Both Oedipus and Othello are distinguished by nobility: Oedipus by birth and deed and Othello by a distinguished career. Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Jocasta his wife, the king and queen of Thebes. Because of an oracle prophesying that King Laius will be murdered by his son, Oedipus is left to die in "the mountains where Cithaeron is"(1472). He is then rescued by a shepherd and raised by "Polybus. . . king of Corinth/and Merope, the Dorian" (834-35). Not only is Oedipus noble in his birth and upbringing, he is also noble in deed. Upon coming to Thebes as a young man, Oedipus answers the riddle of the Sphinx, who is terrorizing the citizens, and rids the city of this monster. In turn he is made King of Thebes and marries, unknowingly, his mother, the queen. Othello, on the other hand, is noble only by deed. He is a Moor and a barbarian by Venetian customs. He is an outsider, yet he is accepted by the Venetian people because of his distinguished career as general of the Venetian army. In defense of his lack of noble heritage, Othello asserts: "I fetch my life and being / From men of royal siege" (1.2.20-21). It is his rank that makes him noble. His contemporaries also praise him as "brave Othello" (2.1.37), and they declare that he "commands / Like a full soldier" (2.1.35-36). Oedipus and Othello have the nobility that a true tragic hero must have, yet this nobility is only the armor that covers the true weakness that lies within each man.
Creon’s tragedy is his dilemma over how he deals with his headstrong niece, Antigone. He upholds the law of the polis, or city, and as king, upholds his edicts. When Antigone rebels against his law, he becomes stubborn, close minded and begins to commit hubris. He insults Hades by dishonouring death, Aphrodite by breaking up the marriage of Haemon and Antigone, Earth by imprisoning Antigone in her alive and Zeus, saying to “Let the eagles carry his carcass up to the throne of Zeus”. He refuses to listen to Antigone’s case and ignores his son’s pleas for reason and mercy. This leads to him being brought down by the gods, his wife and son committing suicide, one life in payment for the death he caused and one for the dishonour he dealt to Polynices, left lying above the ground.
Most of the mythological stories involve Gods, ancestral heroes, supernatural beings, etc.
Narration: The act of telling a sequence of events to an audience.
Morality plays were allegorical, where virtues and vices were personified in the form of characters, and the plot usually involves how man falls into temptation and commits sin, but repents later after realizing his mistake, and so is saved from damnation.
Motif: Motif is an idea that a writer deliberately repeats in his piece of work to make the readers understand the central idea of the plot.
Literary criticism, with the help of various literary terms and theories, tries to interpret what a piece of literature means.
Literary Realism: Literary realism refers to a piece of work where the writer has portrayed the story as well as the characterization in a truly life-like manner.
To put this another way, Hamlet's tragic flaw was that he did not have a set of ethical principles that told him that revenge was itself evil and that he could not kill Claudius for simple revenge.
Aristotle termed this "mistake in judgment" as .
Tragic Hero: Tragic hero is the protagonist in a tragedy who meets his doom due to the mistakes he makes in his choice of actions.
Tragicomedy: Tragicomedy is the literary term for a work of fiction that blends elements like standard characters, subject matter, and plot-forms of both tragedy and comedy.
The words and details used in a piece of literary work denotes its tone.
Tragedy: Tragedy is a serious play in which the protagonist suffers a series of misfortunes that leads to conclusion which is disastrous for the protagonist.
Tragic Flaw: It is the error or mistake in choice of action that a tragic hero commits that leads to his downfall in a tragedy.
The focus of this theory is on the way an individual reads and the factors that influence his interpretation.
Realism: The term 'realism' in literature refers to the portrayal of human life and experiences as one sees in real life.
This term is named after the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch.
Picaresque Novel: A satirical novel, generally set in episodes, which tells the story of a wandering picaro (rogue), who uses hits wit to get out of tricky situations.
Plagiarism: The intellectual theft of an artistic or literary work, and reproduction of the whole, part or theme of the work as one's own.
Play: An enactment of a drama on stage by a group of actors who often wear makeup and costumes to resemble the characters they are portraying.
Plot: The effect of the structure and relationship of the actions, events, and characters in a fictional work.
Poetic License: The freedom that a poet possesses to depart from normalcy, where reality, historical facts and common discourse is concerned, in order to convey a certain idea to the reader.
Poetic Justice: A term coined by Thomas Rhymer in the seventeenth century, according to which, every narrative or drama should end with proper moral resolution for all the characters.
Poetry: A genre which is characterized by the use of rhythm and patterns like meter, rhyme, figures of speech, etc.
Point of View: It is a narrative method which determines the manner in which, and the position from where, a story is told.
Prequel: A literary work which is often written after the success of an author's work but is set before the occurrence of events in the earlier work.
Also referred to as narrator or storyteller.
Personification: A figure of speech in which animals, ideas, and inanimate objects are shown to have human traits and characteristics.
Petrarchan Conceit: An unusual and elaborate comparison used by an author.
This technique is generally used as a method of apologizing and retraction of earlier work.
Parable: Parable is a literary term used for a short story or narrative, that uses allegory and real life occurrences, to give out messages about religion, values, and morals.
Paradox: A sentence that seems contradictory in the context, but if inspected closely makes sense, and is a description of the truth.
Paraphrase: A technique in which a writer, rewrites in one's own words, a part or the whole of a literary work.
Parody: A satirical imitation of the work of an author with the intention of ridiculing the ideas in the work and its characteristic features.
Pastoral: An artistic work that mainly depicts a shepherd's life, especially the simplicity, peaceful, rural existence, and the uncorrupted life.
Pathos: Situations or language that arises feeling of sympathy and pity in the audience, because of its tragic nature.
Patronage: The act of providing an artist with financial and political support in order to encourage his works.
Pen Name: See Nom-de-plume.
Pentameter: When the verses in a poetry consist of a fixed set of syllables, forming lines of five feet, the resulting poem is said to be written in pentameter.
Periodization: The classification of literature according to the historical periods in which they were written as opposed to the genre they belong to.
Peripeteia: The stage in a literary work, where there is a sudden change in the direction that the literary work is taking due to an unexpected reversal of circumstances.
Persona: The character created by the author to tell a story to the audience or the reader is called persona.