Greek Tragedy A tragedy is a serious drama featuring a main character, often of noble birth, who strives to achieve something and is ultimately defeated.
Greek Tragedy The hero’s defeat may be caused by forces beyond his/her control, but often the main character’s downfall is due to an inborn character flaw or weakness—the tragic flaw.
Greek Tragedy In spite of defeat and even death, however, the tragic hero is ennobled by newly gained self-knowledge and wisdom.
Greek Tragedy • The People:
Greek Tragedy • The People: • There were never more than 3 male actors, who wore elaborate masks to portray fixed emotions. These masks contained metallic mouthpieces to enhance the resonance of the actor’s voice.
Greek Tragedy • The People: • A Chorus was made up of 15 dancer-singers trained by the playwright-director. Their singing, dancing, and narration provided explanation and elaboration of the main action.
Greek Tragedy • The People: • The Choragos is the leader of the chorus.
Greek Tragedy • The place:
Greek Tragedy • The place: Plays were performed in a large open-air amphitheater. The Theater of Dionysus held some 15,000 spectators.
Greek Tragedy • The place: This theater resembled a semicircle with steeply rising tiers of seats. At the bottom was the rounded orchestra, or performance area, where the chorus sang and danced.
Greek Tragedy • The place: Behind the orchestra was an open, practically bare stage, where the actors spoke.
Greek Tragedy • The play:
Greek Tragedy • The play: The play is made up of several parts.
Greek Tragedy • The play: The Prologue is the opening scene.
Greek Tragedy • The play: The Parados is the entrance song of the chorus.
Greek Tragedy • The play: The Ode is a song chanted by the chorus to separate one scene from the next.
Greek Tragedy • The play: The Strophe is a song sung by the chorus as it turns from one side of the orchestra to the other.
Greek Tragedy • The play: The Antistrophe is a song sung by the chorus while it moves in the direction opposite from that of the strophe.
Greek Tragedy • The play: The Exodos is the concluding scene.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex • Title is Latin for “Oedipus the King” • Written by Sophocles • It was first performed around 429 B.C. • Though considered one of the world’s greatest tragedies, the play won only second prize for Sophocles at its premier in a drama festival.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—features: • Tight dramatic framework • All action in a single location and in a single day • Small number of characters
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—features: • Strong use of Dramatic Ironyin which the reader or audience understands what a character does not
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—themes: • The quest for identity • The nature of innocence and guilt • The nature of moral responsibility • The limitations of human will versus fate • The abuse of power
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: The story stretches back centuries before the play was written. Homer made reference to the story of Oedipus in the Odyssey, written around 700 B.C.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: Sophocles’ audience would already be familiar with the background of the story.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: Before the story begins, Oedipus has married Queen Jocasta of Thebes, whose husband, King Laius, had been killed on the road by another traveler.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: Oedipus won Jocasta’s hand by correctly answering the riddle of the Sphinx, who was terrorizing Thebes.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: What Oedipus did not realize is that he is the son of Laius and Jocasta, who tried to avoid the awful prophecy that their son would one day kill his father and marry his mother.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: The horrified parents had given their child to a shepherd with instructions to abandon him on the hillside.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: Out of pity, the shepherd instead gave the baby to a Corinthian messenger, who in turn gave the baby to the king and queen of Corinth.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: The royal couple named the child Oedipus and raised him as their own.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—the story: Oedipus’s discovery of his true identity is the central focus of Oedipus Rex.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—Major characters: Oedipus Rex: The ruler of Thebes Creon: Oedipus' brother-in-law and Jocasta's brother. Jocasta: Oedipus' wife and true mother; Creon's sister
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—Minor characters: The priest of Zeus: He represents the people when they come to Oedipus. The elders: They represent the voice of Thebes and give advice to Oedipus. Tiresias: The blind prophet. Antigone and Ismene: Oedipus' young daughters.
Greek Tragedy • Oedipus Rex—Characters/places referenced: Laius: Jocasta's first husband, now dead; Oedipus’ true father Polybus: Oedipus' adoptive father, king of Corinth Merope: Oedipus' adoptive mother in Corinth Labdacos: Former king of Thebes, father of Laius Apollo: The Sun god and Healer god (AKA Phoebus), whose most famous oracle was located at Delphi Cithaeron: the mountain where Oedipus was left as an infant