• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8

Discuss the themes of identity explored in "King Oedipus" and "Waiting for Godot".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Victoria Ulett World Literature Paper 1 Discuss the themes of identity explored in "King Oedipus" and "Waiting for Godot". Identity is made up of individual characteristics by which a person is recognized individually, as a member of a group, and of a wider society. We can draw this identity from our environment and setting, other individuals, memory, and also by contrast and similarities. Identity is needed to give people the ability to know who they are and to exude their individuality, as a form of existence, upon others. The forms of identity explored in these two plays are; the confirmation of identity and the sense of self. We can then maintain our identity by having physical identification and keeping personal relationships. The search for identity is a theme in Sophocles' Ancient Greek tragedy, "King Oedipus". Oedipus lacks sense of self because of a curse set upon him from birth. Before he was born, a curse stated that he would fulfill the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother. The play focuses on the gradual and delayed revelation of this oracle that he has already fulfilled. Moreover, it specifically focuses on Oedipus' quest for his inner identity. In "King Oedipus", Oedipus has drawn his identity from his surroundings. ...read more.

Middle

This contrast between Vladimir and Estragon and Pozzo provide Pozzo with his identity, and because he can compare himself to them, he knows he is Pozzo. He often consults his possessions such as his watch and his slave, he also pretends he has a need to use them like when "he puts on his glasses...he takes off his glasses."3 Pozzo is lonely and starving for attention, which is why he strives for companionship in Lucky and attempts to stay as long as possible in Vladimir and Estragon's company. A strong proof for this need of attention is presented in his "|terrifying voice|"; "I am Pozzo! Pozzo! Does that name mean nothing to you? I say does that name mean nothing to you? ...PPPOZZZO!"4 This authorative language is a façade covering his insecurities with himself, as is his use of power and cruelty over his slave, ironically named Lucky. Pozzo knows who he is, it is evident in the way he informs everyone he is "PPPOZZZO!" However, he needs confirmation of his identity from other people's perception, which is why he always consults Vladimir and Estragon, questioning, "I am perhaps not particularly human, but who cares?"5 In this there is a great lack of self-acceptance, which demonstrates Pozzo's strongest weakness. Additionally, Pozzo wants to make an impression on whomever he meets so that they can confirm his existence for him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Godot is an indefinite figure, (unlike Vladimir and Estragon), whose non-presence is the play's centre. I believe that both plays address the human condition. "Waiting for Godot" and "King Oedipus" prove that we appear to be born without complete awareness of our selves and the environment we live in. In growing as humans, we gain a sense of identity; however, this sense may be full of illusions. Vladimir and Estragon live in an empty world that does not have many characteristics from which they can draw a sense of identity; in a world where there is no importance of work and achievement, and where nothing is certain. They accept violence, live without amenities, fill their time with irrelevant and repetitive business, and are living in hope of an indefinite figure that will never come and save them. In contrast, Oedipus, as a king, lives in a world where he has everything that Vladimir and Estragon do not. However, he too has an illusory identity and the same need for a sense of self. Ironically, his outcome is more tragic, as he loses everything because he finds his true identity, where as Vladimir and Estragon lose nothing. They continue their lives in exactly the same way as when they started. VLADIMIR: "We'll hang ourselves tomorrow. Unless Godot comes." ESTRAGON: "And if he comes?" VLADIMIR: "We'll be saved. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Beowulf - Main Ideas and Themes

    Beowulf tells of the many conflicts he had in the sea, to the king. Many of these conflicts occurred when he was swimming with Brecca. However, later in the poem we find out that the sea is also symbolic of Beowulf's tremendous bravery because he freed it of all monsters.

  2. Cinderella - play script

    Cinderella: They're so beautiful! Godmother: Don't you run away from me! (The remaining mice become the driver, & footmen) Let's see we've got footmen, the driver, horses, carriage... is there anything I've forgotten? (Cinderella looks down at her rags, and looks up again)

  1. Charging and Discharging a Capacitor at Constant Rate

    Switch S was closed, the ammeter reading Io was recorded. 4. S was opened and timing started immediately. 5. The resistance was reduced to keep the charging current at Io. The voltmeter reading Vc at each 10s intervals was recorded in Table 2.

  2. Discuss the ways in which the character of Oedipus in Oedipus the King conforms ...

    He must be "better than we are," a man who is superior to the average man in some way. In Oedipus's case, he is superior not only because of social standing, but also because he is smart he is the only person who could solve the Sphinx's riddle.

  1. How far was Plato's perception of rhetoric a consistent one?

    Emotion and appetite must remain in the correct balance to allow normally functioning life. Reason must have ultimate control over the system. Therefore, by analogy, Philosopher kings should have power over the people. On the face of it, the picture emerging is a chilling one, similar to the situation in George Orwell's '1984'.

  2. Discuss the contribution of material culture studies to the understanding of social identity.

    identification with a broader group in opposition to others on the basis of perceived cultural differentiation and/or common descent.".6 Concerning material culture, Pitts chose 12 areas of study, these were: "architecture, art, epigraphy (inscriptions in stone), faunal remains(animal bones), floral remains, funerary evidence, literature, monumentality, pottery, settlement (morphology and landscape archaeology)

  1. How far do you agree that Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is nothing more than ...

    The audience is aware that the character does not know what they know, and they can see that all the events will culminate in tragedy and their sympathy increases. From the beginning of the play, the audience already knows who the murderer is.

  2. Review of Oedipus the King

    literally as he physically blinds himself when he is able to see it. When the blind prophet Tiresias states to Oedipus that it was he who is indeed the murderer of King Laius, and the 'traitor' upon which he levels curses, Oedipus's pride prevents him to accept this.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work