- 1. Alvarez, Mary Joy Baldomero, Yunisa J.Bohol, Jhoanna Marie O.Falcasantos, Kreanne L.
2. TitleSignificance of the Story Elements of the story Authors BackgroundConclusions Presenters Insights 3. It has been the case throughouthistory the stories are indicative of a societys culture and values. In Sophocles Theban tragedy Oedipus Rex , Oedipus struggles to assert hiswill against his fate set forth bythe gods, and in doing so revealsthe values of the Greeks in theperiod of the plays composition. Through Oedipus words actions and the words and actions of his fellow Thebans, the ideals of the Greeks concerning governance and society, as well as Greekideals concerning fate andmans relationship with the Gods are told to the observer.Thus, though it is a single work, 4. Of the topics touched uponin Oedipus Rex , governance takes someprominence, no doubt since the central figure ofthe drama, Oedipus, is a king. Greeks had thestrong belief that reasonshould be the definingcharacteristic of a ruler, and the subject is touched upon lightly in the text. For instance Creon whenOedipus hotly accuseshim of misdeeds toward asserts strongly "If youthink that stubbornnessis of value apart from reason, you are amadman!" (Sophocles, 5. Similarly the Chorus, whosometimes in Greek tragedies speaks as thevoice of reason, says thisabout kingship andtyranny, "Audacity siresthe tyrant-audacity, if filledup rashly with all excess neither timely nor useful,scaling the highest eaves rushes into precipitous necessity where it suffers from its ill placed foot." (Sophocles, 902-907) The words "rashly" and"audacity" are obviously not synonymous with reason, as well as the phrase "it suffers from its ill placedfoot". Here the Chorus seems to comment on Oedipus actions in 6. As with many ancient societies, ones birth or blood was important in theGreek society of Sophocles,but not absolute in terms of Greek governance. This isplane in Oedipus Rex , sincethe king spends much of the drama seeking the truth to his descent. The king when angered by the prophet Tiresias orders him toleave. To which the blindseer retorts "Men like myself are born, to youreyes, fools, but to theparents who bore you we seem wise." Oedipus isquick to exclaim "To whom? Wait! Who on earth are my parents?" indicative of theimportance he places on his 7. But she (Jocasta) since awoman is proud of such thingsis troubled by this low birth ofmine." (Sophocles, 1104-1106) His resolution to find his ancestry, and his reaction to Tiresias words about his parents, clearly shows that a Greek placed value on thelineage of man, or indeed a woman, as Oedipus commentabout Jocasta reveals. However ones blood was not necessarily critical to be a king. Immediately following the previously mentioned lines, Oedipus speaks, "But Ideem myself a child of Chance, who gives good things, and I will not bedishonored." (Sophocles, 1107-1108) In essence,Oedipus claims that though he may not be of regal 8. The Chorus, in essence,says that such crimes areespecial heinous, as the"Furies" themselves weredeities that punished such transgressors. Butthe most compelling as to the Greeks perception ofacts against family is thefate of Oedipus and hisand mother Jocasta.Oedipus, unable to bearthe shame of what he has done gouges out his owneyes because, for as hesays "For why must I see, I for whom no sight is sweet." (Sophocles, 1364-1365) Jocasta, his wife and mother, kills 9. While governance and societal values take someprecedence in Oedipus Rex, arguably more central andintegral are the topics offate and mans relationship with the gods themselves. One inescapable fact ofGreek culture was the gods were in control. This isseen early on since whatspurns Oedipus into his detective story to find the truth of himself is the plight of Thebes sent uponthem the gods. As the Priest when conversing withOedipus says, "Falling uponus, the fire-bringing god,most hateful disease, drives the city, and by him 10. As the Priest also says, "But may Phoebus who sentthese prophecies come atonce as savior and stayer of disease!" (Sophocles, 160-161) Though Oedipus heroically strugglesagainst his destiny; he as well still acknowledges the supremacy of the gods."You have spoken justly, but no man can compel the gods when they are unwilling." (Sophocles, 291-292) Very humble words coming from a manwho is supposed be atyrant. This reveals how central the gods were to Greek as well. That beings 11. I ban this man, whoever he is,from all land over which I hold power and the throne. Idecree that no one shallreceive him, nor make him partner in prayers to the gods or sacrifices, nor allow him holy water; but instead thateveryone must expel him fromtheir homes as the man is the source of our pollution, as theoracle of Pytho has revealedto me. (Sophocles, 240-249)Irony abounds in tragedy, but that aside such acondemnation from a king shows how much influence the gods held over Greeksociety and even governance.Oedipus goes as far as to damn the criminal from worship, that "no one shall receive him, nor make him partner is 12. Of all the themes inSophocles Oedipus Rex, fate is the most profound. Oedipus struggle against his fate, as has beenmentioned throughout thisessay, is arguably theprimary conflict of play.Oedipus storydemonstrates the Greekbelief that men were boundby fate no matter how theyfought against it. TheChorus again acting as thevoice of reason comments on fate, "What man canprotect himself, wardingaway the shafts of angerwhen such things happen?" (Sophocles, 921-922) The 13. But instead insures his son would return and kill him. Oedipus hearing his fate leaves so he would not killhis father, as he says "I heard and fled henceforth to share with Corinth only the stars, where I would never see completed the disgrace of those evil oracles of mine." (Sophocles, 822-825) Butin doing so he ensures the prophecies would berealized. In end all the prophecies that had beenheard from the Delphi Oracle came true. The idea even great kings of men, like Oedipus are bound by this cosmic force called 14. People of our countryThebes, behold this Oedipus, who knew thefamous riddle and was a most powerful man, whose fortunes all citizenswatched with emulation, how deep the sea of diremisfortune that has taken him! Therefore, it isnecessary to call no man blessed as we await thefinal day, until he hasreached the limit of life and suffered nothing grievous. (Sophocles, 1550-1559)The utter pessimism of this lines implies theimportance of fate to theGreeks Fate is so present in the tragedy of Oedipus that 15. Oedipus Rex is the story of aking of Thebes upon whom a hereditary curse is placedand who therefore has to suffer the tragicconsequences of fate. During a time of plague, fires, and other forms of decimation, Oedipus decides to takeaction to restore life and prosperity to his kingdom,only to discover through thisquest that his identity is not what he thought. He learns 16. Another theme in theplay is the distinction between the truthfulness of oracles andprophecies of thegods (fate), asopposed to mans ability to influence his lifes trajectory 17. Ever since Aristotles highpraise regarding its structure and characterization in hisPoetics, Oedipus Rex hasbeen considered one of the most outstandingexamples of tragic drama. In tragedy, a protagonistinspires in his audience the twin emotions of pityand fear. Usually a personof virtue and status, the 18. Not only does it make the viewer aware of humansuffering, tragedyillustrates the manner inwhich pride (hubris) cantopple even the strongest of characters. It is part of the playwrights intention thataudiences will identify with these fallen heroes and possibly rethink the manner in which they live their lives. Theorists of 19. The dramatic structure of Greek drama ishelpfully outlined by Aristotle in the twelfth book of Poetics. In this classical tragedy, aPrologue shows Oedipusconsulting the priest who speaks for theTheban elders, the firstchoral ode or Parodos isperformed, four acts are 20. The play has a singleunified plot. It ispresented like adetective play which islike an investigation intothe cause of the plague. The play therefore commences as a searchand proceeds as a searchuntil the messenger from Corinth arrives. The events of the play 21. Born in 495 B.C. about a mile northwest of Athens, Sophocles was to become one of the great playwrights of the golden age. 22. is one of threeancient Greektragedianswhose playshave survived.His first playswere writtenlater thanthose ofAeschylus, andearlier than orcontemporarywith those ofEuripides.According tothe Suda, a10th centuryencyclopedia,Sophocleswrote 123plays during 23. In conclusion Oedipuss duel wit the fates displays, with poetic wit, the values of the Greeks in the era of its composition. Oedipus and his fellows actions exemplified Greek values toward their society, as well as their ideas of ate the gods themselves. Oedipus fight against his fate, his attempt to try an escape his doom reveals the merits and values of Greek society. His tragic rise and fall, from King of Thebes to 24. While lineage was important, ones family or kinsmen was integral, a fact that Sophocles dramaclearly asserts. Family was critical and thus crimes against family were irreprehensible. For instance, when Oedipuscomes to believe that Creonsent the Tiresias to him as aploy to gain the rule of Thebes he is enraged beyond reason, which asdiscussed earlier was considered integral to the Greeks. Oedipus says thisin his confrontation withCreon, "If you (Creon)think a man that does hiskinsman ill will not pay theprice, you are fool." 25. Who was it the oracles- speaking rock of Delphisaw committing the most unspeaking acts with red hands? Now, stronger than swift-footed horses, he mustdeftly move his foot inflight. For in armsagainst him leaps the son of Zeus with fire an