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Oedipus the King Play Analysis. Question 1: Identify the title of the play and identify and describe its literary genre.   Oedipus the King.   It.

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Presentation on theme: "Oedipus the King Play Analysis. Question 1: Identify the title of the play and identify and describe its literary genre.   Oedipus the King.   It."— Presentation transcript:

1 Oedipus the King Play Analysis

2 Question 1: Identify the title of the play and identify and describe its literary genre.   Oedipus the King.   It is an Athenian tragedy.  A play created for the pleasure of viewing based on human suffering, also used to bring about historical continuity and cultural identity.

3 Question 2: Identify the author and provide a brief biographical sketch.  Sophocles  An ancient Greek tragedian who has written approximately 123 plays in his lifetime  Competed in 30 dramatic competitions and won close to 24 of them  His most famous plays are those of Oedipus and Antigone, being among the seven that have survived to today.

4 Question 3: Briefly summarize the plot. What’s the gist?  King Oedipus realizes a terrible curse lay upon Thebes and sends his brother- in-law, Creon, to get advice from Apollo  Creon informs Oedipus that the curse will be lifted if the murderer of Laius, the former king, is found and prosecuted.  Teiresias, the blind prophet, informs Oedipus that Oedipus himself killed Laius. Taken aback by this, he tells his wife, Jocasta, who tells him that prophets can be wrong.  As Oedipus hears stories from his “adoptive” parents, his wife, and others, the stories all seem to coincide with the prophet’s, who warned him that he wouldn’t like what he would learn if he kept hunting.  As Jocasta and Oedipus realize that they are mother and son, Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus gouges his eyes out and is exiled from Thebes.

5 Question 4: Analyze at least two possible themes for this play.  Power: Power can both metaphorically blind and corrupt. Oedipus is unperceptive, cruel, and arrogant, and as he searches for the truth he doesn’t listen to the wisdom of the people around him because he is afraid that they are out to steal his power and even possibly overthrow him  Fate and Free Will: Sophocles’ part of elevating the role of fate in life suggests that characters are not fully responsible for their actions. As Oedipus’ choice to pursue the knowledge of his identity and past is an example of free will. Fate also plays a strong role being responsible for his acts of incest and the other fatal actions surrounding characters. So it is impossible to blame a single character for those events and actions due to the overall ignorance.

6 Question 5: Identify the main setting and discuss its connection to theme.  Oedipus the King takes place in the city of Thebes near the palace.  The deeper meaning of the setting is blatantly ironic  Same place where Laius ruled  Oedipus being the new ruler, sleeps in the same bed as he was most likely conceived by Jocasta  Oedipus meeting his ugly demise is a deeply rooted case of irony, and is a clear example of karma, what goes around comes around, and that you can not escape your fate

7 Question 6: Analyze the main characters in the novel, including their role in the story, their description, and their significance  Oedipus, being the protagonist, is the tragic hero  It is his fate and determination to find the truth that leads to his downfall and even Jocasta’s  His endless determination is easiest to consider his tragic flaw, it is also his greatest asset  Oedipus’ true “flaw” is still disputed to this day

8 Question 6  Fate is the antagonist of the play  Oedipus is battling against his own fate and no single person in particular  It can be argued that everything that unfolds upon Oedipus was created by himself, making him his own antagonist

9 Question 6  Creon is Oedipus’ perfect foil  He is the polar opposite, being relatively suave and calm to Oedipus’ urgency and franticness, not to mention that fate is not on his doorstep

10 Question 6  Jocasta an Teiresias are guides/mentors  They are constantly urge Oedipus to cease seeking information and just accept what he is told.  Try as they may, it doesn’t work in their favor

11 Question 7: Locate and analyze at least 4 additional literary devices.  In Oedipus, sight and blindness are the most common uses of symbolism. Throughout the play, there are many uses of words pertaining to sight, as well as words to do with prophecy. A very strong example of this is when Teiresias, the blind prophet, sees the horror of Oedipus’ life, while Oedipus, who was famed for his perfect eyesight, is “blind” to it.  Oedipus’ scarred feet play a symbolic role in the play. A few days after birth, his feet were cut and he was abandoned due to the prophecy saying he would kill his father. He survived and was given the name Oedipus, which translates to swollen foot. The swollen feet also can be portrayed as irony since Oedipus is ignorant of his true identity even though his name points to it.

12 Question 7  Sophocles places the scene where Oedipus killed his father at the crossroads. In any literature, crossroads represent a choice. In Oedipus, the crossroads represent the timeline of Oedipus’ life: one road representing past, one present, and one future. Sophocles is showing us that the gods decide our fate the moment we are born.  In Oedipus, Sophocles questions whether or not humans have free will. It was foretold that Oedipus would kill his father and despite his parents’ actions, he fulfilled the prophecy. This shows Sophocles’ belief that there is nothing we can do to change our destiny.

13 Question 8: Identify three memorable quotes from the play, and comment on their significance. 1.“[Oedipus:] And on the murderer this curse I lay … A desert blasted by the wrath of heaven. ( )” This is significant because Oedipus’ overwhelming amount of pride and ignorance leads him to lay such a curse, and it clearly foreshadows this curse going around and coming back around to bite him in the near future.

14 Question 8 3. “[Teireisias:] Well, it will come what will, though I be mute. [Oedipus:] Since come it must, thy duty is to tell me. [Teireisias:] I have no more to say; storm as thou willst, / And give the rein to all thy pent-up rage. ( )” Teireisias insists that Fate will play its role as it should and no amount of knowledge will change it, so seeking it is a waste of energy. He refuses to tell Oedipus anything to further his search.


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