Present the authors’ respective uses of FATE as a plot device to be compared to each other, and Seneca’s Oedipus is to be the apex of this comparison: 1. Sophocles’ use of fate to Seneca’s, 2. Shakespeare’s to Seneca’s, and finally 3. Sophocles’ to Shakespeare’s.
The legend of King Oedipus is centuries old, and most famously recounted by Sophocles. Seneca’s later adoption is likewise shaped by myth, though widely considered inferior to its predecessor. Though both recounts retell the same legend, they engender different interpretations each their own which, although not inadvertent, bear the stamps of their respective cultural and contextual origins.
The inherent difference in literary and dramatic style between these tragedians is a factor of variation only subsidiary to the fact that Sophocles’ adaptation precedes its roman counterpart by 400 years; the same legend can explore very different problems pertinent to the very different societies of very different authors in indeed very different eras.
From these two radically disparate angles, I would like to examine this one dramatic prism illuminated by the salient light of what I believe to be the legend’s most eagerly explored concept: fate. Though one should expect a comparison of the two works in their generality to be an anticipatory feature of my analysis, I mean to make paramount the authors’ focus on fate and its inescapability as the force that orders lives both royal and indigent, legitimate and adopted. As a quandary faced by the philosophical community even today, I think it might be beneficial to not only understand but also compare the literary attempts at solution or at least acknowledgement of two of its first and most famous ponderers.