AP Eng 4c-6
September 17th, 2009
A World of Tragedy
Human nature is as old as mankind itself. Throughout history, despite differing locations, differing culture, differing perspective, human nature is unchanged. It is forever in our minds and in our souls. The basic emotions of every human being is implanted in our minds at birth, and develops and grows along with our bodies. But due to varied restrictions, such as cultural laws, morality, and/or human limitations, some emotions cannot be acted out upon. The next step is to seek it through others. Through them we may be able to experience fear, or happiness, or sadness, or tragedy. This idea caught on by the ancient Greek "tragedians" Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Through their plays, they were able to provoke different emotions in their audience, tragedy in particular. Being able to watch human suffering, paradoxically, gives the audience pleasure. Sophocles was a master of this. With the usage of dramatic structure in his plays Sophocles insured his fame and popularity for thousands of centuries. One tragedy in particular, Oedipus Rex, is a prime example of this step-by-step process.
The fist part of the dramatic structure of classical tragedy, also referred to as "Machine of the Gods", is In Media Res. This term refers to the
technique where a story or narrative begins in the middle instead of where the main events first start taking place. In Oedipus Rex, this occurs during the prologue where Oedipus address the people of Thebes, "... why have you strewn yourself before these altars in Supplication, with your boughs and garlands?..." (1060-1061). This fills the audience in on what has happened and what is to come. The next part is the Protasis, or, the initial introduction to the play. This is when the Priest explains and introduces the settings and some of what's going on, to both Oedipus and the audience. "Your own eyes must tell you: Thebes is tossed on a murdering sea and can not lift her from the death surge..." (1061- 1062).
Now begins the upward climb to the inevitable Climax. Starting with the Exciting Force, or, the catalyst for complication. Here, Oedipus tells of his intentions to reveal who has brought the curse upon Thebes, "Then once more I must bring what is dark to light..." (1064). Oedipus asks the people of Thebes to inform him of any knowledge about the murder of Laios. This creates anticipation and anxiousness within the audience. The complications then begin to rise in the Epitasis. The Choragos tell Oedipus of a blind seer, Theiresias, who may know more about the murder. Oedipus questions Theiresias, who refuses to spill the beans. During the conversation between Theiresias and Oedipus, Theiresias begins by saying, " How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there is no help in truth." (1069) An argument then ensues resulting in...