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Voldemort and Oedipus



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  #1  
Old July 25th, 2007, 5:55 am
thewyvern  Male.gif thewyvern is offline
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Voldemort and Oedipus

For some reason, I was reading Oediupus Rex the other day, and I started to make connections between Voldemort and Oedipus. As a writer, I'm sure that JK has read Oedipus, so I'm not sure if she did any of this intentionally. Maybe I'm just way off base, I have no idea.
  • Oedipus kills his father. Obviously Voldemort does this, and instead kills his father's entire family. Oedipus, however, didn't know that the man he killed was his father, while Voldemort set out to kill him.
  • Voldemort, while he does kills Morfin, indulges himself in his mother's family. He, like Snape, tries to be a Pureblood, and take from his Slytherin heritage. Oedipus, of course, marries and subsequently sleeps with his mother.
  • Oedipus is the victim of fate. Now, I realize that JK took the Prophecy idea from her favorite William play, Hamlet, but Voldemort also faces the same fate hardships that Hamlet does. If Voldemort had never heard the prophecy, he never would have gone after Harry, and thus never would have lead to his demise in Godric's Hallow. I realize that this had nothing to do with him killing his father and the Slytherin family, but I think it's important for him to be a victim of fate just like Oediupus.
  • Now, Oedipus rips out his eyes when he finds out that he slept with his mother and killed his father, finding out his he a victim of fate. Obviously, Voldemort doesn't care that he killed his father, but, and I can't connect it just yet, there is plenty in the books to do with Voldemort's eyes in Harry's soul, his blindness towards types of magic, and his "slit" eyes.

I realize this could be completely stupid and not make any sense, but I thought it was something that I had been thinking of sharing.


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  #2  
Old July 26th, 2007, 7:02 pm
66liana99  Female.gif 66liana99 is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Voldemort's like that classical but very up-to-date villian that you get in stories. So, these connections are probably one from many other classical stories etc.

I have this book which describes how villians are created and it just makes sense that history has a way of repeating itself. Otherwise, I don't think people can empathise, sympathise or feel for/from a villian or relate to them to reality in a simple or bizarre way.


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Old September 4th, 2007, 9:48 pm
Shewoman  Female.gif Shewoman is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

I think the comparison is more between Harry and Oedipus. They're both thrown into situations because of things their parents did (Oedie's pierced his ankle and sent him to be dumped outside of their land; Harry's defied Voldemort three times and ended up being killed by him). Both of them apparently figure in prophecies that they know nothing about for a long time. Both of them don't have some information that they really need: Oedie needs to know who killed Laius (in order to end the plague in Thebes), who is his wife, who are his children, who he is in relation to them. Harry needs to know why Voldemort is so determined to kill him, why is Snape is so hostile to him, and that he has a piece of Voldemort's soul in him (which V doesn't even know), and how love is supposed to help him overcome the Dark Lord.

Voldemort acted on the Prophecy; he wasn't a victim of fate. If he'd left it alone, it would never have been actualized.


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Old October 9th, 2007, 11:28 pm
CleanSweepSeven  Female.gif CleanSweepSeven is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

In CoS, the basilisk's eyes get punctured by Fawkes, so that could be the connection to Oedipus ripping out his eyes.

Although Oedipus did it out of guilt and the basilisk was attacked....

I don't know, I just made the eye wound connection.


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Old October 15th, 2007, 1:37 am
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Interesting, but he could not have married his mother.


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Old December 18th, 2007, 11:26 pm
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

I don't see the connection. Yes, Voldemort may have had "Mommy" issues, but if he did, it was born out of hatred and disgust for his mother, not incestuous love for her. Voldemort [Tom Riddle] never loved ANYONE. Oedipus killed his father out of jealousy because he wanted to be in his father's place, while Voldemort killed his father cause he's a muggle. I actually think he would have killed his father even if he wasn't a muggle, simply because he could.


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Old December 21st, 2007, 4:09 pm
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

I think one major obstacle to the theory has to do with remorse and love, both emotions that LV was incapable of experiencing. With Oedipus, the tragedy was that he was a victim of fate and felt irreconcilable remorse for his actions, LV had no such feeling. The other issue was that Oedipus felt an intense love for his mother, while I saw no such feeling, familial or otherwise in any way, shape or form from LV.


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Old December 21st, 2007, 4:17 pm
thewbacca  Male.gif thewbacca is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Well, another major problem is that Oedipus was a hero before the whole killing-father thing (He was either the one who trumped the sphinx or killed the man with the "magic" bed, I can't remember which) whereas Tom Marvollo Riddle was not a hero.

But, as an aside, I can't remember any talk of Prophecy in Ham,let. Might you be thinking of the Scottish play, or have i just not payed close enough attention to Hamlet?


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Old December 23rd, 2007, 4:53 pm
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Actually, it's Harry who has an Oedipus streak when he falls in love with Ginny, who looks something like his mother and has some of her personality traits.

Voldemort was not exactly enamored with his only maternal relative, Uncle Morfin. It's unclear whether Morfin ever made the connection that Voldemort was the son of his sister and the Muggle Tom Riddle.


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Old December 24th, 2007, 10:27 am
thewbacca  Male.gif thewbacca is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

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Originally Posted by JimmyPotter View Post
Actually, it's Harry who has an Oedipus streak when he falls in love with Ginny, who looks something like his mother and has some of her personality traits.
Now lets not go calling spades non-electrical dirt relocaters. She was/is very pretty, funny, and smart. And as for looking likle her, apart from the hair, she doesn´t really look a whole lot like her.


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Old December 31st, 2007, 3:03 am
Natali  Female.gif Natali is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Your connections are really interesting although I think one big difference would the fact that Oedipus didn't want to be a villan, he was subject to fate, while on the other hand Voldy had a sort of choice...

Quote:
Actually, it's Harry who has an Oedipus streak when he falls in love with Ginny, who looks something like his mother and has some of her personality traits.
Sounds a whole lot like Freud to me... you know, it's said that every male in the back of his mind looks for a mate who is as similar as their mother as possible.


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Old February 18th, 2008, 11:11 pm
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

hmmmm... I'd like to disagree politely here.....

Oedipus (at least in the original by Sophokles) is in a way a victim of fate, and never tries to be a master of fate which, IMHO, is what Voldemort is trying to do.

The whole oedipus myth has been diluted so much because many people only know it indirectly via Freud, and that is quite distorted!

Oedipus actually could not even have had an Oedipus complex, not towards Laius anyway, because he never actually knew the man, and didn't know him as his father when he killed him. OK, it isn't a good thing to just kill some stranger because he doesn't make way in the road, but Greek heroes did this sort of thing......

Ultimately the tragic thing about Oedipus Rex is that Oedipus honestly wants to find out what happened to the former king and who murdered him - the murderer acts as the dedective who finally finds out the truth, at a point when all those who work it out before him are no longer willing to tell him.....

In the end he blinds and exiles himself (for a Greek both things are equally horrific) to somehow placate the gods....

Now that's a tragic figure, someone meant to evoke pity in his folly and suffering.


To me, that feels the complete opposite of Voldemort.... not sure whether there is anyone in Greek mythology who would come close to Voldemort - Greek mythology doesn't do this good/evil thing so well - that's an Eastern (e.g. Zoroastrian/Manichaean) /Christian idea I think.


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Old March 15th, 2008, 7:56 am
ChuckNorris  Male.gif ChuckNorris is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

The biggest difference I see in the Greek Tragedy and the Potter books is that Oedipus Rex is in fact a tragedy. The arc of a tragic hero is a meteoric rise and a great big fall, generally due to a tragic flaw. In Oedipus' case his flaw is his curiosity and inability to remain ignorant of certain things.

The Potter books are not the tragedy of Voldemort. they are the comedy of Harry Potter. Potter who is initially hailed as the boy who lived, continually beaten down by all the factions in the books and then ultimately vindicated and triumphant. That's the classic comedic arc which mirrors the tragic one. In that respect, I think there are a lot of elements connecting the two stories, many of which have been listed already.

It doesn't necessarily come down to a plot point by plot point comparison, but several elements do match up and in some cases retain the reflexive element ov the comedic vs. tragic tales.

Both Harry and Oedipus solve the riddle of the sphinx: Harry solves the Spider question while Oedipus solves the "what walks on 4 legs in morning, 2 at noon and 3 in evening" question - man. These answers lead both characters to apparent victories which ultimately lead to awful events. Oedipus is named King of Thebes and marries his mother. This will ultimately force him to discover himself as his father's murderer, etc. Harry advances to the Triwizard Cup with Cedric and gets portkeyed to the cemetery where Cedric is murdered and Voldemort reborn. While Oedipus' apparent triumph is necessary for his ultimate downfall and victimization by fate, Harry's apparent defeat is similarly necessary in setting the downfall of Voldemort in motion, and hence Harry's triumph. The gleam in Dumbledore's eye and the explanation about the shared blood keeping Harry from dying at the battle of Hogwarts tell us as much.

I think it would be interesting to look at the character of Tiresias who I feel shares similarities with Dumbledore. And perhaps Creon and maybe Jocasta? I don't think we'll see a lot of similarity in characterization - but in how they are used in exposition and as devices in the plot and action perhaps.


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Old August 14th, 2008, 7:20 am
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Oh Oedipus. As far as the eyes go, Oedipus blinded himself out of shame.. for what he truly was. He accepted this shame and guilt, and his self-imposed blindness was the outward and public sign for this. Whereas Voldemort is ashamed of what he truly is (his impaired mother and muggle father) and conceals it by bolstering his claim to slytherin heritage. He is no way publicly disclaims this.

As for fate... He defined his fate. He sought out Harry, who would become the boy who lived. Whereas Oedipus sought out the truth and in turn discovered his fate.


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Old July 27th, 2011, 4:09 am
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shewoman View Post
I think the comparison is more between Harry and Oedipus. They're both thrown into situations because of things their parents did (Oedie's pierced his ankle and sent him to be dumped outside of their land; Harry's defied Voldemort three times and ended up being killed by him). Both of them apparently figure in prophecies that they know nothing about for a long time. Both of them don't have some information that they really need: Oedie needs to know who killed Laius (in order to end the plague in Thebes), who is his wife, who are his children, who he is in relation to them. Harry needs to know why Voldemort is so determined to kill him, why is Snape is so hostile to him, and that he has a piece of Voldemort's soul in him (which V doesn't even know), and how love is supposed to help him overcome the Dark Lord.

Voldemort acted on the Prophecy; he wasn't a victim of fate. If he'd left it alone, it would never have been actualized.
I would also put Harry with Oedipus. Look at who he marries: a redheaded girl who can typically be found standing up for those weaker than she... in all the memories we see of Lily, she's standing up for Snape while he's being bullied.


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Old August 1st, 2011, 3:25 am
NickHeartsMat  Female.gif NickHeartsMat is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

I don't really think Voldemort embodies Oedipus at all. I don't understand the supposed parallels, I agree that if there are any parallels it is between Harry and Oedipus, but even then I think it is a stretch.

Ah but I do love the Oedipus saga. Love Oedipus the King, Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus. Great plays.


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Old October 18th, 2012, 4:18 am
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Oedipus killed his father out of ignorance, not jealousy.

Here's the story: Oedipus is born to Laius and Jocasta,
King and Queen of Thebes. Mom & Dad discover the
horrible prophesy, and abandon the newborn prince,
on a hill to die. However fate says screw that ****,
Oedipus is rescued, and thinks he is the prince of Cornith.
When the monarchs of Cornith pass away,
Oedipus goes to Thebes, on the road, killing a old man,
not knowing him to be his father.

Oedipus solves the Riddle of the Sphinx, and marries Queen Jocasta,
both are ignorant of their true relationship.

Many years later, the truth is revealed, causing Oedipus, Jocasta,
and their daughter Antigone, to blind themselves, and die as nomads.

The real tragedy is that Oedipus, and Jocasta, are damned for sins
that they can't prevent.


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Old October 18th, 2012, 9:01 pm
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Oedipus is a figure of tragedy, he is viewed as a hero, almost a Christ figure in the way that after his exile and death, people respected, and remembered the suffering he went through.
Tom Riddle, on the other hand, is also a figure of tragedy, his abusive, broken home life, and his childhood shaped it greatly. But he can not be considered a hero, since Oedipus' quest for truth was fueled by ending the plague of his people and the duties of a king. Riddle's quest for power was for eternal glory. Riddle reminds me of Napoleon, and I fail to see the parallel between him and Oedipus


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Old October 19th, 2012, 2:42 am
LyannaS  Female.gif LyannaS is offline
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Re: Voldemort and Oedipus

Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecat View Post
Riddle reminds me of Napoleon, and I fail to see the parallel between him and Oedipus
I think it's more Hitler than Napoleon. There's no racism at all in Napoleon's wars and conquests. Nor did he try to annihilate the people he vanquished.

At any rate, I agree with the posters who think that there's no real similarity between Tom Riddle and Oedipus. My opinion.

Quote:
Many years later, the truth is revealed, causing Oedipus, Jocasta, and their daughter Antigone, to blind themselves, and die as nomads.
IIRC, neither Jocasta nor Antigone blinded themselves. I don't remember what happened to Jocasta, but Antigone definitely didn't die as a nomad. She died buried alive for disobeying the new King (her uncle)'s orders to leave her brother's body lie unburied. She's the subject of another great play. Several plays, in fact. She's a tragic heroine.



Last edited by LyannaS; October 19th, 2012 at 2:48 am. Reason: ETA
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