Friday, January 14, 2011

Oedipus Rex - A Pictorial

Hubby dear's final drama exam got done last week and both of us heaved a sigh of relief (me more than him I guess!). For his final drama exam, hubby dear played the role of Oedipus Rex in the Greek tragic play of the same name by Sophocles. The play was performed by the third year students of NAPA (the drama school where hubby dear used to study) and it was done in the classical format of Greek theatre with masks. Hubby dear's performance was great (and no bias here!) as King Oedipus and the play turned out remarkably well (read the review here). Here is a pictorial of the tragedy of Oedipus Rex.

The chorus (citizen of Thebes) with olive branches in their hands, wailing over the misfortunes that have plagued their city.
King Oedipus addressing the citizens of Thebes.
Creon, brother-in-law of Oedipus, tells the King of the oracle's prophecy. Thebes will only be rid of her problems if the murderer of the dead King Laius is either killed or banished.
Oedipus vows to find the murderer of the King he has replaced and carry out the necessary punishment.
The senior citizens of Thebes are puzzled over the prophecy and fear the worst.
Oedipus demands the citizens tell details, if they know any, of King Laius's murder.

Oedipus summons the blind prophet, Tiresias, for help.

Tiresias refuses to answer Oedipus's questions but when provoked by the King, he replies angrily that it is Oedipus, himself, who is responsible for the curse on Thebes. It is he, Oedipus, Tiresias tells all, who is committing the greatest sin; of being a murderer and a bed-fellow of his own mother. 

Oedipus is shocked and angry over Tiresias's accusation.

 Oedipus banishes Tiresias from his castle and accuses him of scheming with his brother-in-law, Creon.

      Creon tries to reason with Oedipus after hearing of the episode with Tiresias. He pleads and argues his innocence but Oedipus refuses to believe his side of the story. He orders that Creon be killed for his betrayal.
Senior citizens of Thebes try to reason with Oedipus who agrees to forgive Creon if only the latter leaves Thebes for good.

      Jocasta, wife of Oedipus and sister of Creon, hears of the argument between the two men. She demands an explanation from Oedipus.

Oedipus tells Jocasta of the prophecy of the Oracle and the scheming between Creon and Tiresias. 

He narrates his own story; how he left his land,Corinth, in order to escape from Apollo's prophecy which declared he would kill his father and sleep with his mother. Thus, he left his father and mother; Polybus and Merope.

Jocasta attempts to comfort Oedipus, telling him not to take prophets seriously. One such prophecy was made for King Laius also. It was foretold that his own son will kill him but all of Thebes knew that he was killed by bandits at a crossroad on the way to Dephi.

On hearing this Oedipus becomes distressed as he, too, had passed that road on his way from Corinth and laid to death a man whose appearance resembled that of Laius as mentioned by Jocasta. 

One man accompanying the King that day was alive. Only he could tell whether it was Oedipus who had killed Laius or a band of robbers, as everyone believed.

Oedipus ordered Jocasta to summon that man.
In the meanwhile a messenger arrives from Corinth, bearing news of the death of King Polybus.
Oedipus is relieved but distressed. His father died from natural causes but his mother, Merope, is alive and thus, the prophecy remains unfulfilled.

        The messenger tells Oedipus not to fear as both Polybus and Merope were not his biological parents. It was the messenger himself who delivered the child into the arms of Merope many years ago.

The messenger was formerly a shepherd on Mount Cithaeron and it was there that a shepherd from the Laius household gave him the baby. The baby's legs were bound with rope, the marks of which are on Oedipus's knee.

    Jocasta, realizing the truth, pleads with Oedipus not to investigate the matter any further as the truth will be devastating for all. But Oedipus persists in his search for the truth.

A distressed Jocasta leaves Oedipus and rushes into the castle.

     The shepherd is brought to the King. He begs Oedipus not to question him about the child but when the King threatens him, the shepherd reveals all. It was Oedipus whom Jocasta had handed over to the shepherd to dispose off so that the prophecy might never come true.
Oedipus curses fate and himself on hearing the truth and disappears into the castle.

Shortly afterwards, a messenger brings news to the people of Thebes that their Queen, Jocasta, killed herself. Oedipus went into a blind rage on seeing her dead and took the golden pins from her dress and stuck them into his eyes.

                                                              Oedipus - a sorry spectacle.

Oedipus asks Creon to banish him from the kingdom and thus, fulfill the prophecy.

Creon, who arrives just after the sad event of his sister's death, refuses to take any step without consulting the Gods first.

Oedipus begs Creon to look after  his two daughters. He laments on how this curse will ruin their lives and asks Creon to watch over them.Creon promises before sending Oedipus inside the castle. 

And this marked the end of Hubby dear's three years in NAPA. It was a long journey (for both of us) and I  am extremely proud of him! But his journey has only begun and we are greatly looking forward to all the exciting things that the future holds! :)