Relevance of the introductory scenes in "Antigone" and "Oedipus the King"

Essay by truffles911College, Undergraduate January 2006

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"The people gathered here are about to act the story of Antigone" This is the opening declaration to Jean Anouilh's adaptation of the Greek mythology "Antigone" and a part of the introductory scene. The author uses an informative technique in the form of the prologue to provide historical information on the plot (its origins) and on the characters in the play. A prologue is defined as the introductory lines of a play, speech or poem, and similar to the role of the chorus in "Oedipus the king" by Sophocles. The role of the introductory scene goes beyond shedding light on the characters in the play and this essay seeks to explore the importance of this device in relation to an understanding of and empathy for the plot and characters in Oedipus and its sequel.

"Oedipus the King" unfolds as a murder mystery and a psychological whodunit.

Throughout this mythic story of patricide and incest, Sophocles emphasizes the irony of a man impregnated by pride, power, and intelligence; yet backed by compassion and determined to rid his beloved Thebans of the curse bestowed upon them. He is Oedipus the King, destined from birth to murder his father Laios, and copulate with his mother. He us sent away to be killed, however, in an uncanny twist of events, his life is spared and he grows up to fulfill his destiny. In Jean Anouilh's adaptation of the sequel to this play, Oedipus' daughter, Antigone emerges as the main character of yet another tragedy. A product of Oedipus and Jocasta's biological fusion, she stood at the crossroads of life and death and chose the easier option of death, and was thus condemned. Her crime was that of disobeying Creon's orders to leave the corpse of her brother Polynices...