Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Margaret J Downes has written a very informative article comparing the characters Albion in Blake's Jerusalem, and Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colones. She has delineated many parallels in the experience of the two and finalizes her article with a statement of the roles which each attempted to express for the benefit of their societies:

"That is, both protagonists gladly sacrifice the visible, empirical entity of self for the higher, invisible, metaphorical, and bonded entity of self-and-other. Albion's and Oedipus' pilgrimages toward selfless love and their faith in their ability to transmit this renewing, cleansing, and protective love to society through a blessing are the focal points of the two dramas."

Yale Center for British Art
Plate 76

I find it interesting that in this interpretation Oedipus and Albion both assume the role of the 'wounded healer' with which many associate Jesus through the passage in Isaiah 53. You may be familiar with the words through hearing or singing Handle's Messiah.

Isaiah 53
[5] But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

[8] He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

[12] Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Mark 15
[28] And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 

No comments: