World Literature Essay The Usage Of Time To Create Dramatic Effect In Greek Literature

1455 words - 6 pages

Time is the flow of events in an irreversible sequence. It is an essential component to every piece of literature. Without time, the plot would cease to flow logically and comprehensibly. Time is especially important in Homer's The Odyssey and Sophocles' Oedipus the King. In story telling and drama, time can be controlled. Homer and Sophocles use the sequence and timing of events to build up dramatic effect. They have similarities and differences in their approaches to the antecedent detail, the organization and pace of events, and the characterization.The antecedent detail for both plots contributes to suspense, tension, and intensity in the climax. The antecedent events are similarly arranged in Homer and Sophocles. The brief statements at the beginning of each piece serves to inform the audience approximately where in the timeline the story starts. A certain amount of information was needed beforehand is needed to fully experience the literature, and it was usually common knowledge for the audience the writers intended the stories for. The story of the Trojan War helps the audience comprehend the extent of Odysseus' heroic character. This makes the audience view Odysseus as a character deserving of domestic happiness. For Sophocles' piece, knowledge is required to understand the irony underneath the play. Anticipation builds up as the moment of truth draws near. The expositions did not narrate antecedent events in depth. They were later related for the purpose of illustrating a character's inner qualities.Homer and Sophocles both dealt with the restrictions on the length of their works by manipulating time. The stories could not be so long as to lose the audience's interests or diminish the dramatic effect, yet so much information was needed for the story to be a success. To condense the two texts to a reasonable length for each type of literature, both writers use flashbacks to relate past events used as plot development. The flashbacks are told in first person to create a sense of reminiscence and self-revelation. The audience develops opinions on the characters from these accounts. The most significant flashback in The Odyssey is the particular lengthy one concerning Odysseus' adventures on his journey home. By stating his name is Nobody and giving a word of encouragement throughout to his men to overcome their fears, Odysseus is displayed as a cunning leader. He is also seen as a rash braggart, taunting Cyclops, and causing his own anguish. There is justification for Poseidon's anger, which the audience is merely told of in the beginning. Polyphemus' prayer to his father foreshadows the end of the Odysseus' trip. Attachment to the protagonist and anticipation of his homecoming is built, creating dramatic effect. The climax is also more powerful. Orestes' past situation and consequent revenge are told repeatedly. Telemachus and Orestes are in many respects equal. Both their fathers, Odysseus and Agamemnon respectively, had gone to war, and...

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