Is this a tragedy or a comedy? - Theater assignment introduction?? Explain your answer.
Oedipus the King is a tragedy where in his personal suffering serves as the path in which the plot of the story revolving around the significant characters unfold. The myth surrounding this character has been established prior to the opening of the play. The fact that he was the direct and indirect cause of the death of his parents reflects suffering and sorrow as the flow of events unfold and become increasingly evident as the climax of the story or the time that the messenger informs Oedipus that the prophecy of him killing his father and being with her mother has been a reality all the while.
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2. Identify an example of exposition in this play.
The exposition present in the play is evident in the prologue where in this part shows the set of problems established in Thebes which is needed to be faced by Oedipus. Basically, the exposition gives a brief look on the overall crisis that is going to be faced. Specifically, Thebes has been defiled by a plague that is rampant and they have asked the help of Oedipus to rid them of this crisis. As the new king, he faces the task of looking for the killer of old king Laius unknowingly ignorant that he was the culprit for this act.
3. How would you describe the character of Oedipus? What sort of a person is he? Consider how Oedipus sees himself (as seen for example in the plays opening speech and his later dialogues with Creon and Tiresias).
Oedipus is a person of action and intellect yet has weaknesses controlling his impulse which is evident in certain situations. The opening of the play show his fast response from the people’s demand that he eradicate the plague present when he was able to send Creon to the oracle found in Delphi even prior to the people’s request. This shows how he plans ahead and executes his goals. The bas side of this trait is that his impulsiveness and recklessness sometimes takeover which is evident when he instructed his army to kill the travelers who recently posed a threat during his travels. His strength of character is also evident in his dialogue with Creon and Tiresias in which he imposes his will by threatening to banish them due to their incompetence (Pomeroy 12).
4. Identify an example of foreshadowing in this play.
Foreshadowing is evident in the play when he was given the name “Swollen foot” which fore shadows the future in which he will discover the truth about his parents who tried to kill him and abandoned him for their own sake. The prophecy of Tiresias is another example of foreshadowing in which it indicates blindness that is caused by Oedipus to himself. This is due to the fact that the revelation led him to the things which he avoided in the first place.
5. Is Oedipus an innocent victim of an unjust fate or does he bear some responsibility in the outcome of his life? Could he have changed the fate described in the prophecies? How?
Considering Oedipus, the man of action that he is, would not let the prophecy of suffering and death take place without a challenge. He is a victim of an unfair fate in which he had some of the responsibility to what happened to him and others. His murder of his father, King Laius could have been prevented if he just became patient and kept his composure. But his impulsiveness caused him to do this (Brunner 2).
6. Identify the ways in which Oedipus experiences reversal.
The reversal is evident due to the fact that the irony of the implications of his actions has been present up to the end of the play. He spent the rest of his life and even his Kingship in preventing the prophecy form happening. Yet everything which was predetermined came to pass.
Birge, Darice. The Grove of the Eumenides: Refuge and Hero Shrine in Oedipus at
Colonus. The Classical Journal, 1984.
Brunner, Micheal. “King Oedipus Retried”. London, 2000.
Pomeroy, Sarah. Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1999