Herodotus Paper

Essay by TeenyChristeenyCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2007

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Prompt: Is Herodotus’ statements true or false when it comes to Oedipus and Pentheus?When Herodotus summarizes the final expulsion of the Persians from Greece he states that “Many things make it plain to me that the hand of God is active in human affairs…” (616). I interpret these words to mean that everyday things that happen are controlled by divine forces. Herodotus also states that “Let a man lay his plans with due regard to common sense, and he will usually succeed; otherwise he will find that God is unlikely to favor human designs” (543). These statements are true in many old Greek texts, two of which are Oedipus the King and The Bacchae. Herodotus’ statements are true for Oedipus and Pentheus, the two main characters in both of these plays.

The play Oedipus the King opens in Thebes where there is a huge plague upon them. Oedipus has taken over as king by marriage to Jocasta, the queen of Thebes, and death of her former husband and king Laius.

Oedipus wants to end the plague so he sends his brother-in-law Creon to ask the house of Apollo to ask the oracle what can be done to end it. Creon comes back the good news that the plague will end when the murderer of King Laius is found. Upon hearing this Oedipus immediately swears that he will find the murderer and banish him.

When Oedipus says these words he is unknowingly speaking about his own fate. This is because there has been a prophecy since his birth that he would kill his father and marry his mother. This in itself proves Herodotus’ first statement that the hand of God is active in human affairs. Divine forces controlled events that happened in Oedipus’ life that lead up to the...