Adaptation Journal1 Essay

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Adaptation Journal (Oedipus)
Alaina Dougherty
Ohio University Zanesville

ENG 2020
February 2, 2015

Oedipus Rex, a film adaptation of the play Oedipus by Sophocles, follows the play carefully while using costumes, masks and actor movements to set the scene and highlight the emotion of the characters. The elaborate masks and nature of the actors are used to help the audience understand the play. These differences serve to strengthen the audience’s interpretation of the films direction and version of the story line. In the films opening scene the audience can distinguish between the characters because of their costumes. King Oedipus enters wearing all gold and wearing a high crown. Oedipus’ costume shows his status as king and his good fortune. His costume changes after he looses his fortune and finds out that he did fulfill the prophecy by killing his father and marrying his mother. After his fall his robes are dark red, reminding the audience of the blood on his hands and he wears a black veil to demonstrate his mourning. He is not only mourning for the death of his father and mother but for his fall from grace. In contrast to the King, the chorus wears shabby robes of dark colors. This is used to demonstrate their lowly position and the plight of their city. The chorus asks for Oedipus to help rid them of sickness and failing crops. In similar fashion Queen Iocaste wears her costume to display her status. Iocaste wears a mask of silver and purple robes to show her position as second in command. Actors in the play wear elaborate masks, covering their faces, further implying the status of each character. Oedipus and Iocaste wear masks that have sharp, strong, and distinguished features. The members of the chorus wear masks that have round features and furrowed brows. The roundness of their faces and the pronounced foreheads make them seem childlike, which shows the contrast to King Oedipus on whom they rely. Creon has a similar mask and costume to Oedipus, only varying in brightness. Creon’s mask and robes change when he becomes king after Oedipus falls, becoming gold as Oedipus’ were. The masks the characters wear cover their faces and don’t allow the audience to see any emotion or facial movement. They rely on movements to show the feelings and alliances of the characters. When the chorus enters the first scene they walk slowly and