'Antigone' is the final installment of Sophocles' The Three Theban Plays and it's about Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, disobeying King...more'Antigone' is the final installment of Sophocles' The Three Theban Plays and it's about Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, disobeying King Creon of Thebes' royal decree and burying the corpse of her brother, Polynices who has been seen as a traitor to Creon and Thebes. This is a dynamic play to read with beautiful fluid flow of dialogue between the major characters unlike its predecessor 'Oedipus at Colonus' which I found it stiff and rigid to read at times. There are several themes explored in this play such as (1) whether it is right or wrong to object the order of the State for the purpose to pursue one's own personal obligation (2) the importance of the love of family, womanhood and feminism in ancient Greece, (3) the conflict between one's own judgement and opinion and the society's with even the gods playing a role (Creon's decision to kill Antigone is objected by many characters including his son Haemon, the Chorus and even the gods as said by the blind prophet Tiresias). The theme of 'fate' is heavily explored during the first play. Here, I think that 'self-determinism' takes the center stage. Creon has the power to change his decision but he refuses to do so out of ego and arrogance ignoring to listen to the voices of other important stakeholders resulting in a tragic, miserable and disastrous outcome for himself too in the end. (less)
'Oedipus at Colonus' is the second installment of The Theban Plays by Greek tragedian Sophocles. Twenty years later after Oedipus has blinded himself...more'Oedipus at Colonus' is the second installment of The Theban Plays by Greek tragedian Sophocles. Twenty years later after Oedipus has blinded himself and banished from the city of Thebes by Creon, the old frail man is now wandering around Greece as a beggar with the help of his daughter Antigone. One day, they arrive at a sacred grove near Athens which is sacred to the Furies which are the female deities of vengeance. Oedipus recognizes this is a sign that his final resting place will be here and it will also be a blessing for the land where he is buried.
The chorus of old men from the village enters and persuades Oedipus to leave the sacred ground immediately. They find out that the aged blind man's identity and become afraid that he will curse the city of Athens. In the first play, 'Oedipus the King', Oedipus laments that it's his own fault for all the misfortunate deeds and events happened but in this second play, Oedipus somehow changes his attitude towards what has taken place and denied that it is not his fault, that he is not morally responsible for his crimes. This makes the chorus amazed, and decides to reserve their judgment of Oedipus until Theseus, King of Athens, arrives.
The other daughter of Oedipus, Ismene arrives, informing her father that his two sons are at war each other after the younger son, Eteocles, has seized the throne of Thebes from his elder son, Polynices who flees to Argos to gather an army. Both sons have heard from an oracle that the outcome of the conflict will depend on where their father is buried. Ismene tells her father that it is Creon's plan to come for him and bury him back at Thebes without proper burial rites to achieve the blessing. Hearing this, Oedipus curses his two sons and blames for their hypocrisy and ignorance. The King of Athens, Theseus, arrives and he sympathizes with Oedipus, and offers him unconditional support. Oedipus to praise Theseus and offer him the gift of his burial site, which will ensure victory in a future conflict with Thebes.
Creon arrives at Athens and asks Oedipus to return back to Thebes together with him but he refuses to do so. Creon reveals that he has already kidnapped Ismene and orders his guards to seize Antigone. The chorus attempts to stop him, but Creon threatens to use force to bring Oedipus back to Thebes. Later, Theseus himself arrives sacrificing to Poseidon to condemn Creon, and the two get into heated argument. Polynices arrives which Oedipus refuses to see at first but accepting Antigone's plea to see his own brother, Oedipus accepts and foretells that both Eteocles and Polynices will kill each other in battle. Ignoring this and refusing to be dissuaded, Polynices leaves. Following their conversation there is a fierce thunderstorm, which Oedipus realizes as a sign from Zeus of his coming death. Calling for Theseus, he tells him that it is time for him to give the gift he promised to Athens. He also asks his two daughters to follow him. Finally, the messenger arrives to announce Oedipus' death. Antigone longs to see her father's tomb, even to be buried there with him rather than live without him. The girls beg Theseus to take them, but he reminds them that the place is a secret, and that no one is allowed to be there.
Oedipus is not the central character anymore. King Theseus becomes the hero and Creon, the anti-hero. There is less action in this second installment compared to the first play. Of course, the human misery and sufferings such as guilt and betrayal are explored as main themes. Despite the fact that Oedipus has led such a life filled with misery and lamentation, he is rewarded in death by the gods as he ends up in the Elysium or The Island of the Blessed. Well, at least, he ends up somewhere good after all! (less)
**spoiler alert** The masterpiece of Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles is about a mythical Greek king of Thebes, Greece who murders his ow...more**spoiler alert** The masterpiece of Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles is about a mythical Greek king of Thebes, Greece who murders his own father, King Laius and then marries his wife who's his own mother, Queen Jocasta and thus becoming father-brother to his own siblings. Oedipus the King together with Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone is part of The Theban Plays by ancient Greek tragedian Sophocles. According to Prophecy, King Laius would be murdered by his own son and he will marry his own mother. The King orders his wife to kill the infant. She passes the child to her servant to kill but instead, the servant takes and abandons the child on the mountain-top only to be found later by a shepherd. The shepherd takes the baby with him to Corinth, where Oedipus is taken in and raised in the court of the childless King Polybus and Queen Merope. However, Oedipus soon found out that he is not the true son of King Polybus and questions the Delphic Oracle about the true identity of his parents who instead tells him that he is destined to "Mate with [his] own mother, and shed/With [his] own hands the blood of [his] own sire".
Leaving Corinth, he encounters with his own biological father King Laius and the two gets into an argument about whose chariot has right-of-way. King Laius moves to strike young Oedipus with his sceptre, but Oedipus throws him down from the chariot and kills him, therefore fulfilling part of the oracle's prophecy. Afterwards, Oedipus solves the riddle of the Sphinx which has baffled many a diviner: "What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?" Oedipus replies, "Man" (who crawls on all fours as an infant, walks upright later, and needs a walking stick in old age), and the distressed Sphinx throws herself from the cliff. Oedipus's reward for freeing the kingdom of Thebes from her curse is becoming the King and marrying Queen Dowager Jocasta who is his biological mother. The prophecy is thus fulfilled. The play itself starts with a priest and the chorus of Thebans calling for the arrival of King Oedipus to help them with the plague. King Oedipus has sent his brother-in-law Creon to ask help of the Delphic Oracle, and he returns at that moment and tells the king that the plague is because of religious pollution caused as the murderer of King Laius has never been identified. Oedipus vows to find the murderer who causes the plague to curse him unaware that he is he himself who causes it. Oedipus then summons the blind prophet Tiresias to assist him but he instead refuses to tell the truth and warns him not to continue with his search. Oedipus is enraged by the prophet's refusal, and says the prophet must be an accomplice. Outraged, Tiresias tells the king that Oedipus himself is the murderer. Oedipus cannot see how this is possible, and concludes that the prophet must have been paid off by Creon in an attempt to compromise him. The two argue aggresively and eventually Tiresias leaves, muttering that when the murderer is discovered he shall be a native citizen of Thebes; brother and father to his own children; and son and husband to his own mother.
The King demands that Creon be executed, however the chorus persuades him to let Creon live. Queen Jocasta enters and attempts to comfort Oedipus, telling him he should take no notice of prophets and tells him that several years ago she and King Laius also received an oracle which never came true. It was said that Laius would be murdered by his own son, but Laius was killed by bandits at a crossroads on the way to Delphi. The mention of this crossroads causes Oedipus to pause and ask for more details and discovers that the account is quite similar to what has happened to him and the description of King Laius even matches with the old man he killed.
A messenger arrives from Corinth with the message that Oedipus's father has died. Oedipus, is made ecstatic by this news, for it proves one half of the prophecy false, for now he can never kill his father. But the messenger tells him that this is not even possible as Queen Merope is not his true mother. It turns out this messenger was formerly a shepherd on Mount Cithaeron, and that he was given a baby, which the childless King Polybus then adopted. Everything is revealed, and Oedipus curses himself and fate before leaving the stage. The chorus laments how even a great man can be felled by fate. Queen Jocasta hangs herself in the house. Oedipus takes her down and removes the long gold pins that held her dress together and plunge them into his own eyes in despair. A blind Oedipus now exits the palace and begs to be exiled but Creon thinks that he should wait and consult with the oracles first. Oedipus's two daughters (and half-sisters), Antigone and Ismene, are sent out, and Oedipus griefs that they should be born to such a cursed family. He asks Creon to watch over them and Creon agrees, before sending him back to the palace. The play ends with a common Greek philosophical phrase, that no man should be considered fortunate until he is dead.
The main theme of this tragedy is obviously fate. The question is of course does an individual have a free-will to do whatever he likes and has the ability over the outcomes of his own future or has his life already be predetermined by his own fate which is seen as innate. Oedipus is once the celebrated hero and king of Thebes after solving the Sphinx's riddle but his life tragically changes in a sudden because of his own fate when he becomes a blind man and loses his status and everything he has. It can be said that he himself has caused the outcome as if he has listened to Tiresias' advice, he would have never found out about the truth of his real identity. So, of course, he has or we all have some ability of control with our lives. It is not always fate which determines the course of actions and outcomes of one's life. I find the easiest and simplest translation of 'Oedipus the King' is by Ian Johnston and is available to read online at https://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/soph.... This is my first Greek tragedy and I enjoyed it thoroughly because of the humanity and the flaws of the main character, Oedipus and the horrifying twists and turns that fate can bring to one's life which seems surreal.