Essay by StudBoyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 1997

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Since the beginning of time, man has used various methods on which to pass down stories,

beliefs, and myths which explain different aspects of life. From oral tradition, to

pictographs, to clay tablets, and onto paper, all compose the world of literature. Literature

has always been an infinite realm of ideas, morals, and trains of thought. Although the

sphere of literature is encircled with extreme diversity of thought, its core is focused on

one theme: man. All literature carries with itself three main characteristics: it is written by

man, for man, and about man. Oedipus the King, the great Greek tragedy by the

unparalleled philosopher, Sophocles, is no exception to literature's domain. It deals with

one king, Oedipus, and his plight to avenge the death of his predecessor, King Laios. In

his determined search to find the murderer, he establishes a proclamation which would

demand the banishment and even the death of the murderer.

In his ironic action, the reader

discovers that this murderer that Oedipus is so determined to discover is none other than

Oedipus himself. In adhesion to the definition of literature, this tragic plot reveals to the

reader three main commentaries about the nature of man: man cannot escape his past,

pride is the sin which leads man to greater evils, and although the life of man is in itself a

positive good, there will always be a shadow of terrible tragedy that falls across it.

All throughout literature, many works have portrayed characters who carry with

them a dark and gloomy past, and try to tear this shameful history of their lives from the

books of their life. Unfortunately, this is impossible due to the fact that the past is a

precursor to the present which, in turn, determines one's future. It is one's...