• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Oedipus the King VS. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce is a 19th Century mystery story

Extracts from this document...


Natasha Naidu English 2 Ms. Lori Fox May 19th 2005 Research Paper Oedipus the King VS. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce is a 19th Century mystery story that is set at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865), when the Slave owning Confederate States in the South engaged in conflict with the Federal Government of the USA. The story focuses on a character called Peyton Farquhar, who was about to be hung for trespassing the Owl Creek Bridge. The story ends with a curious twist in the plot. The main aspect of the story is set in Farquhar's mind, however while reading, at the first instinct, the reader is unsure (despite careful, hidden hints placed by Bierce) of this fact. Only at the end, when it is clearly stated that Farquhar is hanging lifelessly with a broken neck from the bridge that the reader will become conclusively aware of this facet. In Oedipus the King by Sophocles', it is a 5th century Greek tragedy play that is set at the time of major battle against the Persian navy also known as Golden Age. (Sophocles, 1880) ...read more.


"Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek bridge" (Bierce). Cathy Davidson states, "Death is a cessation of the impression through the senses, and the pulling of the strings which move the appetites..." (Davidson 146). To what extent is Oedipus responsible for his own fate? In looking at the play Oedipus the King, I found several possibilities surrounding his fate. Firstly, one of the assumptions that can be drawn is that perhaps as destiny controls all fates, then Oedipus' character was created long before he was conceived. On the other hand, we could also say that perhaps Oedipus' horrific fate came about because of his character. The third possibility is that everything is inevitable - therefore no one ever has had any say in their own fate, let alone Oedipus. The first explanation to this question is the idea that destiny makes character. As destiny, supposedly in the Greek mindset, maps out all events before they occur, we can today assume with this logic that perhaps the components that "built" Oedipus' character were caused by fate. We know today that character is determined by biological factors and experience. ...read more.


I believe Oedipus was a great tragic hero because he saved the towns life even though he ruined his own. His fate was tested through out the play and he chooses to deny it. Bierce has a unique style to pull the reader into the story. To name a few techniques, his complex illusions keep the audience in suspense, his detailed descriptions allow the reader to picture all aspects of the story and the dividing of the story into three separate parts help them to stay focused. In "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", Farquhar's fantasy overtakes his reality leaving him with only one option on returning to reality death. Numerous critics argue the relevancy of the plot of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". The fantasy and reality connection between Farquhar's imagination and the hanging make the story. Bierce creates suspense and confusion through mind deception. Time manipulation, the fantasy realm, and the overlapping of dreams and reality equally deceive the reader and the protagonist. Yet to those of who accept fate, perhaps this could be the explanation. It is a completely personal decision, based on an individual interpretation. King Oedipus and Farquhar make their own decisions in their own way and lives with the consequences those brought. There is no one correct answer for interpretation in the 21st Century, in depends completely on individuals perception of the actuality of fate. ...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. In your opinion, where did the real power lie within the Spartan Constitution?

    over any legal decisions proposed, based on whether or not the Assembly agreed with the proposed decision. The members of the Gerousia were elected to a life-long position, though naturally they were only eligible for election if they were over sixty; which incidentally was the age that all adult, male Spartiates retired from the military at.

  2. Sight Vs. Blindness in Oedipus: A Battle of Figurative and Literal Proportions

    Oedipus further insults Teiresias by asserting that he "can do no harm/ To...any man who has his eyes" (375-376). What Oedipus cannot see is that Teiresias' literal blindness does not impede his strength or wisdom. In Teiresias, blindness is a virtue for he is able to realize that "the truth will come to light, without [his]/ help" (341-342).

  1. Identifying an Unknown Carbonyl Compound

    The first reading gave a rough melting point but was a guide for the second determination. 9. The burner and the old tube containing derivative was removed. The temperature was allowed to drop about 10 before positioning a fresh melting-point containing another portion of the derivative.

  2. Why is Heracles such a problematic character?

    The eleventh labour, The Apples of the Hesperides, shows Heracles outwit Atlas into once again holding up the heavens by simply telling him he "wished to use his lion cloak as a cushion for his shoulders."8 There are also variations of this labour where Heracles goes straight to the garden

  1. The Use of Religious Beliefs in Oedipus and The Stranger

    Furthermore, for this approach to God, Meursault, very much like Oedipus, is forced out of society. After the magistrate's first meeting with Meursault, where he learns of Meursault's atheism, he "never really [pays] much attention to [him]" (p.70). He "seem[s] to [lose] interest in [him]" (p.70), and also seems to have reached "some sort of decision about [his] case" (p.70).

  2. Antigone - Moral Law V.S Political Law.

    The moral laws which Antigone values are essential in this case because Kreon shows many negative qualities which make him appear as a tyrant king. He misuses power and abuses power. Kreon considers that a state belongs to the most powerful man, which in this case is him.

  1. In what ways does The Simpsons portray American family and social values?

    Bart, in contrast, is the son that every parent dreads to have. He is naughty; he does not obey authority; he has a very small conscience. However, his conscience has come through on several occasions, most notably when he managed to re-unite Krusty and his father.

  2. To what extent is Oedipus responsible for his own fate?

    In this logic the crucial difference is that fate requires him to play a part to actually exact the plan. Finally, I come to the last possibility. Perhaps of all the possible choices, this is the one favoured most by Aristotle.

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