Sophocles 496 – 406 B. C. Grew up in Colonus, near where former King Oedipus was (allegedly) buried
Sophocles was the second of three great ancient Greek tragedians: –preceded by Aeschylus –followed by or contemporary to Euripides For almost 50 years he was the dominant competitor in the dramatic competitions of ancient Athens
Sophocles influenced the development of the drama –adding a third character and thereby reducing the importance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot –developed his characters to a greater extent than earlier playwrights –Used female characters
Only seven of his 123 plays have survived into modern times with their text completely known. The most famous of these are the three tragedies concerning Oedipus and Antigone: these are often known as the Theban plays or The Oedipus Cycle –were not originally written or performed as a single trilogy
Structure of Greek Drama 1.Prologue: Spoken by one or two characters before the chorus appears. The prologue usually gives the mythological background necessary for understanding the events of the play. 2.Parados: This is the song sung by the chorus as it first enters the orchestra and dances.
3.First Episode: This is the first of many "episodes", when the characters and chorus talk. 4.Choral ode: At the end of each episode, the other characters usually leave the stage and the chorus dances and sings a choral ode. The ode usually reflects on the things said and done in the episodes, and puts it into some kind of larger mythological framework.
the tragic flawThe main character’s downfall is often due to an inborn character flaw or weakness – the tragic flaw.
OEDIPUS REX-Prologue The city of Thebes is ravaged by plague Citizens beg King Oedipus for help
OEDIPUS REX-Prologue Oedipus sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.
OEDIPUS REX-Prologue Creon returns and announces that the plague will end when the Thebans punish the murderer of the their previous king, Laius.
OEDIPUS REX-Prologue Oedipus tries to take the role of savior and vows to do everything in his power to apprehend the murderer and save his people
Oedipus Rex : Parados: p. 10-12 Theban elders serve as the chorus. Prayers to gods for assistance: Apollo, Artemis, Athena. Lists problems that Thebes was suffering from. Phoibos= Apollo
Scene I Oedipus is trying to get information about the murder from the citizens of Thebes. They either have no answers or are not telling. He tells the Thebans that anyone found to have known the murderer will be banished from Thebes
Oedipus promises to look for the murderer as though he were looking for his own father’s killer. One of the Thebans suggests calling Teiresias, a blind prophet. But Oedipus has already called him. When Teiresias arrives, he is at first reluctant to speak because of what he knows.
“How dreadful knowledge of truth can be when there’s no help in truth!” (p.17) Oedipus pushes Teiresias to talk Tereisias: “What does it matter! Whether I speak or not it is bound to come.” –Fate, destiny vs. Free will
Oedipus accuses Teiresias of being the murderer. Teiresias, sick of Oedipus’ pushing him reveals: –“You yourself are the pollution of this country.”
Oedipus is reluctant to believe Teiresias “There is no one here who will not curse you soon, as you curse me.” Oedipus mocks Teiresias’ blindness. Oedipus accuses Teiresias and Creon of conspiring against him. The leader of the Chorus asks Oedipus to calm down
“I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind” Teiresias only taunts Oedipus further, saying that the king does not even know who his parents are. Oedipus is infuriated, but is confused and intrigued.
the murderer of Laius will turn out to be: – both brother and father to his children –both son and husband to his mother – Theban born, but perceived to be from somewhere else
Choral Ode 1 The Chorus is confused and unsure whom to believe They resolve that they will not believe any of these accusations against Oedipus unless they are shown proof.