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What literary techniques and themes do Sophocles and Marquez use to portray dramatic irony in Oedipus the King and Chronicle of a Death Foretold?

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Introduction

What literary techniques and themes do Sophocles and Marquez use to portray dramatic irony in Oedipus the King and Chronicle of a Death Foretold? Imagery of blindness and sight in Oedipus the King contributes to dramatic irony in three ways. The repetitive sight and blindness imagery is used by Sophocles to foreshadow the fate of Oedipus, create tension and expectation in the audience and increase our empathy for Oedipus. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, we cannot help but feel sympathy for Santiago Nassar as his death is already revealed to the reader at the start of the novel. Dramatic irony is manifest very early and is shown through each individual in the community and especially through Santiago's mother, who ultimately neglects to inform him about his death. The use of sight and blindness imagery is the key technique towards foreshadowing Oedipus's fate and future actions. Many of the references to sight, blindness and eyes appear early on in the play. The emphasis that is put on this subject and the context in which they are used foreshadow the importance of eyes and being able to see. In the very first episode the priest that speaks for the people and addresses Oedipus says "you see us before you now". A hint is made that Oedipus can only see now but that he will lose his sight later. ...read more.

Middle

Expectation is elevated further more when the Chorus pronounces that "not till I see these charges proved will I side with his accusers" and that "time alone can bring the just man to light - the criminal you can spot in one short day". The time frame of Oedipus Rex is during one single day. Oedipus is digging deeper into the story behind Laius' murder and his own ancestry. The audience knows the hour will come when Oedipus discovers the truth. In the novel, the community make it visible when trying to distance themselves from guilt. The resident's of the town do so by establishing a detailed account of the day of Santiago's murder, which is based on memory and inaccurate versions of the truth. By doing so, the residents hope to remove the guilt from their souls. However, after many years of having this guilt on their souls, causes another aspect of human nature to be revealed, total denial. Hortensia Baute is a resident of the town who claims that her "only participation was having seen the two bloody knives that weren't bloody yet". Following the murder, Hortensia enters a state of mind of refusal and inability to recognize that she had the power to stop the murder. Standing by and watching a crime take place, a crime of such brutality and cruelty, is just as bad as committing the crime first hand. ...read more.

Conclusion

Secondly, it highlights the hamartia in Sophocles' protagonist Oedipus. Imagery of sight and blindness exposes the tragic flaw in Oedipus, being his pride or hubris. In Chronicle of a death foretold, the town tries to "give order to the chain of many chance events that had made absurdity possible". The narrator returns to the town 27 years after the murder of Santiago and tries to recount the day of his death. The narrator tries to put the day in order, a chronological order. However, human memory is not always a reliable source for the events of this day, as over time, the past becomes obscured, details are forgotten, and accuracy is lost. This is shown by a conversation between Cristo Bedoya and the Mayor: "I just saw them with pig-killing knives...'It can't be, because I took them away from them before sending them home to bed. It must be that you saw them before that'...'I saw them two minutes ago and they both had pig-killing knives'...'O Shit. Then they must have come back with two new ones". The two men have conflicting perspectives of the same event, yet both respond with such certainty. As one man states: "they must have come back with new ones", this demonstrates another aspect of human nature, which is to come up with excuses and rationalizations. Finally, the community rationalizes Santiago's death a "fate". If it was fate that caused the murder, than the community doing nothing to stop it does not make them guilty of the crime committed. ...read more.

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