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Pity the Man? Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus 2. “O the misery, now it is ours, all ours, and not for the moment now but all our lives, we wail the death.

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Presentation on theme: "Pity the Man? Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus 2. “O the misery, now it is ours, all ours, and not for the moment now but all our lives, we wail the death."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pity the Man? Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus 2

2 “O the misery, now it is ours, all ours, and not for the moment now but all our lives, we wail the death the curse on the blood our blood our doom born in us by our father....” (Antigone, Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus p. 382) ― “But look, he’s free, he’s ended his life with blessings— children, end your grief. No one alive is free and clear of pain” (Chorus, p. 384) Mourn or Rejoice?

3 Agenda Opening Discussion Oedipus at Colonus as Tragedy: Plot and Theme Recap and Update Genre, Context, Theme Closing Discussion “Not to Be Born is Best”?

4 Opening Discussion Oedipus at Colonus as Tragedy: Plot and Theme

5 OAC as Tragedy… Formula, etc. Koros Hubris Atē Dikē Aeschylean progression Verbal  visual Ambiguous  clear Human  divine Cycle of violence? Knowledge through suffering? Aristotelian patterns Character-based motivation (ēthos)? Hamartia? Complex plot? Recognition? Reversal? Pity? Fear? Catharsis?

6 Oedipal Reversals Oedipus the King Reverse rite of passage 1.incorporation 2.transformation 3.separation Oedipus at Colonus Others... Furies to Eumenides Oedipus “Nothing” to “man” Fool to sage Father to alastōr Pariah to hērōs (deified dead)

7 Recap and Update Genre, Context, Theme

8 Some Plot Variants Sophocles Oedipus at ColonusOther… Prior to action of play, Oedipus, after big reveal, seeks to be killed. When calms down, is allowed to live on at Thebes. Later, Thebes exiles him. Oedipus remains in Thebes and is buried there (Soph. Antigone, Homer, Euripides) Oedipus goes into self-imposed exile at end of OTK. Prior to action of play, Jocasta (Oedipus’ mother) has Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, Polynices by Oedipus. Hangs self at end of OTK (OAC prequel). Jocasta kills self when incest revealed. Oedipus then remarries and has a new family (Antigone etc.) Jocasta lives on with Oedipus at Thebes (Euripides Phoenician Women).

9 Fate, Responsibility … Tragedy? Oedipus the King Apollo to Creon “Pay the killers back, whoever is responsible” (p. 164) Oedipus “Apollo, friends, Apollo - he ordained my agonies” (p. 241) Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus “I am innocent … blind, unknowing!” (317) “Thebes bound me fast to a bride who was my ruin (atē)” (315) Polynices “I learn this all too late” (360) “I must travel down that road, doomed by fate and the curses of my father” (368)

10 prologue (pp. 284 ff.) Oed, Ant, Citizen identity, positioning parodos (291) amoibaion (chorus-character dialogue) Chorus, Oed, Ant supplication 1 st episode A (298) leader, Oed, Ismene, Ant amoibaion (314) Chorus, Oed Oed’s crimes (?) 1 st episode B (318) Leader, Theseus, Oed supplication, negotiation 1 st stasimon (326) praise (Colonus, Athens) 2 nd episode (328) Ant, Oed, Leader, Creon, Theseus tussle over Oed 2 nd stasimon (348) victory song 3 rd episode (350) Leader, Oed, Ant, Thes leave-taking begins 3 rd stasimon (358) the human condition 4 th episode A (359) Ant, Oed, Poly a father’s curse amoebic kommos, dialogue (371) Chorus, Oed, Ant portents 4 th episode B (373) Thes, Oed 4 th stasimon (377) prayers for Oed Exodos (378) spoken dialogue, lyric kommos messenger, leader, Ant, Ismene, Thes Oed’s demise, lament, consolation Analysis Analysis

11 Stage Set, “Colonus Hippius” skene (stage building) To Underworld Olive grove Equestrian statue to Thebes Altar of Athena Hippia, Poseidon Hippios East West South Source: Wiles Tragedy in Athens to Athens

12 CHORUS p. 348: “… chariots racing down the wind - the enemy will be crushed! … They honor Athena, reigning queen of horsemen - honor the Sea-lord, guardian of our earth…”

13 Closing Discussion “Not to Be Born is Best”?

14 Not to Be Born Is Best? “Not to be born is best when all is reckoned in, but once a man has seen the light the next best thing, by far, is to go back back where he came from, quickly as he can.” (Chorus, Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus, p. 358)


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