IELTS: Focus on Japan

18th October 2021

Listening practice:

Life in Japan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwg5-YY4pdg

Activity one

Listen to one or two facts, then paraphrase them. Add your opinions, and how Japanese culture differs from your life.

New vocabulary, expressions, listening to accents.

Listen out for:

‘you guys’ (US), ‘omg’ (oh my god), ‘screwed up’, ‘really cool cafes’, ‘despite’, ‘strict’.

Check her grammar – any mistakes ?

Image result for amazing things in Japan

Activity Two

Listening for information

This clip ‘7 Cool things to do in Tokyo’ has a lot of practical information.

Write down as much as you can. At first, try without subtitles.

Include prices, opening times, locations etc: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3enIWRJtHQ

Image result for amazing things in Japan

Activity Three

Project:

You have three days in Tokyo; what would you choose to do ? Read the cntraveler and plan your city-break.

Remember to use IELTS language, explain your choices and maybe add an anecdote.

https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-things-to-do-in-tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden Tokyo
Image result for amazing things in tokyo

This is an edited version of an earlier blog:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/25/adult-speaking-class-level-2-part-6-2/

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: Focus on India

18th October 2021

Image result for hello India

Firstly, a big hello to all my readers and followers in India. I want you all to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog. Thank you so much.

Exercise one: Find out some basic information about India from the internet, such as capital and major cities, population, food, religion, imports and exports.

I give you four minutes to do an Internet search, then present to class. DO NOT simply read from Wikipedia.

Exercise two:

Adjectives: look at the photos and describe what you see.

Try these adjectives:

exotic / mysterious / exquisite / captivating / enchanting

How Narendra Modi inaugurated Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple | Condé Nast  Traveller India
Image result for Indian culture
Image result for Indian culture

Exercise two: compare and contrast

Does this look like YOUR city ? What is similar, what is noticeably different ?

Image result for Indian city scene
Image result for Indian train station
School, Colleges to Reopen From Next Month? What we Know so Far

Vocabulary building and listening

In the real world, most students will not be communicating with English-language teachers, but probably with other non-native speakers, so learning to appreciate and understand English spoken with a ‘new’ accent is an extremely useful skill. Here’s a great video which features a charming young Indian lady teaching new vocabulary: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKUxuD0m5A8

New Vocabulary:

Instead of using ‘very’ + adjective (I am very tired), use a single word:

Try to use ‘sagacious’, ‘exquisite’, ‘colossal’ and ‘spacious

The classrooms in Block D are ……….. (big)

The furnishings are perfect, they are ……….

Building an underground train network is a ………… undertaking

The old man was ………. People came to him for advise.

This is also a listening skills exercise. 

  • Do you have any problems understanding her ? Why ?

What to do in India

The American foodie and blogger Mark Wiens travelled to Kolkata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvNdOJMDMyQ

Listen for at least five words you didn’t previously know. In small groups ask each other:

What impressed you ? What disturbed you ? Would you like to go there ? If so, why, if not, why not ?

Here is a chance to practice adjectives, linking words and using the word ‘because’ – giving reasons, supporting your comments.

Famous Indians

In small groups, you have to make a short presentation about one of these famous Indians:

Mahatma Gandhi
Image result for famous indian siddharta buddha
Siddhartha – the Buddha
kalpana chawla
Kalpana Chawla

The class have five to ten minutes to research information, speed read and extract relevant facts with which to enlighten the class. Follow up, tell me about some Indian artists or sports stars.

And now, goodbye from this mysterious, exotic land. Hope to meet you very soon …

Image result for Indian sunset

This is an edited blog that first appeared on 24th January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/24/ielts-hello-india/

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Learners, Level 6: sensational sentences – great games

15th October 2021

Glad diverse students taking notes while working on project
Free Images from pexels.com

Outline:

To promote the natural use of adjectives in order for students to speak in longer, more detailed sentences.

To increase vocabulary by introducing new words and replacing basic adjectives with synonyms.

Increase general knowledge.

Inspire students to aim higher, to produce more elaborate answers without prompting.

So, let’s have some games.

First, a warm up. Describe these pictures in one or two sentences. I want three adjectives for each photo.

Cheerful man with coffee laughing together with woman
Free Images from pexels.com

EXAMPLE: The man is drinking coffee and he is friendly and happy. His mustache is unusual.

NOW … YOUR TURN

Young beautiful hispanic sad woman serious and concerned in worried  depressed facial expression — negative, ethnicity - Stock Photo | #141206126
lightfieldstudios.net
6,667 Angry Japanese Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime
Dreamstime.com
How did the Russian kids made the world angry? - Luxury Topics luxury portal
luxurytopics.com
wortfm.org

What’s the story ?

Write a short story about the two photos

Set 1

abc.net.au
9 benefits of football, it makes you healthy!
newsbreezer.com

Set 2

nbcnews.com
Crazy Cajun Crabs, seafood restaurant from Fat Boyz Barbecue owners, opens  in Pompano Beach - South Florida Sun Sentinel - South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Set 3

bitlanders.com
deviantart.com

Set 4

Zambia Geography - Where is Zambia, What's in Zambia?
victoriafalls-guide.net
Zambia – A Vietnamese missionary among the street children of Africa
infoans.org

Our valuable and useful collection of adjectives

amazing, angry, Asian / beautiful, big, bored, boring /clean, clever, cute / dangerous, disappointed /easy, electric, English, exciting / fantastic, fast, fat, funny / greedy, great, Greek / happy, hard-working, healthy, high, huge / important, intelligent / Japanese / kind / lazy / messy / nervous / old, outgoing / polite, popular / quick / rude, Russian / sad, selfish, shy, sleepy, small / talkative, tiny, tired / ugly, unusual / valuable / wealthy / xenophobic / year-long, young / Zambian

4,000+ Goodbye Pictures
freepik.com

Bye Bye from the beautiful young Asian lady

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Learners, Level 4: Tell me a story

12th October 2021

10 Must-Read Novels & Short Story Collections By Asian American Authors |  restitchstance
Image from restitchstance.

Top Cats – I’ve shown you a lot of adjectives. Learn them, practice them, use them.

Look at these pictures. Tell me a story. Use adjectives to tell me what you see and what you think.

Here is our list of adjectives, and remember, colours are also adjectives.

amazing, angry / beautiful, big, boring /clean, clever, cute / dangerous /easy, electric, exciting / fantastic, fast, funny / greedy, great, Greek / happy, hard-working, healthy, high, huge / important, intelligent / Japanese / kind / lazy / messy / nervous / old, outgoing /popular / quick / rude / sad, selfish, shy, sleepy, small / talkative, tiny, tired / ugly, unusual / valuable / wealthy / xenophobic / year-long, young / Zambian

We have a young lady and a man.

Let’s go to work ! What can you see in the first two pictures ?

Tell me about the lady. Who is the man ? How does he feel and why ? What does the lady do ? How does she look ?

Then the lady … ?

Finally the lady … ?

OK, Top Cats, give me your answers.

Points for using adjectives, correct grammar, and pronunciation.

Fact Check: Who's this man disrespecting the Indian national flag? - Fact  Check News
Image from India Today

EXAMPLE:

A young lady with long straight dark hair is at school. She is very tired and sleepy. She has a lot of boring homework.

Her daddy is very angry. He wants the lady to be intelligent not lazy.

The lady is nervous because she is so shy. She reads many big books. She is unhappy. However, she is hard-working.

Sometimes the books are exciting and she thinks it is important to learn.

She has a high score and her family are very happy.

The beautiful clever young lady has a great job. She is wealthy and has many valuable things. However, she is not selfish. She buys her family amazing presents.

NOW … Your turn

Tell me a story

Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad in Zambia | GoAbroad.com
Zambian-boy-studies-using-a-solar-lantern_Patrick-Bentley-Solar-Aid |  Lighting Global
Despite Hunger, Poverty, Zambian Boys Enjoy Fun of Sports - en.chinagate.cn
Hakainde Hichilema: the Zambian “cattle boy” who became president

Tips: Tell me what the boy looks like. Tell me how he feels. Tell me what he does. Finally, what happens to the boy when he grows up ?

How about this story ?

447 Baby Dolphins Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Notes and links

The ‘Young Lady’ story was originally used in an IELTS blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/06/ielts-4-5-speaking-class/

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images and are used for educational purposes. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Learners 4: Let’s build some sentences. Part 2

6th October 2021

Photo found on Google Images

Let’s start to use some verbs. We’ll start with:

I have // you have // he has // she has // we have

I have a sister. She is funny and talkative.

two girl molding a snowman during daytime
Royalty-free image from Google

Now … Your Turn.

I have a brother. He is …

amazing, angry / beautiful, big /clean, clever, cute / dangerous /easy, electric / fantastic, funny / greedy, great, Greek / happy, healthy, huge / important, intelligent / Japanese / kind / lazy / messy / nervous / old, outgoing /popular / quick / rude / sad, selfish, shy, small / talkative, tiny / ugly, unusual / valuable / wealthy / xenophobic / year-long, young / Zambian

Royalty-free image from Google

Tell me about your mother, father or cousin.

Let’s move on

I have + adjective + noun. Pronouns + is + adjectives

EXAMPLE: I have a Japanese friend. She is clever and shy.

Royalty-free image from Google

The sentence has 3 adjectives. Tell me about your friend:

I have a … friend. He or She is … and …

Tell me about these people:

This man is Greek. I have a Greek friend. He is …

Royalty-free image from Google

This lady is English. I have an ….

Royalty-free image from Google

This man is Japanese. I have a …

Royalty-free image from Google

Now, let’s talk about pets.

Royalty-free image from Google

I have a cute puppy. He is small, quick and happy.

Tell me about your pet.

Tell me about these animals:

Royalty-free image from Google
Royalty-free image from Google
Royalty-free image from Google
Royalty-free image from Google

Bye bye from the friendly bear.

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images and are used for educational purposes. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Learners 4: Let’s build some sentences. Part 1

5th October 2021

26,846 BEST Asian Construction Woman IMAGES, STOCK PHOTOS & VECTORS | Adobe  Stock
Photo found on Google Images

Some activities to help young students and beginners build longer sentences, and to identify the word types such as verbs, nouns and adjectives.

Are you ready ?

Iron Man, are you ready ?

8 Actors Considered for Iron Man Before Robert Downey Jr. - E! Online
Yes, Thay Paul, I’m ready !

Wonder Woman, are you ready ?

Born Ready || Diana (wonder woman) - YouTube

Muddy Waters, are you ready ?

Muddy Waters – I'm Ready (1994, CD) - Discogs

Let’s go ! First – what is this ?

A lot of students will just shout out, ‘Kangaroo,’ but we need to answer in a sentence – ‘It’s a kangaroo.’

However, let’s use some adjectives. Look and tell me what you see.

The Kangaroo is brown and grey // big // strong // beautiful or ugly // happy or angry //

It’s a big brown and grey kangaroo.

Now … Your Turn. What is this ?

For younger classes, just ask for ‘It’s a / an …’ For higher levels, aim for adjectives.

African elephant calf is born in Mexico during pandemic, they call it  'Zoom' | Web24 News

Remember, elephant begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) so we have to use ‘an‘ – It’s an elephant.

With adjectives ‘It’s an amazing elephant’, or ‘It’s a cute elephant.’

Moving on … who knows an adjective beginning with … ‘a’ ? With ‘b’ ?

3 Times as a Man When Thinking Small Is Good - Michael Holland

Let’s have a collection of adjectives:

amazing, angry / beautiful, big /clean, clever, cute / dangerous /easy, electric / fantastic, funny / greedy, great, Greek / happy, healthy, huge / important, intelligent / Japanese / kind / lazy / messy / nervous / old, outgoing /popular / quick / rude / sad, selfish, shy, small / talkative, tiny / ugly, unusual / valuable / wealthy / xenophobic / year-long, young / Zambian

Make sentences using 2 or 3 of the adjectives.

Indian princess by VeraVoyna.deviantart.com on @DeviantArt | Indian princess,  Indian disney princess, Disney princess movies
5 ways to live like Crazy Rich Asians in Singapore | Travel - Hindustan  Times
Check out the pretty selfies from T-ara's Qri | T-ara World
Singer from Korean band T-ara
Bye to favour as Zambia brace for COSAFA Cup Draw - 2021 COSAFA Cup
Football team from Zambia

Next time, using verbs. See you soon.

Venice Film Festival: Jimmy Page Attends Led Zeppelin Doc Premiere |  Billboard
Bye bye from Mr Jimmy Page

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images and are used for educational purposes. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Love and Chaos. Part 9(I) Richard 2

30th September 2021

Wichertstasse, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Part Nine. Berlin. Sylvester 1995

Richard smiled at a group of children who were setting off firecrackers on the street. He was walking back from the phone box, ineffectively-gloved hands as deep as possible in jacket pocket, shoulders hunched together, wooly hat covering as much face as possible, said face facing down, avoiding the skin-scraping sandpaper hail.

Lot’s wife would have had no problem; turning back against the blizzard would be impossible. Lot’s wife survives, Lot’s daughters wouldn’t have got Lot Czar-bared, and maybe the world would have been a better place. Yes, Richard had found a King James version of the Bible, and had decided that Genesis was populated by some seriously demented people. Chris would love it.

Apropos of Chris, Richard made a detour along Wichertstrasse to get some food in. The street, parallel to Rodenberg, was more commercial, having several stores. A small German-language school, admonishing Richard every time he walked past, a small Spar market, a Waschcentre and shops to be filed under ‘miscellaneous’. Into Spar, grabbing a wire basket and loading up with the new staple food; a frozen fish pie that was reasonable and actually delicious. The Spar home-brand pizza was a sorry item, but 99 Pfennings, you couldn’t go (far) wrong. 99 Pfennings German Camembert (Camembert-style), brown bread, some tomatoes for colour, certainly not for taste, giant sausage, beer, Sekt and Ritter’s chocolate bars. The packing was great, the variety of flavours were great, they tasted fucking great. In the spirit of Christmas, you could forgive the Germans so much, for producing such heavenly chocolate, and the beer wasn’t bad either. The women … some of the women … were breathtaking.

Gabi. Why didn’t he make a play for Gabi ? She was so far out of his league, there would have been nothing to lose. This time last year, he was together with her, alone, in a locked bathroom. But that was last year. This year is ending with more Teutonic screaming from an unknown male on Johanna’s number. So that is that. Johanna can go to hell with the rest of 1995. Two dates, a building up of critical mass and then … and then.

Chris was flying back today. He should have some Physics books. Maybe something on String Theory. At least Stephen Hawking’s ‘Brief History of Time,’ that was thin enough. Pimms, maybe, Stilton, unlikely, gossip unquestionably. Chocolate, well, that’s covered.

Several hours later, the flat remarkably toasty from continual offerings to the Öfen, a thumping on the door. Laden with cases, nose and ears red from imminent frostbite, smiling ear to frozen ear stood Chris;

“Recalled to life, recalled to active duty, the beer goes on, the beat goes on, Berlin goes on !”

Education is everything

23rd September 2021

Post image
The fictional Sam Seaborn, played by Rob Lowe

Written by Aaron Sorkin, creator of ‘The West Wing’.

Teaching is exhausting; it requires Herculean feats of strength, mental and physical, and the compassion of the Buddha.

Teaching can be soul-destroying; it requires the wisdom of Solomon and the tolerance of Job.

Teachers can be disrespected, ignored and insulted.

Teacher reviews may be gauged on how popular they are, how many games they play, not on how much they teach or how many students actually pass.

But teachers can also change lives.

That is what makes it worthwhile.

We need to change more lives.

“We need gigantic monumental changes.”

IELTS Oral Test: A refresher

17th September 2021

IELTS reading, paraphrasing, skimming, scanning in IELTS reading. IELTS  academic and general exam.

Tomorrow I have a class taking their IELTS speaking test. Thus, I present a reminder about what you need to say in order to:

ace the test

pass with flying colours

hit that baby right out of the ballpark

I will be listening for the following:

  1. Fluency – use of discourse markers. WITHOUT A WIDE RANGE OF DISCOURSE MARKERS YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’.
  2. Lexical resources – Low-frequency words (big words). Know synonyms and multi-syllable words to impress the examiner. Not to mention, a sprinkling of idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs. Paraphrasing is very important
  3. Grammar – it’s OK to make a few mistakes, grammatically, but what we want to hear are complex structures – basically, altering the structure of a sentence or including several pieces of information in one sentence by using relative pronouns.
  4. Stress and intonation – listen to native speakers and COPY how we speak, when we stress words, when we ‘swallow’ letters, our body language.

To elucidate:

Fluency – Ability to speak at length without noticeable effort. A good range of discourse markers and connectives. Answer is coherent and pertinent. Self-correction is totally acceptable.

Lexical Resources – A wide vocabulary to cover a variety of topics. Low-frequency words. Ability to form collocations. Use of everyday as well as less common idioms and expressions. Paraphrasing, by which I mean rephrase the question you have been asked – don’t just repeat the exact wording.

Grammatical Range – A combination of simple and complex sentences. Generally error-free. Verb tenses must be correct, and subject must agree with verb form.

Pronunciation – Must be clear and easily understood. Effective use of stress, intonation and rhythm. If you are telling a happy story, sound happy.

I have a whole range of blogs to assist, and you can find the index for IELTS here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/04/subject-index-ielts-themes-language-exercises-2/

Some specific blogs that may be of some help:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/26/ielts-how-to-pass-with-flying-colours/

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

For specific help with Part III of the Oral Test: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

To help with L-FWs & expressions: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/27/ielts-vocabulary-boosting-fixed-expression-theres-nothing-i-like-more/

Sterling Ielts School Student Png Images - Ielts Students Images Png  Transparent PNG - 378x456 - Free Download on NicePNG
Good luck – Best of British !

Greek Myths: The hubris of Oedipus

16th September 2021

Oedipus | Story, Summary, & Facts | Britannica
Oedipus and the Sphinx. Representation on a cup circa 470 BCE, now in the Vatican Museum, Rome.

Oedipus, along with Sisyphus, Achilles and Odysseus, is a figure from Greek myth who is part of our modern psyche. His story, whose key points are widely known, belongs to our collective cultural history; he lends his name to a psychological complex. In philosophy, Oedipus can be discussed as a case of free will versus determinism.

Oedipus was certainly no hero in the Theseus or Perseus mold. An argument could be made that he was no hero at all, but a tragic figure. However, he was strong enough to overcome four royal guards single-handedly, and intelligent enough to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, thereby freeing the people of Thebes.

A warrior (like Achilles), an strategist (like Odysseus), a character doomed for unimaginable punishment (like Sisyphus) ? We see what a complex character Oedipus is, and why he still holds our interest and awe.

The Complex Case of Romanian Folklore in Pasolini's Oedipus Rex | The Attic
Oedipus Rex by Pier Paolo Pasolini 1967

So, the key points, what the ‘average person’ knows about Oedipus:

He killed his father and slept with his mother

He solved the Riddle of the Sphinx

Some background is necessary. Some clarification is absolutely necessary.

Firstly, he unwittingly killed his father (King Laius; I shall elucidate later). Secondly, as a reward for freeing Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx, Oedipus was given Queen Jocasta, Laius’ widow, to wed. The patricide and insest were commited freely. Or were they ? Oedipus had been told that he would kill his father and marry his mother, which is exactly what happened, despite his determination to prove the prophecy false.

Therefore, it is my contention that Oedipus was punished for having the hubris to believe that he could defy fate. Yet, the question remains: why was Oedipus fated for such a punishment ? For that, we have to go back a generation and learn about his father, King Laius of Thebes.

Oedipus: Map of Thebes and Corinth

Laius was from the House of Thebes and, as a young man, left his home town and stayed in Elis with King Pelops, a grandson of Zeus and son of Tantalus (but that is another story). Laius was a guest, and became tutor to Pelops’ son Chrysippus. Laius committed the unpardonable sins of abducting and raping the boy. For this he was cursed. Should he ever have a son, that child would murder him, then marry the widow. Despite Laius forcing himself to decline the pleasure of his wife, nature, to employ a phrase, took its course. A son was born, a son that Laius demanded be left alone on a mountain, his feet pinned together.

Salvator Rosa Beach Towel featuring the painting The Abandoned Oedipus by Salvator Rosa
Oedipus abandoned, a print on a beach towel. A perfect illustration of how the myth permeates our culture.

The shepherd charged with this duty gave the baby to a friend from Corinth, where the baby was adopted by the childless King Polybus and Queen Meriope. The child was named Oedipus, meaning swollen foot (and from which we get the medical term oedema, swelling in the feet and ankles) [1]. Oedipus loved and was loved by his parents, and all was well in Corinth. Until, that is, a drunken man told Oedipus the truth, that he was not the natural child. Polybus and Meriope denied this, but Oedipus (in perhaps his first mistake, not believing his parents) travelled to the Oracle at Delphi to learn the truth. His origin was confirmed, and his fate, to kill his father and marry his mother, was proclaimed.

Delphi, home of the famous oracle

In an attempt to avoid this prophecy, Oedipus travelled instead to Thebes. On this journey, he met a carriage coming towards him. Either the driver grazed him, struck him, or demanded that he yield and give way. This infuriated Oedipus, and a fight ensued. In the carriage was an old man; King Laius. The King and all his guards, all but one of the retinue, were slain by Oedipus for their disrespectful treatment of a king’s son.

The Murder of Laius by Oedipus by Joseph Blanc 1867

Whether he was brave to refuse this slight, or flawed by an uncontrollable albeit understandable anger, Oedipus had unwittingly fulfilled the first part of the prophecy.

Continuing on to Thebes, Oedipus encountered the Sphinx and solved the riddle (which I’m sure you are all familiar with). Defeated, the Sphinx killed herself and, as mentioned earlier, Oedipus was given the widowed Queen Jocasta. The had four children and all was well. For a time. A plague decimated Thebes, and it would not abate until the murderer of Laius was found and punished. Eventually, it was revealed that Oedipus was the killer. Jocasta hanged herself, Oedipus blinded himself and went into self-imposed exile, wandering the countryside and dying just outside Athens.

Oedipus Rex Fimonoi Athens
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Performed by the Fimonoi Theatre Group in Athens, Greece

The Greek myths, unlike theological texts such as the Talmud, Bible and Koran, are incredibly flexible and varied, altering from city to city, as well as over time. Just how much people believed or accepted them will never be known, but many people would have been aware of the more famous myths.

Many myths that involve retribution, such as are found in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphosis’ are read as cautionary tales. Someone, a mortal, displayed a weakness that was so offensive they were punished. Some punishments were extremely harsh, but the reason could be clearly discerned. But how to understand Oedipus ? What, in fact was his digression ?

His fate was stated before he had done anything wrong. Maybe he didn’t accept his parent’s explanation, but that seems more contrary to Confucianism and filial piety. Greek myths are full of family in-fighting. He refused to yield to the carriage of King Laius and that pride led to fighting and murder, yet that could be attributed to self defense. Oedipus’ only fault seems to have been simply existing. Laius angered the gods. Why punish the son ?

I have read that some contemporary Greeks apparently thought the same, and began questioning the veracity of gods, myths and society. Such a harsh punishment for a young man who had rid a city of a curse made little if any sense. The psychological trauma would be unimaginable, which may explain the need to self mutilate, physical pain to numb the mental anguish.

To conclude, I am left to assert that Oedipus’ only crime was to try to defeat fate, to have the hubris to feel that a mere mortal, a king’s son notwithstanding, had the power to change the will of the gods. He honoured his father and mother but at the expense of the Immortals. Oedipus refused to accept his fate, for that he was doomed.

What else could Oedipus have done ? Should he have ignored the prophecy, or resign himself to the outcome ? The debate continues.

Stravinsky rehearsing his Oedipus Rex opera, first performed in 1927
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[1] Some scholars question this etymolgy.

Sources

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Oedipus-Greek-mythology

https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/862997/pages/the-story-of-oedipus?module_item_id=4891933

https://www2.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/tragedy/index.php?page=thebes

https://www.softschools.com/examples/literary_terms/hamartia_examples/257/