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Explain to the class they are now about to read a play, written 2, years ago, that deals with all of these themes and show the clip on Greek theatre listed in the Tools and Materials. Introduction to Greek Drama: Introduce the topic of Greek drama by telling the class that drama evolved From religious festivals in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine and the cha ging seasons and explaining the significance of the 'City Dionysia' and the first actor, Thespis.

Establish that tragedy was the favorite type of Greek drama and at the heart of all tragedies lay a character's hubris. For more information on tragedy and the evolution of Greek drama, see the suggested links to pages within this site below.

How to Teach Oedipus Rex

You might also want to discuss how three actors would rotate to play all the speaking parts and thus the importance of masks. Mention the use of the chorus and how the actors would have had to project their voice without microphones to audiences in excess of 10, people. Introduce the play: Tell the students that the play they are about to read was written nearly 2, years ago and is considered one of the greatest Greek tragedies ever written. Regardless of which version of the play you decide to use, select students to read the speaking parts including Oedipus, Queen Jocasta, Creon, Teiresias, a Priest, First Messenger, Second Messenger, and the Herdsman , while the rest of the class will play the Chorus.

Originally three actors would have played all the speaking parts accompanied by the Chorus, a group of people who spoke in unison and who helped explain the story to the audience.


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In ancient Athens they would also have sung and danced in procession. While students read what you might need to know : During the Prologue: this part of the play was normally read by a lone actor. Oedipus calls the citizens of Thebes 'the children of Cadmus' because he was the mythical character who founded the city, after slaying a dragon and sowing its teeth to make the first inhabitants. Apollo is invoked because he was the god of healing and a plague has blighted the city.


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Is Oedipus' pride evident from the very first lines? Note any references to sight; it is used throughout the play as a metaphor for insight. Parodos: At this point the Chorus would usually make their entrance. First Scene lines - This scene is filled with many instances of dramatic irony. For example, when Oedipus condemns the murder which has brought about the plague he is in fact condemning himself the man who unknowingly killed his own father and took his mother as his wife.

Note particularly the character Tiresias who clearly knows more than he's letting on. Is he trying to protect Oedipus? First Stasimon - or closing of the scene: The Chorus seems completely confused - are they following Tiresias or Oedipus? Second Scene - Is Creon being admirable here? Why should Oedipus have such a strange reaction to Jocasta's account of her lost child?

What is the significance of her baby's ankles having been pinned? By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. It looks like you are located in Australia or New Zealand Close. Visit the Australia site Continue on UK site. Visit the Australia site. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts.

Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King': A Reader's Guide (Reader's Guides) Sean Sheehan: Continuum

The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.

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A Reader's Guide

Oedipus Rex Study Guide Next. A concise biography of Sophocles plus historical and literary context for Oedipus Rex. In-depth summary and analysis of every section of Oedipus Rex.

Reading Oedipus

Visual theme-tracking, too. Oedipus Rex 's important quotes, sortable by theme, character, or section. Explanations of Oedipus Rex 's symbols, and tracking of where they appear. Brief Biography of Sophocles Considered one of the three greatest playwrights of classical Greek theater, Sophocles was a friend of Pericles and Herodotus, and a respected citizen who held political and military offices in fifth-century B. He won fame by defeating the playwright Aeschylus for a prize in tragic drama at Athens in B.

Only seven of his complete plays have survived to reach the modern era, but he wrote more than and won first prize in 24 contests.

Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King'

He is credited with changing Greek drama by adding a third actor, reducing the role of the chorus, and paying greater attention to character development. Download it!

Historical Context of Oedipus Rex The story of Oedipus and the tragedies that befell his family were nothing new to Sophocles's audience.