The Theatre of Apollo: Divine Justice and Sophocles' Oedipus the King

The Theatre of Apollo: Divine Justice and Sophocles' Oedipus the King

Drew Griffith

Language: English

Pages: 158


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

By imaginatively recreating the play's original staging and debunking the interpretations of various critics, including Aristotle, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, E.R. Dodds, Frederick Ahl, and John Peradotto, Griffith shows that Apollo is a constant, powerful presence throughout the play. He contends that although we can sympathize with Oedipus because of his sufferings, he is still morally responsible for murdering his father and sleeping with his mother. Apollo is therefore not indifferent and his actions are not unjust. Griffith focuses on Apollo's commandment "know thyself," a commandment Oedipus belatedly and tragically fulfils, to stress both the need for self-understanding in the study of ancient literature and the usefulness of ancient literature in achieving self-understanding.

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unable to see the children conceived in pollution (1273-4, 1369-70). Let us suppose that he is not responsible for his incest and the pain that he experiences is innocent suffering.12 (We will return to the problem of innocent suffering in chapter 5.) The presence of this innocent suffering explains our sympathy for his actions but should not cloud our analysis of them. If there is any additional suffering that Oedipus merits, it must be because he has done something. He is not likely punished

Oedipus is himself the answer in so far as, like the creature in the riddle, he combines three generations in one person; he belongs to his own generation, but also to that which came before, since he is the father of his half-siblings, and to that which came after, since he is the son of his wife. This bizarre contortion of his family tree is indicated by Teiresias in lines 457-60. Therefore, Oedipus's name reflects his failure, despite his obvious intelligence, to achieve self-knowledge prior

79-80. Two is a minimum number; lines 6-7 suggest that Oedipus has a hands-on style of government and will not employ many servants. 54 See Segal 1980-81,139. This, rather than a crown, which (pace Jebb 1893, 202) he does not wear, is the symbol of his kingship, for kings are axrjjTTODXOL paoiXrieig; see Griffin 1980,9-13. 55 Taplin 1982,155.1 follow Taplin's idea that the Oedipus actor does not limp, because a limping actor seems undignified, and as a "special effect" the limp would become

same meaning as the ancients he might bring it back and convey it to others."23 This idea has been carried even further. I quote a text from 1934: "We must not only enter into the place, the time, the class - we must even become the man himself, even more, we must become the man at the very moment at which he writes a certain poem."241 regret to report that the author of these remarks is the normally lucid Milman Parry. In this statement Parry is guilty of a sleight of hand unworthy of his high

produced eni Ftax'uxijuto'u, i.e., in the third year of the Ninety-second Olympiad; on medical concerns in the Philoctetes see Wilson 1952, 260; for more general discussions of Sophocles and medicine, see Walton 1935,170-6, and Oliver 1936, 121-2. 63 Cf Ahl 1991,35. 64 On the plague in the Iliad, see Bernheim and Zener 1978. 65 Thalmann 1988,22-6. 66 Burkert 1979, 74, and Suzuki 1989, 21. 67 Girard 1986,26. 68 Ahl 1991,39. 69 Cf 669-70, where Oedipus again shows his awareness of the riddling

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