I was not interested in doing the plot of OEDIPUS in blackface. I did wonder, what would these people have been like if they hadn't been in that situation? . . . One could look at Oedipus, or at my character Augustus, as a cynical schemer who did everything because he was hungry for power. But that's just too easy. I'm more interested in how humans can embody conflicting goals and emotions.
It is the courage to make a clean breast of it in the face of every question that makes the philosopher. He must be like Sophocles' Oedipus, who, seeking enlightenment concerning his terrible fate, pursues his indefatigable inquiry even though he divines that appalling horror awaits him in the answer. But most of us carry with us the Jocasta in our hearts, who begs Oedipus, for God's sake, not to inquire further.
The basis of drama is... is the struggle of the hero towards a specific goal at the end of which he realizes that what kept him from it was, in the lesser drama, civilization and, in the great drama, the discovery of something that he did not set out to discover but which can be seen retrospectively as inevitable. The example Aristotle uses, of course, is Oedipus.
Death of the Father would deprive literature of many of its pleasures. If there is no longer a Father, why tell stories? Doesn't every narrative lead back to Oedipus? Isn't storytelling always a way of searching for one's origin, speaking one's conflicts with the Law, entering into the dialectic of tenderness and hatred?
CHORUS: You that live in my ancestral Thebes, behold this Oedipus, - him who knew the famous riddles and was a man most masterful; not a citizen who did not look with envy on his lot- see him now and see the breakers of misfortune swallow him! Look upon that last day always. Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain.
Many audiences all over the world will answer positively from their own experience that they have seen the face of the invisible through an experience on the stage that transcended their experience in life. They will maintain that Oedipus or Berenice or Hamlet or The Three Sisters performed with beauty and with love fires the spirit and gives them a reminder that daily drabness is not necessarily all.
OEDIPUS: Upon the murderer I invoke this curse- whether he is one man and all unknown, or one of many- may he wear out his life in misery to miserable doom! If with my knowledge he lives at my hearth I pray that I myself may feel my curse. On you I lay my charge to fulfill all this for me, for the God, and for this land of ours destroyed and blighted, by the God forsaken.
What we were trying to do was take the notion of Greek tragedy, of fated and doomed people, and instead of these Olympian gods, indifferent, venal, selfish, hurling lightning bolts and hitting people in the ass for no reason""instead of those guys whipping it on Oedipus or Achilles, it's the postmodern institutions . . . those are the indifferent gods.
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle conceived Sherlock Holmes, why didn't he give the famous consulting detective a few more quirks: a wooden leg, say, and an Oedipus complex? Well, Holmes didn't need many physical tics or personality disorders; the very concept of a consulting detective was still fresh and original in 1887.
so that it isn't upsetting to anybody. It's something we've always known about fairy tales - they talk about incest, the Oedipus complex, about psychotic mothers, like those of Snow White and Hansel and Gretel, who throw their children out. They tell things about life which children know instinctively, and the pleasure and relief lie in finding these things expressed in language that children can live with. You can't eradicate these feelings - they exist and they're a great source of creative inspiration.
The tragic fear and pity may be aroused by the Spectacle; but they may also be aroused by the very structure and incidents of the play-which is the better way and shows the better poet. The Plot in fact should be so framed that even without seeing the things take place, he who simply hears the account of them shall be filled with horror and pity at the incidents; which is just the effect that the mere recital of the story in Oedipus would have on one. To produce this same effect by means of the Spectacle is less artistic, and requires extraneous aid.
This may not be art as art commonly goes; the lack of discipline, of control, would seem to rule it out of that category. And yet Woolrich's lack of control over emotions is a crucial element in his work, not only because it intensifies the fragility and momentariness of love but also because it tears away the comfortable belief, evident in some of the greatest works of the human imagination such as Oedipus Rex, that nobility in the face of nothingness is possible. And if Woolrich's work is not art as commonly understood, there is an art beyond art, whose form is not the novel or story but the scream; and of this art Woolrich is beyond doubt a master. ("Introduction")
Francis M. Nevins Jr.
Teaching English is (as professorial jobs go) unusually labor-intensive and draining. To do it well, you have to spend a lot of time coaching students individually on their writing and thinking. Strangely enough, I still had a lot of energy for this student-oriented part of the job. Rather, it was _books_ that no longer interested me, drama and fiction in particular. It was as though a priest, in midcareer, had come to doubt the reality of transubstantiation. I could still engage with poems and expository prose, but most fiction seemed the product of extremities I no longer wished to visit. So many years of Zen training had reiterated, 'Don't get lost in the drama of life, ' and here I had to stand around in a classroom defending Oedipus.
Mary Rose O'Reilley
I agree with Proust in this, he says, that books create their own silences in ways that friends rarely do. And the silence that grows palpable when one has finished a canto of Dante, he says, is quite different from the silence that grows palpable when one has reached the end of Oedipus at Colonus. The most terrible thing that has happened to people today, he says, is that they have grown frightened of silence. Instead of seeking it as a friend and as a source of renewal they now try in every way they can to shut it out... the fear of silence is the fear of loneliness, he says, and the fear of loneliness is the fear of silence. People fear silence, he says, because they have lost the ability to trust the world to bring about renewal. Silence for them means only the recognition that they have been abandoned... How can people find the strength to be happy if they are so terrified of silence?
Terror" There is something About you That seems so young So trusting This is the part of you that I most love And the part of you that I am most frightened to hurt Do you think the German poets When speaking of the terror of love Meant the terror that comes From knowing We can be harmed Or from knowing We have the power to hurt Of these two terrors The second is the greater Humanity's deeper fear Perhaps it is so Even with Americans Who arm their leaders Not for fear of being destroyed But because in disarming them for a moment All the harm done would be exposed Leaving the people Limping home in shame Like Oedipus Who was haunted by mirrors The terror that comes From knowing you have the power to hurt This is the greater fear Perhaps this is why our dogs Can look into our eyes Unflinchingly With unconditional love It is not because they are too stupid to know that someday We may casually break their hearts But because they are wise enough to know that They will never break ours
Tara Sophia Bahna-James
As a rule, we don't like to feel to sad or lonely or depressed. So why do we like music (or books or movies) that evoke in us those same negative emotions? Why do we choose to experience in art the very feelings we avoid in real life? Aristotle deals with a similar question in his analysis of tragedy. Tragedy, after all, is pretty gruesome. [... ] There's Sophocles's Oedipus, who blinds himself after learning that he has killed his father and slept with his mother. Why would anyone watch this stuff? Wouldn't it be sick to enjoy watching it? [... ] Tragedy's pleasure doesn't make us feel "good" in any straightforward sense. On the contrary, Aristotle says, the real goal of tragedy is to evoke pity and fear in the audience. Now, to speak of the pleasure of pity and fear is almost oxymoronic. But the point of bringing about these emotions is to achieve catharsis of them - a cleansing, a purification, a purging, or release. Catharsis is at the core of tragedy's appeal.
Brandon W. Forbes
The character and the play of Hamlet are central to any discussion of Shakespeare's work. Hamlet has been described as melancholic and neurotic, as having an Oedipus complex, as being a failure and indecisive, as well as being a hero, and a perfect Renaissance prince. These judgements serve perhaps only to show how many interpretations of one character may be put forward. 'To be or not to be' is the centre of Hamlet's questioning. Reasons not to go on living outnumber reasons for living. But he goes on living, until he completes his revenge for his father's murder, and becomes 'most royal', the true 'Prince of Denmark' (which is the play's subtitle), in many ways the perfection of Renaissance man. Hamlet's progress is a 'struggle of becoming' - of coming to terms with life, and learning to accept it, with all its drawbacks and challenges. He discusses the problems he faces directly with the audience, in a series of seven soliloquies - of which 'To be or not to be' is the fourth and central one. These seven steps, from the zero-point of a desire not to live, to complete awareness and acceptance (as he says, 'the readiness is all'), give a structure to the play, making the progress all the more tragic, as Hamlet reaches his aim, the perfection of his life, only to die.