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#english II

Who’s to blame for Oedipus’ downfall?

Oedipus: The Essay

Oedipus: Taking an Eye for an Eye to an Whole New Level. Oedipus’ life went from riches to bloody rags in about 2 seconds flat. The question of who was behind this is simple- everyone. Literally everyone in the story somehow drove him to his end, but to compress, the two biggest influences on this were his two biological parents: Jocasta and Laius. This is the case for three reasons: they created him, thus creating his end; him dying was their one and only plan; and Jocasta was distrustful of said prophecy.

The first reason his biological parents are to blame is the fact that they are the ones who created him. Without him being born, the prophecy would not have happened, his mom would not have died, he would not have gouged out his eyes, etc. Obviously this is the very start of everything, therefore making them the number one reason Oedipus could even have a demise- the fact he existed to begin with. Of course, with them having him comes the fact that they were not responsible, especially after hearing the prophecy. As a parent, it is your duty to stick with your kid no matter the situation, prophecy or not. If they had given him up to another family due to no food, gold, some viable reason that is one thing; but they did not. They tried to kill him because they did not think they could fight destiny. They sent him to die, while if they had raised him, told him about said prophecy, which being his parents they should have, there would have a chance he would have been in more control of his actions. Because of them not being leaving his adoptive parents would doom him, and so he fell right into the God’s hands. This responsible for having him to begin with, Oedipus did not know to beware, he did not know him leads me to my second reason.

They were going to be irresponsible and selfish, okay- I suppose that is a given with the high and mighty Greek royals, but, as my this second point will explain; Oedipus dying was their only plan and they put all their trust into the person meant to do it. They could have had the child actually killed, not just leaving him in the mountains somewhere, giving time for mercy. Just abandoning the baby leaves the slightest chance he would survive, while if you physically kill him from the start- there is no chance of this. They should have planned ahead and assumed he could maybe survive. They also totally trusted the messenger to leave him in such a way that he would not somehow escape death, this obviously was not the case as the shepherd found Oedipus and doomed his fate. If the prophecy was so bad they were willing to kill their child by abandoning him, then just straight killing him should not have been that much more awful. If Jocasta and Laius had made sure there was no way of survival, asked for proof of the death, or had Oedipus straight out killed from the start; there would be no way for the events to play out, and thus no demise. This feign ignorance continues in the following paragraph with his mom.

This next reason is Jocasta was too distrustful of said prophecy. She just assumes Oedipus died from the beginning, and like Oedipus’, her own ignorance leads to his downfall. She did not see it a coincidence that her husband just happened to get killed, like in the prophecy? That right after some man comes and marries her? She certainly should have been more tentative with the people she bedded since half the prophecy had come true. Maybe the fact that this stranger was an age near that her dead child’s would be should have been kind of suspicious. She did not notice the scars on his ankles at all, did not question it. Did they have no facial similarities? Children often look like their parents and old or not this would probably still be the case. Had she at all noticed any of the glaring details, she would have hopefully not slept with him. After Laius’ death she really should have refrained from bedding anyone at all, just in case the prophecy somehow still happened. If this destiny was so big, bad, and important as to kill your kid, then taking every precaution to prevent it really makes the most sense.

While every person had an effect on Oedipus and his downfall, his parents, the point of his creation; they really allowed everything to happen the way it did, generally because they were careless.

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An anylysis of the main character Okonkwo from the story Things Fall Apart

Okonkwo, a Tragic Hero Analysis

The term “tragic hero” was first brought about by a great Greek philosopher named Aristotle. Since then many characters have been created in this image of a majorly flawed hero (or sometimes villian); some common names such as Anakin Skywalker, Oedipus Rex, and even Dr.House from, well, House. Every hero has a flaw, but tragic heroes have five main problems, as stated by Aristotle, and Okonkwo fits every one: hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, a noble birth (or high status in general, in his case), and catharsis. Okonkwo is a classic tragic hero, but I believe there are three that really fit him the most: his hamartia (or fatal flaw), peripeteia (reversal of fortune), and catharsis (sympathy of audience) (Literary Devices 1).

   The first thing that makes Okonkwo a true-and-blue tragic hero is his hamartia. This means the one major flaw that eventually brings the character to his downfall. Okonkwo’s biggest flaw in the story is his fear of weakness by far. All of Okonkwo’s decisions in life are driven by his pride, and his fear that people will look down upon him for his birth. His fear of being lesser causes him to do many things that lead to his “fall”, to the extent of killing his adoptive son. Before we touch on why his aversion takes him down, we must first understand why he has such a need to be so strong and powerful. His father was a nobody in the clan, he borrowed and did not return, and he left Okonkwo with nothing. This made Okonkwo strive to be better, but so much so that he feared anything else. He had to be fearless, strong, a “man of action, a man of war” (Achebe 7). Any sort of emotion went against the idea that he could be prideful in how strong he was compared to his father, and it is because of this that he climbs to a top rank in the village (giving him such a long way to fall by the end of the story), and it is also because of this that he treats everyone around him so poorly. One example of this, is how he treats his son, Nwoye. He considers his son low and lazy, and he refuses to accept that anything spawning from himself would be so weak. He almost kills one of his wives just to get his anger out, and he, without needing to himself, killed his adoptive son. His tragic flaw, fear, is enhanced when the English come. Okonkwo sees change as weak, and when he realizes his clan will not fight such change, he believes that the only option would be to kill himself- which he does. It is because of his fear that he has a fall at all, and thus gives him a tragic hero ending. But that ending could happen without the second trait, which brings me to my next point.

The second thing that makes him a tragic hero is his peripeteia, or reversal of fortune. At the beginning of his life he had no status, farm, or wealth; therefore he started out with no luck to lose. This changed when he built his way to a high status within the clan, which set him up to have a long fall back to being disfortunate. The first turn for the worse happened when Okonkwo accidentally shot a boy in the tribe during a ceremony, causing him to be exiled for seven years. Being exiled, having to move into a place with new people, and having to swallow his pride; that is definitely a misfortunate event for Okonkwo but sadly it is just the beginning. Furthermore, another event that really made a bad impact on Okonkwo’s life would be English colonizers arriving, settling, and messing up clan life. This is pretty self explanatory, as it not only leads to Okonkwo’s eventual suicide by hanging, but another major event: his son Nwoye becoming Christian. This was the absolute ultimate betrayal to Okonkwo, his son turning into what he feared and despised the most. ““Where have you been?” he [Okonkwo] stammered. Nwoye struggled to free himself from the choking grip. “Answer me,” roared Okonkwo, “before I kill you!” He seized a heavy stick … [and] hit him two or three savage blows.“Answer me!” he roared again. Nwoye stood looking at him and did not say a word. The women were screaming outside, afraid to go in.” (Achebe 16-19). This is what really made him start to lose hope in his clan. Speaking of his suicide, this leads me to my last reasoning for why he is a tragic hero.

The third and final thing that makes Okonkwo a tragic hero is the catharsism, or sympathy, the audience experiences near and at the end. Most people do and should feel bad for Okonkwo by the end of the story; he was exiled, he is so messed up from his father’s actions that you can not help but feel bad, and the English coming in and ruining everything is definitely a heart jerker. Maybe none of this affects people on the literal level that it appears in the story, but it is all stuff people can relate to. Accidentally messing up and being wrongfully punished because of it, having to move somewhere totally different (or at least somewhere you do not want to go), having someone you want great things for failing you, and even the massive change of new people coming in and making things different. These are all things most people can understand, so while most people can not relate with hanging themselves; the idea of having so little hope in something that you want to give up… that really hits some people. Not only that, but as the protagonist you can not help but to root for Okonkwo, towards the end you generally crave him to stand up to the English, to fight back for his clan and home. When he anticlimactically kills himself, it adds to the mood of the ending, leaving the reader to feel even more sympathy for him.

In conclusion, Okonkwo’s story is misfortunate and ultimately makes him a tragic hero. From his fear of weakness, to his misfortune, to the reader’s remorse at his suicide. Tragic heroes are one of the most interesting characters to write and read about, they are dynamic and emotion provoking. Just imagine the Star Wars series if Luke had had a normal cookie cutter father who did not almost kill his mom. Not near as interesting. Perfect heroes are boring, and so when they have flaws like real people, it allows a deeper connection with the plot and character. This is probably one of the main reasons why this is such a popular story; as even though the author is biased, he shows flaws on both sides.


“Tragic Hero - Examples and Definition of Tragic Hero.” Literary Devices. N.p., 08 Dec. 2015. Web. 26 May 2016.

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.

“ARISTOTLE & THE ELEMENTS OF TRAGEDY: English 250.” Aristotle’s Tragic Terms. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.

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(The Poisonwood Bible. Genesis, page 68 paragraph 25, in the middle of the page first sentence.)

(Word Count: 464 words)

Through the duration of this chapter Leah tells us how the mother is, how she feels for her mother, and how her mother can get her in trouble when not meaning to. Yet in this particular passage she seems to be honest about wanting to protect her mother. How even though she loves her father more, obviously, she feels the need to protect her from “ when he regaled her with words and worse”.  Showing even she feels empathy for her mother. Why? She said it herself her fathers her favorite, why does she feel obligated to protect her every once in a while?

I feel maybe that mother daughter connection is the key, like her brain just naturally thinks “Oh she’s my mother, I love her, and must therefor protect her”. I can’t really understand this thought though, my ties with my mother are all cut, she cut them, I’d never protect her. So maybe that’s why she protects her mother, because she understands the hardships and the “sins of womanhood”.

On that subject, I’m sure she was too young to understand what was going on, was it just impulse to rush to her mother as she was being yelled at? If her mother was yelling at her father would she do the same for him? Would the father even need to be “protected”? The world they lived in was a cruel natured one to the feminine gender. The world was teeming in sexism and racism, not that Leah or her sisters would much understand the racist part. They were brought up to know that woman had a place, and that it was wrong to want more than what you had.

Leah, would you possibly protect your father? Do you think he needs protection? Why don’t you stand on your mothers side more often? Are you too afraid of your father, or too respectful that you wouldn’t protect your mother if not a dire emergency to do so? How do your other sisters feel about protecting either parent?

I believe she’d protect her father if need be, maybe even if he didn’t need it. Also maybe she is too respectful or cares for him more than the mother to protect her more often. I believe she does only protect the mother when need be, “Once in a great while we just have to protect her”. I feel Ruth May is too naive to really pick a side, Rachel maybe would pick her mom to protect more than her father. Adah, oh Adah is a different story. Adah seems so far off in her own world that maybe given the chance would leave, never wanting to protect either parent when need be.

I wonder what the Poisonwood Bible has in store for the next book…

Once in a great while we just have to protect her. Even back when we were very young
I remember running to throw my arms around Mother’s knees when he regaled her with words and worse, 聽for curtains unclosed or slips showing–the sins of womanhood.
We could see clearly that all grown-ups aren’t equally immune to damage.
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(The Poisonwood Bible. Genesis, page 53, paragraph 11 starting at on the first line, second sentence.)

(Word Count: 351 words.)

As this passage states hardly any of the attention is on Adah. I feel this is foreshadowing a future event where because people hardly notice her she has to do a certain job. Ruth May refers to Adah as handicapped like other peoples children. “Nobody cares… because they’ve all got their own handicap children.”

This makes me think that because Adah has something in common with the local Congolese people that this will allow the family, maybe not Nathan the father, understand them better as human beings.

The writer uses the element of image to tell how the Congolese people have their own problems and work through them, even if they affect the rest of their lives. I feel this passage is significant because it, in my eyes, presents foreshadowing.

I feel that based on what I’ve read up till now has shown little liking of Nathan over other people. Leah seems to be devoted to being with him as his daughter, Ruth May being a closed minded child and being naive she wouldn’t quite understand much of her own because she stills looks up to her parents. Orleeana and Rachel seem to have spats and differences but they don’t detest him. Adah has been too quiet to know exactly how she feels for each person, but truth be known from reading you can sure tell she’s not fond of her family.

By knowing how the family feels for each thing individually would give more knowledge on what may be to come in the story. The passage above gives a, maybe, small hint to what could be in store for Adah due to her being handicapped. Maybe it’s Adah who brings the line between the Congolese people and the Price family together, maybe she has to do something she may not want to because of any unknown reason as of this moment.

Maybe I’m just reading too much into it. Nevertheless I stand by that this small thing with comparing Adah to the Congolese people and their problems is foreshadowing for a later event.

But here nobody stares at Adah except just a little because she鈥檚 white. Nobody cares that she鈥檚 bad on one whole side because they鈥檝e all got their own handicap children or a mama with no feet, or their eye put out. When you take a look out the door, why, there goes somebody with something missing off of them and not even embarrassed of it.
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Today in English II (I’m a senior but I failed so I’m making it up) my teacher, who I call The Kraken, told me I would have to work with this other senior in the class. Now normally I would suck it up but considering for the fact that he’s totally incompetent and doesn’t do anything AT ALL. I laughed. Right in her face. *Simba voice* I laugh in the face if danger! MUHAHAHAHA! And told her “No disrespect but I will not be held responsible for him. I will do the project myself and anything else you want. But I won’t work with him.” And everyone just kinda stared at me and was expecting her to yell at me, or give me a detention, or even throw something at me but she saw how adamant I was and when she opened her mouth to speak, I thought she would unleash The Kraken on me but she just went “Okay fine”. Sufficed to say I’m a legend in that class and I’m proud that I was able to tell her no.

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In English, we were going over test taking tips to consider when you know, you’re taking a test, and one of them was always refer to the passage, and do not answer based on your knowledge or your opinion of what the question is asking you. My teacher, Mrs. Long, used me as an example of this and said ” Kelsea could take an ENTIRE test on musical theatre with a whole passage explaining why Bernadette Peters is NOT the best broadway actress, and answer based on her opinion, because she would most likely get the answer wrong.” And to which I responded “well yes that may be true, but in reality, I would end up flipping over the desk and walking out,. Who is crazy enough to deny the amazing, magical talent that is Bernadette Peters?” And she said “certainly not me”

Also, after class, she gave me props for not having a completely fangirl attack from hearing Bernadette’s name. That is all, carry on.

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Ok, on Friday in my English II class, we were on our third day into our poetry unit. My English teacher passed out a worksheet that had hand written lines on it so we could write down what we thought the theme of the poem was and it was a bit quiet for a few seconds and she said “excuse the ghettoness of my hand drawn lines, I didn’t have a ruler.” I couldn’t breathe she’s so adorable. Ok carry on.

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I’m in English II enrolled online. Do you understand how hard it is to not check tumblr every 10 seconds?

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my teacher commented on my “what i did this summer” paper that was supposed to be 300-500 words that she wanted more details.


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Oh and on Friday my English teacher pissed me off so I wrote her a letter stating that she fails as a teacher, cannot be trusted, and needs to get her shit together for the sake of her students.


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