Three characters in three books: Oedipus in Oedipus Rex, Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman
In each story, the hero misunderstands himself as much as his own family disdains him. In all three cases, the hero was unaware of the trap that life had set for him, his illusions of the material world, and the limits of his own mortality.
Tom Wingfield opens up The Glass Menagerie as the narrator and explains the "larger than life photograph over the mantel" (5). He tells his audience that the man is his father and he had skipped town, deserted his family, and had no more to say than a simple 'goodbye' (5). Tom's failure to confront and understand his family legacy placed Tom in the perilous position of repeating his father's mistakes. Oedipus would also deny his legacy as well as pre-ordained path into the future. He is warned by the Gods that he will slay his father, yet he refuses to believe their words and falsely thinks he can change his fate. His identity as the son of Laius is confirmed by an aged herder who witnessed the event and seen him taken to Corinth for adoption.Oedipus ignores the warnings of the oracles and lightly denies the possibility of slaying his father. Oedipus says, "And here am I who ne'er unsheathed a sword; Unless the longing for his absent son
Killed him and so I slew him in a sense. But, as they stand, the oracles are dead—Dust, ashes, nothing, dead as Polybus". Oedipus failed to understand the trap that he had set to seal his own fate. ...Show more