Oedipus the King, a tragedy by Sophocles, was written in the 5th Century B. C. , continues to influence today’s culture. This play is about a man who saves a place, called Thebes, where they crown him as king for his actions. On a quest to find the previous king’s murderer, Oedipus falls to his doom by his fatal flaw. Overtime, society has created numerous artworks using themes from this play. A well-known movie is Minority Report, which uses several themes from Oedipus the King.
This movie is about a man named John Anderton, who runs a program called Pre-crime.
Pre-crime is a facility where three precognitive see a future homicide, and have a team of detectives prevents the homicide. In Minority Report, John Anderton eventually falls as well, due to his tragic flaw. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the similar themes of blindness, prophecy, and attempting to beat fate in these two works of art. In both artworks, blindness does not only refer to physical sight but comprehension as well.
In Oedipus the King, the theme of blindness reoccurs several times. The first time we experience this theme is when the Tiresias, a blind prophet, comes to help Oedipus with his quest.
Even though Tiresias was right, Oedipus was blind to the truth. Another instance that includes blindness is Oedipus being unable to comprehend the truth. Then a final example is when Oedipus accepts the truth and stabs his eyes out. While Minority Report, uses a lot of symbolism for blindness.
The first time blindness is referenced is after the opening credits. It starts with a man talking about how blind he is, then the scene switches to his sun stabbing scissors into a an eye on a magazine, and then we see a close-up of an eye.
The film also shows that Anderton is blind, because he is unable to comprehend several things he is told. Like the prophecy the drug sealer form the wrong side of town told him. John Anderton is even blinded by his self-righteousness. The theme of blindness is evident in both these works, because it gives hint that the protagonist does not see how murder affects their lives. A second major theme in both works is prophecy. In these works, the protagonist receives prophecies about their futures. Oedipus gets his first prophecy prior to the play.
The oracle warns him that he will kill his father and marry his mother. While he is told the second prophecy at the beginning of the play. Here, Tiresias prophesizes that he will become blind, homeless, poor, shunned and weakened with self-loathing. Then in Minority Report, John Anderton receives two prophecies as well. The first one comes from the eyeless drug dealer, saying that the future is a place where the blind live under a one eyed king. Later in the film, Agatha sees a future where John will kill a man named Leo Crowe. Eventually, all four of these prophecies come rue as they were said.
This theme is evident as well; this is because prophecy affects them. It makes them do whatever is necessary to make sure it does not happen, and proves their innocence. This is an important theme because it also further develops the plot. Another common theme between these works is trying to defeat fate. Throughout the film or play, the protagonist tries their best to avoid their fate. Prior Oedipus the King, Oedipus is given a horrible fate that makes him live in fear. Trying to escape his predestined fate, where he is to kill his father and marry his mother.
He runs away from home in fear of being near his parents. However, no matter what Oedipus tries the prophecy comes true. This is because he let fear rule his life, and lacked of knowledge of his real kinship. Then by ignoring Tiresias and Jocasta, he continues to dig for the truth. This leads to the second prophecy real, making his a blind beggar. While in Minority Report, John runs as well when he sees a vision of himself killing Leo Crowe. Again trying to avoid fate fails, since Leo Crowe eventually dies. This film thus proves that fate cannot be defeated.
Even when John Anderton decided to arrest the victim rather then kill him, in the end Mr. Crowe still dies. It also shows that fate might not always be clear. This is because the vision of Crowe’s death is with John killing him but in reality Crowe killed himself. Then the prophecy of a one eyed ruled comes true as well. By the end of the movie John has one eye, and also important information that can ruin Pre-crime. Here he is the one eyed ruler because he has information, which no one else has. This makes society blind to the truth, therefore he rules since he knows this information.
Prophecies are an important theme because they can give the protagonist a focus and complicate the plot. In the end, Oedipus the King and Minority Report have similar themes. Among the ones listed above they are a few others including hubris. Though not everything is the same, using Classical Greek literature is useful. Greek literature as a reference for a contemporary film can help develop ideas and plot. Knowledge of Greek drama can also better the experience. With this knowledge, someone can better enjoy the film because could understand more of the plot and have background information for movies.
However, to much knowledge can ruin a movie experience. If someone knows a lot of Greek drama one can recognize a movie plot, and figure out will happen before getting to enjoy the movie. So, like everything else, knowing Greek drama can better an experience and ruin it at the same time. For Aristotle, this film would meet the criteria of a perfect drama. Due to the futuristic setting, the tragic hero, and complex plot of Minority Report, the movie will certainly meet the criteria of Aristotle.