Beyond the Boundaries of Fantasia: An ancient imagining of the future of leadership

Stranger than Fiction

Leadership in Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus

The story of Oedipus has several connections to Agamemnon and Antony. Like Agamemnon, one of Oedipus' central problems of leadership is how to address a plague sent by Apollo upon the city of Thebes, a plague that he is unknowingly the cause of. He, too, feels a rivalry with his uncle/brother-in-law, Creon, and is suspicious of the seer, Teiresias. His mother/wife, Iocasta, is queen of Thebes and, like Cleopatra, exercises her own independent leadership and ultimately commits suicide out of shame. Unlike in the other stories, the disaster associated with Oedipus' problems of leadership ultimately turn upon his own family: infanticide, patricide, suicide, incest, and self-mutilation, the very marrow of Athenian tragedy.

This seven-hour module asks us to consider the well-known story of Oedipus in three acts: foundations, communities, and discoveries.
[Here is some additional information available on the Oedipus' myths.]

As you work your way through the three acts, familiarize yourself with these concepts:

Act 1:

Act 2:
Social Memory

Act 3:
Reversal (peripeteia)
Discovery (also,recognition:anagnorisis)
Calamity (‘suffering’, pathos)
Fear and Pity
Character (êthos)
Dramatic Irony

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