Sophocles and KING OEDIPUS An Introduction
Sophocles • 496 B.C.-406 B.C. • Greek playwright and poet • Wrote tragedies • Define tragedy • What works that you have read, qualify as tragedies?
Wrote Theban plays (The Oedipus Cycle) Concern the fate of Thebes during and after the reign of King Oedipus Introduced third actor What happens when a pair become a group? Reduced importance of the chorus Group of minor actors who provide background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance
Thebes • Ancient city in Greece • Setting for many tragedies, including Sophocles’
Elements of Tragedy Unities Terms: Aspects of Tragedy Themes Tragic hero
Three Unities • Unity of action- play has one main action it follows • Unity of time- play takes place within 24 hours • Unity of place- play takes place within one physical space
Terms: Aspects of Tragedy in Greek Drama • Crisis of feeling - painful or harmful experience that may upset or depress the audience. • Catharsis - the audience cleanses their emotions. For example, they may feel uplifted. • Reversal - the hero/heroine goes through a significant change in fortune for the worse. Reversal may happen after a discovery of something previously unknown to the hero/heroine.
Themes • Blindness vs. sight • Self-knowledge • Pride • Truth • Responsibility • Fate/destiny vs. choice
Aspects of the Greek Tragic Hero • Tragic hero/heroine - the protagonist, or main character, in the play. • He/she must be of noble birth or hold an important social position • He/she is generally good and has a desire to do well • He/she dies in the end of the play
Aspects of the Greek Tragic Hero • The hero/heroine seems "better" than the other character(s), but there is a fate which overpowers this "good" character. • Poor judgment by the hero causes a fall from grace and social ranking. • Poor judgment is a tragic flaw, or error, called hamatria. It leads to personal catastrophe and unintended harm to others. • Hubris, which means excessive pride or arrogance, is the most common type of hamatria. • A hero/heroine's misfortune is an example of human fallibility (human's tendency to fail). • Audience fears and pities character- punishment does not fit crime
Oedipus Rex • Oedipus Rex is a play written by Sophocles that is divided into certain sections. • Prologos: an introduction or preface, especially a poem recited to introduce a play • Parados: is a song sung by a Greek chorus as it first enters the theater. It is named for the corridors at the front of the stage of a Greek theater from which the Chorus enters. • Episodes: a section of a classic Greek tragedy that occurs between the two choric songs
Oedipus Rex continued • Choric Ode: A classical Greek poem that has a three part structure consisting of a strophe, antistrophe and an epode • Exodus: In Greek Drama, this is the final scene; in tragedy, it is the action following the final stasimon (choral ode); in comedy it is the final rejoicing following the last episode