Oedipus the Tyrant By Sophocles
“ What will be will be.” <ul><li>The ancient city of Thebes in Greece was ruled, at one time, by the  tyrant  Laius, son o...
Where is Thebes?
The Dreadful Prophecy <ul><li>Laius  (LIE us) and his wife Iocaste (ee oh KAHS tuh) were childless. </li></ul><ul><li>Want...
Phythian (Python) Oracle
“ A Blessing in Disguise” <ul><li>The oracle indicated that being childless was a blessing in disguise. </li></ul><ul><li>...
The Desperate Act <ul><li>Panicked, according to one version of the story, Laius forcibly removes the baby from Iocaste’s ...
The Compassionate Act <ul><li>Unable to carry out the heartless command, the shepherd instead hands the deformed child ove...
Mount Cithaeron
Corinth : the plot thickens <ul><li>Polybus is the tyrant of Corinth. His wife is Merope (May RO pay). They are childless....
Whose child am I? <ul><li>After 17 or 18 years, a Corinthian youth taunts the startled Oedipus: “You don’t resemble either...
The Horror <ul><li>Because he loves his “parents” so much, the young Oedipus departs from Corinth in great haste. </li></u...
Make Way! <ul><li>The charioteer orders the young Oedipus to “make way for his betters.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I know no bet...
The Encounter <ul><li>The charioteer roughly orders the young Oedipus aside and runs over the stubborn youth’s deformed fo...
The Sphinx <ul><li>Prior to his death, Laius had been on a second journey to the Oracle at Delphi. </li></ul><ul><li>This ...
The Theban Sphinx
The Question <ul><li>Using a riddle taught to “her” by the Three Muses, the Sphinx would ask each traveler on the way to T...
The Answer <ul><li>Oedipus, on approach to Thebes shortly after he unknowingly killed his natural father, encounters the S...
Fortune Smiles? <ul><li>The success of this brash young stranger circulated through Thebes, a city now freed of the terror...
A Return to Misfortune <ul><li>Oedipus is proclaimed the new Tyrant of Thebes, and immediately following: </li></ul><ul><l...
“ Like a ship, rolling dangerously” <ul><li>The Theban elders beg Oedipus for help to save their city. </li></ul><ul><li>T...
 
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Oedipus the Tyrant

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A series of events prior to the start of Sophocles' tragedy.

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Oedipus the Tyrant

  1. 1. Oedipus the Tyrant By Sophocles
  2. 2. “ What will be will be.” <ul><li>The ancient city of Thebes in Greece was ruled, at one time, by the tyrant Laius, son of Labdacus. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Tyrant” is the closest English translation of the Greek word for “one who rules without second”, usually elected, sometimes taking power unconstitutionally. </li></ul><ul><li>Some texts use the word “king” or even the Latin equivalent “ rex ”, but there is no mention of succession or king or queen in the play. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Where is Thebes?
  4. 4. The Dreadful Prophecy <ul><li>Laius (LIE us) and his wife Iocaste (ee oh KAHS tuh) were childless. </li></ul><ul><li>Wanting children, Laius visited the shrine of the Oracle at Delphi. </li></ul><ul><li>The oracle was the human spokesperson of the Greek god Apollo. </li></ul><ul><li>Oracles were women who lived in seclusion in sacred places. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Phythian (Python) Oracle
  6. 6. “ A Blessing in Disguise” <ul><li>The oracle indicated that being childless was a blessing in disguise. </li></ul><ul><li>Laius was warned by the oracle that any child born to Iocaste would become his murderer. </li></ul><ul><li>Out of fear, Laius exiled his wife without explanation. </li></ul><ul><li>Her vexation at such rejection spurred a plot in her mind. </li></ul><ul><li>She seduced her husband through drink and conceived a son. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Desperate Act <ul><li>Panicked, according to one version of the story, Laius forcibly removes the baby from Iocaste’s arms, pierces the child’s feet near the tendon and inserts a metal pin to bind the feet together. </li></ul><ul><li>Laius carries the stunned baby to Mount Cithaeron, between the cities of Corinth and Thebes, and leaves him with a shepherd with instructions to abandon the baby-- to die. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Compassionate Act <ul><li>Unable to carry out the heartless command, the shepherd instead hands the deformed child over to a second shepherd from Corinth. </li></ul><ul><li>The baby, named Oedipus (swollen foot) by the shepherd is safe, for now. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Mount Cithaeron
  10. 10. Corinth : the plot thickens <ul><li>Polybus is the tyrant of Corinth. His wife is Merope (May RO pay). They are childless. </li></ul><ul><li>The shepherd who received the deformed (at the feet) baby on Mt. Cithaeron informs Polybus of the child. </li></ul><ul><li>Oedipus has a home. For now. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Whose child am I? <ul><li>After 17 or 18 years, a Corinthian youth taunts the startled Oedipus: “You don’t resemble either of your parents” (Polybus and Merope). </li></ul><ul><li>Only the Oracle at Delphi can clear up this puzzle. </li></ul><ul><li>The Oracle’s response to Oedipus: “ Away from the shrine, wretch! You will kill your father and marry your mother!” </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Horror <ul><li>Because he loves his “parents” so much, the young Oedipus departs from Corinth in great haste. </li></ul><ul><li>He heads in the direction of Thebes. </li></ul><ul><li>On the treacherous and narrow mountain road, an oncoming chariot demands the right of way. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Make Way! <ul><li>The charioteer orders the young Oedipus to “make way for his betters.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I know no betters except the gods and my own parents,” replied the recalcitrant youth. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Encounter <ul><li>The charioteer roughly orders the young Oedipus aside and runs over the stubborn youth’s deformed foot. </li></ul><ul><li>A blaze of anger erupts and Oedipus, with his walking stick, strikes the older man senseless and flings him to the road. </li></ul><ul><li>Entangled in the reins he was still holding, his horses drag the older man to his death. </li></ul><ul><li>The older man was Laius. </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Sphinx <ul><li>Prior to his death, Laius had been on a second journey to the Oracle at Delphi. </li></ul><ul><li>This time, Laius was seeking advice to end the scourge of the Sphinx against Thebes. </li></ul><ul><li>The Sphinx, a hideous combination of lion, serpent, eagle, and woman, forbade anyone from entering Thebes unless the traveler correctly answered a riddle. </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Theban Sphinx
  17. 17. The Question <ul><li>Using a riddle taught to “her” by the Three Muses, the Sphinx would ask each traveler on the way to Thebes: </li></ul><ul><li>“ What being, with only one voice, has sometimes two feet, sometimes three , sometimes four , and is weakest when it has the most?” </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Answer <ul><li>Oedipus, on approach to Thebes shortly after he unknowingly killed his natural father, encounters the Sphinx and the riddle and the prospect of death if he answers incorrectly. </li></ul><ul><li>Some say he answered by pronouncing his name, which the Sphinx misheard: </li></ul><ul><li>oi dipus </li></ul><ul><li> (“I, man”), </li></ul><ul><li>which just so happens to be the right answer. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Fortune Smiles? <ul><li>The success of this brash young stranger circulated through Thebes, a city now freed of the terror that was once at its doorstep. </li></ul><ul><li>The grateful Thebans selected Oedipus to replace Laius, who everyone heard had died at the hands of highwaymen, as tyrant. </li></ul><ul><li>Oedipus accepts the title and accepts Iocaste as his wife as well—Iocaste, the former wife of Laius, the mother of…. </li></ul>
  20. 20. A Return to Misfortune <ul><li>Oedipus is proclaimed the new Tyrant of Thebes, and immediately following: </li></ul><ul><li>A terrible plague descends on the bewildered city of Thebes; </li></ul><ul><li>Animals mysteriously die; </li></ul><ul><li>Grain withers in the field; </li></ul><ul><li>No live births occur. </li></ul>
  21. 21. “ Like a ship, rolling dangerously” <ul><li>The Theban elders beg Oedipus for help to save their city. </li></ul><ul><li>The play by Sophocles begins—now. </li></ul>

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