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MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
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The "kommos" that follows between Oedipus, Antigone, and the chorus sets the stage for the imminent death of Oedipus. The chorus stresses the Themes of time and death and prays to the gods for their mercy. Episode IV closes with Theseus' arriving to accompany Oedipus on his final fatal journey. The concluding Exodus completes the tragic tale of Oedipus' death with an exquisitely poetic description given by the Messenger. The play concludes with Antigone and Ismene mourning their dear father and the chorus trying to console them. With Theseus' consent and protection, they leave for their home city of Thebes at the close of the play.

The plot of Oedipus At Colonus has all the complex structural features of a dramatic symphony about death -- its grandeur and inevitability. It reveals Sophocles' genius for plot construction in the formal artistry of the choral stasima and "kommos" that are brilliantly interwoven into the texture of the main episodes. This makes the play a finely unified dramatic piece with a convincing sweep of action. Sophocles introduces only such actions as are absolutely essential for his audience to understand why Oedipus chose to stay away from Theban politics and public life.


The plot of Oedipus At Colonus is certainly less complex than that of Sophocles' other Theban plays, yet it is extremely successful as theater due to its rather melodramatic action and spectacular tableau. Its plot may not be as cohesive as that of Oedipus the King, for it focuses on the character of Oedipus rather than any intricate dramatic action. There are no highly complex strands of plot to unravel at the end. But within its own limits and given its mystical theme of death, this play reveals Sophocles is still a master of his craft even at the age of ninety.

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