Elements of a Greek Tragedy - Pearland Independent School ...
Happy Monday! Have out at least 2 sheets of notebook paper and pen or pencil for some note taking! **If you havent completed the quill.org diagnostic, please do so by 11:59 PM TONIGHT Elements of a Greek Tragedy From Aristotle to Oedipus
Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy in the Poetics Definition of Tragedy: Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions
Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its qualitynamely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Plot Plot is the first principle, the most important feature of tragedy According to Aristotle, tragedies where the outcome depends on a tightly constructed cause-and-effect chain of actions are superior to those that
depend primarily on the character and personality of the protagonist. Greek Plot Terms Anagnorisis is the moment of recognition. The protagonist of a tragedy recognizes that his trouble is his own fault. Peripeteia is a sudden reversal, often in fortune of the protagonist. Peripeteia is, therefore, the turning point in Greek tragedy. Aristotle explains that a peripeteia occurs when a character produces an effect opposite to that which he intended to
produce, while an anagnorisis is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined for good or bad fortune. He argues that the best plots combine these two as part of their cause-and-effect chain (i.e., the peripeteia leads directly to the anagnorisis); this in turns creates the catastrophe, leading to the final scene of suffering. Characters Character has the second place in importance. In a perfect tragedy, character will support plot, i.e., personal motivations will be intricately connected parts of the cause-and-effect chain
of actions producing pity and fear in the audience. The protagonist should be renowned and prosperous, so his change of fortune can be from good to bad. This change should come about as the result, not of vice, but of some great error or frailty in a character. The protagonist will mistakenly bring about his own downfall not because he is sinful or morally weak, but because he does not know enough Greek Character Terms Hamartia. The protagonist most often contributes
to his or her own downfall by a mismatch between character and circumstances, or hamartia. Frequently an Oedipus, an Antigone, a Macbeth, a Lear, or a Cleopatra is brought to doom by excessive pride--hubris--a belief that he or she is somehow above the fates, or in control of destiny. Catharsis. The release of powerful, healing emotions that make tragedy so moving. Thought Thought is third in importance, and is found
where something is proved to be or not to be, or a general maxim is enunciated. Aristotle says little about thought, and most of what he has to say is associated with how speeches should reveal character. However, we may assume that this category would also include what we call the themes of a play. Diction Diction is fourth, and is the
expression of the meaning in words which are proper and appropriate to the plot, characters, and end of the tragedy. In this category, Aristotle discusses the stylistic elements of tragedy (diction, imagery, details, figurative language) Melody Song, or melody, is fifth, and is the musical element of the chorus.
Aristotle argues that the Chorus should be fully integrated into the play like an actor; choral odes should not be mere interludes, but should contribute to the unity of the plot. Oedipus the King by Sophocles A Brief Introduction Plot Synopsis
Read the lengthy plot synopsis provided! Major Characters Oedipus - The protagonist of Oedipus the King. Oedipus becomes king of Thebes before the action of Oedipus the King begins. He is renowned for his intelligence and his ability to solve riddleshe saved the city of Thebes and was made its king by solving the riddle of the Sphinx, the supernatural being that had held the city captive. Yet Oedipus is stubbornly blind to the truth about himself.
Creon - Oedipuss brother-in-law. In him more than anyone else we see the gradual rise and fall of one mans power. Early in Oedipus the King, Creon claims to have no desire for kingship. Yet, when he has the opportunity to grasp power at the end of that play, Creon seems quite eager. Creon never has our sympathy in the way Oedipus does, because he is bossy and bureaucratic, intent on asserting his own authority. Major Characters Jocasta - Oedipuss wife and mother, and Creons sister. Jocasta appears only in the final scenes of Oedipus the
King. Jocasta solves the riddle of Oedipuss identity before Oedipus does, and she expresses her love for her son and husband in her desire to protect him from this knowledge. Tiresias - Tiresias, the blind soothsayer of Thebes. In Oedipus the King, Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the murderer he hunts, and Oedipus does not believe him. Yet, both Oedipus and Creon claim to trust Tiresias deeply. The literal blindness of the soothsayer points to the metaphorical blindness of those who refuse to believe the truth about themselves when they hear it spoken.
Major Characters Chorus - Sometimes comically obtuse or fickle, sometimes perceptive, sometimes melodramatic, the Chorus reacts to the events onstage. The Choruss reactions can be lessons in how the audience should interpret what it is seeing, or how it should not interpret what it is seeing. Major Themes The Willingness to Ignore the Truth: When Oedipus and
Jocasta begin to get close to the truth about Laiuss murder, in Oedipus the King, Oedipus fastens onto a detail in the hope of exonerating himself. Jocasta says that she was told that Laius was killed by strangers, whereas Oedipus knows that he acted alone when he killed a man in similar circumstances. This is an extraordinary moment because it calls into question the entire truth-seeking process Oedipus believes himself to be undertaking. While the information in their speeches is largely intended to make the audience painfully aware of the tragic irony, it also emphasizes just how desperately Oedipus and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth: they look
at the circumstances and details of everyday life and pretend not to see them. Major Themes The Limits of Free Will: Prophecy is a central part of Oedipus the King. The play begins with Creons return from the oracle at Delphi, where he has learned that the plague will be lifted if Thebes banishes the man who killed Laius. Tiresias prophesies the capture of one who is both father and brother to his own children. Oedipus tells Jocasta of a prophecy he heard as a youth, that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, and Jocasta tells Oedipus of a similar prophecy given
to Laius, that her son would grow up to kill his father. Oedipus seems only to desire to flee his fate, but his fate continually catches up with him. Many people have tried to argue that Oedipus brings about his catastrophe because of a tragic flaw, but nobody has managed to create a consensus about what Oedipuss flaw actually is. Perhaps his story is meant to show that error and disaster can happen to anyone, that human beings are relatively powerless before fate or the gods, and that a cautious humility is the best attitude toward life.
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