The Oedipus Trilogy

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The Oedipus Trilogy

The Oedipus Trilogy

Peyton Lucas, Haley Goodman, Mackenzie Tomlinson, and George Romano

History-MackenzieThe Oedipus Trilogy was written by the great ancient Greek playwright Sophocles. They were not written in chronological order. The third play, Antigone, was written first in 440 b.c. The first chronological play, Oedipus the King, was written in 430 b.c. Finally, the second play, Oedipus at Colonus, was written in 401 b.c. The plays were not written to be performed as a trilogy, even though they were about the same characters. They were very popular in Ancient Greece, with Aristotle saying they were "the greatest tragedies every written." (Dennis, "Oedipus the King.") and have affected people ever since. In 1899, psychologist Sigmund Freud used the term "Oedipus Complex" to descibe the feeling of lust towards one parent and hatred towards the other. The themes of truth and knowledge in the play are about human nature and have applied all throughout history.

Quick Overview-PeytonOedipus the KingOedipus is the king of Thebes and during his ruling, a plague arises, and it shall only end when the murderer of Laius, the former king of Thebes, is caught. Oedipus investigates and begins to slowly discover the truth, and accepts it as shown in Oedipus the King poem when Carl Dennis (Line 5) says “But when the question changes slowly To who exactly his parents are We would have stopped, as the prophet advises, While the King, suspecting the worst, presses on.” but, when Oedipus discovers that he married his mom, Jocasta, and killed his dad. Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus gauges his eyes out to avoid seeing his parents in the afterlife, but Oedipus lives on.Oedipus at ColonusOedipus was exiled from Thebes and walked aimlessly for years with his daughters, Antigone and Ismene, until they stumble upon Colonus, a village close to Athens. Oedipus becomes friends with the ruler of Athens, Theseus, but becomes disturbed when his son Eteocles and Creon attempt to take him away as said by Creon (Sophocles), “So those two crutches shall no longer serve thee For further roaming.” but was defended by Theseus. Eteocles and his brother Polynices go to war, because Polynices wants to rule Thebes, and kill each other like Oedipus predicted, soon after Oedipus dies peacefully and is accepted by the gods.AntigoneAntigone returns to Thebes and finds out her brothers are dead and Eteocles is given a proper burial, while Polyneices was not because Creon declared that he was a traitor, but Antigone responds by saying, “His own brother, traitor or not, and equal in blood.” (Sophocles 411) and breaks the law by burying her brother. Creon puts her in prison for her actions, so Antigone kills herself. Meanwhile, the blind prophet Teiresias, and Antigone’s fiance Haemon beg Creon to release her and he does, only to find her dead. Out of grief, Haemon and Creon’s wife kill themselves which leaves Creon for a life of sorrow.

Relevance- Haley The Oedipus Trilogy was very popular during its time. During 430 BC people were not very developed and plays were an essential form of entertainment. Plays taught lessons to the viewers and during this play Sophocles showed that knowledge is not always power and ignorance is bliss. Greek tragedies brought in large crowds so many people were exposed to these lessons. Even though to this day people seek out information they don’t actually want the answer to, Sophocles was trying to show people of that time that “who seeks all shall find, who sits with folded hands or sleeps is blind” (Sophocles). Oedipus’s life was ruined because he sought out too much information, and his curiosity got the best of him. The point of the plays were to prevent people from doing the same.

Bibliography:Dennis, Carl. "Oedipus the King." The New Republic 2 Apr. 1990: 30. General OneFile. Web. 9 Oct. 2014."The Internet Classics Archive | Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles." The Internet Classics Archive | Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2014.Segal, Charles. Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge. New York: Twayne, 1993. N. pag. Print.Shmoop Editorial Team. "Oedipus the King." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 08 Oct. 2014.Shmoop Editorial Team. "Antigone Summary." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 08 Oct. 2014."Sophocles." Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 14 (1967): 146-53. Web. 9 Oct. 2014."Summary of OEDIPUS AT COLONUS." Summary of OEDIPUS AT COLONUS. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2014.

Modern Influence-GeorgeThe Oedipus Trilogy are an ancient and a famous set of plays. The three plays are Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus. These plays influence modern culture in many ways. The trilogy teaches us that guilt comes from one’s regret, not their actions. Oedipus’ wife married her own son and felt regret from guilt, not an action. In fact, it is mentioned in the play that he was “More hated by the gods? I am the man.” (Sophocles 13). He believes that the gods hate him. Modern culture is influenced not only by the messages that the trilogy sends us but also by the play style, and how the Greek style of acting and entertaining influenced the modern era’s way of entertaining our people.


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