Download Oedipus Rex Handout Plot Synopsis

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Ancient Greek religion wikipedia , lookup

History of science in classical antiquity wikipedia , lookup

Ancient Greek warfare wikipedia , lookup

Ancient Corinth wikipedia , lookup

Ancient Greek literature wikipedia , lookup

Sphinx wikipedia , lookup

Corinthian War wikipedia , lookup

Antigone (Sophocles play) wikipedia , lookup

Aeschylus wikipedia , lookup

Thebes, Greece wikipedia , lookup

List of oracular statements from Delphi wikipedia , lookup

Oedipus Rex Handout
Plot Synopsis- Jeanmarie
A plague has stricken Thebes. The citizens gather outside the palace of their
king, Oedipus, asking him to take action. Oedipus replies that he already sent his
brother-in-law, Creon, to the oracle at Delphi to learn how to help the city. Creon
returns with a message from the oracle: the plague will end when the murderer of
Laius, former king of Thebes, is caught and expelled; the murderer is within the city.
Oedipus questions Creon about the murder of Laius, who was killed by thieves on his
way to consult an oracle. Only one of his fellow travelers escaped alive. Oedipus
promises to solve the mystery of Laius’s death, vowing to curse and drive out the
Oedipus sends for Tiresias, the blind prophet, and asks him what he knows
about the murder. Although at first he refuses to tell Oedipus what he knows, he
finally reveals that Oedipus is the murderer. Oedipus naturally refuses to believe
Tiresias’s accusation and accuses Creon and him of conspiring against his life. Then,
before leaving the stage, Tiresias puts forth one last riddle, saying that the murderer of
Laius will turn out to be
both father and brother to his own children, and the son of his own wife.
After Tiresias leaves, Oedipus threatens Creon with death or exile for
conspiring with the prophet. Oedipus’s wife, Jocasta (who is the widow of King
Laius), enters and asks why the men shout at one another. Oedipus explains to Jocasta
that the prophet has charged him with Laius’ murder, and Jocasta replies that all
prophecies are false. As proof, she notes that the Delphic oracle once told Laius he
would be murdered by his son, when in fact his son was cast out of Thebes as a baby,
and Laius was murdered by a band of thieves. Her description of Laius’s murder,
however, sounds familiar to Oedipus, and he asks further questions. Jocasta tells him
that Laius was killed at a three-way crossroads, just before Oedipus arrived in Thebes.
Oedipus, stunned, tells his wife that he may be the one who murdered Laius. He tells
Jocasta that, long ago, when he was the prince of Corinth, he overheard someone
mention at a banquet that he was not really the son of the king and queen. He
therefore traveled to the oracle of Delphi, who did not answer him but did tell him he
would murder his father and sleep with his mother. Hearing this, Oedipus fled his
home, never to return. It was then, on the journey that would take him to Thebes, that
Oedipus was confronted and harassed by a group of travelers, whom he killed in selfdefense. This skirmish occurred at the very crossroads where Laius was killed.
Oedipus sends for the man who survived the attack, a shepherd, in the hope
that he will not be identified as the murderer. Outside the palace, a messenger
approaches Jocasta and tells her that he has come from Corinth to inform Oedipus that
his father, Polybus, is dead, and that Corinth has asked Oedipus to come and rule
there in his place. Jocasta rejoices, convinced that Polybus’s death from natural
causes has disproved the prophecy that Oedipus would murder his father. At Jocasta’s
summons, Oedipus comes outside, hears the news, and rejoices with her. He now
feels much more inclined to agree with the queen in deeming prophecies worthless (
and viewing chance as the principle governing the world.) But while Oedipus finds
great comfort in the fact that one-half of the prophecy has been disproved, he still
fears the other half—the half that claimed he would sleep with his mother.
The messenger remarks that Oedipus need not worry, because Polybus and his
wife, Merope, are not Oedipus’s biological parents. The messenger, a shepherd,
knows that Oedipus came to Corinth as an orphan. One day long ago, he was tending
his sheep when another shepherd approached him carrying a baby, its ankles pinned
together. The messenger took the baby to the royal family of Corinth, and they raised
him as their son. That baby was Oedipus. Oedipus asks who the other shepherd was,
and the messenger answers he was a servant of Laius.
Oedipus wants this shepherd to be brought him to tell his story. However,
Jocasta, beginning to suspect the truth, begs her husband not to seek more
information. She runs back into the palace. The shepherd then enters. Oedipus
interrogates him, asking who gave him the baby. The shepherd. finally answers that
the child came from the house of Laius. Questioned further, he answers that the baby
was in fact the child of Laius himself, and that it was Jocasta who gave him the infant,
ordering him to kill it, as it had been prophesied that the child would kill his parents.
But the shepherd pitied the child, and decided that the prophecy could be avoided just
as well if the child were to grow up in a foreign city, far from his true parents. The
shepherd therefore passed the boy on to the shepherd in Corinth.
Realizing who he is and who his parents are, Oedipus screams that he sees the
truth and flees back into the palace. The shepherd and the messenger slowly exit the
stage. A second messenger enters and describes scenes of suffering from the palace
within. Jocasta has hanged herself, and Oedipus, finding her dead, has pulled the pins
from her robe and stabbed out his own eyes. Oedipus now emerges from the palace,
bleeding and begging to be exiled. He asks Creon to send him away from Thebes and
to look after his daughters, Antigone and Ismene. Creon, wanting royal power, agrees.
Social Context- Isabella
- At the time, Greece was made up of many small independent city-states. The three
most important ones were Athens, Thebes, and Sparta. There were frequent conflict
between these three states due to differing views and systems
- Athens grew in power and took charge of many smaller city-states. Due to its rapid
growth, many philosophers, poets, literatures, scientists and artists gravitated to
Athens. The city soon became a hot stop and grew in all aspects; especially the arts.
- Theatre was very important to the Athenians, and it grew and grew to the point
where they would hold festivals, the most important of which City Dionysia. It
worshipped the god Dionysus for Greek religion and drama were often intersected, as
you can see happening in Oedipus the King.
- Most Greek audiences already knew about the Oedipus story and the citizens loved
to it in an evocative manner.
- The Greeks used drama as a way to investigate the world around them and what it
meant to be human.
- Greece at the time was considered a democracy, but the only citizens allowed to
participate in democratic affairs, which included those who were allowed to attend the
theatre, were men over the age of eighteen.
- One of the biggest themes in Oedipus the King is the subject of power and the effect
of a dictatorship, and just how easily it can fall. This theme specifically impacted the
Greek citizens due to their fresh system of democracy.
- The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle argued that Oedipus was the best play
every written. Aristotle believed that tragedy cleansed the heart through pity and
terror, purging us of our petty concerns and worries by making us aware that there can
be nobility in suffering. This philosophy was known throughout Athenians.
Greek Theatre Style/Stagecraft - Sabrina
Greek theatre usually occurred in amphitheatres (outdoor arenas) that sat
about 20,000 people. The closest seats were usually 10 metres away yet the theatre is
built to carry even the smallest of sounds. These are the major components of the
Orchestra: A circular dancing/singing space for the chorus members, an incredibly
important part of the stage.
Theatron: A raised seating area for the spectators that surround the Orchestra in a
Skene: A tent behind the stage where actors could exit and enter and usually had the
backdrop of the play painted on it.
Parados: The place where the audience entered and exited as well as where some
characters made entrances such as chorus members and messengers
Greek plays originally started out as mandatory religious ceremony until the
introduction of character and plot. Many plays would be performed in succession with
tragedies consisting of three related plays performed after another. There are three
types of plays that were performed:
Comedy: Satires about men in power and their vanity/foolishness
Tragedy: deals with love, loss, pride, god/human conflict. Usually about the
protagonist having committed a crime and having his wrongdoings revealed to
him.Tragedy came from “dithyrams” or the songs to praise the god Dionysus which
first started out as improvised songs.
Satyr Plays: Satires of the Tragedy, usually put in between acts.
Most of the actors were amateurs and were all men. There are two types of actors:
The Chorus: Usually consisted of 10-15 men who were dancers about to enter
military service. Athenians were taught to dance at a young age and being able to sing
and dance through the three tragedies and satyr play was likened to participating in
the Olympics. Provided the Civil representation and commented on the action of the
The Main Actors: consisted of 3 actors who would take on many roles by changing
masks. The choices of who played what (i.e. what character switches to what) usually
bore some thematic relevance. Originally named “hypokrites” meaning “answerer” as
the actor would be responding to the chorus. Sophocles introduced “tritagonistes”
which means having three actors in a play. Thespis is responsible for “protagoniste”
and Aeschylus “deuteragoniste”
Due to the large amphitheatres, masks were worn to be seen as a part of their
costumes. These were face-fitting with wigs attached and open mouths. Gestures were
large and determined to be seen from afar.
Male Chiton: A “chiton” was made of linen or silk and worn long with a “hemateon”
as an exterior cloth
Woman Prosternada/Progastreda: To play women actors would fake breasts with a
“prosternada” (cloth over the chest) and fake pregnant bellies with the “progastred
Reference Images of Stage, Costumes and Masks