7 Almond Kernals

“Subtlety was left to the human voice, which was, both for actor and playwright, the principal means of expression. . . . Although not much could be seen in the Greek theatre, everything could be heard” (Arnott 74). Peter D. Arnott in his book entitled Public and Performance in the Greek Theatre goes on further to emphasize the importance of speech in ancient Grecian society, not only just in Greek theatre. “Public speaking”, Arnott mentions, “was the key to advancement” in Greece (75). To drive home the point, Arnott brings up the focal point of the education within Athens, the capital city of Greece in the following excerpt:
[Speeches] were addressed, moreover, to an audience that knew how to listen. A large proportion of the Athenian public was non-literate. Reading and writing were not, as for us, the fundamentals of education. Public speaking was. (75)
There was also a prejudice towards writing in the ancient Grecian society, where Homer judges writing to be “an arcane art, tainted with the possibilities of evil” (Arnott 75). Writing was also thought to be “secret, sinister, and fraught with dangers. [Whereas] the spoken word is clear and honest” as Arnott once again aids us in understanding the historical contexts of that era (76). Yet, Sophocles turns this glorification of speech on its head in Oedipus the King, in his bid to represent life on stage. If Oedipus had kept the investigation to himself and not declared it to all of his subjects, or not have said anything at all, would he have enjoyed a happier ending than in the play? Oedipus boasts of his altruism when Creon comes back with word from the Oracle at Delphi, choosing to let all know of the Oracle’s words when Creon had hinted to speak him in private, near the start of the play:
Creon. If thou wouldst hear my message publicly, I’ll tell thee straight, or with thee pass within.
Oedipus. Speak before all; the burden that I bear is more for these my subjects than for myself. (Storr 3)...