Presentation on theme: "Oedipus Rex and Ancient Greek Theater"— Presentation transcript:
1 Oedipus Rex and Ancient Greek Theater Sophocles and Athenian SocietyMaps of Ancient GreeceOrigins of Greek DramaThe Role of the ChorusAncient Greek TheatersStichomythic Dialogue
2 Sophocles (497 or 496 to 406 B.C.) Sophocles was born in Athens. Sophocles was the best-known ancient Greek playwright.While Sophocles was a member of the ruling class, he was aware of the social inequalities in Athenian society.Sophocles used his plays to warn his fellow Athenians of “divine retribution” for social injustice.Sophocles explored the fate-freewill dichotomy in his plays. While humans eventually have to face the consequences of their decisions and actions, freewill was not more powerful than fate or destiny. In fact, one’s freewill could actually work toward fulfilling fate!
5 Origins of Greek Drama Sixth Century B.C. Fifth Century B.C. Thespis essentially invented acting by stepping in front of the chorus and performing a solo.Thespian has come to mean actor.Fifth Century B.C.Each year plays were performed in an annual competition to honor Dionysus (Bacchus).Each playwright wrote three tragedies and a satyr-play (a farce for comic relief) for the competition.Sophocles won twenty of these competitions.Sophocles introduced the third actor on stage. (Aeschylus introduced the use of the second actor on stage.)Sophocles Theban plays, while often anthologized together, were actually not originally written as a trilogy. In fact, Antigone was written first, Oedipus Rex was written second, and Oedipus at Colonus was written last.
6 The chorus . . .Group of 15 men who sang lyric poetry and danced to musicUnpaid and drawn from the citizenry at largeConsidered a civic dutyCostumed in light masks and the dress of the peopleLink between audience and actorsServed as the “ideal spectator,” responding to the play as the playwright intended.Functioned as the conscience of the people, establishing an ethical perspective from which to view the playReflected upon what had happened and foreshadowed what was to comeQuestioned, made requests of, and at times advised the central charactersHelped to establish mood and heighten dramatic momentsHelped to establish pacingProvided tension releaseSeparated the scenesPerformed in song with a back-and-forth movement that heightened the emotion of the performanceStrophe (left to right)Antistrophe (right to left)EpodeA character or characters onstage interacted with the Chorus through a song, the kommos, or through a leader or spokesperson, the Choragos, who would step forth from the Chorus to become a character on stage.
9 Stichomythic dialogue (stichomythia): Alternating individual lines of verse between two speakers A technique used to provide contrast to long speechesA technique used to present thesis and antithesis, questions and answer, argument and refutation.A technique that allowed playwrights to distinguish for the audience one masked actor from anotherA technique used to heighten the dramaUsually occurs at moments of high tensionUsually structured in parallel lines of verseSometimes structured using antilabe