The Efficacy Of The 1957 Film Oedipus The King Essay

941 Words Oct 13th, 2016 4 Pages
The Efficacy of the 1957 film Oedipus Rex to Convey Sophocles’ Intended Meaning
The William Butler Yeats adaptation of the play, Oedipus the King, directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie, is said to provide the most realistic viewing experience compared to what one would’ve witnessed in Sophocles’ day. The Stratford Shakespearean Festival Foundation successfully produces a piece that stays true to the genre of Greek drama and tragedy; the regal, yet, expressive, way in which the actors spoke, the exaggerated movements of their bodies, and the minimal lighting and props are all contributing elements. Despite the play being a shorter and more concise version, Yeats’ translation and Guthrie’s stage production effectively convey the same ideas and themes—the power of fate and divine will over free will and the notion of human luck, light versus darkness, blindness and its symbolism of enlightenment—with the same level of intensity, if not more.
The play on film begins with a brief explanation of what the audience is about to see. The thespians describe it as “the destruction of one man so his people might live,” (00.01.11-1.15), even going so far as to compare the tale to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Unlike the audience that would’ve viewed this play ca. 429 BCE, today’s modern audience would not know the story of King Oedipus as well; the synopsis of Oedipus the King is necessary. Despite this uncharacteristic synopsis, the company is still able to transport the audience to the 5th…

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