Friday, January 20, 2017

"Tomorrow Belongs to Me!"

No, Trump's inaugural address didn't crib from Bane, he plagiarized Sophocles:

Voices: In supplication
Oedipus!  Oedipus our Lord, help us!  Help your people!
Oedipus!  Oedipus our Lord, help us!  Help your people!

What is it, my children? You, my children, are the youngest generation of the ancient house of Cadmus. What is causing all these cries of anguish, all this waving of prayer branches? Their scent has filled the air of our city!  All this lamentation, these deep sighs of misfortune. What are they about?

Well? Here I am! You have me here in person and I have come to you so that I can find out what it is
that gives you this pain, directly from you, from your own mouths, rather than risk any mistakes that might be made by a third person.

Speak, sons and daughters of old Cadmus, you are talking to me, Oedipus! You all know me!

You, old priest, your advanced years well qualify you to represent this youth.  Tell me then, what has brought you all here?  Is there something you are afraid of?  Is there something you need from me? Tell me and it will certainly be granted!  Otherwise what sort of a man would I be if I had not enough compassion to help you, you, my very own folk, with all my heart?

King of our Thebes, Oedipus!

Look at us! We are all here, gathered around your altars, praying. See? All the ages of men are here:
the youth, whose wings have yet to spread wide enough for flying far and the old men whose head and back are bent with years – like me, Oedipus, me, Zeus’ priest!

And look there! Look at our youth! The best stock of men in the world!  We are all gathered here. Here and in the city, too, around both the temples of our Goddess Athena, and by the fires inside Apollo’s temple, and by the altars of Ismenos whose oracles emerge from ashes. There is plenty of kneeling and lamenting and deep sighing going on there as well, my lord!  There, too, Oedipus, the laurels are waved in supplication.

But, you, too, Oedipus, with your own eyes, you can see how the whole of Thebes is in the grips of a battering sea storm of troubles and how she cannot raise her head from its murderous waves! You too, can see that our trees let drop their best flowers to the ground just before they become fruit; that our herds drop dead as they graze and our women have all become barren.

A despicable pestilence, my lord, has taken our Thebes within its murderous grip!

As if some fire-carrying god has swooped upon our land, hollowing out our homes while at the same time, cluttering the house of Black Hades with our moans and our cries of despair.
We are not saying, Oedipus, that you are equal to the gods but we have come to you and have gathered around your altars, because, out of all the men we know, we think you are the best in working out the meaning of these hardships that have been tossed upon us, by life and by the gods.
It was you, Oedipus, who came here, to our Thebes, to the land of Cadmus and who has saved us from the grips of that witch, that Sphinx, who held us all inside here, within the walls of the city, in dreadful fear.

You did not do this with our help, Oedipus but with the help of some divine intervention. With your act, you’ve let us live proper lives again.

And now, great Oedipus!  We fall before you in prayer and ask you to find, if you can, some remedy for our pains, either from some man’s wisdom or some god’s voice because I can see that the thoughts of experienced men are always the wisest.

Come then, our Lord and King!  Come, first among all mortals! Make our Thebes live again!  Remember, my Lord, this city calls you “saviour” because of your past act of generosity.  Let us not ever in the future think that “by Oedipus’ generosity we were saved but by Oedipus lack of action we died.”  Let us instead say, “Oedipus raised us to our feet yet again!”

You were driven here to our aid by a bright omen many years ago, so let it drive you to us once again!  Because, Oedipus, if you wish to rule this city, and I know you do, then it is far better to rule it when it is filled with men rather then when it is scraped hollow of them.  No tower, no ship is worth anything if it is bereft of men.

My poor children!

I know you well, all of you and I know well your pain.   I know very well that you are all gripped by despair.  Yet no one is in greater pain than I am because your pain affects only you, each one of you, alone, whereas I ache for the whole city and for all of you.  So have no fear, I’m not asleep.  I am wade awake to your misfortune.  My soul cries for us all.  I have lost many tears and have travelled many paths of thought to find a way out of this until, finally, I have decided to put into action the only possible solution that came to my mind:  I have sent Creon, my wife’s brother, Menoikeos’ son, to Apollo’s oracle to ask what we should do to save our city;  to find out what deed or what word should we do or say to save our country.

In fact, Creon should have returned by now and I’m beginning to worry.  Let him come and tell us what needs to be done.  Then I would indeed be a terrible man if I did not do all that the god asks!
Granted, Trump is taking on the role of the people and of Oedipus, but then, Trump doesn't have the humility of Oedipus.

Although he certainly has the hubris.

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