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Background information before reading the play

Jessica Alessio

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Oedipus

Oedipus arrives in Thebes

He encounters the Sphinx By Sophocles Oedipus Rex Once upon a time... WRONG!!!!! Oedipus wants answers A plague has beset the people of Thebes in the form of the Sphinx.
The Sphinx asks a riddle, and if you can’t answer it, well, it’s not good.
To help his people, King Laius decides to travel to the Oracle at Delphi to seek a solution.

Take a guess of what is going to happen.... Meanwhile back in Thebes In the city of Thebes in the country Greece, King Laius and Queen Jocasta were expecting their first child when they received a rather disturbing prophesy... Their son would kill his father!!! What to do?!?! Faced with a bad situation, Laius and Jocasta decide to KILL their new little baby. They pierce their son’s ankles (don’t ask why, no one is quite sure) and give him to a shepherd to kill.
(Hint Hint: Oedipus means "swollen foot") The shepherd doesn’t like this situation at all!!! He can’t kill the baby either! A mountainside where different shepherds bring their sheep to graze
Shepherd #1 gives baby to Shepherd #2, thinking that this is good enough. The baby will never make it back to Thebes. Right????? Cithaeron The tale of King Oedipus would have been very familiar to Sophocles’ audiences. Oedipus, the ill-fated king of Thebes, has a mysterious past that eventually catches up with him and wreaks havoc on himself, his family, and his country. Oedipus Rex – the first part of a three part play. BACKGROUND STORY

What you need to know before reading.... Shepherd #2 gives the baby to King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth, who haven’t been able to have their own children.
They raise Oedipus as their child, never telling him that he is, in fact, adopted. Corinth Years Later At a wedding, a guest who has indulged a bit too much, tells Oedipus that Polybus and Merope are not his parents. Oedipus confronts Polybus and Merope, who promptly deny it.
He decides to go to the Oracle at Delphi to ask it about his parents (hoping for a straight answer The Oracle of Delphi Oedipus asks the Oracle if Polybus and Merope are his real parents.
The Oracle answers him by giving him a prophesy: “You will kill your father and beget (have) children by your mother.” Oedipus decides that he can’t go back home (Corinth), otherwise he may kill his father (Polybus) and marry his mom (Merope). But let's remember... Polybus and Merope are not his real parents.
(Lauis and Jocosta are his parents back in Thebes)
Therefore, he could go back to Corinth if he wanted to.

Where do you think Oedipus goes? THEBES!!!!!! That is right...
Oedipus and his REAL father. King Lauis are going to meet! The father and son meet where three roads intersect. The two argue over who has the right of way to pass thru first. The King strikes Oedipus first and they break into a fight. Then (that is right you guessed it) OEDIPUS KILLS KING LAIUS. The Riddle:
“What goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?” Oedipus solves the riddle:
A human being [man] Oedipus has solved the riddle and the people of Thebes reward him by making him their King! A King must always be married to a Queen...
so what does this mean for Oedipus? Oedipus marries Queen Jocasta (his mom).
The two have four children and they live happily ever after! OR DO THEY? The beginning of the play: The city of Thebes is suffering again, this time from a terrible plague.

Creon reports from the oracle that the plague will not end until the murderer of Laius is found and punished.

Oedipus commits himself to locating the murderer and suffers terrible consequences as he discovers the horrible truth about himself and his identity. About the play All violence takes place off stage

What the audience actually sees is the reactions of those who must live with the truth or die.

All action takes place in a single location and involves a small number of characters who interact with Oedipus who, as the central figure, remains on stage for most of the play. The Role of the Chorus The Chorus should be considered as a single voice, a single “character” in this play with a single conscience.

This conscience is representative of the Theban people, the nameless, faceless mob of onlookers who comment on events as they unfold before them.

At times they interact with the other characters; other times they simply provide commentary in the same was a narrator would do. Dramatic Dialogue Long, powerful monologues as well as short, angry banter between characters.

Practically every line contains a double meaning, full of irony that serves to heighten the drama of the play.

Even the Chorus only gradually comes to grips with the events that have taken place in their beloved Thebes. The quest for identity
The nature of innocence and guilt
Blindness and sight (all forms)
Fate verses Free Will
The Abuse of power What to look for while reading
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