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The Darker Face of the Earth and Oedipus

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 356
  • Category: Oedipus

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            The great works of Sophocles and Rita Dove shared common story of love, fate and tragic ending. The Darker Face of the Earth is a poetic version of the Oedipus and some characters resemble in many aspects framed in a more realistic sound of modern slavery. Augustus is a version of Oedipus who bears the same character as a brilliant and compelling leader, believed by many people in defending their rights and a savior to their own world. Both Augustus and Oedipus endured the same experience in loving and sharing deep relationship with their mother, Amalia and Jocasta.  On the other hand, they are not mutually similar Oedipus blinds himself in grief while Augustus does not, but is moved off victoriously in the end.

Oedipus strongly believed on the power of predestination and fate while Augustus valiantly fought for what is practical and material. Since the ancient people were impressed by the concept of prophecies, the most striking influence to Oedipus is more likely the same. Conversely, Augustus never had this kind of reflection, he even battled the argument with Amalia for accepting destiny that she experienced by rejecting a black slave son. Augustus was stronger than Oedipus, who in the end became a wandering beggar, because he fought not only for his own right but also for his fellow black slave workers in the plantation. Augustus believed in the power of rebellion as the only way of triumph in unfolding slavery, that’s why he succeeded in the end.

A parallel connection of incest and parricide, social hierarchy, denial of marriage and family, the foundation of slavery, and consequences of believing one’s predestination completes the resemblance (Carlisle, 2000). However, Dove displayed a different way of addressing the similarities, she wanted the audience to seek and trace those connections between Augustus and Oedipus. Vigorously written and creatively plotted, Dove’s work has lots of spirit and productively recalls the malevolent grandness of classic Greek tragedy.


Carlisle, T. (2000). Reading the Scars: Rita Dove’s The Darker Face of the Earth [Electronic

Version]. Retrieved July 24, 2007 from    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2838/is_1_34/ai_62258911/pg_1.

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