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Greek Drama Background for Oedipus rex A greek play by Sophocles Background for Oedipus rex A greek play by Sophocles.

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Presentation on theme: "Greek Drama Background for Oedipus rex A greek play by Sophocles Background for Oedipus rex A greek play by Sophocles."— Presentation transcript:

1 Greek Drama Background for Oedipus rex A greek play by Sophocles Background for Oedipus rex A greek play by Sophocles

2 The Basics  Greek drama occurred during the “Golden Age” of Greece: 500 to 300 B.C.E  Tragedies were produced as part of a religious festival for Dionysus (god of wine, fertility, and Theater) every year in Athens.  Awards were given to the playwright who presented the best series of three dramas (we still have festivals like this! Sundance Film Festival, for example)  Greek drama occurred during the “Golden Age” of Greece: 500 to 300 B.C.E  Tragedies were produced as part of a religious festival for Dionysus (god of wine, fertility, and Theater) every year in Athens.  Awards were given to the playwright who presented the best series of three dramas (we still have festivals like this! Sundance Film Festival, for example)

3 The Festival of Dionysus (Dionysia) A festival thrown every year in Athens, Greece to honor one of their favorite Gods Dionysus: God of Wine and Theatrical Performances.

4 Civic Duty  It was every citizen’s CIVIC DUTY to attend the festival.  Everything shut down for 5 days  It was every citizen’s CIVIC DUTY to attend the festival.  Everything shut down for 5 days  Playwrights would write tragedies and compete every year to claim a prize.  3 playwrights would compete each year.

5 Civic Duty: Catharsis It was believed that people became sick because they had “bad emotions” stuck in their bodies and it “poisoned” their blood and made them sick.  Citizens had to “purge” these bad emotions:  Fear  Anxiety  Anger

6 Civic Duty: Catharsis  Citizens could safely cleanse or “purge” these bad emotions at a play by feeling sad, angry, etc and letting everything go. Part of their Health Care.

7 Catharsis

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9 Greek Tragedy  Involves intense emotion, a horrible truth that leads to catharsis – the cleansing or getting rid of bad emptions  The tragic flaw is also called hamartia, the error in judgment or the critical mistake  Hubris=excessive pride (sound familiar?)  Involves intense emotion, a horrible truth that leads to catharsis – the cleansing or getting rid of bad emptions  The tragic flaw is also called hamartia, the error in judgment or the critical mistake  Hubris=excessive pride (sound familiar?)

10 Greek comedy vs. Tragedy  Comedies Always involves a happy ending where things are resolved  tragedies always have a very sad ending  Comedies Always involves a happy ending where things are resolved  tragedies always have a very sad ending

11 The tragic Hero  Oedipus is our tragic heroes – we feel sorry for him because he suffers  The tragic hero usually ends in death or destruction (He is virtually unrecognizable.)  Oedipus is our tragic heroes – we feel sorry for him because he suffers  The tragic hero usually ends in death or destruction (He is virtually unrecognizable.)

12 Dramatic irony  One of the most important elements in this play is dramatic irony – where the audience knows something that the characters don’t  Watch for this as we read!  One of the most important elements in this play is dramatic irony – where the audience knows something that the characters don’t  Watch for this as we read!  (Irony is a contrast between what is expected, and what actually happens)

13 So Who is this Sophocles guy?  Sophocles was one of 3 great Greek tragic playwrights (b. 496 B.C.)  Wrote over 100 plays  Awarded first prize about 20 times…never lower than second place  First to add a third actor to cast  Sophocles was one of 3 great Greek tragic playwrights (b. 496 B.C.)  Wrote over 100 plays  Awarded first prize about 20 times…never lower than second place  First to add a third actor to cast

14 Quick notes on oedipus rex  First in a series of three plays (Antigone & Oedipus at colonus)  Takes place in Thebes (greece)  depict the curse of Oedipus  Sophocles did not come up with the story on his own, it was an ancient greek myth  First in a series of three plays (Antigone & Oedipus at colonus)  Takes place in Thebes (greece)  depict the curse of Oedipus  Sophocles did not come up with the story on his own, it was an ancient greek myth

15 Oedipus Cast  Oedipus (King)  Jocasta (wife)  Tiresias (prophet) Creon (brother)  Senators  Messenger  Old man  Oedipus (King)  Jocasta (wife)  Tiresias (prophet) Creon (brother)  Senators  Messenger  Old man

16 Structure of Greek Tragedy and the Role of the Chorus What you need to know when reading Oedipus Rex

17 The awesome amphitheater

18  Plays were performed in HUGE outdoor amphitheatres that could seat 40,000 people (Yankee Stadium seats 52, 325)  No microphones! But you can hear a penny drop from all the way at the top!

19 Cast And action  All actors were men. They wore masks to depict which characters they were.  There were no scene changes (no backstage!)  The audience knew the story ahead of time. The emotion of the characters was what they came to see.  Violent action took place offstage (I.e. audience had to imagine it). Messengers then told the audience what happened.  All actors were men. They wore masks to depict which characters they were.  There were no scene changes (no backstage!)  The audience knew the story ahead of time. The emotion of the characters was what they came to see.  Violent action took place offstage (I.e. audience had to imagine it). Messengers then told the audience what happened.

20 Unity of Time, Place, and Action  Greek plays were much different from the films we are used to: unity of action:  The unity of action: Play follows one main storyline with no or few subplots. unity of place:  The unity of place: play occurs in a single place and does not change setting (the stage represents one place) unity of time:  The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than 24 hours.  Greek plays were much different from the films we are used to: unity of action:  The unity of action: Play follows one main storyline with no or few subplots. unity of place:  The unity of place: play occurs in a single place and does not change setting (the stage represents one place) unity of time:  The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than 24 hours.

21 So what is the chorus?  The chorus was a group of men who sang and danced during the plays.  They often represent the community’s thoughts but not necessarily the poet’s thoughts.  In Oedipus Rex, the chorus is made of senators – wise old guys!  The chorus was a group of men who sang and danced during the plays.  They often represent the community’s thoughts but not necessarily the poet’s thoughts.  In Oedipus Rex, the chorus is made of senators – wise old guys!

22 Chorus

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24 The Role of the Chorus  To set the mood of the play and tell us the themes  To interpret the action in relation to the law of the state and the law of the Olympian gods  To divide the action and offer reflection on events  To give background information  (Think of it like you have all your grandparents, aunts, and uncles sitting around commenting on your life)  To set the mood of the play and tell us the themes  To interpret the action in relation to the law of the state and the law of the Olympian gods  To divide the action and offer reflection on events  To give background information  (Think of it like you have all your grandparents, aunts, and uncles sitting around commenting on your life)

25 Structure of Tragedy  A Greek Tragedy alternates between odes and episodes  It goes: Ode-->Episode-->Ode-->Episode-- >Ode….you get it  Odes are songs sung by the chorus to comment on the action  Episodes are when characters talk together (Dialogue)  A Greek Tragedy alternates between odes and episodes  It goes: Ode-->Episode-->Ode-->Episode-- >Ode….you get it  Odes are songs sung by the chorus to comment on the action  Episodes are when characters talk together (Dialogue)

26 In more detail…  Prologue: The first part of the play that give background information.  Strophe: Chorus sings while walking Right to Left  Antistrophe: Chorus sings while walking Left to Right  Choral Ode: At the end of each episode, the other characters leave the stage and the chorus sings!  Prologue: The first part of the play that give background information.  Strophe: Chorus sings while walking Right to Left  Antistrophe: Chorus sings while walking Left to Right  Choral Ode: At the end of each episode, the other characters leave the stage and the chorus sings!

27 The End  Exodos: At the end of play, the chorus exits singing a processional song which usually offers words of wisdom related to the actions and outcome of the play.  This is the “moral” of the story where the chorus tells us what we were have supposed to learn from the characters  Exodos: At the end of play, the chorus exits singing a processional song which usually offers words of wisdom related to the actions and outcome of the play.  This is the “moral” of the story where the chorus tells us what we were have supposed to learn from the characters

28 Oedipus Rex = Tragic Hero  “Man of high standard who falls from that high because of a flaw that has affected many” - Aristotle

29 The Tragic Hero  A dynamic (round) character others respect and admire  Nearly perfect  A dynamic (round) character others respect and admire  Nearly perfect

30 Tragic Flaw The hero is nearly perfect-  Has one weakness  Error in Judgment  Critical Mistake  (hamartia)  Error brings hero down  Reversal of fortune The hero is nearly perfect-  Has one weakness  Error in Judgment  Critical Mistake  (hamartia)  Error brings hero down  Reversal of fortune Should I kill him NOW?

31 Catharsis  Audience’s purging of emotions through pity and fear.  The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall.  Audience’s purging of emotions through pity and fear.  The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall.

32 The Oedipus Family Tree More Like the Family Stick!

33 King Oedipus married Queen Jocasta (his mother-ewww!) They had 4 children (Eww): -Eteocles-Antigone -Polynices-Ismene/ SonsDaughters (O’s brothers?)(O’s sisters?) Fight for Thebes Go back to Thebes Cursed by dying Father - Kill each other They had 4 children (Eww): -Eteocles-Antigone -Polynices-Ismene/ SonsDaughters (O’s brothers?)(O’s sisters?) Fight for Thebes Go back to Thebes Cursed by dying Father - Kill each other

34 Exit Slip!  What is dramatic irony?  Who is our tragic hero?  What is Hubris?  what is catharsis?  What is hamartia?  What is dramatic irony?  Who is our tragic hero?  What is Hubris?  what is catharsis?  What is hamartia?


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