Paradox and Tragedy in Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island and Seneca’s Oedipus Rex: A Comparative Study


  • Kundaliya Sanjana S K Singh
  • Dr M S Saritha



Paradox; Archetypes; Oedipus; Tragic-hero; Tragic-flaw; Guilt.


The stratagem of employing paradoxical scenario in any form of artistic expression has been a timeless creative scheme. A very famous example of paradox may be seen within Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, with the titular character’s pursuit of truth and goodwill leading to his own tragic downfall. Similarly, tragic expression has been at the centre of humans’ outlet for cathartic release. Thus, both paradox and tragedy tend to emerge in different ways in works of literature. The present study is focussed on recognizing and exploring the traces of commonalities of paradox and tragic elements between Oedipus Rex and Shutter Island(2003),by the renowned crime and mystery novelist, Dennis Lehane by considering the heroes in both narratives and the situations that their character attributes incite. The authors in both cases assign character attributes of a traditional tragic hero which constantly inform their actions, thereby creating an inevitable journey of personal downfall. The moments of anagnorisis are imbued with intense guilt and grief as both the protagonists realize that they themselves are the cause for their problems.


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Author Biography

Kundaliya Sanjana S K Singh

Ph.D. Research Scholar

The Department of English

PSG College of Arts & Science

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India


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Donnelly, Francis P. “Tragic Irony in "Oedipus Rex"”. The Classical Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 15, 1948), pp. 229-230. Stable URL:

Lehane, Dennis. Interview with Dave. “Dennis Lehane Meets the Bronte Sisters”. Powells Books. 10 October. 2006.

Lehane, Dennis. Interview by Don Aucoin. “Author specializes in character assignation: Lehane continues movie streak with ‘Shutter Island’”. The Boston Globe. 14 February. 2010.

Lehane, Dennis. Shutter Island. Harper Collins. 2003. Kindle.




How to Cite

S K Singh, K. S. ., & Saritha, D. M. S. . (2021). Paradox and Tragedy in Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island and Seneca’s Oedipus Rex: A Comparative Study . SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 9(10), 49–56.