Introduction To Drama Conventions Oedipus And House Of Ba(2)Presentation Transcript
Introduction to Drama by. M. Wilson World Literature Texts Oedipus Rex by Sophocles The House of Bernarda Alba by F.G.Lorca
Conventions of Drama
When reading a drama text you need to consider the following conventions:
LANGUAGE : Tone, Register, Diction, Dialogue or monologue
Who speaks? Who speaks for who? Who is silent? Does their speech change? Why?
Who moves? Who is upstage? Who is on the side? Who is not onstage and why?
BODY LANGUAGE: On and off the stage, upstage, midstage, downstage, side, chorus on ground, ramp, stage.
Is the Protagonist making gestures?
Does the body language change? Does it reflect the conflict growing or changing?
Does the status of the characters change
Do the other characters change their attitude via their body language?
STRUCTURE: Is it one act, three acts? Does the rising and falling action change in each act or throughout the play?
Is there a chorus? How does this affect our response? What is the role of the chorus?
Is there more than one conflict resolution?
Dialogue vs Monologue:
Dialogue is more than one person speaking
Monologue can be: Dramatic monologue, soliloquy, aside
Dialogue between two or more characters can be witnessed by other characters e.g. priests or servants can be listening to the conversation.
Dialogue can reveal setting, conflict and theme as well as characterisation.
Monologue: Dramatic monologue
Often there is a monologue at the beginning of a play, or act. This allows us to see the view of that character and can reveal the conflict.
Sometimes the chorus gives us a monologue e.g. Alfieri in View From a Bridge
Soliloquy: this is when the character is thinking aloud and the audience can understand his internal conflicts. No one else on the stage can hear him and activity can continue around the character.
It is designed to encourage the audience to side or sympathise with their ‘problem’
Asides are directed to the audience directly. They are intended to break through the ‘fourth wall’ and include the audience to make people feel as if they are witnessing the conflict, or part of the story.
A stage has four walls:
Back stage wall
Two side walls
Fourth wall: behind which the audience sit and watch.
When an aside addresses the audience directly, they are speaking through the implied fourth wall.
SETTING: Intradialogic or extradialogic
Intradialogic: When a playwright includes the setting inside the dialogue. For example Shakespeare in Macbeth allows King Duncan to comment on what a lovely day it is and what a lovely castle Macbeth has. This is in contrast to modern playwrights who produce realistic settings.
Realist texts have highly detailed settings which are set out at the beginning of the play. Ibsen’s plays are highly detailed in their description of furniture, props, and costumes.
Settings often have props/symbols/literary devices:
Oedipus has the riddle of the sphynx, the prophecy from the oracle and the blind seer
View had the phone call,
Some plays revolve around a letter/note/phone call, all part of the setting
Setting is temporal and spatial:
Temporal: Time, century, day, season
Oedipus is ancient set in a superstitious period of time in Greece
Bernarda Alba is set in Spain, during a Civil War, when villagers were old fashioned, traditional and had rigid moral codes.
CONFLICT: this may be internal, as expressed through soliloquys or asides
It may be external between two or more characters as expressed through dialogue or the chorus
CHARACTERS: Dramatic texts usually have a protagonist/hero an antagonist/villain and a variety of supporting roles. Oedipus has a traditional chorus which is a group representing the voice of the people (vox populi) in View we have Alfieri as a modern chorus of one character who is acting as the popular conscience of the time, the voice of reason.
Characters are created by:
What they say and how they speak
What other characters say about them in their dialogue
What they do
What the chorus says about them
They can be pivotal: the action revolves around something they say or do
They can be a foil: contrasting the major characters e.g. beauty vs ugly, good vs evil, sensible vs frivolous
Every character contributes to the development of the conflict and theme
This is when something is said or done which is ironic.
Sometimes because what is said is contrary to the truth
Sometimes the audience knows the truth and the protagonist does not e.g. Oedipus
Sometimes one action is ironic compared to another on stage.
Drama works because of the build up of tension suspense and the willingness of the audience to engage in the story, to believe in the plot.
This is known as “suspending our disbelief” That is why it is vital that you do not talk or your phone rings during a play, it breaks our concentration and we cannot suspend our disbelief in the play.
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles is an Ancient Greek Tragedy.
It is the first of three plays in a trilogy
Oedipus Rex means Oedipus the King
The title encapsulates the conflict: how did Oedipus become the King?
Oedipus is based on a simple theme:
You cannot cheat fate or deny the Gods
His parents Laius and Jocasta send to the oracle at Delphi to find out if their new son will be a great king. The oracle tells them that the child will:
Kill his father and marry his mother!
They reject the newborn baby boy, cripple his ankles (hence his name) and a shepherd takes him away to abandon him to die. Instead he saves him and the King of Corinth adopts him.
As Oedipus grows up he hears of the prophecy and thinks he will murder his new father. Therefore, he leaves Corinth and goes to see the oracle. On the way he meets, argues with and kills Laius, who is also going to the oracle because his city has been devastated since he abandoned his son against the wishes of the Gods.
Meanwhile to punish Laius and Jocasta the Gods have sent plagues and famine and a sphynx to sit outside the city and kill anyone who doesn’t know the answer to the riddle:
What crawls on four
Walks on two
Walks on three?
The answer is Man: crawls on four, walks on two feet and three feet when old with a cane.
Oedipus solves the riddle, enters the city where the new widow Jocasta declares him a hero and marries him. They have four children and the play starts twenty years later when once again there is famine and Oedipus has sent to the oracle for advice.
The priests and chorus/people of Thebes
Approach Oedipus begging him to help them.
Role of the Chorus in ancient Greek tragedies:
To introduce conflicts
To represent the people
To add to the growing suspense
To witness the downfall of the hero
Oedipus is a traditional Greek hero/protagonist figure
Greek Tragedies have a technique called a flawed hero. He is unaware that he is the problem, that his actions have caused the famine and misery.
On the other hand we, the audience know it is his fault and his ‘blindness’ to the truth is the main conflict within the play
Greek tragedies are often homilies:
They teach a moral story in this case if you defy the Gods will you will be punished even if you are a king.
There is no escaping your fate.
Oedipus was doomed from birth and the prophecy was carried out because his parents were morally unsound and they were too proud to obey the Gods.
As Shakespeare says “ All are punished”
The audience leaves feeling content that the Gods are controlling their world
Greek Plays also have a concept known as Catharsis
This means an intense emotional release.
The conflict and tension increase, to the point where the audience are emotionally involved. The climax of the story release our emotions and we feel drained, shattered, content that the problem is solved.
They were constructed as amphitheatres, usually close to temples or oracles as most stories were linked to the Gods, fate or man’s weaknesses.
They had a simple stage, no setting, ramps on each side for the chorus to enter and leave and seats in a semi circle for the audience
Greek Theatres and plays had male actors only (like Shakespeare’s time) the characters wore masks which indicated their status and their mood e.g some masks smiled, some were angry or sad.
There was minimal movement across the stage and it was ceremonial in its actions.
The Role of Women in Greek Tragedy:
Women were either Goddesses, or usually the flaw or problem around which the action revolved.
Jocasta had been given a necklace to keep her young and beautiful, therefore the Gods interfered again. Oedipus married her to gain the throne and because of her beauty.
Issues within the play”
Oedipus can physically see, but cannot see the truth
Teiresias the blind seer, cannot see, but knows the truth
Oedipus ignores him, challenges him and this builds the suspense as the audience knows what Teiresias knows, that Oedipus did kill his father. Every word after this adds to our growing sense of horror and dismay .
Dramatic Irony in Oedipus:
The audience knows that the oracle has sent Teiresias the blind seer to tell the truth and reveal Oedipus as the killer.
Oedipus declares that he will punish the killer. As he goes on about how he will punish the man, the audience cringes, knowing that this fate will befall him.