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MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
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With Sophocles, it is the innate character of a hero like Oedipus, or a heroine like Antigone, who initiate the central tragic action. It is their inner will that determines and dominates the action and shows how they could not behave in any other fashion. Sophocles rarely distracts attention from the self-contained world of his plays and refrains from introducing any extraneous matter. The plot of his plays is often drawn from a well-known body of Greek myth familiar to his audience.


Two devices that help develop the plot are 'peripeteia' and 'anagnorisis'. The first is roughly translated as a "reversal of fortune," but more correctly peripeteia takes place when an action directed to one end changes its course and brings disaster. For example, in Oedipus At Colonus, it is difficult to pinpoint the peripeteia, unless one regards the death of Oedipus as a catastrophe. On the contrary, here the death of the hero is to be taken as a sign of salvation. Anagnorisis refers to recognition, either the self-recognition of a character or the recognition of a situation by the character. One can discover anagnorisis in Oedipus' recognition that death awaits him in Colonus. Hence, he is never diverted from his destined goal of finding liberation from life no matter what distractions Creon or Polyneices may tempt him with. There are hardly any improbabilities in the plot of Oedipus At Colonus to destroy the conviction that these events could ever have taken place.
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MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
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