Oedipus The King: Play Analysis

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Greek culture flourished during the Classical Period, despite the large amounts of turmoil that occurred. Many religious festivals incorporated performances of drama, tragic and comedic theatrical works. Many of these were written by writers who would become known as classic writes including Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristophanes and Sophocles. At the same time as these literary developments, theatre and stage design blossomed alongside it. (Silberman, et al. 1996). These new innovations allowed the world of theatre to bloom and expand on a never seen before scale. One such play, “Oedipus the King” is an excellent example of how theatre changed as society did so too. It also demonstrates how the world in which the play was written in is reflected in the play itself. In this essay I shall examine the factors that influenced the performance of this play with reference to one particular scene, the scene beginning on page 55 of Worthen’s print of Sophocles’ play, with the entrance of Jocasta.…show more content…
Dramatic irony is based on the fact that the audience knows something that character does not. In this text, the audience knows the fate of Oedipus before he knows himself. Sophocles uses it very effectively to make the audience feel part of the play which forces them to watch in suspense and makes them eager to see how Oedipus reacts. By using this dramatic irony, Sophocles ensures that his plays will be interesting to an audience that already knows the story. Sophocles creates a most prominent character flaw for Oedipus in that he possesses excessive arrogance. One way this flaw is displayed is Oedipus ' repeated use of the pronoun "I". Between line 1184 - 1193, Oedipus uses the pronoun “I” six times: “I must see my origins face-to-face … I count myself the son of Chance … I will never betray it” etc. This quote is just one of the many that exhibit Oedipus ' pride through the over use of the pronoun "I". The story in Oedipus the King, characteristic of all Greek Tragedy, has unity of time, place and action, since it takes place all in one day, happens in a single scene, and develops only one plot. These qualities combine to make Oedipus the King the primary example of a Greek tragedy. Oedipus holds a high position at the beginning of the play; he is the King of Thebes, famous for solving the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus is a good man, but he is not perfect. A Greek tragic hero like Oedipus has
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