background information on the oedipus cycle three plays by sophocles

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Background Information on the Oedipus Cycle

Background Informationon the Oedipus CycleThree plays by Sophocles

Festival of Dionysus*Each year, playwrights were chosen to produce three tragedies and one comedy for a theatrical competition at the festival.

*the god of wine and fertility

Ancient Greek DramaPlays were performed during the day in outdoor theaters built into hillsides (amphitheaters)

The CyclePlay # 1 = Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King)Play # 2 = Oedipus at ColonusPlay # 3 = Antigone (441 B.C.)

Ancient Greek ActorsMen wore elegant robes with huge masks and elevated shoes to seem larger than life. Masks had exaggerated mouthpieces that amplified their voices and expressed emotion visually.Sophocles used three actors per play. They changed masks to change roles.

The ChorusThe chorus was a group of 15 men who spoke between scenes to comment on the action.They sometimes participated in the dialogue as well.The chorus was meant to represent the audiences perspective and response. greek drama6Greek TragedyA tragedy is a play about the downfall of a dignified, superior character who is involved in historically or socially significant events. Tragic HeroesTragic hero: character that is involved in conflict that builds from one event to the next until a catastrophe results. *Fate and a tragic flaw also play key roles in the destruction of the heros life.Tragic FlawTragic flaw is usually a positive trait that turns negative that brings about, or contributes to, the tragic heros downfall. Examples: pride (hubris), honesty, honor, confidence, or generosity.Oedipus RexWatch the summary of Oedipus Rex to learn about this family that repeatedly faces tragic conflict. summary of oedipus10Conflicts and ConceptsThe play Antigone deals with divided loyalties and difficult choices: faith, family, or kingdom?

Antigones conflict deals with differences among the following principles: Loyalty / obligations to familyObedience to civil lawObservance of religious lawProtection of personal dignityFreedomProtection of community or nationIdeas to Develop into Themes in AntigoneCivil Disobedience: Rebellion with Purpose & ConsequenceCivil Disobedience: Choosing to disobey the law as a matter of conscience, and accepting the consequences.Rosa Parks:refusing to relinquish her bus seat = arrestedConscientious objectors: refusing to fight = jailHenry David Thoreau: refusing to pay taxes so that his money wont support programs he disagrees with = jail/fines

CharactersAntigone (daughter of Oedipus & Jocasta)Ismene (Antigones sensible sister)Creon (Jocastas brother, Antigones Uncle)Haemon (Creons son & Antigones fianc)Euridice (Creons wife)Teiresias (a blind prophet)Chorus (commentary/summaries in poetry)Choragus (leader of the chorus)A SentryA Messenger

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