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English 112 (English Composition II)
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Oedipus the Wreck

The Punishment Fits the Crime?

Note the details of the plague in the Priest's description of itFrom the 2002 Jean Cocteau Repertory Company production (lines 22-57), which uses some powerful poetic imagery. State these lines in plain English; then, once you see what he's saying, tell your reaction to these lines. Do you feel disgusted by them, intrigued or curious, horrified, amused--what? and why?

The Horror!: Steve Holt (1999) paraphrased the horror of the priest's first speech and applied to a modern epidemic: "I get a feeling of overwhelming despair. the priest begins his whole description by describing the people in the streets and at the alters praying for an end or just crying. He goes on to describe failed crops and famine--a sickness that not only effects humans, but one that leaves livestock dying. He speaks of mothers unable to have children instead, stillborns and miscarriages. The city is being destroyed by a fever-demon that is sinking it in a sea of blood.

"I picture that happening today. Think of the panic the despair and the ruin such a plague could leave. These were desperate people who turned to Oedipus, hoping that he would be able to solve this problem like he did the last one.

"Of course, today we have all sorts of medical knowledge that they didn't have, but superbugs that are resistant to almost every antibiotic known."

 

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