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Theatre, Themes, Motifs, and Symbols. Oracle at Delphi Dating back to 1400 BC, the Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine in all Greece, and in.

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Presentation on theme: "Theatre, Themes, Motifs, and Symbols. Oracle at Delphi Dating back to 1400 BC, the Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine in all Greece, and in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theatre, Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

2 Oracle at Delphi Dating back to 1400 BC, the Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine in all Greece, and in theory all Greeks respected its independence. Built around a sacred spring, Delphi was considered to be the omphalos - the center (literally navel) of the world. People came from all over Greece and beyond to have their questions about the future answered by the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo. And her answers, usually cryptic, could determine the course of everything from when a farmer planted his seedlings, to when an empire declared war. Arguments over the correct interpretation of an oracle were common, but the oracle was always happy to give another prophecy if more gold was provided.

3 Apollo Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. His twin sister is Artemis. He is the god of music, playing a golden lyre. The Archer, far shooting with a silver bow. The god of healing who taught man medicine. The god of light. The god of truth, who can not speak a lie. One of Apollo's more important daily tasks is to harness his chariot with four horses an drive the Sun across the sky. He is famous for his oracle at Delphi. People traveled to it from all over the Greek world to devine the future. His tree was the laurel. The crow his bird. The dolphin his animal.

4 Theatres of The Great Dionysia




8 Physical- Oedipus blinds himself Intellectual- Oedipus’ inability to see the truth (ignorance)

9 In the beginning Oedipus has perfect physical vision, however he is blind and ignorant to the truth about himself and his past. He really wants to see and know, but cannot.

10 Oedipus has been blind to the truth for years

11 Situational Irony- we are introduced to a physically blind prophet “Teiresias”- but he can see the truth about Oedipus

12 Oedipus eventually sees the truth (he comes full circle). He can see the truth about his life but does not want to accept his fate. Now Oedipus blinds himself so he cannot see...again, Situational Irony!

13 Oedipus is a coward. He didn’t want to see the truth.


15 When Jocasta and Oedipus get close to the truth about Laius’ murder, Oedipus hangs onto the hope that he may be innocent

16 Jocasta says she was told Laius was killed by a group of robbers (strangers), however Oedipus is aware that he killed a man alone in similar circumstances. This is the moment wherein Oedipus must seek the truth

17 Jocasta and Oedipus react to the servant’s story as history. Both cannot think what will occur if the servant were wrong

18 Jocasta tells Oedipus about the similar prophecy of her son and does not recognize the similarities of the story. (Neither Jocasta or Oedipus recognize the truth).

19 These speeches display dramatic irony to the audience; it also shows how desperate Jocasta and Oedipus are to hide the truth. However, we know what fate awaits them. They look at the circumstances and details of every day life and pretend not to see them


21 Prophecy is a central part of the play.

22 1.)Creon returns from the Oracle at Delphi (plague will be lifted if Thebes banishes the Killer of Laius) 2.)Teiresias Prophesies the capture of the one who is both father and brother of his children

23 3.)Oedipus tells Jocasta of his prophecy 4.)Jocasta tells Oedipus of her prophecy

24 Oedipus and Jocasta debate how much prophecies should be trusted. When all the prophecies come true, it appears that one of Sophocles’ aims is to justify the powers of gods and prophets

25 Again, Oedipus’ blindness is shown. He is foolish to think he can escape the prophecy

26 ‘PRIDE BREEDS THE TYRANT’ Or Pride Can Be the Downfall of Even the Greatest of People

27 When the play opens, Oedipus is shown to be a powerful and noble King. The people trust him without hesitation, and come to him when they need help. However, when challenged, Oedipus’ hubris (pride) gets the best of him: When challenged by Teiresias When talking to Creon In choosing to ‘forget’ his past It is not until the messenger and shepherd confirm his fears that we see Oedipus humble and accepting of his past.

28 Oedipus wants to flee his fate, but his fate always catches up with him Oedipus has a tragic flaw (pride)= hubris



31 Oedipus’ Swollen Foot

32 Name came from the fact he was left on the mountains with his ankles pinned together

33 Injury symbolizes the way fate marked him and set him apart, and the way his movements are confined and constrained since birth

34 The Three Way Crossroads

35 Laius was slain at a place where 3 roads meet (symbolizes fate and power of prophecy) Symbolizes the crucial moment, long before the events of the play, when Oedipus began to fulfill the dreadful prophecy

36 Crossroads- place where a choice must be made Symbolize moments where decisions will have important consequences but where different choices are still possible

37 Part of distant past, dimly remembered and at the time Oedipus didn’t realize he was making fateful decision



40 Motifs- recurring structures, contrasts or literary devices that can help to develop the texts’ major themes

41 Suicide Jocasta hangs herself Oedipus inflicts violence on himself

42 Sight and Blindness References to eyesight and vision are frequent in the play Image of clear vision is used as a metaphor for knowledge and insight Also references to literal and metaphorical blindness

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