Flower, Juliet, Mac Connell. Figuring Lacan: Criticism and the Cultural Unconscious. Nebraska: The U of Nebraska P, 1986.

Lee, Jonathan Scott. Jacques Lacan. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

Stoltzfus, Ben. Lacan and Literature: Purloined Pretexts. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

 

 


Return to 123HelpMe.com