Comparative between Oedipus and Lord of the Flies

Last Updated: 12 Mar 2023
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A person’s goals and ambitions often times do in fact interfere with the people around them. If someone is so determined to fulfill their dreams they often times do whatever it takes to do so, some people may even turn into a whole new person. Two characters from two different pieces of literature who face this struggle are: Oedipus from the play ‘Oedipus’ by Sophocles and Ralph from the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding.

Oedipus’ goal of seeking the killer of Lauis and finding out the truth about his life and Ralphs goal of survival and getting off the island both conflict with the others around them. Oedipus was very determined to figure out the truth about who killed King Lauis and the truth about his life and who his real parents were. The people around him kept telling him that he was the one who murdered Lauis and the woman, Jocasta that he was married to was in fact his biological mother and his father, who he had killed was Lauis. Oedipus of course could not face the truth and accept the fact that everyone was right so he was determined to keep seeking the killer.

Oedipus talks to the blind prophet, Teresias about the truth and he tells him the same thing that everyone else has been telling him all along, that his mother was his wife and the man he killed was Lauis and Lauis was his father. ``You are the cursed polluter of this land`` (pg.38) and again Oedipus disagrees with him, Teresias then calls him blind because he could not face the truth. This causes interpersonal conflict because the both of the men then start insulting and fighting with each other. “When you prove me wrong then call me blind” (pg.38) Oedipus and Teresias argue and Oedipus says to him when you can prove me wrong about actually killing Lauis and that He and Jocasta were actually my parents then you can call me blind to the truth.

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Before Oedipus accepts the fact that everyone was right he asks questions about where and when Lauis was killed because he ensures that it is actually the truth before he tells everyone he knows. (Did you not say that Lauis was killed in a place where 3 roads met?” (pg.46) . Oedipus makes himself look bad for not listening to what people say and just listening to himself and telling himself that nothing was true when it turns out it did. Oedipus then cannot live with himself for killing his biological father and then having a relationship with his mother so he then makes a decision to claw his eyes out and become blind because he was blind to the truth all along anyways.

Oedipus cannot live with what had happened in his life so he claws his eyes out because after all he was blind to the truth after all. Before he does so he states “ To a land of exile; brother as it shall be shown and father at once, to the children he cherishes , son and husband to the woman who bore him. Father-killer and father-supplanter” (pg.38) basically meaning that he knew he done wrong and that everyone was right, but he was a good man through it all. Overall, someone goals can on fact cause a person to have conflict and arguments with society around. Not only does Oedipus’ goals interfere with society around him in the play ‘Oedipus’ by Sophocles but also in the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding.

The character Ralph has a goal and desire of surviving to live on the island and also being rescued from the island. This struggle of the character, Ralph causes conflict with the other boys on the island because after being on the island, isolated from family and friends they basically change into other people or as they call themselves“animals”. They try to put order and rules in on the island for everyone to follow so they can at least be a little civil.

Everyone agrees to put Ralph in charge on the island but after a while of taking orders from him the boys separate, Ralph needed to rules to ensure survival but everyone eventually turned on him for it. “There was a ship out there, you said you’d keep the fire going and you let it out!” (pg.74) This quote is said by Ralph to the boys. Jack, another one of the boys on the island had a team of boys with him and their goal was to keep the fire going on top of the mountain just in case there had to be a ship out in the ocean, they were hoping there would be one out there so that the smoke from fire would inform the men/women from the ship that there were people on that island, but of course Jack did not complete this task, instead he and the boys went hunting, that is all they cared about it seemed.

Ralph gave each and every boy a job on the island and to be fair, they all had to finish them, but that is not the way it went down. Ralph noticed no one was doing their given task so he got mad. “Been working for days now and look! And they keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished” (pg.51). One of the boys, Simon had some medical problems with having seizures, one night they got bad and he ran out of the woods uncontrollably, he could not talk right, the other boys ran after him like a pack of wild animals, they had “mistaken” him for the beast that they thought had been on the island, the boys unknowingly killed him brutally, stabbing him continuously.

Afterwards Piggy and Ralph realized that it was not the beast that they had killed, it was actually Simon, they felt nothing but guilt, they felt that they could have been more cautious. Piggy tried to get rid of the guilt by saying they were under pressure because they were scared but they both knew that was not the case. “Don’t you understand,Piggy? The things we did.” (pg.173) Ralph talks about the things they did, referring to the death of the boy, Simon, you can tell that they felt guilt. “I wasn’t scared, I was – I don’t know what I was” (pg.173). Here Ralph states that he knew they were not scared of the thing that popped out of the woods, that turned out to be Simon, he knew that that was not the reason why everything went wrong, deep down they all knew that it was because of how much they changed and turned into savages from being isolated on the island with nothing.

In comparison of the two works, they both have similarities in terms of society being affect by a specific character. Both of the books are affected by setting as well, the characters, Ralph and Oedipus have goals that have to do with setting, which then causes conflict with society. In the play ‘Oedipus’ by Sophocles, Oedipus’ goal of setting is trying to figure out the truth of his life; who killed Lauis and who his real parents were. This causes conflict with the citizens around him because he constantly shuts people down when they try to help him and tell him the truth. “You are the cursed polluter of this land” (pg.38) Teresias states that the one who ruined the land was, Oedipus, him saying that then caused argument, because Oedipus listened to no one he just believed he was right.

Conflict with others helped him piece together the truth of his life, he then states “ To a land of exile; brother as it shall be shown and father at once, to the children he cherishes , son and husband to the woman who bore him. Father-killer and father-supplanter” (pg.38) it causes conflict with others because when Jocasta realized what had happened, she then killed herself. This play is similar to the novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding because the setting of the Lord of the Flies influence the goals of the character Ralph which then causes conflict with others, the setting in which the boys are in causes Ralph to have a goal of survival and to get off the island, he puts rules in order which not everyone agrees to so that then causes conflict and uproar on the island. “we’re on an island, we’ve been on the mountain top and seen water all around” (pg.31)

This shows when the boys have just arrived there and when they first realized where they actually were and that they were there alone. “we saw no houses, no smoke, no footprints, no boats, no people, we’re on an uninhabited island” (pg.31) this quote states the struggles they have ahead of them with being so young and having to be able to survive alone, Ralph knew they needed to put some order in so he does, he becomes captain but not everyone agrees with the jobs he puts in place, which is why it caused conflict. As you can see both of these books are similar in the sense of setting, and how it eventually aids in making conflict.

Overall these two pieces of literature do show how a person’s desires and goals, conflict and interfere with the ones around them, whether they mean to or not, sometimes they may not even mean too, but if someone is so determined to complete their goal it can have a big impact on people’s lives around you, it can affect the way they live for the rest of their lives.

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Comparative between Oedipus and Lord of the Flies. (2016, Jul 05). Retrieved from

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