Shows * *07 : This page was a template... so, I am using is for web2.0 experiments (2007) AA.
* GODOT.06: Doing Beckett => main stage Theatre UAF Spring 2006 * and --

*** Stoppard'08 : FATE Concept

Directing Showcases
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan

* Study & Discussion Questions:

Describe the exposition revealed in the Prologue.
Create a staged reading of the debate between Kreon and Oedipus in scene ii.
Discuss the use of logic and reason by each character.
Explain Teiresias's cryptic dialogue. What prevents him from speaking plainly?
Discuss Oedipus's journey toward the truth of his biography. What human instincts prevent him from "seeing" the truth?
Describe the acts of violence that occur off stage. How would you stage these events today?
Bedford 4ed.



Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannos

[ more ]

SOME QUESTIONS to stimulate discussion:

  • (1) Does OEDIPUS have a 'character flaw' ? (Aristotle, Poetics ch.12: "some great error on his part")

  • (2) Does OEDIPUS suffer from HYBRIS ('arrogance' 'excessive pride' 'overconfidence in self')?

  • (3) In what respects is Oedipus a 'good king'? Who thinks so? Who says so, in the play?

  • (4) In what respects is Oedipus a 'good man'? What are his personal virtues?

  • (5) WHY is there a plague and barrenness in Thebes? Who is suffering? How is the plague to be stopped? Who says so?

  • (6) WHY did OEDIPUS kill his father? Who reveals this? When?

  • (7) Is OEDIPUS legally guilty of MURDER? Does he have a valid defense?

  • (8) Is OEDIPUS legally guilty of INCEST? Is there any defense?

  • (9) WHY did OEDIPUS marry JOCASTA? When do we hear of this?

  • (10) What does the story of the SPHINX mean for Oedipus and the Thebans?

  • (11) What is the part played in this play by the god APOLLO OF DELPHI? in Oedipus' life? in the family of LABDACUS ?

  • (12) What is the function in the drama of the Seer TIRESIAS? In what way is his presence onnected with Oedipus' failings as a human being and a monarch?

  • (13) At what point in the drama (line #) do ALL the parts of the puzzle of Oedipus' life story become available to Oedipus? How does he react to 'full disclosure'?

  • (14) WHY does Jocasta commit suicide? Why does Oedipus blind himself?

  • (15) What is the REACTION in Thebes to the dramatic revelations about the squalid facts of the Royal family's sex life and murderous history?

  • (16) Why does Oedipus go into EXILE? Is this 'punishment'? Or self-punishment? an admission of guilt?

  • (17) Is Thebes any better for Oedipus' departure? Is Oedipus any better? Is 'Justice' served?


Waiting for Godot

* Two from the city BC : POET (Sophocles) and PHILOSOPHER (Aristotle)

Monologue Study: 1 101 * 2 comedy * 3 drama *

born c. 496 BC, Colonus, near Athens [Greece]
died 406, Athens

With Aeschylus and Euripides, one of classical Athens' three great tragic playwrights. The best known of his 123 dramas is Oedipus the King.

Sophocles' father, Sophillus, was a wealthy manufacturer of armour who gave his son a good education. It is not known when Sophocles first competed in dramatic festivals; he gained his first victory in 468, defeating Aeschylus. This began a career of unparalleled success and productivity. He wrote 123 dramas for the major dramatic competition, won perhaps as many as 24 victories, and never received less than second place at the competitions he entered.

He also distinguished himself in the public life of Athens. In 442 he was one of the treasurers responsible for receiving and managing the tribute from Athens' subject-allies in the Delian League. In 440 he was elected one of 10 strategi (military and naval commanders); his senior colleague was Pericles. All the ancient biographical sources depict Sophocles as a gracious and well-loved public figure who participated actively in his community and exercised outstanding artistic talents. Outliving Euripides by a few months, he died just before the end of the Peloponnesian War.

Only seven of Sophocles' tragedies—Ajax, Antigone, Trachinian Women, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus—survive in their entirety; all are works of his maturity. He is credited with several dramatic innovations, including some type of “scene paintings” or pictorial prop, an increase in the number of members in the chorus, and the addition of a third actor onstage. He also is noted for his supple language and superb artistry. His plays centre on the collision of defective personal judgment with an unkind fate that leads to human loss and disaster. The formal perfection and vivid characterizations in his plays make them the epitome of classical Greek drama.

Sophocles was to become one of the great playwrights of the golden age. The son of a wealthy merchant, he would enjoy all the comforts of a thriving Greek empire. He studied all of the arts. By the age of sixteen, he was already known for his beauty and grace and was chosen to lead a choir of boys at a celebration of the victory of Salamis. Twelve years later, his studies complete, he was ready to compete in the City Dionysia--a festival held every year at the Theatre of Dionysus in which new plays were presented.

In his first competition, Sophocles took first prize--defeating none other than Aeschylus himself. More than 120 plays were to follow. He would go on to win eighteen first prizes, and he would never fail to take at least second.

An accomplished actor, Sophocles performed in many of his own plays. In the Nausicaa or The Women Washing Clothes, he performed a juggling act that so fascinated his audience it was the talk of Athens for many years. However, the young athenian's voice was comparatively weak, and eventually he would give up his acting career to pursue other ventures.

In addition to his theatrical duties, Sophocles served for many years as an ordained priest in the service of two local heroes--Alcon and Asclepius, the god of medicine. He also served on the Board of Generals, a committee that administered civil and military affairs in Athens, and for a time he was director of the Treasury, controlling the funds of the association of states known as the Delian Confederacy.

One of the great innovators of the theatre, he was the first to add a third actor. He also abolished the trilogic form. Aeschylus, for example, had used three tragedies to tell a single story. Sophocles chose to make each tragedy a complete entity in itself--as a result, he had to pack all of his action into the shorter form, and this clearly offered greater dramatic possibilities. Many authorities also credit him with the invention of scene-painting and periaktoi or painted prisms.

Of Sophocles' more than 120 plays, only seven have survived in their entirety. Of these, Oedipus the King is generally considered his greatest work. This tragedy of fate explores the depths of modern psycho-analysis as Oedipus unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother in an attempt to avoid the very prophecy he ultimately fulfills. A masterful work of plot and suspense, Oedipus the King is often heralded as a "perfectly structured" play. And although Oedipus cannot escape his fate, he finally finds peace in the sequal, Oedipus at Colonus, after enduring the worst the fates had to offer.

Another masterpiece, Antigone, possibly the first of the surviving plays to have been written, is the story of a passionate young woman who refuses to submit to earthly authority when it forbids a proper burial for her brother Polyneices. Illustrating the rival claims of the state and the individual conscience, Antigone is an excellent example for the modern social dramatist.

In The Women of Trachis, Sophocles presents another well-rounded female character--Deianira, the wife of Heracles. Although the focus of the play is oddly split between Deianira and Heracles himself, this drama does offer a powerful and touching study of a jealous woman. His greatest character drama, however, is probably Electra. When Aeschylus treated this story, he was concerned primarily with the ethical issues of the blood feud. Sophocles dismisses the ethical question and adresses himself to the problem of character. What kind of woman was Electra that she would want so desperately to murder her own mother?

Shortly after the production of Oedipus at Colonus in 405, Sophocles passed away. He joined Aeschylus who had long since gone to his grave and Euripides who had passed on a few months earlier. Thus the first great age of tragedy came to an end.


Web Assignments:

You are the dramaturg for a new production of Oedipus Rex. Using the Perseus Project at Tufts University (, find historical information. Focus your investigation on images of Oedipus. General information on ancient Greek theater can be found at Using the photos and links here, write a brief essay on an element of Greek theater (production or text) that would assist your understanding of Oedipus Rex.

... dictionary !

Shows : Oedipus : Sophocles

"Oedipus Cries" 

To the Tune of "American Pie" by Don Mclean 

Written by Lindsey 

A long, long time ago I can still remember how I saved Thebes from that awful sphinx.
And I knew that if I had my chance, I could be a king at last 
And maybe I'd be happy for a while.
But all my past lies made me shiver,
With the thought of what my mom delivered. 
Bad news on the porch step.
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried when I heard about my past of lies,
But something touched me deep inside 
The day I knew the lies.


Bye, bye my oblivious nights
Killed my daddy, court my mommy,
Had our children at night.
Those good ol' prophets were all telling it right
Sayin' this will be the day I go blind.
This will be the day I go blind.

Apollo wrote my book of love
And he made me lose faith in the gods above
Cause the prophets told me so.
Now I believe what the prophets told.
Jocasta, may the gods rest her soul, 
Cause she hung herself.
Well I know that its a mortal sin,
So I was banished from Thebe's walls within. 
I took my daughter too.
Antigone, we're both doomed.
I left a lonely old man out of luck,
With no eyes to see cause I poked em out,
But I knew there was more to come.
Creon was King for now.

... Tragedy, all right, but what is tragic?

OedipusX [ Misha Gordin, Conceptual Photograpgy, see ref. ]

Man is tragic (existentialism)

... I say poetic.

Tragic is poetic.

[ ? ]


Aristotle : I PROPOSE to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each, to inquire into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature of the parts of which a poem is composed; and similarly into whatever else falls within the same inquiry.

From Playwrights





PS : ...


... Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides Oedipus-Antigone

oedipus-antigone (right)

... some history?

NB : ...



Next: ... Christ and Hamlet (class)




OedipusX Visits by the Poet (Sophocles) to my drama classes:

Fall 2007 THR 215 Dramatic Literature -- Oedipus I, II and III (Antigony).

-- What is your name, boy?

-- Will. William Shakespeare, sir.

Did you read my plays?


NOTES: Tragedy pages in Theatre Theory, The Greeks... Themes [ ... compare with shakespeare ]