• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Rooted as it is in the fabric of social life, the play cannot avoid making some criticism, even if only obliquely. Have you found that the plays you have read vary from each other in the degree to which they present criticism of society?

Extracts from this document...


Examination Essay Writing 'Rooted as it is in the fabric of social life, the play cannot avoid making some criticism, even if only obliquely.' Have you found that the plays you have read vary from each other in the degree to which they present criticism of society? Consider the concerns of two or three authors in your answer. Anouilh's "Antigone" and Aristotle's "King Oedipus" both present varying degrees of social criticism. In 'Antigone', the role of the guards project the moral debasement of the society, which reflects the context in which the play was written. The major theme of following orders without independent judgment reflects the society at that time during the second world war and being impartial to the moral corruption and decay of their community. In 'King Oedipus', although to a lesser extent than in 'Antigone', Aristotle highlights the danger of complete dependence on an individual. Despite Oedipus Rex's apparent indestructibility, there is great human frailty in his character and indeed in every human being, and to invest too readily and eagerly in one particular individual, doctrine or personality can be dangerous. ...read more.


In 'King Oedipus', Aristotle's criticisms of society are more subtle. The play opens with numerous citizens sitting in attitudes of supplication. As the old priest explains to Oedipus Rex the horrif situation that the country is in, it is apparent that society, from the old priests to the young children, revere Oedipus Rex almost as a god, 'the first of men'. It is also evident that they have total dependence that he will 'find some deliverance'. From then on, no citizen questions the authority of the king and his assumptions. The eventual fall of Oedipus Rex, from being the 'greatest of men' to his pathetic ending, highlights the human flaw inherent in every human being despite their apparent unbreakable character. Aristotle attacks the people for obeying and following too readily. The swift replacement of Oedipus Rex as king after the slaying of the Sphinx and the complete neglect of their former king Laius, illustrates the irresponsibility and disrespect of a society and how easily society is swayed by reward. ...read more.


Oedipus Rex ignored the signs that would lead to his own destruction, only wishing to 'pursue [the discovery] until death'. He let his passion of the blind pursuit of the truth consume him and the ones that he trusted and loved. In addition to Oedipus's pride, he was an extremely quick-tempered king and relied solely on his own capabilities, shunning out the advice of the shepherd, Teriestas, Creon and even Jocasta. The both the endings of 'Antigone' and 'Oedipus Rex', the audience is left with a decision to make. In 'Antigone', we are to make a moral judgment of following the guards and Creon in believing that living a passionate and meaningful life as Antigone did was 'all dead: quite stiff, quite useless, quite rotten'. In 'King Oedipus', we are also to decide whether we are going to idolize ourselves and others to a point of destruction and blind submission. Both these plays criticize the particular society, however, these themes still gravitate significance in the modern society and through the themes projected, such as individual integrity, pride, pragmatism, we too are forced to see the flaws in our society and re-assess our positions and obligations to ourselves and community. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. "Lysistrata is Funny As a Play but Not As a Character." Discuss.

    Normally the process would be very formal and serious. At the beginning Myrrhine "nearly faints", following her knees giving way. She can't believe what she is saying, adding some visual humour. A regular oath-taking would not mention "a state of erection", rape or the "lioness-on-a-cheese grater position".

  2. To what extent is hamartia present in the opening of Oedipus Rex?

    is told the fate of the main protagonist before the play begins. Using this technique heightens the sense of pity for the characters, which is necessary for a play to be a tragedy. Hamartia has come under some criticism over the years, for example according to R.D.

  1. Classical Civilisation AS coursework - the Mycenaean age

    The inscriptions reveal the Mycenaeans' hierarchical system. The title "wanax" used to say "king" is also the Homeric term (except the 'w' is omitted). The "leader of the people" was the "Lawagetas". His estate was considerably smaller than the king's but he appeared to be fairly significant.

  2. Discuss the contribution of material culture studies to the understanding of social identity.

    survived if it was owned by the elites of the society, and the art and mosaics were only limited to this class, so it has its biases. Although it does have its uses as we can see how the adoption of villa architecture by the British and Gaulish tribes shows

  1. Antigone - Moral Law V.S Political Law.

    This leads to the death of Antigone, Haimon, and Euridice. It is the situation which causes the tragedy, neither Kreon nor Antigone.

  2. Social Historical Background - Antigone

    The Playwright Sophocles was one of Ancient Greece's greatest playwrights. The reason that Sophocles was such a good playwright is because he had an ability to rebel conventional drama and produce plays that provoke debate. In Antigone, he gives the genuine thoughts and feelings of women in ancient Greece, which

  1. In what ways does The Simpsons portray American family and social values?

    imposing her viewpoint on others, as can be seen when she ruined Homer's barbecue as a sign of protest to turn everyone vegetarian.

  2. Beowulf - Main Ideas and Themes

    The monsters are all viewed as very evil, the exact opposite of Beowulf. Finally the monsters are all viewed as outcasts, ignored by the Geats and the Danes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work