An important characteristic of the greatest literary works is their ability to stand the test of time and appeal to people of all generations irrespective of their time of composition. The concept of universality is also an integral element of greatest literary works because if their applicability to almost every person at any place. This paper analyses two great literary works, which are the Dante Inferno and Oedipus the King, and provides an explanation with respect to how the literary works still affect the people of Atlanta.
The Dante Inferno is an epic poem set in the 14th century and bases on the aspect of divine comedy to pass its message. The poem is a metaphor that tells the experience of Dante in the medieval perception of hell. The poem reports hell as nine circles that are found within the earth. Figuratively, the poem is a representation of the journey of the soul in seeking God, with constant reference of the inferno serving as an identification and refusal of sinful ways. The divine poem is set in the 1300 during the Good Friday, where the narrator is 35 years, half of the life expectancy reported in the Bible (Fowlie 36). The narrator finds himself in a situation that he cannot escape in a forest, and chooses the straight path, which translates to seeking salvation, whereby he meets the Roman Poet claiming to have been sent by Beatrice and they commence their expedition to the underworld. Each of the sins depicted in the poem is a representation of poetic justice.
This is not a form of divine revenge but rather a destiny that we seek for ourselves during our present life times. Dante describes the nine circles of hell, which are gradually increasing in wickedness and have dominated the greater part of life on earth. The punishment delivered matches the gravity of the sin. With the constant use of symbols, the Dante inferno is a representation of what sin really stands for and the possible outcomes of our indulgence in sins, as symbolically stated as creating our own destiny through involvement in sinful activities. Dante Inferno is significantly applicable to the people of Georgia, Atlanta in the sense that the poem reveals the sins that humanity have done over the ages, and the kind of destiny that we are building for ourselves by indulgence in activities depicted in the poem such as greed, violence and the malicious (Fowlie 12).
Oedipus the King
Oedipus the king is an Athenian tragedy play performed during the 429 BC. Almost every aspect that constitutes the myth is evident during the onset of the play whereby Laius violates the laws associated with hospitality through the abduction and rape of Chrysippus, who was the youngest son of King Pelops of Elis (Dawe 25). Chrysippus later kills himself to evade shame, and this spelled doom in him and the generations that followed him in his lineage. King Laius later learns that he was supposed to die through the fate of his own son, and decides that his son’s life should be taken away. Oedipus survives the wrath by the rescue of a shepherd who turns him to be raised by the King Polybus of Corinth who had no child. In his quest to know who her real parents are, Oedipus learnt that his destiny was to “Mate his own mother, and with his own sire and hands, shed his blood”. Oedipus was satisfied that King Polybus and Queen Merope were his real parents and decided to get far away from them in order to avoid inflicting harm on his parents. The outcome of this ordeal is that Oedipus meets with his real father and kills him unknowingly, thereby fulfilling the prophecy (Grene and Lattimore 45).