Oedipus the King is universally accepted as the Dramatic Masterpiece of Greek Theatre. Aristotle cites it as the most brilliant example of theatrical plot and a perfect example of Tragedy, comprising all the necessary elements. The play is regarded as the classic example of the “Tragedy of Fate” and the plot remarkably justifies it with the help of various characters and elements. One such element is ‘The Chorus’ which can be seen in various Greek tragedies.
Chorus, in the Classical Greek Theatre, is a group of actors and singers, enacting as the representative citizens of the society, who describes and comments on the ongoing action and sequence in a drama. They recite prayers to God, sing, and dance, and give their outlook towards the situations raised in a drama. The attire they have (mask, cloak) and the music they recite goes together with the mood as the situation develops. At that age, through the dramatic performance, they would occupy the central circular place called orchestra. The Chorus would not only act as spectators and careful Observers but also as, commentators of the dramatic procedure. It took the issue of the changing situations and developments and expressed its comments mostly in the form of songs that were called odes. The Chorus used to express their opinions at the moment of acute need. When the spectators would feel the uncertainty of the situation, the Chorus guided them with the appropriate kind of feelings and attitude towards the events in the
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Considered one of the greatest dramas of all time, Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King follows the tragic life of Oedipus, king of Thebes. Considered a Satyr play, the Oedipus trilogy is perhaps the most famous of Sophocles’ plays. Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy that was first performed somewhere around 429 BC in Athens, Greece. Originally, the Greeks referred to the play as simply “Oedipus,” as that was what Aristotle referred to it as in the Poetics. Perhaps what makes this play so memorable, is Sophocles’ uses of the tragic hero as the main theme. Sophocles uses characterization and conflict to portray Oedipus as an Aristotelian tragic hero.
The task of tragedy is to bring ‘Catharsis’ to all its spectators, the belief of witnessing a spectacle consisting of tragic themes, is to provide the spectators a feeling of being cleansed and renewed which purges the spectators’ emotions. However, the idea was to strike pity and fear to all who go to see it. Tragedy is commonly defined as a play involving a main character who is born of royal blood with good intentions, the mistakes they commit leads to their downfall. However, what makes Oedipus The King a highly-regarded piece of Greek Theatre is due to Oedipus not realising that he has already fulfilled his fate by committing the deeds that were
Greek tragedies Oedipus the King and Euripides’ Bacchae are both timeless stories in Greek literature. The engaging plot of both is what is most rememberable however the significance of the chorus is overlooked. The chorus can be defined simply as a group of dancers and singers that participate in dramas by singing poetically and lyrically in certain pauses of the play. The music, movements and gestures of the chorus symbolically define the mood and the themes of the play as the story line develops. The flow of Oedipus the King and Bacchae are dependent on the chorus, proving their significance.
Sophocles' play Oedipus the King has endured for over two thousand years. The play's lasting appeal may be attributed to the fact it encompasses all the classical elements of tragedy as put forth by Aristotle in Poetics nearly a century before it was written. According to Aristotle, tragedy needs to be an imitation of life according to the law of probability or necessity. Tragedy is serious, complete, and has magnitude. It must have a beginning, middle, and end and be spoken in language that is fit for noble characters. Furthermore it must be acted, as opposed to epic poetry, which is narrated. Tragedy shows rather than tells. Finally it must result in the purging of pity and fear, or a catharsis. Tragedy is based in the fundamental order of the universe, it creates a cause-and-effect chain that clearly reveals what may happen at any time or place because that is the way the world operates. Tragedy arouses not only pity but also fear, because the audience can envision themselves within this cause-and-effect chain. Tragedy as a whole is composed of six elements: plot, character, language, thought, spectacle and melody. Melody and language are the media by which the effect of imitation of action is carried out, spectacle is the manner or way the tragedy is carried out, and plot, character and thought are the means that initiate the action. Oedipus the King possesses all of these elements.
I believe this was a key passage as it is revealed to the readers just how cunning Creon really is, taking advantage of being powerful without having to live up to the people’s expectations.
“‘Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of action and life, of happiness and misery’” (Milch 12). This statement by Aristotle reflects the ideas portrayed in the play Oedipus Rex. Written by Sophocles, Oedipus Rex is a play which combines tragedy with irony to tell a story of a noble king who falls short of his greatness. The play was written around 430 BC and originally intended for an Athenian audience. They considered Sophocles their most successful playwright and consequently, his works continued to be valued highly throughout the Greek world long after his death. A closer examination of this play is needed to see just why it has been regarded as Sophocles’ masterpiece and the greatest of all Greek tragedies (Milch 16, 36).
Oedipus, from the play Oedipus the King, is a very unique character whose different aspects are revealed throughout the play. As he talks with characters such as Creon, Jocasta, and Tiresias, we get a well painted portrait of the aspects of Oedipus’ character.
In the Poetics, Aristotle provides an outline of how the artist is to portray or represent the perfect Tragedy. A Tragedy, of course, was nothing more than a drama, in which the characters appeared "better" than in real life (in a comedy, they appeared "worse," according to Aristotle). Aristotle's Poetics makes several references to other dramatic works to illustrate his points, but he most commonly calls upon The Odyssey to support his argument for how a dramatic structure should be designed. However, along with the Odyssey, Aristotle extensively references Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. Both poetic works were enormously popular in their time (the former had been passed down orally for generations, and the latter won the top prizes at the dramatic festivals). Therefore, Aristotle is comfortable using both to support his viewpoint concerning Tragedy and the Tragic Hero. This paper will analyze the standards that Aristotle sets out concerning the definition of the Tragic Hero and show how Sophocles' Oedipus exemplifies Aristotle's definition of a Tragic Hero.
The ancient Greeks were famous for their tragedies. These dramas functioned to “ask questions about the nature of man, his position in the universe, and the powers that govern his life” (“Greek” 1). Brereton (1968) stated that tragedies typically “involved a final and impressive disaster due to an unforeseen or unrealized failure involving people who command respect and sympathy. It often entails an ironical change of fortune and usually conveys a strong impression of waste. It is always accompanied by misery and emotional distress” (20). The play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles definitely demonstrated the characteristics of an impressive disaster unforeseen by the protagonist that involved a character of
The Ancient Greeks had a precise definition of what they believe makes a perfect ruler. According to the Greeks, the ideal Athenian ruler has five main characteristics. The ruler should takes care of his/her people like a parent cares for a child. The ruler respects the elderly. The ruler suffers or fights along with his people in a time of crisis.
The beginning of the play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, depicts several themes, such as the irony. Oedipus already begins to show his excessive pride and power, and using figurative language, lexical field and imagery effectively; Sophocles heightens the hubris shown by Oedipus and how he is unable to avoid his fate. The title is simple and self-explanatory and states that the protagonist of the play is Oedipus. But this straightforward title serves the purpose of juxtaposing the thrilling themes portrayed.
exercising his free choice by making bad decisions . Oedipus certainly meets these portrayals of a tragic hero. The dialect of tragedy consists of two circles: one is a relative point and the other is impacted and the effect on its audience. Sophocles and Aristotle’s achieve that task with absolute clearness. The modern reader, coming to the classic drama not entirely to the enjoyment, will not always surrender himself to the emotional effect. He is apt to worry about Greek ‘fatalism’ and the justice of the downfall of Oedipus, and, finding no satisfactory solution for these intellectual difficulties, loses half the pleasure that the drama was intended to produce . In dramatizing stories, there will dependably blends of passionate sentiments, suspense, and fervor to discover what’s
The chorus is an essential feature of Greek classical drama. Instances of various types of dance, singing, and speech are some elements of a Greek chorus. “Composed of similarly costumed men, they performed on the orchestra located beneath the stage. The chorus stayed in the orchestra for the duration of the performance from which vantage point they observed and commented on the action of the characters.” Oedipus is a play written by Sophocles, a respected playwright, and it is “generally assumed that the main function of the Sophoclean chorus is a philosophical one; that it serves above all as the spokesman for a certain view of life.” The chorus can be dramatic in the following ways: “through the personality of the group forming the chorus and the appropriateness of their relationship to the action and the characters, through the iambic lines spoken by the coryphaeus, through physical participation in the action and through the choral songs.” The chorus is an important component of the Greek Tragedy Oedipus. Aside from its responsibility to effectively represent the people of Thebes, the chorus in Oedipus has a powerful influence over audience perceptions and emotions.
Finally, the Chorus is used to keep the continuity during the play. In modern theatre, the plays are normally split up into scenes and acts. However, the Greek kept the continuity between these natural gaps, by having a narrative section. This prevented the necessity of having breaks in the action and also kept the audience up to date with what had just gone on, and perhaps offering some insight or other. In this role, I think the Chorus is very helpful to the audience, as it succeeds in keeping the audience 'on the edge of their seats'.