Greek DramaBackground for Oedipus rex and Antigone A greek play by Sophocles
Why does Ms. List love Ancient Greece so much? Because she studied the classics in college and they Rule!!
The Basics Greek drama occurred during the “Golden Age” of Greece: 500 to 300 B.C. Tragedies were produced as part of a religious festival for Dionysus (god of wine and fertility) every year in Athens. Awards were given to the playwright who presented the best series of three dramas (we still have festivals like this! Sundance Film Festival, for example)
Greek Tragedy Involves intense emotion, a horrible truth that leads to catharsis – the cleansing or getting rid of bad emtions In a tragic play, the hero is brought to his downfall by a flaw in his character – the tragic Flaw! The tragic flaw is also called hamartia, the error in judgement or the critical mistake Hubris=excessive pride (sound familiar?)
Greek comedy Always involves a happy ending where things are resolved In contrast, tragedies always have a very sad ending
The tragic Hero Oedipus and Antigone are our tragic heroes – we feel sorry for them because they suffer and fear because what happened to him is part of the human condition The tragic hero usually ends in death or destruction
Dramatic irony One of the most (Irony is a important elements in this play is contrast dramatic irony – between what where the audience is expected, knows something that the and what characters don’t actually Watch for this as happens) we read!
So Who is this Sophocles guy? Sophocles was one of 3 great Greek tragic playwrights (b. 496 B.C.) Wrote over 100 plays Awarded first prize about 20 times… never lower than second place First to add a third actor to cast
Quick notes on oedipus rex First in a series of three plays (Antigone & Oedipus at colonus) Takes place in Thebes (greece) depict the curse of Oedipus Sophocles did not come up with the story on his own, it was an ancient greek myth
Oedipus Cast Oedipus (King) Jocasta (wife) Tiresias (prophet) Creon (brother) Senators Messenger Old man
Structure of Greek Tragedyand the Role of the Chorus What you need to know when reading Oedipus Rex
Plays were performed in HUGE outdoor amphitheatres that could seat 40,000 people (Yankee Stadium seats 52, 325) No microphones! But you can hear a penny drop from all the way at the top!
Cast And action All actors were men. They wore masks to depict which characters they were. There were no scene changes (no backstage!) The audience knew the story ahead of time. The emotion of the characters was what they came to see. Violent action took place offstage (I.e. audience had to imagine it). Messengers then told the audience what happened.
Unity of Time, Place, and Action Greek plays were much different from the films we are used to: The unity of action: Play follows one main storyline with no or few subplots. The unity of place: play occurs in a single place and does not change setting (the stage represents one place) The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than 24 hours.
So what is the chorus? The chorus was a group of 12-15 men who sang and danced during the plays. They often represent the community’s thoughts but not necessarily the poet’s thoughts. In Oedipus Rex, the chorus is made of senators – wise old guys!
The Role of the Chorus To set the mood of the play and tell us the themes To interpret the action in relation to the law of the state and the law of the Olympian gods To divide the action and offer reflection on events To give background information (Think of it like you have all your grandparents, aunts, and uncles sitting around commenting on your life)
Structure of Tragedy A Greek Tragedy alternates between odes and episodes It goes: Ode-->Episode-->Ode-->Episode-- >Ode….you get it Odes are songs sung by the chorus to comment on the action Episodes are when characters talk together (Dialogue)
In more detail… Prologue: The first part of the play that give background information. Strophe: Chorus sings while walking Right to Left Antistrophe: Chorus sings while walking Left to Right Choral Ode: At the end of each episode, the other characters leave the stage and the chorus sings!
The End Exodos: At the end of play, the chorus exits singing a processional song which usually offers words of wisdom related to the actions and outcome of the play. This is the “moral” of the story where the chorus tells us what we were have supposed to learn from the characters
Oedipus Rex = Tragic Hero “ Man of high standard who falls from that high because of a flaw that has affected many ” -
The Tragic Hero A dynamic (round) character others respect and admire Nearly perfect
Tragic FlawWho has she been sleepingThe hero is nearly with? perfect- Has one flaw or weakness Tragic flaw Hubris Flaw brings hero down Reversal of fortune
Catharsis Audience’s purging of emotions through pity and fear. The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall.
Riddle: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?
Oedipus Rex King of thebes, Prophecy Plague on the city: whoever killed last king Laius has to leave or die Oedipus accused by tiresias Oedipus suspicious of creon Jocasta says prophecies are stupid
Oedipus Continued Messenger comes to say Polybus is dead Polybus = Not the father Jocasta realizes the prophecy is true! How will it all turn out when your mom is your wife and you’ve killed your dad?
The OedipusFamily Tree More Like the Family Stick!
King Oedipus marriedQueen Jocasta (his mother- ewww!)They had 4 children (Eww): -Eteocles -Antigone -Polynices -Ismene / /Sons Daughters(O’s brothers?) (O’s sisters?)Fight for Thebes Go back to ThebesCursed by dying fatherKill each other
King Creon of Thebes married Queen EurydiceCreon is Oedipus’ uncle, Jocasta’s brother (also Oedipus’ brother- in-law)They have two sons:Megareus Haemon / /dies during betrothed to Antigone,siege of Thebes his cousin
How to find your subjects and themesSubject Single word, idea in the story Question 1: Does a character state the theme? Question 2: Look at the titleTheme Question 3: Use the subjects and symbols as a starting point: What is the author trying to say about this subject? What does the symbol represent? Question 4: Look at the main conflict. What forces are pitted against one another? Why? How is the conflict resolved? What can we learn from that? Question 5: What happens to the main character? How do his decisions and actions affect his life? What can we learn from that?
Prove it! You must check yourself: Can you prove that the theme applies to the whole text? Can you find specific examples in the text that help prove your theme? Prove it = 2-3 sentences that give evidence for your theme!
Lil’ Wayne: “Tie My Hands”They try to tell me keep my eyes openMy whole city under water, some people still floatin’…Take away the football team, the basketball team,Now all we got is me to represent New OrleansNo governor, no help from the mayorJust a steady beatin’ heart, a wish, and a prayer Music
Katy Perry: “Hot N Cold”Cause you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes thenyou’re no. You’re in then you’re out, you’re up andyou’re down.You’re wrong when it’s right, you’reblack when it’s white. We fight, we break up. We kiss,we make up. Roller-coaster relationships and Theme: fickle partners are frustrating Music
Neyo: “Miss Independent”She got her own thing, that’s why I love herMiss Independent, oooh the way we shineMiss IndependentOh there’s somethin’ aboutkinda woman that can do for herselfI look at her and it makes me proudThere’s somethin’ about her Independent women Theme: deserve love and respect Music
F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Great Gatsby”"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashedup things and creatures and then retreated back into theirmoney of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was thatkept them together, and let other people clean up the messthey had made." Tom and Daisy Wealth makes peopleSubject: Theme: leaving town careless and selfish Politics
Your TurnGallery Walk (10 min): On the back table, there are pages with theessential questions of Antigone. As you walk, jot downyour thoughts about how we see this in the play, andany beginning thoughts of themes that may beconnected to it. Noise level = silence Let everyone concentrate! Literature
Essential Question #1Is it more important tobe right than to behappy?
Essential Question #2Is it our responsibilityto rebel against andbreak an unjust law?
Essential Question #3 What price should a person be willing to pay if he/she breaks an unjust law?What would you have done if you were antigone?
Essential Question #4 Can a leader show uncertainty and maintain leadership?What would you have done if you were Creon?
Essential Question #5What point is Sophocles trying to make about pride? How does Hubris affect both creon and antigone?
Essential Question #6Who decides which “laws” are to be obeyed? What are the differences between the laws of the gods and the laws of man?
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