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Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
Alan Ackerman

6 principles in each play PLOT arrangement of events, occurrences, adventures OEDIPUS. When Lauis goes to the oracle and the oracle reveals to him that his child will kill him, have sex with his mom and share his fathers bed. So Jocasta and Lauis send a messenger with baby Oed. to the mountains with his ankles tied together. The rising action of Oedipus the King occurs when Creon returns from the oracle with the news that the plague in Thebes will end when the murderer of Laius, the king before Oedipus, is discovered and driven out. The climax of Oedipus the King occurs when Oedipus learns, quite contrary to his expectations, that he is the man responsible for the plague that has stricken Thebeshe is the man who killed his father and slept with his mother. In Oedipus the King, the consequences of Oedipuss learning of his identity as the man who killed his father and slept with his mother are the falling action. This discovery drives Jocasta to hang herself, Oedipus to poke out his own eyes, and Creon to banish Oedipus from Thebes. BACCHAE. Dionysus the protagonist arrives in Thebes to demonstrate his divinity and punish the family of Cadmus. The King of Thebes, Pentheus, is a violent opponent of Dionysian worship and rites. Dionysus disguises himself as a Lydian bacchant, the Stranger, and along with his group of maenads, enters Thebes. Pentheus orders soldiers to arrest him, Dionysus only too willingly allows himself to be taken. In three encounters Dionysus talks, tricks, and converts Pentheus into becoming a voyeuristic transvestite who goes to watch the bacchic rites. Agave dismembers her own son Pentheus. Agave takes her son's head back to Thebes still under the delusion that it is a lion's head. Cadmus finally makes her see the truth. LYSISTRATA The basic plot of Lysistrata is that the women barricade themselves in the acropolis and go on a sex strike to persuade their husbands to stop the Peloponnesian War CHARACTER individuality of the person, appearance, personal qualities OEDIPUS Oedipus - The protagonist. He is renowned for his intelligence and his ability to solve riddleshe saved the city of Thebes and was made its king by solving the riddle of the Sphinx, the supernatural being that had held the city captive. Yet Oedipus is stubbornly blind to the truth about himself. His names literal meaning (swollen foot) is the clue to his identityhe was taken from the house of Laius as a baby and left in the mountains with his feet bound together. On his way to Thebes, he killed his biological father, not knowing who he was, and proceeded to marry Jocasta, his biological mother. Chorus - Sometimes comically slow to understand or unpredictable, sometimes perceptive, sometimes melodramatic (exaggerated) , the Chorus reacts to the events onstage. The Choruss reactions can be lessons in how the audience should interpret what it is seeing, or how it should not interpret what it is seeing. Tiresias - the blind soothsayer(prophet) of Thebes. Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the murderer he hunts, and Oedipus does not believe him.. The literal blindness of the soothsayer points to the metaphorical blindness of those who refuse to believe the truth about themselves when they hear it spoken. Creon - Oedipuss brother-in-law. In him more than anyone else we see the gradual rise and fall of one mans power. Early in Oedipus the King, Creon claims to have no desire for kingship. Yet, when he has the opportunity to grasp power at the end of that play, Creon seems quite eager. Jocasta - Oedipuss wife and mother, and Creons sister. Jocasta appears only in the final scenes of Oedipus theKing. In her first words, she attempts to make peace between Oedipus and Creon, pleading with Oedipus not to banish Creon. She is comforting to her husband and calmly tries to urge him to reject Tiresiass terrifying prophecies as false. Jocasta solves the riddle of Oedipuss identity before Oedipus does, and she expresses her love for her son and husband in her desire to protect him from this knowledge. She commits suicide which could be shown as a sign of weakness and embarrassment. BACCHAE Dionysus - Originator, protagonist and central axis of The Bacchae, this god of wine, theater and group ecstasy appears mostly in disguise as a beautiful, longhaired, wine-flushed Lydian, the Stranger. His non-human forms and powers are also felt acutely(suddenly,severly) throughout the play and Dionysus the god is clearly different from Dionysus in disguise, as the Stranger, and yet they are the same. Still, they exist in their different forms simultaneously, so while the audience and the chorus hear the divine god give the command for the earthquake, the Stranger is inside the palace torturing Pentheus. Dionysus is the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, daughter of Cadmus. Pentheus - Pentheus is the king of Thebes, son of Agaue, grandson of Cadmus and the first cousin of Dionysus. Structurally Pentheus is Dionysus's foil, thus he is a preserver(cautious) of law and order, a military man, a stern patriarch, and ultimately a doomed mortal. Pentheus is not merely a mirror or inverted double of Dionysus; he is puritanical(determined) and obstinate(stubborn), but also curious and voyeuristic(nosy). Agaue - Mother of Pentheus and daughter of Cadmus. Agaue is already one of the maenads (a worshipper of Dionysus participating in orgiastic rites, from the Greek mainad to be mad) at the start of the play. Even though she only enters the play at the very end, her scene is the most powerful and tragic in the play. Cadmus - Former king of Thebes, father of Agaue and Semele, grandfather of Pentheus and
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