Oedipus

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Background information on Oedipus and tragedy

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Oedipus

  1. 1. Greek Drama <ul><li>Plays performed in religious festivals to honour the god Dionysus, god of wine and revelry. </li></ul><ul><li>Performed in an outdoor theatron carved out of a hillside. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Panoramic view of the Greek theater at Epidaurus
  3. 3. Mythology <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Polytheistic. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gods interact with humans and often “play” with humans for their own amusement. They are capricious and unpredictable. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gods interbreed with humans. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The gods themselves are subject to the Fates. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Apollo, the god of healing, prophecy (oracles), the arts -- especially music -- and archery. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. History of Oedipus <ul><li>Sophocles’ Theban plays include Oedipus Rex , Oedipus at Colonus , and Antigone </li></ul><ul><li>Family curse passed generation to generation. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Oracle of Delphi <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Delphi - the “centre of the world” or Omphalos </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Temple of Apollo at Delphi attracts pilgrims who come to seek the advice of the Pythia . </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The prophecies must be decoded and interpreted. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fate is inescapable. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Riddle of the Sphinx <ul><li>What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon and on three legs in the evening? </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Double Edge of Irony <ul><li>Knowledge of background story creates DRAMATIC IRONY </li></ul><ul><li>Note also, SITUATIONAL IRONY </li></ul>
  8. 8. Tragedy <ul><ul><li>Some Features of Greek Tragedy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three Unities (time, place and action) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Violence and death offstage. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequent use of messengers to relate information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus is on psychological and ethical attributes of characters. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Conventions <ul><li>Three actors on stage </li></ul><ul><li>Masks </li></ul><ul><li>All male cast </li></ul><ul><li>Chorus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer background and summary material. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comment on the themes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Express things the characters cannot say such as fears or secrets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interact with characters and offer advice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Strophe” (movement) and “antistrophe” (countermovement). </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Conventions cont. <ul><li>Form </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The play opened with a prologue, the action before the entrance of the chorus. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then came the parados , the entering lyric of the chorus. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This was followed by the alternating episodes , of the actors and the choral odes. The play ended with the exodos , the action after the last choral ode. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Aristotle’s Definition <ul><li>Every tragedy must include Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle and Melody. </li></ul><ul><li>The plot must be complex. </li></ul><ul><li>The plot must represent what is fearful or pitiful. </li></ul><ul><li>We must sympathize with the character and realize that the character falls into misfortune due not to wickedness, but due to a tragic flaw. </li></ul>

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