By: Tatiana Coba
In Othello the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare and Oedipus King by Sophocles justice is the cause of the tragedy narrated. However, it is not the same justice in both plays. Othello's justice is different from Oedipus' justice because, the first one is based on the protagonist's free will and the second one is based on thepredestination. Predestination is the concept that states that deities had ordained each event in the future, therefore human beings have their fates written since the day they were born. Both, Othello and Oedipus base their lives on the principle of justice and this ideal takes them to their sufferance by the end of each play.
In order to understand why justice has a different definition in each play,an analysis must be written about the religions at the time when Othello the moor was written and when Sophocles wrote Oedipus. The religious background of each play is shaped by the way how Shakespeare and Sophocles perceived their religions. As a matter of fact, five years before William Shakespeare was born, the England's church set apart from the Catholic church and converted to Anglicanism.This new religion was not very different from Catholicism. The Anglicans believe in Jesus and so do the Catholics, but they do not support the worship of saints and the pope's authority. Differently from the protestants, Anglican churches are full of images, stained glasses and they have no leaders such as Luther or Calvin. (Anglicanism and Epicospalianism) This fact influenced Shakespeare's lifeenormously and, as some academics speculate, Shakespeare was titled toward the Catholicism and so was his family. These academics argue that Shakespeare's mother's family were recognized Catholics throughout the reign of the queen Elizabeth and that Shakespeare's father supposedly wrote a testament professing his faith. (Assurances of Faith). The theory that Catholicism influenced Shakespeare'splays, would imply that he believed in free will, and therefore in punishment when this free will leads to sin. However, Shakespeare was not able to express directly his supposed catholic faith, due to the prohibition of Great Britain's authorities of displaying religious beliefs in theatre at that time.
On the other side, Sophocles was raised in Greece among all the deities. He was taught that thegods where the ones that reigned over the world and that humans life where designed by them, this means that whatever a person decides, it doesn't really matter because his/her life will always lead him/her to the end that the gods had written for him/her. In Oedipus King, Apollo was the god of the greeks called mousike. He also was the god of divination and of healing, as well as the protector ofall citizens of a greek-city-state. As a Greek, Sophocles based his play on the idea that gods had design their plan for humans, and the main character's mistake was trying to defy gods' will by making their own.
In other words, both protagonist make their choices throughout the play on an unbreakable moral code of justice. By analyzing the Othello's diction at the beginning of the play we cansee how bravely he puts his life in Desdemona’s hands when her father accuses him of marrying her against her will. Othello's answer to Desdemona's father show what he considered it was the correct demeanor: "I do beseech you, / Send for the lady to the Sagittary, / And let her speak of me before her father. / If you do find me foul in her report, / The trust, the office, I do hold of you / Notonly take away, but let your sentence / Even fall upon my life" ( Shakespeare # 117-121 ). This quote shows how Othello acted based on what he considered as fair and real. He was not afraid of putting his life in Desdemona's mouth because he knows he was always acting right.
On the other hand, Oedipus is asked at the beginning of the play to save the people of Thebes, and since he is an good...