Classical Literature Term Paper

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Classical Literature

Job and Oedipus: A Comparison and Contrast Essay

There are many similarities between Job and Oedipus, and there are a few differences that must be discussed as well. The purpose and goal of this paper is to make clear the important ways that Job and Oedipus were very much alike, and also the important ways that they were different. In doing so, much about the two men and how they lived their lives, at least in the tales told of them, will be brought to light for examination and scrutiny based on how they react to situations that they are placed in.

It is clear that Oedipus is definitely acting in the best interests of the community, but he does not do this because he feels some moral or ethical obligation toward that community. The things that Oedipus does he does only for himself, and there is nothing that will make him compromise or turn aside from his search for the truth. There are many reasons that he could find to change his search and do something else, and there are many principles on which he could base this change and others would believe in it. The problem, however, would be that Oedipus would know in his heart that what he was doing was not right. In other words, he would cease to be true to himself, which is unimaginable for someone like Oedipus, who is so strong and determined about what he is doing.

This is one way in which Oedipus is very much like Job. Both of them are waiting for an answer from God, and they do not choose to accept any other answers. That is the only one that will ever be acceptable to either one of them. They are also both very stubborn. Neither one want to change what they think, feel, and believe, and they will stand up for the way that they live and make no apologies for it. It is simply who they are, and they do not feel that they are doing anything wrong by being true to themselves and what they believe to be the truth of their lives.

A big difference between Job and Oedipus comes in when fate finally reveals itself and lets them know what is supposed to happen. Job, accepting that this is the will of God and the way that things are supposed to be, gladly agrees with what fate has dealt him and is completely willing to accept it. Oedipus, however, does no such thing. He doesn't like what fate has revealed to him, and acts as though there must be some mistake. Up until his end, he continues to defy what fate has shown him, believing that what he was given by fate what not what he should have received.

People like Oedipus seem to be caring and compassionate for others in the beginning, but it is soon revealed that they care only for themselves. This is not that they care so much for their bodies and other things that make them human, but for being the one who is right in the very end. They do not want to lose, or feel that they are wrong in any way. Job does not possess this trait as much as Oedipus does, which is why he gives in and accepts fate at the end and Oedipus does not.

Many people do not like the ending of the story of Job, however, because they find that it is not satisfying in some fundamental way. Instead of continuing to fight, Job seemingly gives up and aligns his desires with those of a higher power and authority. It seems that he gives in, in the end, and no longer stands up for what he believed all along. Oedipus does not do this. All the way to the end of his tale he refused to align his desires and dreams with anyone else's, and he does not concern himself with how powerful anyone else is. The power of someone else does not convince Oedipus to change. He is a tragic hero in this respect, where Job is not. Whether what Job did makes more sense than what Oedipus did is a matter of opinion, as some see Job as weak and others…

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