Essay on Audience engagement in King Oedipus

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Sophocles, writing King Oedipus faced an unusual problem. He needed to find ways to engage an audience that has pre-knowledge of the plot and characters. He successfully does this to a high degree by using several techniques such as, irony, climax and anti-climaxes, plot and character twists, lack of resolution and foreshadowing.
The most effective feature utilized by Sophocles is irony because it builds tension, keeps the audience alert and has the effect of black comedy. The most common kind of irony is spoken irony which occurs in most dialogues. Oedipus bans himself in the beginning ?His fate will be nothing worse Than banishment? (Sophocles 31) which is ironic. This example has both a tension building effect and an amusing effect on
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Another technique used together with irony is the numerous climaxes and anti-climaxes. The main climax is how Oedipus is repeatedly close to arriving at the truth, but just as the audience expects him to recognize this, there?s an anti-climax which delays the process. In the beginning of the play the truth is told to Oedipus by Teresias ?the killer you are seeking is yourself? (Sophocles 38). This climax shocks the audience as it would usually be at the end of the play, but ironically Oedipus refuses to believe it and starts to suspect a conspiracy against him. These repeated climaxes build up tension which is then released by the anti-climaxes.
The Chorus sometimes works as an anti-climax, which slows down the pace of the situation and also releases tension. Right after Oedipus?s and Teiresias?s very intense conversation the Chorus appears and summarizes the situation (Sophocles 39) which relieves stress of the scene and gives the audience some time to think and relax. Another example of an anti-climax is when the Messenger comes and tells Oedipus that his ?father? in Corinth is dead. This has the effect of delaying the outcome and annoying the audience. The audience starts to understand it is a very unusual situation as it knows more than all the people on stage.
Plot and character twists are another feature used by Sophocles. He gives the characters

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