Sophocles OEDIPUS the KING p.468 and
SOPHOCLES(496-406 BC) • Concentrated on timeless problems of men and women striving against fate for happiness • Gave a sympathetic vision of the plight of mankind- people are responsible for finding out who they are and where they belong; must take moral responsibility for own life
Sophocles • Introduced a 3rd actor (Aeschylus 2nd) • Included more plot and action & chorus members • Crafted plays to build to skillful climax • Wrote at least 120 plays of which only 7 survived • Introduced technical innovation- used a crane to lower actors on stage for a ‘miraculous’ appearance –it symbolized a last minute intervention by a god.
Sophocles wrote of the history of the house of Laius, King of Thebes, in three plays: • Oedipus Rex(the king) * • Oedipus at Colonnus • Antigone * *high points of ancient Greek theatre
Oedipus The King p. 468
Follows Aristotle’s Classical Unities • Unity of time • The play occurs within 24 hours. • Unity of place • The setting is in one locale • Unity of action • There are no sub-plots going on simultaneously
PLOT • Identify types of conflict that occur: • Person vs. Person • Person vs. god(fate) • Person vs. Self- a bold king risks everything in his pursuit of a terrible truth • Person vs. Nature For your final, you can write about this particular element. If you like what you are reading, complete a close reading with conflicts….
Definition of Tragedy • A dramatic performance which depicts the downfall of a hero through a combination of hubris, fate, and the will of the gods. • Must have a flaw- ( impatience & erroneous judgment) which leads to his own destruction • Of noble birth • Does NOT need to die at the end but goes through a catharsis (purification) (sometimes audience does as well)
Plot: Sequence of Events • Exposition: Part I • Readers are assumed to know the background of Oedipus’s birth and the story of the riddle of the Sphinx- (these plots were drawn from well known myths) • GREEN DOT- What then kept the interest for the audience? When and how the tragic hero would work out his destiny. • conflict involves the danger and destruction posed by the plague • Rising Action • Creon comes back from Delphi • Things escalate from there
Begin reading text pg. 471 • Riddle of the sphinx- What goes on four legs in the morning, two at midday and three in the evening? • When Oedipus first arrived in Thebes, he solved the riddle of the sphinx and saved Thebes from the terrifying monster. Yet a plague is causing destruction. What is causing the plague? They are waiting for Creon to return w/an answer from Apollo. • GREEN DOT -What is the tone set right from the beginning of the play? anxious
Pg. 474/475 • What 2 distinct reasons does Oedipus express for his commitment to finding and punishing Laius’ murderer? • Action will end the plague • Protect Oedipus from the murderer • GREEN DOT- Kind of irony and how so? • CHORUS: remember, dialogue is the main form of dramatic expression not physical action
CHORUS • The Chorus is roughly like the peanut-gallery (it’s even occasionally told to shut up). Sophocles uses this group of Thebans to comment on the play's action and to foreshadow future events. He also uses it to comment on the larger impact of the characters' actions and to expound upon the play's central themes. In Oedipus the King we get choral odes on everything from tyranny to the dangers of blasphemy. • beginning of the play to help tell the audience the given circumstances .We hear all about the terrible havoc that the plague is wreaking on Thebes. By describing the devastation in such gruesome detail, Sophocles raises the stakes for his protagonist, Oedipus. The people of Thebes are in serious trouble; Oedipus has to figure out who killed Laius fast, or he won't have any subjects left to rule.
Chorus constantly advising Oedipus to keep his cool. Most of the time in ancient tragedies choruses do a lot of lamenting of terrible events, but do little to stop them. Amazingly, though, the Chorus in Oedipus the King manages to convince Oedipus not to banish or execute Creon. Just imagine how much worse Oedipus would have felt if he'd killed his uncle/brother-in-law on top of his other atrocities. The Chorus begins by being supportive of Oedipus, believing, based on his past successes, that he's the right man to fix their woes. As Oedipus's behavior becomes more erratic, they become uncertain and question his motives. In the end, the Chorus is on Oedipus's side again and laments his horrific fate.
chorus • Like most all ancient Greek tragedians, Sophocles divides his choral odes into strophe and antistrophe. Both sections had the same number of lines and metrical pattern. In Greek, strophe means "turn," and antistrophe means "turn back." This makes sense when you consider the fact that, during the strophe choruses danced from right to left and during the antistrophe they did the opposite. Sophocles may have split them into two groups, so that it was as if one part of the Chorus was conversing with the other. Perhaps the dualities created by strophe and antistrophe, represent the endless, irresolvable debates for which Greek tragedy is famous.
CHORAL Test • Triple Entry Journal. divide a page of paper into three columns. In the first column, they should paste the choral section. In the second, translate the line into a modern version. The last column is for you to comment on the function of the line.
Climax The truth is fully revealed Oedipus blinds himself Jocasta kills herself Denouement (resolution) Oedipus bids farewell to Antigone and Ismene The chorus offers a closing reflection Sequence of Events Oedipus Rex at the Roman Coliseum, July 2000, BBC News
Setting • Where is the action set? In front of the royal palace at Thebes • Is the setting hostile or friendly? Thebes is undergoing a crisis
Wise and courageous Virtuous and conscientious Loving husband, father, and son Pious and proud Quick tempered Insistent upon truth Suspicious Strong in the face of disaster Just Oedipus’ Character Find evidence of these traits in the text
Oedipus’ Character Two Flaws in Oedipus’ Character: • Impatience and erroneous judgment • Regarding his father Laius • Regarding Teiresias • Regarding Creon • 3 SHORT ANSWERS for writing assignment…keep track of this
Oedipus is a dynamic character • The tragedy lies in his knowledge of guilt rather than in the guilt itself • He pushes on to find the truth Is he a better man at the end of the play?
Oedipus at the end of the play • Has shown strength of character • Has shown courage • Has gained insight into his own nature • Has learned who he is
Oedipus’ Tragic Flaw • He insists on knowing the truth • He presses on in spite of characters who try to dissuade him: Teiresias, Jocasta, the shepherd, Chorus
Symbols • Blindness • Spiritual • Physical • Oedipus himself • Others?
Symbol:Oedipus’s Blinding of Himself • He once believed his insight to be superior to that of the priest Tiresias • He “Has nothing beautiful left to see in this world.”
Dramatic Irony The audience knows something that the character(s) on stage do not know: • Whoever killed King Laios might—who knows—Lay violent hands on me—and soon. • If any man knows by whose hand Laios, son of Labdakos, Met his death, I direct that man to tell me everything, No matter what he fears…
Dramatic Irony • I solemnly forbid the people of this country, Where power and throne are mine, ever to receive that man Or speak to him, no matter who he is…
Dramatic Irony • Now I, Having the power that he held before me, Having his bed, begetting children there Upon his wife, as he would have, had he lived—Their son would have been my children’s brother, If Laios had had luck in fatherhood!...I say I take the son’s part, just as though I were his son.
Theme: Can be any or a combination of these: • No one can escape fate • The gods are in control • Even the best humans are ruled by fate • Do not count yourself happy until you know the end of your story • True happiness is rooted in virtue rather than circumstances • What you don’t know can’t hurt you • Other ideas?