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Analytical Questions on Oedipus the King and Antigone - Book Report/Review Example

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Name Instructor Class August 10, 2011 1. Historical Context Greek theater, during the time of Sophocles, started in celebration of the god Dionysus (Denault). Dionysus is the god of “spring and vintage” and he embodied the ability of humanity to go forward and ripen for times of triumphs and to know when to bow low in times of defeat (Denault)…
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Analytical Questions on Oedipus the King and Antigone

Download file to see previous pages... Sophocles' time was a time of Greek tragedy, where the Greeks were interested in the fates and the conflict between gods and mortals (Denault). Greek plays often involved human tragedy in different forms, but often in the face of suffering downfall, because of humanity's sin of hubris (Denault). Hubris can be seen in both “Oedipus the King” and “Antigone,” because the male heroes ventured beyond their human powers and traversed the wills of the gods. These plays underscored that people can indeed exert a measure of free will, but not in its fullest essence. These plays also emphasize spiritual beliefs in the supremacy of the gods over human destiny and will. No matter how hard people fight their fates, the fates will unfold according to how the gods designed them. In addition, gods rule over humanity and not even the most powerful ruler can reject the orders and customs from the gods. Oedipus tried to change his fate, but he suffered only greater suffering. Creon asserted his power over his city, but by tarnishing the will of the gods in burial rites, he lost all that was truly dear to him, his own son and wife. Thus, the more people insist on controlling their lives, the more they ironically lose control of it. 2.Biographical information about Sophocles Sophocles is known as one of the three great Athenian poets, while the other two are Euripides and Aeschylus. He was born in 496 BCE in the town of Colonus, and during his lifetime, he witnessed the rise and downfall of the “Athenian Golden Age” (Denault). Sophocles was highly popular in Athens, probably because of his patriotism in his youth, aside from being a a famous poet. Aside from being a leading dramatist, he also held several public office positions (Denault). Modern scholars are interested in the individual and complex issues that Sophocles' plays depicted (Denault). Sophocles wrote an approximation of one hundred and twenty-three plays for the Athenian theater, and won first prize in all twenty-four festivals; when he did not win first place, he always won the second place (Denault). Despite his productivity, only seven plays have survived intact: “Ajax,” “Antigone,” “The Women of Trachis,” “Oedipus the King,” “Electra,” “Philoctetes,” and “Oedipus at Colonus” (Denault). In addition, Sophocles made key theater innovations, such as no longer continuing the trilogy tradition, using painted sceneries as background, adding one more to the speaking characters of two, and expanding the chorus from twelve to fifteen men (Denault). 3.Play and Elements of Drama For “Oedipus the King,” the key events are when Oedipus receives the prophecy of Tiresias and when Oedipus learns the truth that he is the killer of his own father. The dialogue between Tiresias and Oedipus is key to the foreshadowing of Oedipus' doom. Tiresias refuses to tell Oedipus the prophecy and asks the latter to stop the search for the killer. This enraged Oedipus who blames Tiresias for being involved in the murder, and so the latter exclaims that it is Oedipus who killed King Laius. Another important event is when Oedipus finally learns the truth. Through a shepherd, he discovers that his father tried to kill him, but Jocasta saved him by having her son brought to the mountainside. When Jocasta hears this, she kills herself. Oedipus wants to kill himself, but when he sees Jocasta is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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