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Oedipus Rex: Foreshadowing
Transcript of Oedipus Rex: Foreshadowing
By Allison Lambdin and Cateryna Kochan
Dramatic Irony in Greek Theater
Greek Theater stressed humanity to those who witnessed productions
"Know thyself" and "Nothing in excess"
Moderation was encouraged, which separated humanity from divinity
Tragic heroism crossed that line with excess hubris; this was meant to teach man of his place in the universe
Greeks had a healthy view of their own humanity; "Man is the measure of all things"
New rationality was the "miracle of the mind"
All applied to Oedipus
Fate was life's ultimate foreshadowing
Applied to the Text
Creon: "He was slain; and the god now bids us plainly to wreak vengeance on his murderers, whoever they may be." (pg. 129)
Oedipus: "And if he is afraid, I tell him to remove the danger of the charge by denouncing himself; he shall suffer nothing else unlovely but only leave the land, unhurt." (p. 132)
Teiresias: "...if there is any strength in truth." Oedipus: "Nay, there is, for all save you. For you there is not that strength, since you are maimed in ear and in wit and in eye." (p. 136)
Oedipus to Jocasta, middle of the play: "Unhappy that I am! I think I have been laying myself even now under a dread curse without knowing it. I have dread misgivings that the seer can see." (p.146)
Jocasta: "Ill-fated one! May you never come to know who you are!" (p. 154)
What is Foreshadowing?
According to LiteraryDevices.net, a literary device in which a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story
Typically appears in the exposition, or in the beginning of a chapter
Can be communicated through dialogue, actions and events, or even a title
Sight vs. Blindness
Oedipus' Hamartia: Blindness to self-identity
Oedipus' blindness sets up the irony that events are foreshadowed
Human intelligence is limited by humanity (a given), as opposed to Apollo or the other Superior Beings (Gods)- This creates conflict amongst humans and Gods
blindness to realization and true understanding
This juxtaposition creates a superior distinction between Oedipus, as a tragic hero, and the Gods
"I too have heard it, but none sees him who saw it"
Oedipus: "I know it well--by hearsay, for I saw him never." (p. 129)
Fate vs. Choice
After his discussion with Creon, Oedipus: "Nay, I will start afresh and once more make dark things plain." (p.130)
Oedipus sought to clarify the situation, but later on, the situation becomes incredibly muddled.
"The Miracle That Was Greece" p 85-86
tells Oedipus that he will kill his father and marry his mother, tells Laius that he would be killed by his child (p. 145)
the plague inflicted upon the town
Seer and Clairvoyant:
Even though he is blind, he has a remarkable ability to see the truth. Oedipus, although able to physically see is the blindest of them all.
"I know that our lord Teiresias is the seer most like to our lord Phoebus. From him, O King, a searcher of these things might learn them most clearly." (p. 133)
"I say that you are the slayer of the man whose slayer you seek." (p. 136)
All of these factors contribute to the tragedy that will befall Oedipus later in the play.
While Oedipus is speaking to the Chorus, Oedipus: "Justly said; but no man on earth can force the gods to what they will not." (p. 133)
The gods have decided Oedipus' fate, he realizes that he cannot avoid this fate later on.
Teiresias: "I will pain neither myself nor you. Why vainly ask these things? You will not learn them from me." (p. 135)
He foreshadows the painful fate of Oedipus
Teiresias: "This day shall show your birth and shall bring your ruin." (p. 138)
Ultimate simplification of foreshadowing right here
Story served as a warning to audience not to mess with the Gods; they seem to have supreme reign that goes above and beyond human choice
What was Oedipus' choice? His response towards the situation and his refusal to believe his own fate
Oedipus was truly a victim of the Gods more than a victim of himself, because ultimately his fate was not up to him