oedipus rex

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Oedipus Rex. Unit Background. Greek Drama. In General. Conventions of Greek Drama. Religion/Competition Outdoor Theater (Amphitheater) Chorus/Stylized Masks. Conventions – Religion/Competition. Based on mythology/history Performed in festivals to honor Dionysus. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Oedipus RexUnit Background

  • Greek DramaIn General

  • Conventions of Greek DramaReligion/Competition

    Outdoor Theater (Amphitheater)

    Chorus/Stylized Masks

  • Conventions Religion/Competition

    votes cast and prizes awarded (first, second, third, etc.)

    Sophocles wrote 123 plays during his lifetime; 24 won first prize and the rest won second.Based on mythology/history

    Performed in festivals to honor Dionysus

  • Conventions - Amphitheater

    Theater of Dionysus in Athens

  • Parts of a Greek TheaterOrchestra normally circular; chorus used this space to sing, dance, interact with actors on the stage

    Theatron spectator section; usually part of hillside sloping down toward orchestra; often wrapped around large portion of orchestra; held 14,000 to 15,000 spectatorsAboveSection of Theatron, including restored entrance to stage left paradosIn Epidavros

  • Parts of a Greek Theater

    Skene building behind the stage; usually decorated as setting (temple, palace); had at least one set of doors; access to roof

    Proskenion wide shallow stage in front of the skene

    Parodos paths by which chorus and some actors (messengers, travelers) enter and exit the stage; used by audience to enter/exit theater

  • Conventions - Amphitheater

    South Slope of the Theater of Dionysus


  • Conventions - ChorusGroup varying from three to 50; believed to be 15 by the time of SophoclesMain commentators on character and eventsSung and danced in unisonSometimes exchanged dialogue with main charactersRarely spoke individually

  • Conventions - ChorusFunctions of the ChorusAn agent to give advice, ask questions, take part in the actionEstablish ethical framework, and set up the standard by which the action will be judgedIdeal spectator reacts as playwright hopes the audience wouldSets mood and heightens dramatic effectsAdds movement, spectacle, song, and danceRhythmical function pauses/paces the action so that the audience can reflect

  • Conventions - Masksprobably designed to enhance projectionallowed few actors to play multiple rolesonly three actors for each play (debatable)all performers were men

  • Greek TragedyIn Particular

  • Aristotles PoeticsBrief book by Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle (384-322)

    Includes first and most influential analysis of drama

    Defines tragedy as an imitation of life

  • Aristotles PoeticsCatharsis an emotional purification or relief brought about by viewing the tragedy

    Hubris reckless pride, sometimes brought about by a belief the protagonist has that s/he is above the fates or in control of destiny

    Hamartia a character fault or mistake (like an Achilles heel rather than a flaw for which s/he can be held directly responsible)

    Anagnorisis process of recognition, in which the protagonist sees his/her own nature and destiny more clearly than before

  • Aristotles Poetics

    ElementsofDramaSix elements of tragedy

    In Aristotles order of importanceSubject MatterPlotCharacterThoughtLanguage and PerformanceDictionSongSpectacle

  • Poetics Elements Subject MatterPlot the sole of tragedyarrangement of the incidents to include a beginning, a middle, and an endCharacter hero is above the common levelshould stress morality, be appropriate, be true to life, and be consistentThought is found where something is proved to be or not to be, or a general maxim is enunciatedmain idea or concept that characters make concrete in action of the dramaExample: Count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last. (stated by chorus at the end of Oedipus Rex)

  • Poetics Elements Language and PerformanceDiction the expression of meaning in wordsClear without being commonplaceSong simply, musicSpectacle technical stagecraftThe spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry The production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet.

  • Greek Tragedy - StructurePrologue: spoken by one or two characters before the chorus appears; usually gives background necessary for understanding the events of the play

    Parodos: the song sung by chorus as it first enters

    Episode: a scene

    Stasimon/Ode: chorus dances and sings after other characters have exited; usually reflects on plays action and puts it into some kind of larger mythological framework

    Exodos: chorus exits singing a processional song which typically offers words of wisdom related to actions and outcome of the play

  • SophoclesIn General

  • Sophocles496 B.C.(in Athens) to 406 B.C.Founded Thiasos of Muses (society for advancement of music and literature)Very active in politics of the new democracyTwo sons: Iophon (with wife, Nicostrate), and illegitimate Ariston (with Theoris)Theban Trilogy Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone (written first)

  • Sophocles Characteristics of Playsemphasis on individual characters reduced role of chorus complex characters, psychologically well-motivated characters subjected to crisis leading to suffering and self-recognition - including a higher law above man exposition carefully motivated scenes suspensefully climactic action clear and logical poetry clear and beautiful few elaborate visual effects theme emphasized: the choices of people

  • Sophocles Sophoclean HeroesStubborn and self-willedReject adviceCut off from family or societyPursue own purposes and form own identities

  • Oedipus RexIn Particular

  • Oedipus Rex - Overview

  • Oedipus Rex Dramatic StructureSetting: palace at Thebes over the course of a day

    PrologueDetails problem and steps Oedipus has taken to correct itParodosChorus lament, and prayer to various GodsFirst Episode/SceneOedipus and Tiresias argument over prophecyFirst Stasimon/OdeChorus sides with Oedipus Second Episode/SceneOedipus and Creon conflictJocasta tells her storySecond Stasimon/OdeChoral response critical of Oedipus

  • Oedipus Rex Dramatic StructureThird Episode/SceneJocasta appeals to godsCorinthian messenger arrives with news Third Stasimon/OdeChorus appeals to DionysusFourth Episode/SceneShepherd is broughtOedipus realizes his identityFourth Stasimon/OdeChorus expresses pity for Oedipus ExodosMessenger reports fates of Jocasta and OedipusCreon banishes OedipusChoral Leader censures people

  • Oedipus Rex Thematic TopicsKnowledge and Ignorance

    Public vs. Private Life

    Choices and Consequences

  • Oedipus Rex Historical ContextCivil and Moral UnrestCity-states competing for trade, commerce, artistic superiority429 B.C. - great plague kills 2/3 population of AthensDemocracy and GovernmentFull citizenship given only to menWomen and slaves followed different code of conduct

  • Oedipus Rex Historical ContextPlaywrights and DramaEstablished traditions of comedy and tragedyThe Great Dionysia festival competitionThe SophistsGroup broke with traditionFocused more on the study of the actions of humankind than on standard legends of gods and goddesses

  • Works CitedAbel, Lisa, ed. Theatre: Art in Action. Lincolnwood: National Textbook Company, 1999. 66-68, 530-532.Ancient Greek Theater. 27 Nov 2007. Best, Michael. Greek Terms Used in Tragedy. Shakespeare's Life and Times. 2001-2005. 27 Nov. 2007. .Englert, Walter. Ancient Greek Theater. 28 Nov 2007. Johnson, William. Oedipus The King, by Sophocles. Fall 2006. 28 Nov. 2007. Masks. 27 Nov. 2007. Offerings Made Before the Image of Dionysus. Dionysus. Fall 1997. 27 Nov. 2007. Reynolds, Will. The Republican Chorus. Online blog. Where theres a Will, theres a way. 3 Nov. 2006. 27 Nov. 2007. Siegel, Janice. Dr. Js Illustrated Greek Theater. 27 Nov. 2007. Sophocles. Ancient/Classical History. 2007. 27 Nov 2007. Sophocles. Perseus Encyclopedia. 28 Nov 2007. Stenudd, Stefan. Aristotles Writing. 2006. Trumbull, Eric W. Ancient Greek Theatre. Introduction to Theatre. 1998-2007. 27 Nov. 2007. Weimelt, J. The Classical Greek Chorus 28 Nov. 2007.

  • stropheGreek: turn, bend, twistforms the first part of the ode in Ancient Greek tragedy"strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanza framed only for the music," with the strophe chanted by a Greek chorus as it moved from right to left across the scene. (John Milton)

  • antistropheGreek: a turning backthe portion of an ode sung by the chorus in its returning movement from west to east, in response to the strophe, which was sung from east to westhas the nature of a reply and balances the effect of the strophe