Friday, September 14, 2012

The Ending

In Oedipus, Sophocles uses a story that everyone knows. I think it was more effectual to have a story where the viewer knows how the ending goes. I knew what tragedy was coming and every time Oedipus spoke, I just felt so sorry for him - he had no idea what was coming. In my opinion, if the story had an unknown ending, it would have had an entirely different meaning - the viewer would have focuses on the plot, rather than the downfall of Oedipus itself. The viewer would have focuses on "What's going to happen next?" and other such questions. Instead, we watch with intense focus on Oedipus's pride and his self-destruction into misery.

2 comments:

Tyler Dean said...

I agree. The story of Oedipus was well known at the time of the Greeks, and Sophocles made a new production of a common story. Knowing what was going to happen made me look even more closely at how clueless Oedipus was. It made me feel so much more sorry for him that i would have if i hadn't known the tale. I feel like it must have been the exact same way during the time of the Greeks. They were probably tired of watching new plays that frankly weren't great, and Sophocles' use of a known story made the people want to come more and made them enjoy it more.

Ben Bonner said...

I think the fact that the story would have been well known by the viewers and that they therefore would have known how it was going to end is critical to understanding the play as a tragedy. The fact that the audience knew what was going to happen would have compounded the feeling of pity, which is of course one of the key characteristics of a tragedies Aristotle lays out. If they audience had known what was going to happen, I think their reaction would have been more one of surprise than one of pity. Also, the anxiousness that builds as the play goes on and Oedipus's emminent revelation becomes increasingly obvious contributes to the development of the sense of fear as well.