Essay, 4 pages (850 words)

Sophocles’ ode to man

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This descriptive poem, “ Ode to Man” reflects the usage of power by man in society. The writer uses natural imagery, diction, personification and the structure of 4 lines per stanza to indicate and ensure how the poem and society can reflect between each other and its conflicts.

It vividly explains how man became powerful with the help of nature. However it also shows how man misuse the usage of power as they think they are having most power within the society on earth as the last stanza of the poem creates a twist, as it also portrays the duty and honor as a King and as a Father that Creon has committed. From the very beginning of the poem the writer impresses on the reader how powerful men are in society. With the opening “ wonders are many on earth, and the greatest of these is man, who rides the ocean and takes his way” it gives us a vivid imagination on how man is superior in everyway and no one could stop them as they have the highest authority to go from place to place their own way. It gives off a strong impact also on how man control nature with his ways gradually building the suspense. Lines 5-16 appeals particularly to the sight of nature and how it links with the concept of power held by man.

Even if nature cannot be controlled and cannot be tamed, this poem mentions that man is able to do so. “ He is master of ageless Earth… the immortal mother of gods..

.” this shows that nature surrounds the concept that only the gods can control, and when man controls nature then it replaces the role of the gods thus portraying man like a god. The writer also includes the different animals being personified throughout these lines. The “ birds of the air, beast of the field…

he teketh…wild horse and the roaming ox” shows the different powerful techniques each indicates. Like the “ birds of the air” indicate that they have the power to see what others may not see because they are in the sky and sees what happens below them; same goes for the other animals being personified. These following words follow the concept of the different diction of words being chosen and their similarity with each other.

Like how the words “ master”, “ gods” and “ lord” links with one another as they all indicate the meaning of leadership. The descriptions of man intends to prove the point that his powers are strong enough to even control nature; “ master of ageless Earth” this shows where his power is clearly depicted as greater than nature. By creating an image of a tangible being, as opposed to nature in its abstract form through the use of personifications of elements within nature – such as the “ Earth” and “ ocean” – the strength of man’s power and control over nature is strengthened. This is somewhat what the society in the present time is reflecting on, them thinking that they might be better than others as shown from the animals and the natural occurrences. The writer’s particular choice of words and imagery help to create a conflict with adaptability and the changes from one thing to another.

The conflict occurred on the 5th stanza when the writer uses diction again to differentiate the rural areas with the urban areas, “ in cities, building him shelter against the rain…” this indicates the conflict between the two. Also by using diction, adaptability was also stated “ the wind-swift motion of brain he learnt” here as people starting to adapt with the changes, like in Creon’s case in the story, at first he wasn’t adaptable to society, but later on realizes his mistakes and starts to adapt to the changes. This situation wont occur until later in the story, but this main fact is what society in real life present time is facing.

The writer empathies how man in society thinks that they are almighty in everything that they do and no one could stop them. The writer indicates this again by using diction with “ immortal”, “ power”, “ beyond” and “ conquereth”; linking them together creates man in society to think that they have the ability to control everything, even nature, just like god. Although, due to these, there was a conflict, which created a twist in the poem in the last stanza where it shows the consequences, when power was being misused by man. “ But he that, too rashly daring, walks in sin in solitary pride to his life’s end” this line vividly show a theoretical description of how Creon is behaving and what his consequences are. Linking it back to society itself, it shows how man themselves are only to blame for their downfall.

This poem has been carefully constructed in order to create calm and formal description on how power is used and thought of theoretically. In extent of how man is powerful and how they are almost invincible in the face of society. Although in the final stanzas, it refers to a conflict and a disagreement with the rest of the poem. By the end of the poem, we could also see the slight change in tone from calm and formal to slightly un-calm yet still formal as it shows a slight horror to it when it says “ life’s end”.

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