Oedipus catharsis by MikeJenny


									Aristotle, Poetics 1453a This is the sort of man who is not pre-
eminently virtuous and just, and yet it is through no badness or
villainy of his own that he falls into the misfortune, but rather
through some hamartia in him, he being one of those who are in
high station and good fortune, like Oedipus and Thyestes and the
famous men of such families as those. . . . The change must be
not to good fortune from bad but, on the contrary, from good to
bad fortune, and it must not be due to villainy but to some great
hamartia in such a man as we have described, or of one who is
better rather than worse. This can be seen also in actual
practice. For at first poets accepted any plots, but today the best
tragedies are written about a few families — [20] Alcmaeon for
instance and Oedipus and Orestes and Meleager and Thyestes
and Telephus and all the others whom it befell to suffer or inflict
terrible disasters.
Oedi/pus Oidi/pous

   Oedipus the King, [980] But fear
   not that you will wed your mother.
   Many men before now have slept
   with their mothers in dreams. But
   he to whom these things are as
   though nothing bears his life most
Homer and Hesiod’s Oedipus
Odyssey 11.271-80 And I saw the mother of Oedipodes, fair
Epicaste, who wrought a monstrous deed in ignorance of mind,
in that she wedded her own son, and he, when he had slain his
own father, wedded her, and straightway the gods made these
things known among men. [275] Then he lived as lord of the
Cadmeans in lovely Thebe, suffering woes through the baneful
counsels of the gods, but she went down to the house of Hades,
the strong warder. She made fast a noose on high from a lofty
beam, overpowered by her sorrow, but for him she left behind
woes [280] full many, even all that the Avengers of a mother
bring to pass.

Hesiod, Works and Days 161-3 Grim war and dread battle
destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven-
gated Thebes when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus
1                2                    3                4
Cadmus looks                          Cadmus kills
for his sister                        the Serpent
                 The Spartoi
                 kill each other
                 Oedipus kills
                 his father                            Laius
                                                       (= left-sided)
                                      Oedipus kills    son of
                                      the Sphinx       Labdacus
Oedipus                                                (= lame)
marries his      Eteocles kills
mother,          his brother,                          Oedipus
Jocasta          Polynices                             (= swell-foot)

buries her
                       “The overvaluation of blood relations is to their
                       undervaluationas the attempt to escape
                       autochthony is to the impossibility of succeeding
                       in it.” Claude Lévi-Strauss
Sophocles, first victory 468
Theban Plays, not a trilogy
     Antigone late 440s
     Oedipus Tyrannus 428 ?
     Oedipus at Colonus 402
Aristotle, Poetics 6 1449b25 Tragedy is a
representation (mimesis) of a serious,
complete action that has importance, in
embellished speech, with each of speech's
elements used separately in the various
parts of the play, represented by people
acting (drama) and not by narration,
accomplishing by means of pity and fear
the catharsis of such emotions.

Theatre of Dionysus

Great Dionysia (March) Lennaea (January)
  day one - procession of statue of Dionysus, sacrifice
       dithyrambic contest accompanied by flute
  day two - five comedies
  days 3-5 three tragedies each day plus satyr play
  1000 active participants, 14,000 spectators
  each play only performed once
  chor-egoi and playwrights
  3 or possibly four actors, choral leader
  poets become didaskaloi, directors of the plays
  judges chosen by lot from those nominated by their tribes
       5 votes used from 10 cast
  competition between choruses
  audience consists probably only of men
A peripeteia is a change of the actions to their opposite. . .
in accordance with probability and necessity. E.g. in the
Oedipus, the man who comes to bring delight to Oedipus
and to rid him of his terror about his mother, does the
opposite by revealing who Oedipus is.

An anagnorisis . . . is a change from ignorance to
  knowledge . . . among people with regard to
  people’s good fortune or misfortune. A
  recognition is finest when it occurs at the same
  time as a peripeteia, as it does in the Oedipus.
Plot - mythos

The mythos should be constructed in such a way that,
even without seeing it, someone who hears about the
incidents will shudder and feel pity at the outcome, as
someone may feel upon hearing the plot of the
       hamartia, hamartêma in
       Prometheus Bound
Such is his hamartia; for this he is bound to make requital to the gods, [10] so
  that he may learn to bear with the tyranny of Zeus and cease his man-loving
Of my own will, yes, of my own will I committed a hamartêma — I will not deny
  it. By helping mortals I found suffering for myself; [270] nevertheless I did not
  think I would be punished in this way — wasting away upon cliffs in mid-air,
  my portion this desolate and dreary crag.

[1120] Pity me, mother, and do not kill me, your child, for my hamartiai.

But after a time, when all my anguish was now softened, and when I began to
  feel that my heart had been excessive in punishing those past errors, [440]
  then it was that the city set about to drive me by force from the land, after all
  that time.

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