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Oedipus : playscript (413) Dramaturgy
... Oedipus2.0 = Hamlet
In his Poetics, Aristotle claims that comedy shows man to be worse than what he is in real life. In tragedy, however, man is represented as better than he is in actual life. He defines tragedy as "an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in a language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament . . . in the form of action, not narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, and has as its goal a catharsis of emotions. Thus, he identifies six major features of tragic drama: Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, and Melody.
For Aristotle the most important part of tragedy is the Plot or Action, which is the structure of the incidents. Plot is the very life-blood of tragic drama. Without action, there can be no tragedy, though it is sometimes possible to have a tragedy without character. Any tragic drama must be long enough to depict a reversal, or a change from good fortune to bad in the central figure. It must be so constituted that all its parts combine to form a unified and organic whole.
Character is the second most significant feature; it gives tragedy its moral dimension. The central personage in tragedy must be morally good, of fitting heroic stature, true-to-life, and consistent in action. The change in the fortune of the central figure must be from good to bad, from prosperity and success to adversity and failure. This downfall is often the consequence of a fatal flaw in a character or an error in judgment, which in Greek is called "Hamartia". The failure of the tragic hero/heroine is also due to "hubris" or a false sense of pride in the character's own secure position.
The tragic dramatist must choose suitably heroic characters and place them in a well-constructed plot which aims at the imitation of such actions as will excite pity and fear in the audience. These twin emotions are the distinctive effects that tragedy aims to invoke. The downfall of a noble, well-renowned, prosperous, and basically good person naturally evokes pity "for his/her misfortune;" it also evokes terror or fear that such misfortunes can easily overtake any human. This leads to an effect of catharsis or purging of the very emotions of pity and terror evoked by tragedy. Because of this catharsis, tragedy has a psychological, as well as a social, dimension since it provides an outlet for undesirable emotions.
Aristotle also draws a distinction between simple and complex plots. He states that more profound tragedy ensues when the playwright skillfully manipulates the actions in a complex plot. Complex action achieves its greatest impact through surprises and astounding revelations. The two devices that give tremendous power to the plot are what the Greeks called "peripeteia" and "anagnorisis". Peripeteia is often wrongly translated as a "reversal of fortune". More correctly, it refers to a reversal of the situation, where the action turns towards a direction just the opposite of its original course. Anagnorisis refers to recognition of a person/situation. It is a change from a state of ignorance to one of knowledge, which produces hate among the characters and the final downfall of the central character. Such changes shown through "Peripeteia/Anagnorisis" must be within the limits of probability and produce the effect of dramatic irony.
Finally, the element of noble Thought gives to tragedy its proper intellectual point of reference. Diction is the playwright's choice of appropriate phraseology for effective communication or maximum effect. Melody and Spectacle are useful embellishments in a tragic play and can be quite entertaining for the audience, though sometimes these, especially the element of spectacle, constitute a distraction from the essence of drama. Aristotle's theories must not be interpreted as rigid rules since they were merely observations about contemporary Greek drama. Taken too literally, strict adherence to the Unities has often resulted in a stilted, artificial, and rigid drama which Aristotle would hardly have advocated.
... "Tragedy" is drama in which a central character called a protagonist or hero suffers some serious misfortune. This misfortune is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that it is logically connected with the hero's actions. Tragedy stresses the vulnerability of human beings whose suffering is brought on by a combination of human and divine actions, but is generally undeserved with regard to its harshness. This genre, however, is not totally pessimistic in its outlook. A satisfactory solution of the tragic situation is oftentimes attained.
[ Tragedy has a characteristic structure in which scenes of dialogue alternate with choral songs. This arrangement allows the chorus to comment in its song in a general way on what has been said and/or done in the preceding scene. Most tragedies begin with an opening scene of expository dialogue or monologue called a prologue.
After the prologue the chorus marches into the orchestra chanting the parodos. Then follows a scene of dialogue called an episode, which in turn is followed by the first stasimon. The alternation of episode and stasimon continues until the last stasimon, after which there is a final scene of dialogue called an exodos `exit' scene'. The exodos is in general a scene of dialogue, but, as in the case of episodes, sometimes songs are included, especially in the form of a kommos.
Tragedy has a characteristic structure in which scenes of dialogue alternate with choral songs. This arrangement allows the chorus to comment in its song in a general way on what has been said and/or done in the preceding scene. Most tragedies begin with an opening scene of expository dialogue or monologue called a prologue.
After the prologue the chorus marches into the orchestra chanting the parodos. Then follows a scene of dialogue called an episode, which in turn is followed by the first stasimon. The alternation of episode and stasimon continues until the last stasimon, after which there is a final scene of dialogue called an exodos `exit' scene'. The exodos is in general a scene of dialogue, but, as in the case of episodes, sometimes songs are included, especially in the form of a kommos. ]
"Virtual Theatre: Plays and Drama Analysis"
*No way I can change the structure of the class every time I teach it!
Summary : Oedipus:Antiquity
Notes2004 case study: Oedipus Rex'05
... Thought/Idea -- ? (message)
2005 Fall -- THR215 Dramatic Literature :
Part 1. Oedipus
Part 2. Hamlet
Part 3. Chekhov (Cherry Orchard) and High Modernism
Part 4. Postmodern: Becket
Part 5. Writing
New: the levels in DramLit [ 1-2-3-4-5 ][ ... ]
Useful Questions to Ask Yourself about a Script Under Review
1. Is there anything special about the title? Does it focus on a character, the milieu, or a theme? Is it taken from a quotation or is an allusion? Does it contain a point of view or suggest a mood?
2. Make a note of unrealistic elements and consider their meaning. Does it include documentary material and, if so, to what effect?
3. Is there a main theme? Consider the tempo of the various sections?
4. How many acts and scenes are there? What motivates the divisions of the play and how are they marked (curtains, blackouts, etc.)?
5. What are the retrospective elements of the play and are they explicit or implicit?
6. Is there secondary action and what is its relationship with the main action?
7. Consider the characters entrances and exits and how they are motivated?
8. Is there any difference between playing time (the time it takes to perform the play) and illusory time (the time the action is supposed to take)? What is the relationship between the two, if any?
9. Where is the play enacted? Is the playwright vague or exact about the environment? Is this important?
10. How does the playwright economize with the number of roles? Could any be omitted or doubled? What function do the various secondary characters have?
11. Who is the protagonist? The antagonist?
12. What are the relationships among the characters and how do they change?
13. Is the play in verse, prose, or a mixture?
14. Is the play a translation? Can you compare it to the original? With other translations? Are there significant differences?
15. Is the playwright making significant points of interpretation with the use of punctuation? With breaks and overlaps? With silence?
Oedipus The King -- Part 2/12 (1984 TV production with Michael Pennington, Claire Bloom and John Shrapnel. Translated and directed by the late Don Taylor.)
for part 1, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtMHlt...
from John O'Connor's review in New York Times (1988):
Mr. Marks [producer] has explained: ''What we wanted was to find a way for authentic Sophocles to speak directly to viewers in such a way that the two and a half millennia dividing us would melt away. They should be able to see into his mind as he uncannily still seems to see into ours.''
Rather than attempting authentic recreations with masks and so forth, this series aims for an ''indeterminate feel'' in setting and costuming. David Myercough-Jones has designed a spare, misty arena outside the gates to the king's palace. June Hudson's costumes are plucked from different historical periods, elegant empire gowns for Jocasta, barrister robes for the chorus, a white silk suit for Oedipus.
The concept works. ''Oedipus the King,'' unfolding like some eternal mystery, is powerful. Its characters are archetypes embedded in our psyches, filling us with wonder even as we shudder. And the cast is about as good as you'll get nowadays: Michael Pennington as Oedipus, Claire Bloom as Jocasta, Sir John Gielgud as Tiresias, John Shrapnel as Creon, Cyril Cusack as a Theban citizen.
Directed by Don Taylor Writing credits: Don Taylor translation Cast: Michael Pennington ... Oedipus Rex John Shrapnel ... Creon Michael Byrne ... Chorus Cyril Cusack ... Priest Ernest Clark ... Chorus David Collings ... Chorus Donald Eccles ... Chorus Robert Eddison ... Chorus Edward Hardwicke... Chorus Denys Hawthorne ... Chorus Noel Johnson ... Chorus Clifford Rose ... Chorus Alan Rowe ... Chorus Nigel Stock ... Chorus John Woodnutt ... Chorus Produced by Louis Marks Original Music by Derek Bourgeois Film Editing by Dave Hambelton Production Design by David Myerscough-Jones Costume Design by Jane Hudsonreferences/homework ?
Oedipus and No Exit : production review assignment [ 200 words and/0r miterm paper, comparing ]
... video clips : new web2.0
... [ Freud (page) and Psychology ]
2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06