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Article Title

Oedipus at Colonus: A Crisis in the Greek Notion of Deity

Abstract

In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The living nerve of Sophoclean tragedy is man's heroic endurance of irrational and uncontrollable evil. The Sophoclean hero typically labors beneath an intolerable burden of cruelties which rolls and grinds upon the hero until his. need to throw it off becomes an inner necessity. He must continually justify a life that is offensive to others. The festering wound of Philoctetes represents such an offensiveness which the gods inflict upon him as a punishment, though he has committed no crime. His comrades abandon him on a desert island where, like Oedipus in his wanderings after his banishment from Thebes, he must live in isolation from his fellow men. Thus do both suffer stigmatization by the gods. Each claims that his suffering confers certain rights upon him, and that their fulfillment alone constitutes an adequate justice. Sophocles focuses his lucid vision on the unwanted fate and the quest for justice in order to evaluate the moral and spiritual authority of such rights to which the suffering lays claim.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.

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