The Apollonian Dionysian

Both the sons of Zeus, Nietzsche distinguished the two as opposites: Apollo the god of reason and order, and Dionysus the god of irrationality and chaos.

I have realized that these divine brothers are in harmony, at the core foundation of Oedipus Rex. Sophocles’ play unifies tragedy and analytics, or systematic thinking and disastrous emotions.

Towards the ancient Greek men, the work showcases that utilizing our rational faculties to betray the gods would only lead to tragedy. Since the masses at the time were profoundly religious, I would regard this drama as a prophet’s masterwork: it preserves the historical obligation to surrender reverently.

Oedipus was crowned, and to him, reason is king. He was proud of himself and had confidence in his prestige. He decided to sin, which in context, means “not fulfilling who you are” instead of “breaking an objective moral law”.

Teiresias was the opposite, and to him, faith is god. He humbled himself without vanity and trusted in supreme powers. Despite the blindness, he had the gift of foreknowledge. Even the gods bow to fate; hence such talents are enormously treasured.

With the repetition of Oedipus’ stubborn dialogues of attempting to ignore Apollo’s prophecies, and his brazen tendency to be certain of what he prefers to believe (and stormed conspiracies against his beloved ones), the audience would come into a realization that pride urges one’s self to maintain their personal beliefs despite contrary rebukes.

He took advantage of his own reasoning, but was unaware of the fact of the matter. He followed the ways of Apollo (through rational means) but the process in itself is Dionysus-like (a calamitous mumbo jumbo).

This is a brilliant synthesis that expresses the conservative standpoint that hope permits the illusion of controlling one’s destiny, for the gods orchestrate all tragedies into necessity.


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