Source Quotes

Source Quotes

OEDIPUS TYRANNUS AUB Common Lecture CVSP 201/205 P. SHEBAYA [email protected]

Zeus Poseidon Hades Athene


Athens / The Golden Age of Pericles Socrates Thucydides Sophocles

Prometheus Aeschylus Euripides Aristophanes

The Clouds Athens / Democracy The Acropolis The Parthenon / Temple to Athene Apollo

Dionysus The Marketplace / festivals in honor of Dionysus (frenzy) Statue of Dionysus outside the

theater Floorplan A typical theater Chorus and Masks

The Chorus immortalized in Greek artifacts The Homeric Cosmos Homer and Hesiod created the genealogy of the gods by providing the gods with epithets assigning them their functions and honors

and clarifying their shapes. (Herodotus II:53) The Shared Cosmos Zeus

Hades Poseidon The Shared Cosmos/The Moirai No, no, great though he (Zeus) is, this that he has said is too much, if he will force me

against my will, me, who am his equal in rank. Since we are three brothers born by Rheia and Kronos, Zeus and I (Poseidon), and the third is Hades, lord of the dead men. ALL was divided among us three ways, each given his DOMAIN The Shared Cosmos/The Moirai

(continued) I (Poseidon), when the LOTS were shaken drew the grey sea to live in forever; Hades drew the lot of the mists and darkness, and Zeus was allotted the wide sky, in the cloud and the bright air, but earth and high Olympus are common to all three. Therefore I am no

part of the mind of Zeus. Let him in tranquility and powerful as he is, stay satisfied with his third SHARE. (Iliad, Book XV, lines: 184-195) Impersonal-not made for human happiness You are my great example, you, your life, your destiny, Oedipus, man of misery---I count no man

blest. (1317-19) People of Thebes, my countrymen, look on Oedipus, he solved the famous riddle with his brilliance, he rose to power, a man beyond all power. Who could behold his greatness without envy? Now what a black sea of terror has overwhelmed him. Now as we keep our watch and wait the final day, count no man happy till

he dies, free of pain at last. (1678-84) ambiguity / aletheia Zeus and Apollo know, they know, the great masters of all the dark and depth of human life. But whether a mere man can know the truth, whether a seer can fathom more than I-there is no test, no certain proof (561-5)

Justice/the Cosmic Order of Things What happens to Oedipus is the mechanism of justice. He has broken a cosmic law and he receives inevitable retribution (nemesis), regardless of whether he knew what he was doing

or not. Apollo fails to inform him of his true parents, so unknowingly he kills his father in self-defense, and weds his mother in good faith. the gods Zeus! Great welcome voice of Zeus, what do you bring? (...) Racked with terror---terror shakes my heart and I cry your

wild cries, Apollo, Healer of Delos I worship you in dread what now, what is your price? some new sacrifice? Some ancient rite from the past come round again each spring?--what will you bring to birth? (169-77) And so, unknown to mother and father I set out for Delphi, and the god Apollo spurned me, sent me away, denied the facts I came for, but first he flashed before my eyes a future great with pain, terror, disaster---I can hear him cry,

You are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see---you will kill your father (868-75) THE POLIS Not just a sociological or geographic term but for the Athenians had come to express the

ideal for humanity---the necessary condition for authentic human life. As seen in Herodotus and specifically noted in the play The Persians, Athens was the community of citizens and not primarily the stones. Apollo / Temple at Delphi

The Oracle at Delphi Newsflash /

The Sun will rise in the East tomorrow. Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother! Socrates is the wisest man in Athens. CVSP is the most enjoyable and beneficial Program in the Cosmos! For the latest revelations, log on to

[email protected] Know thyself/Balance is best Not subjective inner feelings but objective, active, dedicated quest for true identity within the Cosmos : limitations as well as powers A call to excellence in all areas of human life:

the best way (balance) The Story Childhood days in Corinth Off to Thebes (running away from home) Showdown at crossroads where three ways meet Rendezvous with Ms. Sphinx

S: What walks on four feet at dawn, two at noon, and three at dusk, handsome ? O: (what do you think he said?)

S: Grrrrr Aaaaahhhhh!!! Coises, foiled again!! Oedipus and the Sphinx (by Gustave Moreau) The story continues

Oedipus has saved Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx Triumphant entry into Thebes /elected Tyrannus/ awarded widow of recently assassinated king Now follows an ideal reign as leader and protector of the POLIS Trouble on the horizon!! Plague (swine flu?) Oedipus up to the challenge, sends Creon to Delphi

to find out whats up (could not log on to [email protected]!), and sends for the prophet Teiresias Newsflash / (Apollo again) King Laius was assassinated and has not been avenged !!!!!

Cosmic / social / private chaos inevitable (nemesis) until the culprit is brought to justice!... The story continues Oedipus reprimands Creon and the ancien regime, accuses them of criminal neglect, vows to execute justice, proclaims a radical curse on the guilty party, even if it is a member of his own entourage

Teiresias arrives they have a fruitful diplomatic exchange (they fight) Oedipus concludes that Creon and Teiresias are part of a plot to depose him The plot thickens the murderer is exposed Order is restored at the cosmic / societal/ and private levels Thebes is saved again!

Jean Cocteau Aristotle Freud Three common interpretations Oedipus is wicked (anger/pride)?

A morality play?... Oedipus is foolish? Should have listened?... Oedipus is a passive victim of Fate? ... DELPHI /APOLLO know thyself/balance is best (the pursuit of excellence) Is Oedipus the embodiment of these

ideals? know thyself : Is Oedipus a dedicated seeker of truth? Nothing stops him: Teiresias threats, Jocastas story which appears to incriminate him, her appeal to stop the search, the Corinthian shepherd who further points the investigation in

Oedipus direction, the Theban shepherd who begs him not to insist on knowing the truth, the Chorus which expresses the wish that he had not found the truth Contests / Contrast : a somebody over and against the others, (including Creon who did not seek the murderer): nobodies

The POLIS is saved by his insistence on seeking to know !!! HOWEVER!!!...(later) balance is best : does Oedipus attempt to fulfill his role as ruler of the polis in the best possible way?

He identifies himself fully with the people Your pain strikes each of you alone, each in the confines of himself, no other. My spirit grieves for the city, myself and all of you. (74-6) I grieve for these, my people, far more than I fear for my own life. (105) He pursues the remedy in the most thorough way, anticipating, consulting, interrogating, gathering all possible evidence He exhibits genuine political humility in yielding to the Chorus

despite his firm belief that this will cost him dearly Know full well, if that is what you want, you want me dead or banished from the land . (734-5) ; Then let him go, even if it does lead to my ruin, my death or my disgrace (742-3) HOWEVER!!!...(later) responsibility: guilty or innocent?

He has breached the Cosmic Order and as such he is guilty, by his own admission However!!! The text gives ample attention to the other player (accomplice) in the case: the radical ambiguity of the world in which he operates Blindness (inevitable) not wickedness nor cowardice is his human condition

His guilt does not deny him his heroic stature... Lamentation not Incrimination The Chorus at the climax and throughout the rest of the play (lines 1311 -1680) never simply incriminate Oedipus, but rather lament his horrible fate (LOT) Theatrically, the last segment of the play from

Oedipus entrance blind and on, is presented as high Art with chanting and song. This is significant in lifting the mood from abject misery to a (complex) form of celebration. It also reminds us of the lines from The Odyssey ( 8:579-80) anger/pride ? BUT- what about Oedipus character flaws ?

Sophocles seems to take great pains to justify Oedipus politically motivated anger As to pride, he may in fact be presenting Oedipus as a model of political humility?!?... Perhaps a misplaced confidence in the powers of human reason is Oedipus real tragic flaw? [heroism is not perfection (Oedipus is one of us?)]

the final verdict ? Oedipus is the villain in spite of himself (apologies to Moliere) ??? More to the point, Oedipus is the icon of a tragic hero ...??? (along with Prometheus and a few others) _______________________________________ So- what is our human existence all about in

this tragic perspective? (see flysheet,p.4) / n o i s i

v c i g a Tr r u

e d n a r g y t

i n d ig Prometheus

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