Oedipus

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othaderak
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Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 23 Jul 2009 16:00

Paul is Oedipus.

I don't wanna get particularly Freudian with Paul, since most of Freudian psychology seems to stem from ole Siggy pushing his own dilemmas and perceptions upon the psyches of others. Nope, I'm talking Sophocles. Anyway:

Like Oedipus, Paul is born royalty. Specifically, Greek royalty with very ancient ties- Oedipus from Thebes and the Atreides/Atreus family from Mycenae. This isn't based off any of that cymek garbage, I just go where the etymology takes me :) No doubt this connection was intended by FH, based solely in his breadth of knowledge regarding both etymology and classical literature.

The story arc of Dune to Children of Dune is very much a traditional, Sophoclean tragedy, sharing many parallels with Oedipus the King in particular. Firstly, Paul is seen and used as a tool by many different entities- the Bene Gesserit, the Fremen, the plotters during his reign as emperor- but the chief agent in toying with him is Fate. That he can see the future, or rather, the futures that could be, offered no real comfort. Much as the oracle at Delphi made nebulous predictions that were sometimes accomplished by means out of the recipient's control, Paul was trapped. Little things were easy to see and manipulate, but he knew two things would occur in ways that he couldn't stop: the Jihad and his eventual death. The Jihad would continue with or without him, but down every avenue of the future, he saw his own death.

Secondly, both had a glorious reign followed by a terrible fall from power and grace. Oedipus' downfall was partly foretold, but this didn't save him from punishment; his fate was sealed by pride. The same could be argued for Paul. After all, it was an exercise in pride that took him from the Keep to Otheym's home and the stone burner. In this way, both Oedipus and Paul crowned their demise by gouging out their own eyes. Also of note is the connection between Paul and Tiresias, the blind prophet summoned by Oedipus at the beginning of Oedipus the King. Furthering this connection is the fact that both Paul and Tiresias could play female psychological roles: Paul was the male Bene Gesserit while Tiresias was a periodic transsexual. As a result of their blindness and also as a form of punishment, both were forced to leave their kingdoms to wander for the rest of their lives.

In death, both would be memorialized by their children and absolved of guilt by the gods, in Oedipus' case, and the people in Paul's. The Golden Path and subsequent Scattering made Muad'dib's Jihad look like a pleasantry in comparison and in this way, he gained the veneration he deserved.

...

I think I was gonna say something else or make another point, but I've been afk for so long (I wrote the first part of it a couple days ago) that I think I forgot it... :?

Either way, discuss.




P.S. It's Freud time! :mrgreen:

Alia and Ghanima are the literal embodiment (minus the wish to kill and replace the same sex parent, hopefully :shock: ) of the Elektra Complex- Alia, because she inherited Jessica's OM about Leto and Ghanima, because she has Jessica and Chani's OM.

Leto II, same thing with Paul's OM about Chani.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby SadisticCynic » 23 Jul 2009 17:47

I've not much knowledge of Greek mythology, but that sounds like a good comparison. With regard to the Atreides/Atreus thing, we can probably be sure this was intentional because in Alia's Other Memory Agamemnon (the Greek general) is present.

(By the way, what is the Elektra complex?)
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Re: Oedipus

Postby SandRider » 23 Jul 2009 18:13

great comic-book movie adaption
starring Jennifer Garner's tits.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 23 Jul 2009 18:46

SandRider wrote:great comic-book movie adaption
starring Jennifer Garner's tits.


Also, it's the female version of the Oedipus complex, wherein the son not only wants to marry/sleep with his mother but kill his father. With Elektra, it's the daughter wanting to kill the mother to marry/sleep with her father.

In other words, :puke:
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Re: Oedipus

Postby Tleszer » 23 Jul 2009 19:48

I like your take on it, othaderak. When I was in college I wrote a paper examining differing myths in comparison to Dune: Contemplating the Oracle-Speaker in “Oedipus the King,” “Agamemnon,” and “The Chronicles of Dune”. It was an anthropology "Myth and Folklore" course so not only did I examine the oracle in those stories but also had to write about the historical origins of the Oracle at Delphi.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 23 Jul 2009 20:00

Tleszer wrote:I like your take on it, othaderak. When I was in college I wrote a paper examining differing myths in comparison to Dune: Contemplating the Oracle-Speaker in “Oedipus the King,” “Agamemnon,” and “The Chronicles of Dune”. It was an anthropology "Myth and Folklore" course so not only did I examine the oracle in those stories but also had to write about the historical origins of the Oracle at Delphi.


Thanks! My senior year humanities class read Oedipus the King and Dune back to back, but we didn't have to do any comparison essays, just a short extra credit paper for Dune. Easiest extra credit assignment ever :mrgreen:
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Re: Oedipus

Postby Omphalos » 23 Jul 2009 20:37

Send those papers to me, guys!!!!

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Re: Oedipus

Postby Freakzilla » 24 Jul 2009 08:17

othaderak wrote:Paul is Oedipus.

I don't wanna get particularly Freudian with Paul, since most of Freudian psychology seems to stem from ole Siggy pushing his own dilemmas and perceptions upon the psyches of others. Nope, I'm talking Sophocles. Anyway:

Like Oedipus, Paul is born royalty. Specifically, Greek royalty with very ancient ties- Oedipus from Thebes and the Atreides/Atreus family from Mycenae. This isn't based off any of that cymek garbage, I just go where the etymology takes me :) No doubt this connection was intended by FH, based solely in his breadth of knowledge regarding both etymology and classical literature.

The story arc of Dune to Children of Dune is very much a traditional, Sophoclean tragedy, sharing many parallels with Oedipus the King in particular. Firstly, Paul is seen and used as a tool by many different entities- the Bene Gesserit, the Fremen, the plotters during his reign as emperor- but the chief agent in toying with him is Fate. That he can see the future, or rather, the futures that could be, offered no real comfort. Much as the oracle at Delphi made nebulous predictions that were sometimes accomplished by means out of the recipient's control, Paul was trapped. Little things were easy to see and manipulate, but he knew two things would occur in ways that he couldn't stop: the Jihad and his eventual death. The Jihad would continue with or without him, but down every avenue of the future, he saw his own death.


Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceedng fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.

Secondly, both had a glorious reign followed by a terrible fall from power and grace. Oedipus' downfall was partly foretold, but this didn't save him from punishment; his fate was sealed by pride. The same could be argued for Paul. After all, it was an exercise in pride that took him from the Keep to Otheym's home and the stone burner. In this way, both Oedipus and Paul crowned their demise by gouging out their own eyes. Also of note is the connection between Paul and Tiresias, the blind prophet summoned by Oedipus at the beginning of Oedipus the King. Furthering this connection is the fact that both Paul and Tiresias could play female psychological roles: Paul was the male Bene Gesserit while Tiresias was a periodic transsexual. As a result of their blindness and also as a form of punishment, both were forced to leave their kingdoms to wander for the rest of their lives.


Paul walked into the desert of his own free will, he was not forced.

Paul's own freewill... :think: :doh:
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Re: Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 24 Jul 2009 18:03

Freakzilla wrote:
Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceding fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.



I thought that was more in Dune Messiah than in the first one :?

Freakzilla wrote:
Paul walked into the desert of his own free will, he was not forced.

Paul's own freewill... :think: :doh:



Exactly. Plus, once he'd lost prescience, he was totally blind and subject to Fremen law, requiring him to wander off into the desert. No one forced him, but if you think about it, no one really could. A perk of being the Emperor/Kwisatz Haderach, I suppose.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby Redstar » 25 Jul 2009 01:15

othaderak wrote:
SandRider wrote:great comic-book movie adaption
starring Jennifer Garner's tits.


Also, it's the female version of the Oedipus complex, wherein the son not only wants to marry/sleep with his mother but kill his father. With Elektra, it's the daughter wanting to kill the mother to marry/sleep with her father.

In other words, :puke:

I take offense to that.

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Re: Oedipus

Postby SandChigger » 25 Jul 2009 02:12

Was there one where the offspring wanted to kill the other-sex parent to sleep with the same-sex one? :think:

Or was that not play-worthy enough in Ancient Greece? :shock:

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Re: Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 25 Jul 2009 03:06

Redstar wrote:I take offense to that.


Is it the :puke: face that offends you, or Oedipus/Elektra complexes? If a, then I guess I can't please everyone... :roll:

SandChigger wrote:Was there one where the offspring wanted to kill the other-sex parent to sleep with the same-sex one? :think:

Or was that not play-worthy enough in Ancient Greece? :shock:


No worries on the mother's part, thanks to pederasty! :mrgreen:

Of course, now pederasty's bringing on Mr. Pukeface again...




:puke:
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Re: Oedipus

Postby Redstar » 25 Jul 2009 03:34

othaderak wrote:
Redstar wrote:I take offense to that.


Is it the :puke: face that offends you, or Oedipus/Elektra complexes? If a, then I guess I can't please everyone... :roll:

A, thank you very much.

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Re: Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 25 Jul 2009 03:47

Redstar wrote:
othaderak wrote:
Redstar wrote:I take offense to that.


Is it the :puke: face that offends you, or Oedipus/Elektra complexes? If a, then I guess I can't please everyone... :roll:

A, thank you very much.


Um... sorry? :)
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Re: Oedipus

Postby SandChigger » 25 Jul 2009 05:47

(Sorry ... was that the "I'm confoosed" sorry or the "I'm sorry" sorry? :? )

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Re: Oedipus

Postby Freakzilla » 25 Jul 2009 08:01

othaderak wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceding fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.



I thought that was more in Dune Messiah than in the first one :?


I don't think he obsessed about anyone's death besides his father's in Dune.

Freakzilla wrote:
Paul walked into the desert of his own free will, he was not forced.

Paul's own freewill... :think: :doh:



Exactly. Plus, once he'd lost prescience, he was totally blind and subject to Fremen law, requiring him to wander off into the desert. No one forced him, but if you think about it, no one really could. A perk of being the Emperor/Kwisatz Haderach, I suppose.


Paul chose to walk into the desert to defeat the cabal between the BG and Guild. Conforming to Fremen law in the process was bonus.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby othaderak » 25 Jul 2009 14:30

SandChigger wrote:(Sorry ... was that the "I'm confoosed" sorry or the "I'm sorry" sorry? :? )

(Mine's the first!)


Eh.

Freakzilla wrote:
othaderak wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceding fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.



I thought that was more in Dune Messiah than in the first one :?


I don't think he obsessed about anyone's death besides his father's in Dune.


I think I just phrased something wrong in the OP... Even if he didn't necessarily obsess over his death, he at least saw it many times. Sorry for any confusion :)

Freakzilla wrote:
Paul walked into the desert of his own free will, he was not forced.

Paul's own freewill... :think: :doh:

othaderak wrote:
Exactly. Plus, once he'd lost prescience, he was totally blind and subject to Fremen law, requiring him to wander off into the desert. No one forced him, but if you think about it, no one really could. A perk of being the Emperor/Kwisatz Haderach, I suppose.


Paul chose to walk into the desert to defeat the cabal between the BG and Guild. Conforming to Fremen law in the process was bonus.


I guess it's been a while since I read Children of Dune all the way through, plus I wrote this reeeeaally early in the morning.

Yeah, that's probably it.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby Freakzilla » 25 Jul 2009 14:45

I neglected to mention the BT were in on it too. They wanted Paul to abdicate and renounce his own religion, he did neither AND adhered to FREMEN law.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby mrpsbrk » 27 Jul 2009 01:29

Freakzilla wrote:
othaderak wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceding fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.

I thought that was more in Dune Messiah than in the first one :?

I don't think he obsessed about anyone's death besides his father's in Dune.


Freak, even if the parallels aren't perfect, they are real clear, i guess...
Marcio (mrpsbrk) does believe in Lord Leto over all other wills and reasons ;-)

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Re: Oedipus

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Jul 2009 07:58

mrpsbrk wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
othaderak wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceding fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.

I thought that was more in Dune Messiah than in the first one :?

I don't think he obsessed about anyone's death besides his father's in Dune.


Freak, even if the parallels aren't perfect, they are real clear, i guess...


I don't think they're close enought to call Paul Oedepus. It's no secret that FH borrowed themes and archetypes from classical literature.
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Re: Oedipus

Postby Redstar » 27 Jul 2009 09:37

mrpsbrk wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
othaderak wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Paul didn't obsess over his own death. I only remember it being mentioned preceding fights (Jamis,Feyd-Rautha). He obsessed over Chani's.

I thought that was more in Dune Messiah than in the first one :?

I don't think he obsessed about anyone's death besides his father's in Dune.


Freak, even if the parallels aren't perfect, they are real clear, i guess...

Sometimes a book is just a book, and a writer doesn't have to emulate previous works to be good.

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Re: Oedipus

Postby georgiedenbro » 20 Aug 2014 15:16

I definitely wouldn't call Paul Oedipus outright, but I do appreciate the parallels. In Oedipus Tyrannos Oedipus didn't obsess over his own death, and neither does Paul in Dune or DM. Paul may have been concerned with his father's death and later with Chani's, but Oedipus never knew his father and isn't that concerned about Jocasta that we can see.

I think images that work well as parallels are the blindness being linked to wisdom and the understanding of prophecy; the comparison here between Oedipus, Tiresias and Paul is a nice one. Oedipus is someone who wanted to hear the prophecy from the Delphic oracle but then tried to go against it and change the future by leaving his homeland. No matter what he does he's locked into the future that was predicted, and his will to control his own fate is precisely the thing that delivers him unknowingly into its arms. I think it would be fair to say Paul experiences some of this as well, and here's a nice passage on that subject:

Dune Messiah wrote:I succumbed to the lure of the oracle, he thought.
And he sensed that succumbing to this lure might be to fix himself upon a
single-track life. Could it be, he wondered, that the oracle didn't tell the
future? Could it be that the oracle made the future? Had he exposed his life to
some web of underlying threads, trapped himself there in that long-ago
awakening, victim of a spider-future which even now advanced upon him with
terrifying jaws.
A Bene Gesserit axiom slipped into his mind: 'To use raw power is to make
yourself infinitely vulnerable to greater powers.'


It's one thing to make plans, but the more the future is seen as a static event to either go towards or avoid, the more one exerts control to force the future's course on a specific path. Even trying to avoid a specific path is still taking control, as Paul learns through the jihad. Oedipus learns the lesson towards the end of Oedipus Tyrranos and once he realizes that his own intellect and force of will are what trapped him into his fate, he puts out his eyes and does away with trying to see what's to come. This lesson is, I think, very similar to Paul's, as Oedipus wants nothing more in the end than to break the prescient trap and to have the freedom to just live. He may end up living as a blind beggar, but at least he has the dignity of not having to live out a pre-set course. Paul echoes the desire for this, although in Paul's case it's not so simple as just walking away; in the end he does strip himself of his vision and goes into the wilderness blind just as Oedipus did.

As an aside, Oedipus putting out his own eyes has a visual symbolism in Ancient Greek theatre (which used masks), which is that of castration. Consider the image of a mask with eyes and a long nose: picture the eyes destroyed, and you'll get the idea. :shock: As fathering a dynasty in the Dune series is very much about breeding, control, and setting the path of the future, this imagery can apply to Paul on the level that he steps down from his empire both as controller as well as progenitor. He doesn't even publicly take credit for the paternity of Leto II and Ghanima, which certainly can be seen like retroactively castrating himself and trying to swear off the whole kingdom-building business. Everyone knows that Leto II and Ghani are Atreides and the rightful heirs, but it's Paul himself who lives the rest of his life 'disowned' by his own choosing.
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