Sophocles Born in Colonus in 490 B.C. and lived until 406/5 B.C. Educated in music and poetry Wrestler and Choral Leader as a teenager First prize at the Dionysian Theater Competition Dramatist and Military Officer The Big Three: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides
The Name Game Most common practice was to identify with the name of the father. This is called “Patronymics” - Example: son of “father’s name” – Sophocles son of Sophilus It was rare to identify with a one’s mother’s name. This practice is called Matronymics. Example: son of “mother’s name” Within a city-state, one would identify with a small community, but while abroad, one would refer to the larger city-state. Example: Sophocles of Colonus
More on Sophocles Drama between humans Focus on folly of arrogance and the wisdom of accepting fate. Sophocles' plays are suffused with dramatic irony: D.I. is a literary technique where the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
More on Dramatic Irony In The Oedipus Trilogy, Oedipus seeks the truth about his father's murder. The truth that awaits him, however, is that he is the murderer. As we read the tragedy, look for the moments of dramatic irony. There are many!
Sophocles: The Innovator Innovated the theater by: Adding a third actor. Plays usually only had two actors. abolishing trilogic form where three tragedies were used to tell a single story. Making each tragedy a complete entity in itself, so he packed all of his action into the shorter form.
“I warned you, Oedipus, not everybody likes what they find when tracing their family tree.”
Tragedy Between 600 and 500 B.C., theatre evolved into new forms, most notably the tragedy. Tragedy told a story: To teach religious lessons. Designed to show the right and wrong paths. Without bad endings, nor pathos (pitiable people or events). Depicted the life voyages of people who steered themselves on collision courses with society, life's rules or fate.
Tragic Hero Tragic hero is the protagonist in a tragedy. The tragic hero refuses to acquiesce to fate or life's rules. The protagonist's hamartia or tragic flaw is what brings his downfall. The tragic flaw is usually hubris, meaning arrogance or pride.
Hubris or Arrogance Arrogance of not accepting the hand that life deals (i.e., fate, as in Oedipus the King) Arrogance of believing that one knows more than everybody else Arrogance of assuming the right to kill Arrogance of assuming the right to seek vengeance
Tragic Hero According to Aristotle’s Poetics, the tragic hero experiences: Peripeteia or an unexpected reversal of circumstances. anagnorisis or recognition/awareness, “a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the people destined for good or bad fortune”. Finally, the tragic hero ’ s ultimate collision with fate, reality or society is inevitable and irrevocable.
Parts of a Tragedy Traditional tragedy in Sophocles ’ time consisted of the following parts: Prologue, which described the situation and set the scene Parados, an ode sung by the chorus as it made its entrance Five dramatic scenes, each followed by a Komos, an exchange of laments by the chorus and the protagonist Exodus, the climax and conclusion
Catharsis Tragedy aroused in the audience the “ unhealthy ” emotions of fear and pity in order to purge their excess. This “purging” or “cleansing” would, then, restore health and balance to a person’s life.