The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the story (Abrams 32-33). It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in Sophocles’ tragic drama, Oedipus Rex, whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.
Werner Jaeger in “Sophocles’ Mastery of Character Development” pays the dramatist the very highest compliment with regard to character development:
The ineffaceable impression which Sophocles makes on us today and his imperishable position in the literature of the world are both due to his character-drawing. If we ask which of the men and women ofGreek tragedy have an independent life in the imagination apart from the stage and from the actual plot in which they appear, we must answer, ‘those created by Sophocles, above all others’ (36).
Surely it can be said of Sophocles’ main characters that they grow beyond the two dimensional aspect into really rounded physical presences. This is done through mostly the showing technique, though the chorus at times is involved in telling the audience various pieces of information. At the outset of Oedipus Rex the reader sees a king who comes to the door full of curiosity: “Explain your mood and purport. Is it dread /Of ill that moves you or a boon ye crave?” When the priest has responded that the people are despairing from the effects of the plague, the king shows another dimension to his character with his deep sympathy for his subjects: “Ye sicken all, well wot I, yet my pain, /How great soever yours, outtops it all.” Shortly thereafter a second round character makes his appearance on stage in the pers...
... middle of paper ...
...and Creon become so later in the tragedy. Rarely does the dramatist use the chorus to convey information; most of this comes from exchanges of dialogue, which would be the showing technique.
Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms, 7th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999.
Ehrenberg, Victor. “Sophoclean Rulers: Oedipus.” In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O’Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.
Jaeger, Werner. “Sophocles’ Mastery of Character Development.” In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. no pag.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Characterization in Oedipus Rex The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the story (Abrams 32-33). It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in Sophocles’ tragic drama, Oedipus Rex, whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling. Werner Jaeger in “Sophocles’ Mastery of Character Development” pays the dramatist the very highest compliment with regard to character development: The ineffaceable impression which Sophocles makes on us today and his imperishable position in the literature of the world are both due to his character-drawing.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
2177 words (6.2 pages)
- Characterization in Oedipus the King and Homer's Odyssey The characters in a novel or play are attributed certain characteristics by the author. The opinions one might form of a character are based on these; therefore, the characteristics suggested by an author are intrinsic to the reader having a complete and subjective understanding of a work. Characteristics are often displayed through a character s actions, in what is said about them, and what they themselves say, which shall be the focus of this essay. Both Oedipus, in Sophocles' King Oedipus and Odysseus, in The Odyssey of Homer, oftenare spoken of by others, but their own words are telling, as certain emotions and traits can b... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1257 words (3.6 pages)
- Man controls his fate by the choices that he makes. In being able to chose what his own actions are, fate is a result of his decisions. In Oedipus the King, the Greek writer, Sophocles, uses characterization and dramatic irony to project a theme throughout the play providing the idea that man is responsible for his own fate. Sophocles lived 90 years, revealing a plethora of amazing, prize-winning tragic Greek plays. Sophocles was born near Athens in 496 BC, in the town of Colonus. He received the first prize for tragic drama over Aeschylus at the play competition held in 468.... [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
552 words (1.6 pages)
- Oedipus Rex as Social Commentary Oedipus Rex, written by the Poet Sophocles in the Golden Age of Greek Theatre, was described by Aristotle to be the greatest tragedy of all time. It encapsulates the very essence of the Greek cultural milieu, and it is these ideologies which are translated into the play. The very essence of Greek society; the political democracy, a moral belief in the power of the Gods and social recognition of hierarchy, are portrayed when the society is pictured in a state of chaos.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
880 words (2.5 pages)
- According to Aristotle, the driving force behind tragic works lies not in the development of characters but in the formulation of a specific plot structure. Aristotle believed that the purpose of all art is to imitate life and that human beings live their lives through events and actions. He argues that characters serve to advance the events of the plotline and that the characters themselves are not central. Aristotle's opinions on tragedy were largely constructed around Sophocles' Oedipus the King, which Aristotle called "the perfect tragedy." Considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of all time, Oedipus the King tells how Oedipus, the king of Thebes, comes to realize t... [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
1485 words (4.2 pages)
- Oedipus, The Movie After reading the play Oedipus the King, I had various expectations related to how the movie should be performed. The stage presentation of the story fulfilled some of my expectations but failed to satisfy others. Most importantly, the performance was an accurate rendering of the play. The characters in the movie were developed effectively and were portrayed precisely as I had perceived them. I thought that the movie lacked qualities including stage design, clothing, and background music.... [tags: Film Oedipus the King]
627 words (1.8 pages)
- A Survey of Tragedy A modern tragedy of today and a tragedy of ancient Greece are two very different concepts, but ironically, both are linked by many similarities. In “Poetics”, Aristotle defines and outlines tragedy for theatre in a way that displays his genius, but raises questions and creates controversy. Aristotle’s famous definition of tragedy states: “A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious, and also as having magnitude, complete in itself in language with pleasurable accessories, each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form: with incidents arousing pity and fear; wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotion... [tags: Oedipus The King, Death of a Salesman]
995 words (2.8 pages)
- In the plays Oedipus of Rex and Antigone by Sophocles, Oedipus and Creon exert similar characteristics as leaders that ultimately result in their characterization as tragic heroes. Their overbearing determination, relentless pride, uncontrollable fate, and enormous grievances all portray the inevitable outcome. Sophocles writes that the characters in the plays are chasten not because of something they had done in the past but merely it is their fate. Oedipus and Creon can not stop their fate no matter what great lengths they go to.... [tags: Papers]
646 words (1.8 pages)
- Oedipus The play Oedipus The King begins with the king and queen of Thebes, Laius and Jocasta. Laius was warned by an oracle that his own son would kill him and that he would marry his mother, Jocasta. Determined to reverse their fate, Laius pierced and bound his newborn sons feet and sent a servant away with him with strict instructions to leave the child to die on the mountain of Cithaeron. However, the servant felt badly for the infant and gave him to a shepherd who then gave the child to Polybus, king of Corinth, a neighboring realm.... [tags: English Literature Essays]
1481 words (4.2 pages)
- The book, Oedipus Rex, has a full range of characters. The colloquy, activity and motivation circle around the characters in the whole story. We find Oedipus Rex trying to get away, from home, to flee the prophecy. The prophecy states that he will kill his father and marry his mother. He also tries to clear up a murder of the old king. Oedipus marries a widow named Iokaste. He also gets advice from a seer named Teiresias. The purpose of this essay is to show the three positive and three negative qualities about these characters in direct and indirect characterization.... [tags: Sophocles]
1374 words (3.9 pages)