Relevance Of The Introductory Scenes In "Antigone" And "Oedipus The King"

1765 words - 8 pages

"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 ...view middle of the document...

He is a main character in the production, and is played by a person, giving the role life. In the text he is the first person to speak and his words are of great magnitude. He is the omniscient narrator, who knows the past, present and future of the play. He sets the mood of the set, and his descriptions inform us of the tragedy that is about to occur. In both plays we are immediately aware of the sadness that hangs over the lives of the characters, soon to engulf them fully. The Prologue shows us that the atmosphere behind the 'curtains' is gloomy, as all the characters are aware of the tragic events about to occur. This has a very heavy impact on the reader because we are made aware of future fatalities and this awareness sets the mood of the play. He also isolates the audience from the characters by introducing them in a way that makes it clear that they are parts being played. And yet, one is still caught up in the story and feels empathy for the characters. The introductory scene in Oedipus the King, takes over a slightly different form, as a Chorus, aids it. His presence is prevalent throughout the text and he reinforces any event happening in the text at a particular time. He is aware of Oedipus's future, thus throughout the play, he is the unique feature that regularly reminds us of Oedipus' fate. The Chorus opens by describing the city of Thebes. It tells us of the plague that the people are entrenched in, their song represents the people's prayers, but most of all it depicts the depression and suffering in the play. "Healer what have you sent is it the sudden doom or grief or the old curse the darkness looming in the turning season. From this we are well aware that the "gold bathed, bright city of Thebes has now been cursed with a plague of some sort. The Chorus can be likened to a long poem, in which there are only run on lines. The fluidity of its verses, symbolizes the overflow of emotion that the chorus harbors for the horrible fate that [Oedipus and] his people must sufferIn "Antigone" the Prologue begins by describing the various characters of the production in turn; the words he uses to adorn the characters, tells us the kind of people they are. This allows the audience to understand the actions and choices that they will make. Antigone is described as the "thin dark girl whose family did not take her seriously and rises up alone against everyone. Against Creon, her uncle... the King" This gives insight as to the physical, and used metaphorically, emotional character of Antigone, and hints of the present and future turbulence in her life. In contrast, her sister Ismene is described, as "fair haired, beautiful, happy Ismene", showing and emphasizing the difference between them, and making Antigone seem alienated and aloof.He (the prologue) then continues, " Haemon... Antigone's fiancé... all this princely titles conferred on him was the right to die..." He is alike in character to Ismene, they share the same interest for...

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