Oedipus at Colonus


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The events leading to the plot of Antigone.

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Oedipus at Colonus

  1. 1. Oedipus at Colonus The Third Play in the Theban Trilogy by Sophocles
  2. 2. Chronology <ul><li>Although the third play in Sophocles’ Theban Trilogy, the events occur after the self imposed exile of Oedipus. </li></ul><ul><li>The play begins with Oedipus and his daughter Antigone entering the village of Colonus. </li></ul><ul><li>The pair are met by a villager who demands that they leave because the ground is sacred to the Furies. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Avengers <ul><li>The Furies or Erinyes emerged from the darkest, deepest chasms of creation. </li></ul><ul><li>They punished anyone who had violated the natural order. </li></ul><ul><li>Killing a parent is such a violation. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Civil War <ul><li>Ismene arrives rejoicing to see her father and sister. </li></ul><ul><li>She brings news of impending war. </li></ul><ul><li>Eteocles, son of Oedipus, refused to relinquish the authority he agreed to hold jointly with his brother as co-tyrant in Thebes. </li></ul><ul><li>Power was to pass back and forth from Eteocles to Polyneices, his brother, every six months. </li></ul><ul><li>Polyneices gathered an army to force Eteocles to stand by the original agreement. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Prophetic Interest <ul><li>An old prophecy foretold victory in battle to any city where Oedipus lay buried. </li></ul><ul><li>The aged pariah became a person of interest again. </li></ul><ul><li>Polyneices and Creon together intended to unfairly influence the horribly disgraced former tyrant, father, and brother-in-law. </li></ul>
  6. 6. By Any Means Necessary <ul><li>Creon attempted to force Oedipus back to Thebes by kidnapping Antigone and holding her in Thebes along with Ismene, already taken. </li></ul><ul><li>Creon wants to bury Oedipus outside of the city to prevent any undue influence. </li></ul><ul><li>Theseus, tyrant of nearby Athens and supporter of Oedipus, bollixed the plan and rescued Antigone. </li></ul><ul><li>Polyneices tried something else. </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ Forgive me, father” <ul><li>Polyneices admitted that he, not Antigone, should have remained by his father’s side. </li></ul><ul><li>But Oedipus was no fool; fate had taught him well. </li></ul><ul><li>He refused to forgive his son. He loathed the sound of his son’s voice. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, in grave terms, he foretold the deaths of both his sons in a futile battle. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Determination <ul><li>Returning to Thebes without his father but with his father’s prophetic words, Polyneices vowed nonetheless to battle his brother. </li></ul><ul><li>He wanted to appear as a determined and capable leader to his followers. </li></ul><ul><li>Antigone stated her undying support for her brother by vowing to care for his remains when the inevitable happened. </li></ul>
  9. 9. An Exalted Exit <ul><li>At an olive grove near Colonus, Oedipus was summoned to the afterlife by the gods themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>Theseus, his ally from Athens, witnessed the mystical passage. </li></ul><ul><li>Theseus ever refused to divulge the details of the event. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Seven Against Thebes <ul><li>Polyneices and six loyal chieftains attempted to invade the city held by Eteocles, the rebellious brother. </li></ul><ul><li>Each chieftain and Polyneices, with their armies, attacked one of the seven gates to the city. </li></ul><ul><li>The Theban army repulsed the attackers. </li></ul>
  11. 12. The Final Insult <ul><li>Eteocles and Polyneices died at each other’s hands during the attack. </li></ul><ul><li>Creon, the new head of Thebes, heralded the bravery of Eteocles and provided his corpse the proper rites of burial. </li></ul><ul><li>He left the body of Polyneices to rot, for the animals and birds to consume. </li></ul><ul><li>The play Antigone begins, with the two sisters in front of the seven gated city. </li></ul>