Oedipus Rex – Part 2, Exodos

January 24, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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Journal Topic “Let the punishment fit the crime”

Essential Question:

What makes Oedipus Rex a tragedy?

What is a tragedy? • Definition: – A serious drama – main character of noble birth – character is not all good or all evil – strives to achieve something [worthwhile/noble] – ultimately defeated – defeat caused by error in judgment

Exodos • Read the Exodos • As you read, jot down the following: – The sequence of key events of this section of the story – At least 1 key quote that you believe is meaningful in terms of our discussion of the story – Your reaction (1-2 sentences)

Exodos • Jocasta has killed herself • Oedipus, enraged, seemed bent on killing her when he found her hanging • He takes the brooches from her gown and gouges out his own eyes • Wants to be led out of the city so that the curse may be lifted • Acknowledges his role/responsibility for his fate

Exodos • Curses the shepherd who saved him • Creon comes along and shows Oedipus mercy • Oedipus begs Creon to let him live as a cast-off of society on Cithaeron • Asks that his children be taken care of (realizes his daughters will live lives of misery) • Oedipus is led into the palace (will he then be led out of Thebes?)

Key Quotations from Exodos

“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves” l. 1185 “Live where you can, be as happy as you can.” (l. 1455) “Let every man in mankind’s frailty consider his last day and let none presume on his good fortune until he find life, at his death, a memory without pain.” (ll. 1472-1475)

Journal Topic What can a person learn from reading Oedipus Rex?

Symbolism (revisited) Oedipus – Swollen Foot: A literal flaw Limitations of power and strength Fate - marked at birth Failure to understand – check his name!

Symbolism (revisited) Blindness: Limitations of human knowledge and understanding “Insight” shown with defeating Sphinx – blindness to his identity Gouges out his own eyes In the end – a man stumbling blindly through life

Symbolism (revisited) The place where 3 roads meet: decision direction of one’s life 3 roads – 3 parts to the riddle 3 headed god (Hecate) is the goddess of the crossroads

Themes The willingness to ignore truth leads to tragic outcomes Teiresias: Oedipus is seeing but will end up blind Oedipus was unable to see the truth—The moment he saw it, he blinded himself Oedipus ignores all the warning signs (Which ones?)

Themes (cont.) The limitations of free-will: We cannot control all of what happens to us and so we must learn to do what we can and accept what we must Free Will


Themes (cont.) The cause and nature of human suffering can, at times, be traced to our own thought, actions, desires, weakness “The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves”

“To perceive is to suffer.” - Aristotle

Catharsis Definition: a purification or cleansing of the emotions that brings about a spiritual renewal How might the tragedy of Oedipus bring about such a condition for the audience?

Key questions about the play • Do you agree that Oedipus' tragedy happens because of a 'tragic flaw'? • How does Oedipus come to embody the riddle of the Sphinx? • In what sense is Oedipus, though a king, also an "everyman" figure? In other words, how might this play be said to explore something fundamental about the limitations involved in being human?

Key questions about the play • Did Teiresias really believe that it would be better for everyone if truth were to remain undisclosed? • Is truth always best known. Always best shared? Is it always best for guilt to be made public? In government? In marriage? In the church? • Is ignorance bliss? Is bliss the greatest good?

Key questions about the play • Why did Oedipus blind himself? Do you believe his explanation for why he blinded himself? • When did Jocasta realize Oedipus was her son? • What lessons about being a king might Creon take away from this sad story?

Key questions about the play • What does the play teach about public life? • What does the play teach about private life?

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