Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King
GREEK ARTS AND OEDIPUS
2013-Introduction to Western Literature
﹝一﹞幾何形風格（約 11OO ─ 7OO
﹝二﹞東方風格（約 75O ─ 6OO B.C.）
﹝三﹞黑體人像繪畫（約 7OO ─ 5OO
﹝一﹞幾何形風格（約 11OO ─ 7OO B.C.）
﹝二﹞東方風格（約 75O ─ 6OO B.C.）
﹝三﹞黑體人像繪畫（約 7OO ─ 5OO B.C.）
士下棋」﹝Ajax & Achilles Playing Draughts﹞之陶罐
Alice Y. Chang
Earliest coinage: Electrum
Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of
gold and silver, with trace amounts of
copper and other metals. It has also been
The ancient Greeks called it 'gold' or
'white gold', as opposed to 'refined gold'.
Its color ranges from pale to bright
yellow, depending on the proportions of
gold and silver.
Oldest Lydian Lion electrum
“Make your profits, import electrum from Sardis
if you wish, and gold from India” (Anti 10371039).
An Athenian Owl
Silver Tetradrachm, with the Owl standing on a
olive twig, a crescent on the upper left and "ΑΘΕ"
in front and Athena wearing an ornamented helmet,
454 - 449 BC.
c. 430 BC - 23 X 27 mm diameter, 16.5g
Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex
probably the most famous tragedy ever
It is known by a variety of titles (the most
common being Oedipus Rex), including Oedipus
the King and Oedipus Tyrannus.
Sophocles first produced the play in Athens
around 430 B.C. at the Great Dionysia, a
religious and cultural festival held in honor of
the god Dionysus, where it won second prize.
In the play Oedipus, King of Thebes, upon
Thomas Francklin, 1759 – verse
Edward H. Plumptre, 1865 – verse: full text
Richard C. Jebb, 1904 – prose: full text
Gilbert Murray, 1911 – verse
Francis Storr, 1912 – verse: full text
William Butler Yeats, 1928 – mixed prose and verse
David Grene, 1942 (revised ed. 1991) – verse
E.F. Watling, 1947 – verse
Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald, 1949 – verse
Theodore Howard Banks, 1956 – verse
Albert Cook, 1957 – verse
Bernard Knox, 1959 – prose
H. D. F. Kitto, 1962 – verse
Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay – verse
Robert Bagg, 1982 (revised ed. 2004) – verse
Robert Fagles, 1984 – verse
Nick Bartel, 1999 – verse: abridged text
Kenneth McLeish, 2001 - Verse
George Theodoridis, 2005 – prose: full text
Luci Berkowitz and Theodore F. Brunner, 1970 – prose
Ian Johnston, 2004 – verse: full text
Ancient Greek Tragedy
Ancient Greek Theatre.flv
Three Theban plays: Not a trilogy
Oedipus the King Oedipus at Colonus Antigone.
Antigone was first performed in 442 BCE.
Oedipus the King was first performed c. 429 BCE.
Oedipus at Colonus was written shortly before
Sophocles' death in 406 BC and produced by his
grandson (also called Sophocles) at the Festival of
Dionysus in 401 BCE.
People and places to know:
Teiresias (Tiresias )
Thebes (the House of
a winged female
monster in Greek
a woman's head
and a lion's body
and noted for
unable to answer
an ancient Egyptian image in the
form of a recumbent lion having a
man's head, a ram's head, or a
• Prologue and Parodos
• First Episode and First Stasimon
• Second Episode and Second Stasimon
• Third Episode and Third Stasimon
• Fourth Episode and fourth Stasimon
• Fifth Episode and Exodos
The setting of the Oedipus http://able
the King as in the case of
most Greek tragedies, does
not require a change of scene. hots/oedipu
Throughout the play the
skene with at least one door
represents the facade of the
royal palace of Thebes.
PROLOGUE (1-150) OEDIPUS, PRIEST AND
Prologue (Priest, Oedipus, Creon)
The priests of Thebes appear before
Oedipus as suppliants, entreating him to
find some end to the plague.
Oedipus has already sent Creon to Delphi,
who arrives to report that the killer of
Laius must be sought out and banished.
Oedipus vows to find the killer and
summons the people of the city.
Prologue: Oedipus, Priest and Creon
What is the dramatic purpose of
How does Oedipus characterize
What is his attitude toward the
blood pollution that
infects the family, and
for a royal family the
The Plague of Thebes, oil on
Charles François Jalabeat
"Oidi-pous“ in Greek means "swollen footed”
But we can also analyze Oedipus in at least two
to a Greek sounds like oida, oide = "I know, he
knows" (a central theme in the play)
-dipous to a Greek means the "two-footed one," with
obvious associations to the riddle of the Sphinx (another
Man of action, caring but
haughty: 7ff, 71ff etc.
Revealer of the truth: 150
Solver of riddles: 443ff
The Chorus of Theban citizens
offer prayers to Zeus, Apollo,
Athena for release from the
What is the reaction of the Chorus to the
advice of Apollo ('the Delian Healer') to
What conditions in Thebes does the Chorus
The Pythia was
the priestess at
the Temple of
Apollo at Delphi,
located on the
slopes of Mount
Priestess of Delphi
(1891) by John
chorus is an "act-dividing song":
for entrances and exits
– allows for the scene to change
– marks the passage of time
– chorus comments directly or
indirectly on what is going on
Oedipus appeals for information and pronounces
his curse on the murderer.
Teiresias is summoned: at first he refuses to tell what
he knows, but aroused by Oedipus' taunts he
declares Oedipus the murderer.
Oedipus declares a conspiracy by Creon. Teiresias
declares that the murderer is present, and will be
found son and husband to his mother.
First Episode (216-462) - Oedipus,
Chorus and Teiresias
Why does Oedipus summon Teiresias
(278-287)? What is Teiresias's reaction to
Oedipus's request for help (316-344)?
I must know. Know thyself!
But knowing is itself problematized in the
Oedipus the King: central to the text is
not only what is known and by whom, but
what it means to "know"-- what is "true"
Insight and blindness
Apollo versus Oedipus:
divine versus human knowledge
sun, day, clear, blazing, burning
– fever, blazing, burning: sender of plague and the
– intelligence, clear, seeing
– brilliance, poetry
– truth (knowledge), clear, seeing
– divine prophecy, clear, seeing
Teiresias, the seer of
Oedipus the King:
Sophocles’ and Seneca’s
South Italian Red-figure
bowl. Detail: Tiresias
seated holding sacrificial
knife as Odysseus (left)
stands by him
What is the Chorus’s view of Teiresias's
accusations against Oedipus?
What has Oedipus done to deserve such
awful suffering? Why must he suffer?
Tragedy=an aesthetic question mark
The dramatic expression of an enquiry into
suffering, an aesthetic question mark performed in
While representing an instance of suffering in
dramatic form, always asks why it has occurred.
Pathology= the study of diseases
Etiology= the causes of diseases or a study of
"ungodly pride" (hubris) or "tragic flaw"
Know thyself, Oedipus. You denounce
me, but you do not yet know yourself.
SECOND EPISODE (CREON,
OEDIPUS, CHORUS; JOCASTA)
Second Episode , 513-862. (Creon,
Oedipus, Chorus; Jocasta)
Creon is indignant at Oedipus' accusations.
They argue over the charge. Jocasta tries to intervene.
The Chorus advise restraint and Oedipus lets Creon
go, though he declares him an enemy. Oedipus tells
Jocasta the source of the dispute.
Jocasta tells the story of Laius' death, and Oedipus
recognizes many details: but he was a lone killer,
whereas a band of killers was reported.
Oedipus worries about the oracle; Jocasta denounces
its veracity, adducing the prophesy about her son.
Second Stasimon (Chorus)
Ode to the sanctity of divine law.
The tyrant who ignores justice and reverence for the
gods will fall.
The oracles must be true.
Third Episode , 911-1085. (Jocasta,
Messenger, Chorus; Oedipus)
A messenger arrives from Corinth announcing the
death of Polybus and Oedipus' ascension.
He allays Oedipus' fear of the oracle (that he will
marry his mother) by telling him of his true birth.
Over Jocasta's objections Oedipus vows to continue
his search for the truth. Jocasta runs into the palace.
THIRD EPISODE AND
Third Stasimon , 1086-1109. (Chorus)
Ode to Mt. Cithaeron: we will soon know the
parentage of Oedipus.
Part Fifth: Fourth Episode (Oedipus,
The shepherd arrives who exposed the infant of
Laius and escaped when Laius was killed. Oedipus'
parentage becomes clear. Oedipus rushes into the
Fourth Stasimon (p.27) (Chorus)
No man is blest: happiness is but an illusion, for
even the great power and blessings of Oedipus
have come to a fall.
Your example, Oedipus,
Your example, your fate, your disaster,
Show that none of us mortals
Ever knew, ever felt what happiness truly is.
FIFTH EPISODE AND
The sixth part: p.28-32
Exodos , 1223-1530. (Messenger, Chorus;
A messenger announces the suicide of Jocasta and
the self-inflicted blinding of Oedipus. Oedipus
appears to lament his fate. Creon appears.
Oedipus begs him to take care of his children;
Antigone and Ismene (mute) arrive to comfort their
father. Creon persuades Oedipus to return to the
palace, and assumes the kingship.
There goes Oedipus—
He was the man who was able
To answer the riddle proposed by the Sphinx.
He was an object of envy
To all for his fortune and fame.
There gores Oedipus—
Now he is drowning in waves of dread and despair.
Look at Oedipus—
Proof that none of us mortals
Can truly be though of as happy
Until he is granted deliverance from life,
Until he is dead
And must suffer no more.
Themes and discussion
Alice Y. Chang
Philoctetes is leaving the island of
A cave had been Philoctetes’ home since the
Greeks abandoned him on Lemnos.
Philoctetes sits clutching his magic bow in his left
Above right is Odyssues.
To the left are Athene and Neoplotemos.
Alice Y. Chang
Lemnos or Limnos is an island in the northern part
of the Aegean Sea.
It is part of the Greek prefecture of Lesbos and has
a considerable area, about 477 km².
A sacred island
For ancient Greeks, the island was sacred to
Hephaestus, god of metallurgy, who— as he tells
himself in Iliad I.590ff— fell on Lemnos when his
father Zeus hurled him headlong out of Olympus.
There, he was cared for by the Sinties, according to
Iliad or by Thetis (Apollodorus, Bibliotheke I:3.5),
and there with a Thracian nymph Cabiro (a daughter
of Proteus) he fathered a tribe called the Cabiroides.
Sacred rites dedicated to them were performed in the
The frequency with which their identity might
change is a symptom of its strategic importance to
the Hellenic would throughout its history.
The island is now administered under the nomos
Lemnos has an area of 476 sq km and, like a
number of the Aegean islands, its shape indicates its
volcanic origins, two bays to north and south almost
dividing the island in two;
smaller, eastern, sector was where the capital of the
island in antiquity, Hephaestus, was situated,
while on the coast of the western sector, larger and
much more mountainous with the highest peak of
Mount Skopia reaching 430 m, the medieval and
modern capital of Myrina is located.
The low-lying and flatter areas of the
island are quite fertile, and produce a
variety of crops.
A tradition, already current in antiquity
and still existing in the 20th century,
credited Lemnian earth, excavated on
one day each year, with the power of
healing many kinds of wounds; it was
exported all over the Hellenic world.
figured both in Homeric legend and in
In antiquity Lemnos figured both in
Homeric legend and in Hellenic history.
Herodotus (4.145) related how the
Argonauts, who according to legend had
arrived on the island and left progeny
there, were driven out of Lemnos three
generations later by the Pelasgi.
Philoctetes on the island of
Lemnos. Marble. Victoria
and Albert Museum, London.
When the ARGONAUTS, in their way to Colchis,
came to Lemnos, they found out that all males had
For the Lemnian women, having learned that their
husbands had taken Thracian wives, resolved to kill
all men in Lemnos.
Philoctetes and Odysseus
Only Philoctetes excelled me with the bow in the
land of the Trojans, when we Achaeans shot."
(Odysseus to the Phaeacians. Homer, Odyssey 8.220).
"Destruction shall have end when you are dead, the
author of our bane." (Philoctetes to Paris. Quintus
Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy 10.229).