oedipus the king, aka oedipus rex

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Oedipus The King, aka Oedipus Rex. Sophocles. 496-406 BC Most awarded playwright of ancient Athens Wrote 120 Plays Only 7 complete plays exist Fragments of others. Theban Plays. Cycle of three plays Oedipus The King Oedipus at Colonus Antigone Not performed together - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Oedipus The King, aka Oedipus Rex

  • Sophocles496-406 BC

    Most awarded playwright of ancient Athens

    Wrote 120 PlaysOnly 7 complete plays existFragments of others

  • Theban PlaysCycle of three playsOedipus The KingOedipus at Colonus AntigoneNot performed togetherWritten over 35+ years apart

  • History of Greek TheaterGreat change during Sophocles's time

    Changes in structureOnly chorusTwo actors --> three actors

    Greater character developmentCharacters more dimensionalAudience could relate to themConflict between characters

  • Roles in Greek TheaterChorusProvides background, reflects on actions, anticipates future actionsRepresents citizens, morals & valuesStrophe (movement across stage from right to left) and antistrophe (reaction to strophe which moves left to right)

    Tragic HeroHigh social standingTragic flaw

    Other CharactersSpeak in order of rankOnly three characters onstage

  • Goal of Greek TheaterCatharsisGoal of tragedy is the purging of tragic flaw in hero of high station and superior values

    Audience identifies with the flaw and is emotionally connected with characters demise

  • Structure of Greek TragedyI. Prologue-background info before chorusII. Parodos-entrance song sung by chorus III. Episodes/Scenes-main action in playIV. Odes-song reflecting events; weaves plot together-performed by Choragos and ChorusV. Paean-a prayer of thanksgiving to honour Dionysus VI. Exodos-sung by chorus as it exits; offers words of wisdom

  • Major Themes in Oedipus The KingFateAre we victims of fate?Do we control our destiny?

    State of ControlGovernment & PoliticsRoles of leaders

    Sight & BlindnessWhat do we see? What dont we see? What do we want to see? Why?

  • CharactersThe ChorusOedipus The KingQueen JacostaCreonAntigone & Ismene (daughters)Tiresias the SeerLaius (dead; not in play) Polybus & Merope (not in play)Oracle at Delphi (not in play)

  • Before the PlayQueen Jacosta & King Laius of Thebes Fortold of sons future by Oracle of Delphi Bind childs feet in ropeAsk servant to kill him (but he doesnt)Child is found and raised as King Polybuss son Oedipus means Swollen Feet

  • Before the PlayOedipus (Adult)Hears rumors about lineageAsks Oracle about parentsOracle tells him that he will: "Mate with [his] own mother, and shed/ With [his] own hands the blood of [his] own sire.Leaves because he does not want this to happen (he believed Polybus and Merope were his birth parents)

  • Before the PlayOn the way to Thebes Oedipus encounters LaiusArgument over right of way in chariotsOedipuss pride leads him to kill Laius and his menPart of prophecy fulfilled because Laius was his biological father

  • Before the PlayThebes blocked by Sphinx

    Oedipus solves riddle of the Sphinx: "What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?

    Reward is kingship and marriage to Queen Jocasta

    Second part of prophecy fulfilled

  • The Start of the PlayMany years laterOedipus and Jacosta Have four children: Two Sons (Polynices &Eteocles)Daughters (Antigone & Ismene)Plague in Thebes due to Laiuss deathOedipus has vowed to find Laiuss murderer and exile him (unaware that HE murdered Laius)