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Are the three unities observed in Oedipus?
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The three Unities in Greek drama, as described in Aristotle’s rules of poetry in The Poetics, are the Unities of Time, Place, and Action; here, the entire dramatic action of Oedipus takes place in a 24-hour period, since the exposition (the action before the start of the play), such as the confrontation of Oedipus and his father, the marriage to his mother Jocasta, etc., are all discussed as actions happening before the dramatic action begins, but are not acted out on stage. The entire play takes place at the entrance to Oedipus’ mansion – there are no interior scenes or locations in other cities, etc. (remember, this was before proscenium arches, set changes -- except for perioktoi --, etc.), and the entire dramatic action is Oedipus’ dilemma – there are no subplots or minor character developments/ distractions. Whether Aristotle was prescribing rules or simply describing already existing plays (by Aeschylus, Euripides, etc.) , the Unities became the criteria for "correct" dramatic construction for tragedies until the Renaissance.
Posted by wordprof on June 5, 2013 at 12:37 AM (Answer #1)
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