2/12: Oedipus Tyrannus
The play starts by Oedipus as a strong King, a man with flexible actions and an influential person too. Oedipus incredible qualities present him as an adorable and excellent King, who is answerable to the needs of his subject.. For instance, the Thebe people asked their King to provide a solution to plague that had befallen them. Oedipus had already moved out to look for a solution. A king should always be a step ahead in ruling so as contain the opposition who might look for his weakness and attack from there. On the contrary, Oedipus’ nature of acting is flexible and swift tends to possess some dangerous effect too. It is evident in the story when Oedipus narrates on how he killed a group of travelers who attempted to jostle him at a three-way crossroads. As much as he reacted out of self-defense, killing the travelers was an explicit sign of violence, which proves that Oedipus is a rash person, which, in its turn, is dangerous for a King.
Additionally, Oedipus is also a confident in his ruling King. It is through his confidence that we see the people of Thebe being rescued from the curse of the Sphinx. Oedipus collected all the credits for himself and took advantage of this to proclaim his name suggesting that, his name has a healing charm. “Here I am myself- / you all know me, the world knows my fame: / I am Oedipus” (7–9). Often, rulers will want to leave a legacy behind no matter what it takes. Ancient kings tended to adopt achievement or ideas of their citizens and claim as own to attain fame and legacy. Oedipus wish of making his name sound powerful name raises no doubts. As the play unfolds, Oedipus name becomes a curse at Oedipus at Colonus when the Chorus King became horrified upon meeting Oedipus: “You, you are that Man?”
Furthermore, Oedipus continues to display flexibility and art of confidence even at the end of the play. He starts to catechize Creon and call for the Thebe’s fortuneteller, prophet Tiresias. Rashly, Oedipus threatens to excommunicate both Creon and Tiresias. He appears so doctorial by forcing Tiresias to reveal the murderer of the late Laius, who was the former King of Thebe. Now, Oedipus was shocked to learn he was the murderer of King Laius and he was his real father, and his current wife who is her maternal mother. On the stage, Oedipus is constantly in motion, symbolically, this implies the struggle to keep pace with his fate despite the fact that it has gone beyond his control. Finally, Oedipus starts to accept what has transpired in his life, as he is seen helplessly sitting rather than acting which is ironic, because he has always been an abrasive person.
2/17: Oedipus at Colonus
The play begins by terminating the suspense of what might have happened after Oedipus learned his identity and the awful acts he had committed. Oedipus decided to disappear for exile until he would find himself at the margins of Athens. His elder daughter Antigone accompanies him as he appears as a blind beggar banished from Thebe, who later transforms into a hero due to his significance in the land of Athens. When Oedipus discovered that he and his daughter Antigone were standing in a holy ground, a place of fate, he summoned the Theseus, the King of Athens.
In this scene, Oedipus starts grasping more hidden things in his life. He reveals to his daughter that Apollo’s prophecy explains about his dome and God’s promises to him. For instance, the God had promised Oedipus that he would come to rest in a holy ground. Later, news from Thebes informs Oedipus that his younger son has overthrown the eldest one, Polynices, from power. Thirst for power is a common phenomenon evident in the contemporary society and this desire will incline a person to do anything to be able to rule. In the news, the younger son, Eteocles, set a troop of army by manipulating the citizens of Thebes and using bribes to incline them to fight Polynices rule. Nowadays, bribing and other forms of corruption are common in the field of politics; the hunger for power evem makes some politicians go even to an extent of executing others.
Upon arrival of Theseus, he is the only one who seems compassionate about Oedipus by pitting him having learned all that has befallen him. Theseus agrees to harbor Oedipus in Athens despite being warned of the impending wrath of the Thebes people who will come looking for him. There seems to be a fight for Oedipus ownership when the Athens and the Thebe people learned the significance attached to Oedipus body upon his death. Eventually, Creon appears with the mission of abducting Oedipus to take him back to Thebe. His efforts were futile and, instead, opted to abduct Oedipus daughters, but Theseus rescued them. Theseus was a man of his words and he made sure all Oedipus wishes happened. For example, when Oedipus’ daughters asked Theseus to promise that he would show them their father’s tomb, he emphatically rejects and explains that Oedipus had forbidden that.
Finally, upon receiving a messenger report on the mysterious death of Oedipus, Antigone and Ismene seem to accept it by coming on stage singing dirges. Unlike Oedipus’ sons, his daughters stood by him to the end. The two girls loved their father despite the sins he had committed, hence, his death brought the two into a lot of pain and tears. At the end, the two daughters decided to return to Thebe and Theseus grant a safe return they had wished. The sole aim of their return home was to try calming the feuds between their brothers which portrays the two women as peace lovers.
The setting of the play takes place at Medea and Jason, her husband’s house. On the onset of the play, the audience can see two servants, a tutor and a nurse. Medea appears as a desperate woman; she has some soft aspect of her own. For instance, she gives her servants a chance to speak, hence, the two servants had the opportunity to air out their views on how they find life in Medea and Jason’s homestead. In their narration, the two servants seem to have a problem with Jason.
Shortly on stage, the audience discovers that the nurse is loyal to her masters. According to the nurse, Medea is portrayed as a violent woman, which makes the nurse to be afraid of her misterss. On the other hand, the tutor has a different point of view. For instance, he thinks that everyone should mind his or her business. Additionally, it appears that the two servants know something that Medea and Jason do not know. For example: the nurse is aware of a terrible event likely to happen to Medea’s children. In the contemporary society, the servants are known to have an outside eye of their master’s life but they have no power to control anything even if the outcome is horrific.
Furthermore, it is through the nurse the audience learns that Medea is a loving woman and can do anything out of love. Medea followed her husband to Greece for the sake of love. However, Medea helps Jason in his mystery because she is motivated by love and passion to her gusband. Feelings of love and passion in Medea were so intense that finally changed to hatred and jealousy. Medea’s wish of winning Jason love’s spurred her on to terrible actions, for instance, she killed her brother to help Jason escape from captivity. Additionally, she turned daughters of Pelias into murderers in order to get back her rightful passion in Lolcus. The Nurse reveals to the audience that : "Love is diseased" (l. 16), the farfetched power of Medea's desire, infested by Jason's unfaithfulness, will now become unhelpful. In history, all the love stories are characterized by wired activities.
The play commences with Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, introducing prologue of the play by counting her supernatural powers. Fixed with all those powers, she narrates how she would punish any human who would dishonor her. The people have to worship her instead. From this prologue, the audience learns the main theme of the the story, the details of the offenses committed by Hippolytus against Aphrodite and familial connection of Hippolytus with Theseus and Phaedra.
Through the interplay, the audience can understand religious implication and contemporary moral behavior of humans. Euripides displays Aphrodite as a malicious and horrific Goddess, who is dominant and sees humans as her subjects, who should follow what she believes is right. The fact that she is the deity of love, the manner in which she perceives the world is justifiable, though she achieves this with the advantage of her power that transpires to everyone. Each mortal person is bound to fall in love and Aphrodite takes advantage of her position to dictate her subjects. In the play, Euripides suggests that, an erotic love is attached to a weird overwhelming and damaging force.
Aphrodite’s anger is aimed at Hippolytus when he goes against her will by failing to worship the Goddess and, instead, choosing to worship Artemis, which brought Aphrodite into even deeper fury. She plots to punish Hippolytus by using Phaedra, his stepmother. Aphrodite’s aim is to prove her supremacy to humans by an example of Hippolytus. It has always been inherent to people privileged with any form of power to manipulate or oppress others if they go against their wish. Aphrodite decided to put Phaedra in a dangerous for life situation in order to trap Hippolytus. In her turn, Phaedra is innocent and has not committed any ill acts towards Aphrodite. The Goddess bewitched Phaedra to fall in love with Hippolytus who later contemplates suicide due to embarrassment. As the Goddess explains, “Her suffering does not weight in the scale so much that I should let my enemies go untouched.”
(2. 21).The tension erupts because Hippolytus now submits to Aphrodite to rescue her lover.
Interactions between men and Gods tend to bear some similarity with the modern perspective of religion. In a way that, individuals should consider the obligations, they have towards their Gods and the Gods, in their turn, should consider their responsibilities towards humans. For instance, in the manner Aphrodite reacted when she learned Hippolytus was entirely devoted to Artemis, in spite an allowance given to human that they can worship all gods. Ironically, instead of the Gods to look after humans, they tend to use them as playthings whom will only worship and sooth them in order to escape their wrath.