King Oedipus Notes

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King Oedipus Journal Notes

a) Oedipus (characteristics / character study)
King Oedipus is likewise a saviour.
He does not die; he suffers, however on behalf of the people, a terrible and symbolic agony. He is impetuous and short-tempered.
Intelligent, as shown in his following statement, “I, ignorant Oedipus, came-/ And stopped the riddler's mouth” (37) Oedipus says. King Oedipus is a tragic hero.
He has a Christ like character.
King Oedipus is blinded by his pride and ignorance from the truth of his past that causes his downfall. He physically blinds himself in despair, but opens a new vision that will allow him to see reality and not what he wants to see. His eyes were useless when he had them and they have served him no purpose thus far in his life. He is controlled by fate.

Oedipus represents Apollo, the god of sun, light and law and order. Also, represents Dionysus, the god of lust, and the irrational which causes self-destruction. He is a symbol of city, Thebes.

b) Secondary Characters (characteristics and dramatic significance) i.Creon
Brother of Jocasta.
He shows himself to be honest.
He is direct with all the characters, especially Oedipus. A tempered man.
“You [Creon] are a knave” Oedipus says when he taunts Creon. ii.Teiresias
The prophet of Apollo.
He has the knowledge of the King's fatal identity,
Tiresias is visually impaired and lives in the darkness, but he can still see the truth of the contingency. He has spiritual eyes that allows him to see what many other people cannot see, including Oedipus. iii.Jocasta

Queen of Thebes, and mother and wife of Oedipus.
She plays as a conflict resoluter when Oedipus and Creon get into a disagreement. She does not hesitate to speak her mind.
Jocasta tries to prevent Oedipus' past from unfolding.
She comforts Oedipus like a mother and loves him as a wife. iv.Corinthian Shepherd
He plays the role of bringing the news of the Corinthian king's death. He is the man who presented the infant Oedipus to the Corinthian ruler after he had been abandoned by the Theban Shepherd. v.older Theban Shepherd

The Theban shepherd used to serve King Laius.
He is the sole witness of Laius' murder and also the one to hand over the infant (Oedipus) to the Corinthian Shepherd.

c) Significance of Chorus (p.2 of Background notes)
It plays as the “ideal spectator”
Creates psychological and emotional background to action. Introduces and questions character.
Explains significance of events, states facts.
States conventional attitude of society towards society. Covers passage of time.
Separates episodes.
The chorus acts as:
actor
commentator, spectator
bridges gap between spectator and stage
we in audience become “citizens of Thebes” in “Oedipus” - we are spectators, yet in play

d)Key lines in Dialogue between Oedipus and Tiresias (p.31-39) “When wisdom brings no profit,/ To be wise is to suffer” (34) Teiresias says. “I know as you do not, that you are living/ In sinful union with the one you love,/ Living in ignorance of your own undoing” (36) Teiresias says. “Shameless and brainless, sightless, senseless sot!” (36) Oedipus taunts to Teiresias. “This pedlar of fraudulent magical tricks, with eyes wide open for profit, but blind for prophecy” (36) Oedipus says. “I refuse to utter/ The heavy secrets of my soul – and yours” (35) Teiresias states. “You are the cursed polluter of this land” (35)Teiresias states. “You are pleased to mock blindness. Have your eyes,/ And you do not see your own damnation? Eyes,/ And do not see what company you keep?/ Whose son are you? I tell you, you have sinned-/ And do not know it against your own on earth/ And in the grave. A swift and two-edged sword,/ Your mother’s and father’s curse, shall sweep you/ Out of the land. Those now clear-seeing eyes/ Shall then be darkened. Then no place be deaf, No corner of Cithaeron...
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