Literary style analysis of Oedipus by Thomas Blackburn

Essay by nathanmleeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

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There are many levels of pain, some of which are discomfort, grief, and agony. In his poem "Oedipus", Thomas Blackburn uses diction, imagery, and organization to create a tone of suffering that truly exemplifies pain at its greatest, as well as a tone of feebleness and impotence.

From the beginning of the poem, Blackburn's diction suggests Oedipus's immorality and wretchedness. For example, Oedipus's shadow is "monstrous", representing his horrific past and future as a monster. However, Oedipus is soon transformed into a powerless and blind being. The poem describes Oedipus as he "gropes" and "stumbles", signifying his weakness and the effects of his self-inflicted blindness and handicap. The diction is very significant, as it provides insight on the actual story. Near the conclusion of the play, Oedipus is weak and blind not only to the physical world, but to the truth as well, resulting in his mother hanging herself, as seen in the poem in, "and let this woman on the strangling cord...".

In the second to last line of the poem, Blackburn symbolizes Oedipus's degeneration into death by discussing an ape's "carcass". The dead body of the animal shows Oedipus's final stage in life, from his powerful position in the "palace" to the carrion of the "desert", and supports the tone of suffering and impotence.

The many stages of Oedipus's nature, from his wickedness to his gloom, are effectively portrayed through Blackburn's use of imagery. Blackburn quickly introduces the depravity of Oedipus, who has "the odour of her body on his palms." This image refers to Oedipus, who sleeps with his mother and wife, Jocasta. Yet, without knowing the story, the image created is sinful itself in nature by the mood created by the "odor of her body", which appears...