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Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2004 21:23:59 -0000 
Subject: [dramlit] Catharsis from Oedipus 

Christina Welch
Dramatic Literature
Oedipus Response

  Of the tragic elements in Aristotle's Poetics, the first mentioned 
is the visual element of tragedy, the opsis.  Aristotle argues that 
since people in action are what make a tragic imitation, "it is 
necessary first of all that the arrangement of the visual spectacle 
be a part of tragedy" (Bassi 28).  "Oedipus The King" is the story 
that serves as Aristotle's model mythos, or plot, of the prime 
tragedy.  Aristotle contradicts himself later in saying that "the men 
in action need not be actors per se; they may be only the characters 
in the story" (Bassi 28).  This brings about my main point.  How can 
the effects of catharsis from tragedy be achieved without its main 
element the opsis?  The masks, costumes, choreography, actors, and 
set encompassed in the theatrical space, support the dramatic action 
creating a tragic reality.  The response to the reality brought to 
stage is the "catharsis of pity and fear [which] is the benign and 
therapeutic purpose of tragedy" (Bassi 24).
  It has been said that the people in Sophocles' time knew the story 
of Oedipus.  What made the spectators interested in a story they 
already knew?  It is merely the therapy in "the process of relieving 
an abnormal excitement by re-establishing the association of the 
emotion with the memory or idea of the event which was the first 
cause of it, and eliminating it by abreaction, or the acting out of 
these emotions, thereby giving the patient closure" (Catharsis 1).   
This experience is necessary for the audience to relieve themselves 
of the built up feelings of this story.  As they relate to the story, 
it gives them great relief to know that they are not in Oedipus' 
shoes.  Contrary to Freud's statement that we will "direct our first 
sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first 
murderous wish against our father, " (Kennedy 1459) the audience will 
be coping with their own similar problems.  However I do not think 
this must be about the exact circumstances Oedipus is facing.  

Works Cited
Bassi, Karen.  Acting Like Men: Gender, Drama, and Nostalgia in 
Ancient Greece.       University of Michigan: The University of 
Michigan Press, 1998.

Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia, eds. Literature: An Introduction to 
Fiction, Poetry,       and  Drama. 8th edition.  New York: Longman, 

Phelps, Marie. "Catharsis" July 24, 2004.

(Sorry for posting so late.  This has been written for some time, but 
I just do not have internet access.)

Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2004 21:47:22 -0000 
Subject: [dramlit] Money Grows in the Cherry Orchard 


Christina Welch
Dramatic Literature
The Cherry Orchard

  One major theme of The Cherry Orchard is money. Lyobov is totally 
unable to accept the fact that she is in debt. Even though she has 
squandered the family fortune, she continues to pretend she is 
aristocratic, giving money to a beggar when her servants are starving 
and renting an orchestra for a ball even though she does not have 
money to pay the musicians. She refuses to accept Lopahin's ideas 
about saving the family estate because it would destroy the Cherry 
Orchard.  But Lopahin, who was a former slave on the estate, has 
enough money to purchase the property.  He never hesitates to tell 
everyone how much money he has, or how much he spent on certain 
things like the champagne.  Lopahin immediately begins to clear the 
land to make it profitable.  He can't even wait until the others 
leave so that they know that he is making money off the land.  The 
fact that memories of the Cherry Orchard are worth more than the 
property itself, doesn't arise in Lopahin's mind.  Lyobov is left in 
debt to some extent and off to Paris to care for her ill lover.  
Lopahin can only see that he rose from a servant in the orchard to 
the owner of the estate and how much profit he will make.    Money is 
the one tie to the story that each character obsesses over.   The 
obsession with money eventually reverses the roles of Lyobov and 
Lopahin in the aristocratic society.  Money might not grow on trees, 
but it does in the Cherry Orchard.

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