Charles nolte the oedipus plays essay

Sophocles Essay Examples

The story of Antigone is a tragic story that means that the universal themes are going to make the audience thinks twice about their decisions or life itself. This story has a lot of universal themes like facing darkness, role of women and the most important theme in my opinion would be injustice. This universal…

Compare and Cotrast Separated by almost 3000 years of literature, two plays can still contain similar elements and characteristics that tie the two together. This is the case between the two plays, Oedipus The King and its counterpart Death of a Salesman, one written approximately 430 BC and the other written in 1949. When first…

The play, Antigone, written around 422 B. C. by the author Sophocles, is the first of the three Theban plays written by this author. Although it was the first written, Antigone is the third in the series coming after the plays Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. This play follows the story of a girl, Antigone;…

WE WILL WRITE A CUSTOM ESSAY SAMPLE ON Sophocles ESSAY EXAMPLES SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU

Oedipus Rex was written by Sophocles as a tragedy highlighting the inevitability of fate in the lives of human beings. The finality of fate underlies in the entire theme of the play. To quote Charles Segal, “The story of Oedipus is the archetypal myth of personal identity in Western culture. It is the myth par…

Hamartia with respect to Oedipus in the play Oedipus Rex. The tragedy must not be a spectacle of a virtuous man brought from prosperity to adversity: for this moves neither pity nor fear; it merely shocks us; nor again, that of a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity…It must concern a man who is…

Throughout history, the tragic hero has virtually not changed at all. The play, Antigone, written by the Greek playwright Sophocles and the book Whale Rider, written by Witi Ihimaera, has extremely comparable characters. Regardless of being written thousands of years apart, both story lines are very similar in relation to the tragic heroes. Antigone is…

All throughout the play, Oedipus the King, Sophocles builds the entire story using dramatic irony. Despite Oedipus’s ignorance about who he is, Sophocles uses dramatic irony to let the readers know who Oedipus truly is and to hint at what all will take place throughout the entire story. Sophocles uses many different scenes throughout the…

THE KING WEARS A SHADES AS THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT WHICH MAKES HIS DAYS DARKER AND DARKER EVERY SINGLE DAY (with some relations to the Philippine Government and setting as a whole) A POSITION PAPER ON SOPHOCLES’ OEDIPUS REX REGULANO, Jean Paula Bermudez 2011-05787 HUM 1 X Oedipus Rex’ knowledge, which served as his gut…

Similarities/Differences of Romeo and Juliet/Antigone Rossiter Worthington Raymond once said, “Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” Many themes can be illuminated in this quote, but there are three that stand out and relate to the plot lines…

The Thunderstorm and Oedipus Rex, the representatives of Chinese and Greek play, both tell tragic stories about incest and unexpected destiny. The two masterpieces reveal much about the literature patterns and philosophical implications of the different cultures. The exploration of the two plays could help further understand the oneness of world literature and the tragedy…

All characters which feature in Sophocles’ play Antigone play an important role somehow; mainly conveying a certain moral or theme. The major characters portray the main themes such as loyalty, whilst some of the minor characters and the chorus explore the theme of prophecy and fate. Antigone is one of/the main character in the play…

Oedipus the King, the tragic hero is most certainly Oedipus. Oedipus, first of all, is a good man. When he declares, “My spirit grieves for the city” (l 75-76), he shows a deep passion. His sympathy for his people and his desire to be their savior, he earns the respect and love of the people. The…

The word tragedy is when an event ends in misfortune. However, when the word tragedy is put in context within a play or a story it is a story circling around a protagonist who is of high power and stature. A tragedy is usually the development of a protagonist whose in conflict with a more…

Creon is the tragic hero of the play, Antigone, by Sophocles, and suffers the greatest downfall. It all begins when he maes his public announcment as the new king. He states his message loud and clearly to everyone, that if anyone feels the need to bury the body od Polyneices, they will be going against…

In the play written by Sophocles, Oedipus the King, there are several instances of irony. Dramatic irony, or tragic irony as some critics would prefer to call it, usually means a situation in which the character of the play has limited knowledge and says or does something in which they have no idea of the…

Oedipus Rex Oedipus Tyrannus, Sophocles — Essay

Introduction

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Oedipus Tyrannus Sophocles

(Also translated as Oedipus Rex) Greek play.

The following entry presents criticism on Sophocles’s Oedipus Tyrannus. For more information on Sophocles’s life and career, see CMLC Volume 2.

Oedipus Tyrannus is considered Sophocles’s masterpiece and is probably the most famous of all the Greek tragedies. Aristotle deemed it a perfect play. First performed about 425 b. c., not long after a plague had ravaged Athens, Oedipus Tyrannus is set in Thebes, a city falling to ruin from a similar calamity. King Oedipus is told that the city will continue to suffer until the murderer of the previous king is brought to justice. Oedipus vows to discover the evildoer’s identity and to punish him. Unaware that he himself is the killer, Oedipus relentlessly pursues the truth until he discovers his own guilt and blinds himself so that he may never see his father in the afterworld. Sophocles took a well-known legend and intensified it for his Athenian audience by emphasizing qualities they held dear: courage, self-assuredness, and love for their city. In this play of man versus inexorable fate, Sophocles used dramatic irony to further develop audience interest: they know how the play will end, relishing the irony of the words spoken by the characters, who do not know. In his Poetics, Aristotle used Oedipus Tyrannus as a model tragedy, analyzing Sophocles’s masterful use of reversal, discovery, and character. Oedipus Tyrannus has received considerable attention in modern times partly due to Sigmund Freud, who, tremendously moved by the play, popularized the notion of the Oedipus Complex. The play continues to engage audiences and scholars to this day.

Plot and Major Characters

Oedipus Tyrannus opens with the people of Thebes praying for King Oedipus to save their dying city. Creon, the brother of Oedipus’s wife, Jocasta, returns from a visit to the oracle of Apollo. He reports the oracle’s message: the plague on Thebes is the result of the unpunished murder of the previous king, Laius. Oedipus vows to discover the murderer’s identity and avenge Laius’s death. He calls for Tiresias, an old blind seer, to reveal what he knows. The seer refuses and Oedipus is enraged at his disobedience. Tiresias, also angered, then tells the King that it is Oedipus himself who, as the murderer, has defiled the city, and further, that he is unknowingly living with his closest kin in a shameful manner. Oedipus accuses the seer of conspiring with Creon to overthrow him. Tiresias replies that Oedipus will soon be horrified when he learns the truth of his parentage and of his marriage. Oedipus considers executing Creon but Jocasta intercedes, and Creon is exiled instead. Jocasta tries to reassure her husband by insisting that no one, not even oracles, can divine the future. As an example, she tells him that she and Laius were once told that their son would kill his father, and that this did not happen since their son died on a mountain, where he was abandoned as an infant, and Laius was killed by thieves—there was a witness to the murder. This information does anything but calm Oedipus. He tells his wife that he had believed his parents to be Polybus of Corinth and Merope, a Dorian, until a drunken reveler at a banquet announced that Oedipus was someone else’s son. Polybus and Merope, when questioned, were angry and upset, but neither confirmed nor denied the charge. Oedipus further recalls that he traveled to Delphi, to ask the oracle of Apollo the truth about his parentage. He was not given the answer he sought, but was instead told that he would slay his father and have children with his mother. In horror, he fled in the opposite direction of Corinth, until he came to a place where three roads intersected. He met a small party of men who rudely tried to shove him out of their way. Oedipus struck the driver and in return was struck by the man being drawn in the wagon; in the fight that followed, Oedipus slew them all—or so he thought. After Oedipus finishes his story, a messenger brings news that Polybus has died and Oedipus must return to rule Corinth as their king. He refuses, fearing that Apollo’s oracle of fathering children by his mother might come true. The messenger tells Oedipus not to worry, that he was not really Polybus’s son nor was Merope his mother. In reality a herdsman who worked for Laius gave Oedipus to the messenger, who in turn gave him to Polybus to raise as his own. Jocasta begs Oedipus to stop his search for the truth, but to no avail. The herdsman, who was also the witness to Laius’s death, arrives. He admits that Laius had instructed him to kill the infant Oedipus but that he had given the child to the messenger instead. At last Oedipus realizes that he indeed has killed his father and sired four children with his mother. He rushes to find Jocasta and learns that she has locked herself in her room. He breaks the bolts of the doors and finds her hanged by her own hair. He rips out the brooches from the shoulders of her dress and gouges his eyes with them. Creon returns, now king, and Oedipus begs that he be exiled. Creon answers that the matter must be decided by the gods.

Sophocles includes several themes in his play: he explores the potential dangers of pursuing self-knowledge, the question of guilt and innocence, and the nature of fate. Perhaps no play has better demonstrated the maxim that a man’s character is his fate, for it is in fulfilling his personal characteristics—his relentless pursuit of knowledge, his absolute confidence in himself, and his quickness to anger—that Oedipus meets his destiny, and the prophecies are realized.

Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides were recognized in their own time as masters of drama, and Oedipus Tyrannus was hailed as Sophocles’s masterpiece. Since its brilliance is indisputable, critics concentrate on other matters, including formulating their own interpretations of the play and discussing its themes, Sophocles’s use of irony, and the function of the chorus. Francis Fergusson explores audience expectations and perceptions. Eric A. Havelock contends that signs of oral composition can be found in the play and that Oedipus Tyrannus was written during a major shift in composition styles. R. Drew Griffith explains that the ancient Greeks had a different view of what constituted guilt than modern man—that even though Oedipus was unaware of his father’s identity when he killed him, he was nevertheless guilty of patricide. Some critics insist there are problems with understanding what actually transpired in the play’s recalled events due to unresolved contradictions, for example the report that there were many men, not just one, who attacked and killed Laius. Erich Fromm considers Freud’s interpretation of the play and the nature of patriarchal and matriarchal psychological principles. Critics agree that Oedipus Tyrannus is a gripping exploration of the role of the gods in man’s life and a warning to mankind to avoid becoming too proud, too godlike. The numerous modern translations of the play, its continuing performance, and unwavering critical interest in it all attest to the magnitude of its popularity.

Principal Works

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

The Oedipus Plays

Autor: review • February 16, 2011 • Essay • 1,179 Words (5 Pages) • 459 Views

The Oedipus Plays, written by Sophocles, is a trilogy including the plays Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. This was a very entertaining book for me, and I enjoyed it because I had a hard time putting it down. The reader cannot help but get sucked into the plot for wanting to know what will happen next. The version I read was revised and translated by Paul Roche.

I think that Sophocles was very qualified to write this literary work. He was a very well-rounded individual, and was experienced not only in writing tragedies, but theater technicalities, and public offices too. He was born in Colonus, near Athens, and had a great reputation for learning and being well versed in Homer and other Greek poets. He won many drama contests and was never awarded less than second place. He was also awarded first place more than any other Greek tragedian. He was a member of the chorus at the Greek celebration of the battle of Salamis, and he also raised the number of the chorus from twelve to fifteen members. He held the office of imperial treasurer and was elected general twice. Sophocles is also credited with the invention of the brave maiden. He was awarded the title, Dexion, or hero, after his death.

The first of The Oedipus Plays is Oedipus the King. Oedipus, the king of Thebes, sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to the god Apollo to see why the city is undergoing great troubles. When Creon returns he reports that the reason for the misfortunes is that there is bad blood in Thebes, and until it is gone the city will be in trouble. This bad blood is the blood of the murderer of Lauis, Thebes former king. Oedipus calls upon the blind prophet Tiresias for advisement. (The elders of Thebes had no time to investigate the murder; everyone was too busy trying to solve the Sphinx’s riddle.) Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the murderer. In a rage Oedipus returns from the prophet and blames Creon for this answer, saying he wants to overthrow Thebes and take the king’s place. Oedipus’s wife, Jocasta, tries to calm Oedipus down. She tells him not to believe the prophet because an oracle once told her and Laius that they would have a son that would kill his father and marry his mother. She said that oracle was mistaken because Laius was killed by a band of men. Oedipus starts to ask details of Lauis’s murder because he was not in Thebes at the time. The more he hears of the story the more he realizes Tiresias was correct. The Oracle at Delphi once told him that he would kill his father and marry his mother, so he ran away from Corinth to Thebes. As it turns out, Oedipus was adopted by his parents in Corinth and on his way to Thebes he ran into Lauis and killed him and all the men he was with except for one. This survivor confirmed the story; Oedipus was the son of Jocasta and Laius. His wife was also his mother, and his children were also his brothers and sisters. At hearing this Jocasta hanged herself, and when Oedipus found her he gouged out his own eyes. He asked Creon to exile him from Thebes, and to take care of his daughters, Antigone and Ismene. This was my favorite of the three plays. The plot kept me very entertained, and I could not quit reading for wanting to know the truth of the scandal.

The second play in the trilogy is Oedipus at Colonus. The play starts out with blind Oedipus being led by his daughter, Antigone, to Colonus. His other daughter, Ismene joins them and tells her father that his two sons, Eumenides and Polynices, are at war over who will rule Thebes. Oedipus refuses to help them because they did nothing to prevent his exile. Oedipus asks Theseus, king of Athens, to protect him and his daughters. Creon soon comes to find Oedipus and his daughters to take them back to Thebes, because wherever Oedipus