How Can Someone Murder His Father and Marry His Mother and Never Even Realize It??? The tragic story behind Oedipus the King
Once upon a time, Laius, the King of Thebes, married Jocasta, but an oracle warned them not to have a son, because that son was fated to kill his own father.
Laius, who wasnt one for superstition, ignored the warning, and soon Jocasta had a baby boy.
When the child was born, however, Laius remembered the oracle, and determined to get rid of his newborn son, pierced his ankles with brooches or spikes before giving him to a herdsman to throw him off Mount Cithaeron. The herdsman, however, couldnt bring himself to kill the baby, so instead he abandoned him atop the mountain.
A shepherd found the child and brought him to Corinth, where the king of Corinths wife, Periboea, after healing his ankles, adopted him and called him Oedipus, because of his swollen feet. Ill Call him Oedipus which means swollen foot!
Oedipus grew up in the court of King Polybus, his adopted father, whom he assumed to be his biological father. But when others began making fun of him for being so unlike his parents, he began to wonder about his true identity.
He went to the oracle to ask about his true parents. The Oracle told him: Do NOT go back to your native land because you are fated to kill your father and marry your mother! This really freaked Oedipus out, so he decided never to return to Corinth (thinking that was his native land) so that he would not fulfill the prophesy.
A Tragic Case of Road Rage On his departure from the Oracle, Oedipus was driving his chariot on a narrow road. Laius (Oedipuss real father) was driving the other way, and the kings charioteer ordered Oedipus to give way. Oedipus refused, and the charioteer killed one of his horses. Oedipus, in a rage, killed the charioteer and also Laius.
After Laius burial, Jocastas brother, Creon, became the ruler of Thebes. After Laius burial, Jocastas brother, Creon, became the ruler of Thebes. During this rule, the Sphinx appeared, destroying the Theban fields and declaring that she would not depart unless someone interpreted the riddle that she proposed, and that, in the meantime, she would eat and destroy whoever failed to give the correct answer. Answer my riddle or Ill eat you!!!
She said, Heres a riddle for youfigure it out!! What has one voice, is four- footed, three- footed, and two- footed?
A Reward for Intelligence Many attempted to answer the Sphinxs riddle, because the reward for a correct answer was great Creon promised to whoever could solve the riddle the kingdom of Thebes, and also his widowed sister, Jocasta, in marriage.
Many men were eaten by the Sphinx for giving incorrect answers to the riddle. However, Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx destroyed herself, as promised. Oedipus became the King of Thebes, and married Jocasta (his biological mother). Together they had 2 daughters, Antigone and Ismene. The Answer to the Riddle is. A Man!!!
Years have passed since Oedipus killed his father and married his mother unknowingly, and the gods are not happy. A plague strikes the city, and the gods say that the city will not be spared until the corrupt thing is removed. Oedipus vows to find this corruption and once again save Thebes, but little does he knowthe corruption is him. Ill drive out the corruption once and for all who is it? And now onto our play
DRAMATIC IRONY A situation in which the audience knows something that the character or characters do not.A situation in which the audience knows something that the character or characters do not. EX: In a scary movie, the boogeyman is hiding in the attic, and the audience saw him go up there, but the victim did not. Romeo and Juliet The audience knows Juliet is not really dead, but Romeo does not, so he kills himself.
Irony in Oedipus Greeks knew the storyGreeks knew the story Adds a dimension to the experience.Adds a dimension to the experience. Oedipus is the quintessence of dramatic ironyOedipus is the quintessence of dramatic irony Look for examples of dramatic irony as we read Oedipus the KingLook for examples of dramatic irony as we read Oedipus the King
Themes - the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Knowledge vs. Ignorance Free Will Motifs - recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes. Suicide Sight and Blindness
Character List 1.Oedipus King of Thebes: protagonist and tragic hero of this classical tragedy; ruled by fate and conflict; impetuous and short-tempered. Oedipus possesses the impulse and intelligence to unravel and solve every mystery. This trait leads him to seek truth and change his fate, defying the gods.
2. Jocasta Queen of Thebes; Oedipuss birth mother and wife 3. Creon Minister, uncle & brother-in-law of Oedipus 4. Tiresias Old, blind prophet. The only man aware of the fact that Oedipus has killed his father and married his mother. Voice of wisdom, knowledge, and reverence.
Aristotles Tragic Hero Comes from nobility or a high placeComes from nobility or a high place Tragic Flaw--caused by a simple mistake or a character flaw-maybe pride or hubrisTragic Flaw--caused by a simple mistake or a character flaw-maybe pride or hubris Undergoes a Reversal of Fortune (fall from high to low)Undergoes a Reversal of Fortune (fall from high to low) Recognizes his mistakes (in a catharsis or purgation of pity and fear)Recognizes his mistakes (in a catharsis or purgation of pity and fear)
hamartia - a concept used by Aristotle to describe tragedy; the fall of a noble man caused by some excess or mistake in behavior, not because of a willful violation of the gods' laws. Also Known As: tragic flaw
Hubris - excessive pride, self-confidence, superciliousness, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution. In ancient Greece, hubris referred to actions which, intentionally or not, shamed and humiliated the victim, and frequently the perpetrator as well. The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonists downfall.
Catharsis a sudden emotional climax that evokes overwhelming feelings of great sorrow, pity, laughter or any other extreme change in emotion, resulting in restoration, renewal and revitalization in members of the audience. Ex:
Deus ex machina (god from the machine) - the sudden appearance of an unexpected way out of a difficult situation. Playwrights used the divine intervention technique of deus ex machina in their tragedies. In Greek drama, a god would appear on the stage from a mechane to resolve the plot.
Machana (or Machane) a crane used in fifth century drama for hoisting characters in the air, most often to represent flight.
Whats up with the masks?
The actors in Greek dramas wore masks because at most there were only 3 people to play every role (excluding the chorus). Thus, the actors wore masks to delineate which characters were on stage. Also, Greek theaters were so large that someone sitting waaaayyyy up the hill would not see the expressions onstage, and therefore all of the costuming was literally larger than life and exaggerated.