The Greeks believed in moderation—“Nothing in excess.” Edith Hamilton, an author who wrote a famous book on the Greeks entitled, The Greek Way, expands on this, “Nothing that is vast enters into the life of mortals without a curse.” What occurs in excess in Oedipus Rex? What happens as a result? What implications does Hamilton’s statement have for the twentieth century? Can you think of any of the twentieth century’s vast discoveries that came with a curse? Defend with historical examples, and make sure your essay contains examples from Oedipus to support your statements.
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The Greeks held firmly onto the belief that everything should be done in moderation, hence nothing in excess. Going too far warranted a curse and Hamilton makes sense of this assertion by arguing that nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a profanity. Consequently, the Greeks have created tragedies to show the “nothing in excess” doctrine. A good example of such is the Oedipus Rex. This is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles and first performed at around 429 BC. As shown by the tragedy, and confirmed by Edith Hamilton in her assertion, having too much of something leads to miserableness and failure.
In Oedipus Rex, one of the main issues that occur in excess is hubris, which refers to exaggerated pride or excessive self-confidence that usually arises because of retribution. Hubris is the earmark attribute of King Oedipus of Themes. One of the King Oedipus of Themes’ greatest act of hubris is when he attempts to signify that he was too superior to the gods. Oedipus travels to Delphi from Corinth, where he was born. His motivation is to learn about his true parentage. However, rather than securing the information he is seeking, the Oracle informs Oedipus of Delphi that he was destined to kill his father and take away his mother and marry her (Sophocles 80). However, showing hubris, Oedipus tries to thwart the will of the deities by refusing to go back to Corinth. His idea was that not going back to Corinth would help him avoid interacting with the people he thought were his parents. The excessive hubris led Oedipus to a miserable outcome. As such, he unwittingly set his feet on the very path that would ultimately...