role of the gods in greek tragedy

  • Created by: gsoning
  • Created on: 23-05-19 15:33
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  • Role of the Gods in Greek Tragedy
    • Oedipus suggests that he is more powerful than the gods
      • 'You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers
    • In Oedipus Rex, there are no gods present in the play which could be Sophocles suggesting that they aren't important?
      • However, Apollo looms over the play as he is mentioned by Jocasta the chorus
        • [Leader]: 'Lord Tiresias sees with the eyes of Lord Apollo'
          • Maybe the role of fate + prophecy takes on the role of the gods and Perhaps Tiresias resembles the gods in the play.
    • The gods reinforce societal norms, i.e. piety
      • Dionysus uses Pentheus as an example of what happens when the gods aren't respected
        • [Pentheus]: 'He is the only claiming to be that god-Dionysus'
          • [Dionysus]: 'He dared to fight against a god'
      • Oedipus is an example of what happens when someone attempts to avoid a prophecy
        • [Chorus]: 'Time, all seeing time has dragged you to the light'
          • the time Oedipus spent trying to avoid his fate had devastating  impacts
    • Do the gods have a moral high-ground?
      • [Dionysus]: 'For I am a god, and I was insulted by you'
        • Dionysus justifies his extreme actions simply by stating he is a god. Arguably this shows that as a god, he is not on a moral high ground as he behaved in such a harsh manner
          • But maybe that is the role of the gods, to put mortals in their place no matter how extreme the actions.
        • [Cadmus]: 'It is not right that the gods should resemble mortals in their passions'
      • In the Bacchae, it is confusing as to whether the gods have a moral high-ground as Dionysus' revenge is so harsh'
      • In Oedipus Rex, there is no direct interaction between the characters and the gods so it is unclear as to whether the gods have a moral high-ground.
    • Goggin: 'Dionysus is a god who breaks down barriers (of gender, class, social norms, etc)'
    • Dionysus serves as a main character in the Bacchae, serving justice to himself and revenge on those who didn't respect him
      • could his revenge be considered abuse of his power?
        • Yes- he punished Cadmus despite Cadmus insisting on honouring Dionysus and trying to convince Pentheus to do so.
          • 'I have come ready, wearing these clothes of the god'
            • 'We must honour him as much as we are able'
        • No-Pentheus and Cadmus both disrespected Dionysus' status a god
          • [Cadmus] 'Even if this person is no god, as you say, declare him one! Tell a lie in a good cause
            • perhaps Dionysus interpreted this as Cadmus not believing that he was a real god
  • No-Pentheus and Cadmus both disrespected Dionysus' status a god
    • [Cadmus] 'Even if this person is no god, as you say, declare him one! Tell a lie in a good cause
      • perhaps Dionysus interpreted this as Cadmus not believing that he was a real god

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