Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oedipus Rex Inventory

Oedipus Rex

Oedipus the King

Oedipus the person is very interesting because he is the prince of Thebes and becomes the king of Thebes by marrying his mother (the queen) by accident. Granted his parents tried to kill him, so he was adopted by another royal couple and didn't know that the Queen of Thebes was his mother. As a person Oedipus can be very arrogant which can be seen when he tries to cheat fate by running away and also just how he talks to people in the play.

The play Oedipus Rex is an Athenian tragedy written by Sophocles. Though it was written and first performed in 430 B.C.E it is still performed and taught today. Oedipus Rex is one of a three part series of plays that follow Oedipus and his family and they were thought it be first performed at the Dionysian dramatic festival in Athens. Oedipus Rex is Sophocles most famous play.

The myth about Oedipus Rex is trying to teach people that they cannot cheat the fates no matter how hard you try. Once Oedipus' parents receive a disturbing prophecy that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his  mother. They try to kill him as a baby but he is rescued and given to another royal couple. Once Oedipus learns of the prophecy, when he is older, he runs away to avoid harming his adopted parents. While he is on the run he has a corral with a man and ends up killing him unaware that the man is his real father. Then he goes to Thebes and frees the people of the Sphinx and it is suggested that he marries the widow queen who is his mother. Showing that you cannot cheat your fate.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who was originally trained in medicine but then when to Athens to attend Plato's Academy where he was a brilliant student but disagreed with some of Plato's ideas. So after Plato's death he went and tutored Alexander the Great who was a Macedonian prince. After Alexander conquered Athens Aristotle returned to start he own school but had to flee because Athenians were unhappy with Macedonian rule and wanted to kill Aristotle. Aristotle studied and wrote about many topics including biology and philosophy. 
Tragedy in Greek theater are plays that origanally started as religious cermonies to honour the gods. It soon evolved into a form of entertainment that taught the general public to not cross the gods and/or fate. Other Greek tragedies dealt with basic human questions such as "Why are we here" and "What separates humans from animals". No matter what point the tragedy was trying to drive home they never had happy ends and it was common to kill off the main character or all the main characters except for one so then the story can be past on. 

Hubris is using violence to humiliate and degrade someone and it can also mean being very prideful and self conceited. To the ancient Greeks hubris was not a good thing and is a fatal flaw that led to the tragic downfall of many Greek heroes in myth. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus thought that he could outsmart the fates but he thought he was all that but in the end his hubris brought his downfall. 

 Dramatic Irony is where the reader or audience know more than the character(s) about their tragic fate(s). Therefore the audience knows that the play is going to have a really unhappy ending sometimes from the first few lines of the play or piece of literature. This forces the audience to watch the tragic downfall of characters a the while feeling guilty that you cannot save they from fate. 

Sophocles is a Athenian playwright who wrote Oedipus Rex and Antigone among others. He competed almost 30 times in the Dionysian dramatic festival and is thought to have written around 120 dramas for the festival. Of all of his works only 7 survived completely intact and 400 lines of another play survived yet the rest is gone. He died in Athens when he was 90 years old.

Tiresias is a blind prophet of Apollo who tells Oedipus that he killed the former king and brought plagues upon the kingdom. According to myth Teiresias was blinding by gods for revealing their secrets and then once while he was walking he came across a pair of snakes and hit them with his stick. Hera didn't like this so he turn him into a women and then seven years later he came across the same pair of snakes and igorned them so he was turned back into a man.


Fate governed all in the Ancient Greek culture. Nobody could change their fates not even the gods and this is reflected in greek tragedies. The Greeks also had monster/god things called the Fates or Moiria who decide how long each person shall live. At the end of a person's life the Fates cut their life string ending their life. 

Greek Theater was more a religious ceremony to honour the god Dionysus then entertainment and was performed in an open air venue. The plays that were performed were almost always tragedies and only had three actors and a chorus. The plays were funded by the polis and was only performed once. Below is a picture of the Theater of Dionysus in Athens, Greece.