The task of comparing and contrasting Oedipus Rex and Lysistrata is not an overwhelmingly foreboding assignment when one examines each work. The similarities are persistent enough for an evident connection between the two to make itself present, but many differences exist as well. The plays share a basic subject matter, not to mention a general setting (time and place), but they approach their respective subject in marked contrast with one another and the result is a pair of entirely separate pay-offs. This stems from the separation in theme between Oedipus and Lysistrata. And structure plays a highly vital role in this gap as well.
Oedipus Rex and Lysistrata are both fifth-century Greek theater pieces with their minds firmly fixed upon that which we so often consider stereo typically Greek: sex. It is the overall approachâ€“which includes elements such as structure, theme and styleâ€“that provides each work with its uniqueness. Oedipus is tragedy at its most debauchery-filled and disturbing. Lysistrata, on the other hand, is sharply satirical, bawdier even than much of what we today consider â€œedgyâ€ or even â€œobsceneâ€. .
The structure of these plays most certainly plays a significant role in the audienceâ€™s reactions to the action that takes place in the plots. Oedipus Rexâ€™s most critical structural element is the fact that it begins in medias res, or in the middle. This ups the ante on the suspense and makes the tragedy that much more wrenching. It allows for something very key for the audience. We walk alongside our title character, in him even, discovering and uncovering as he does the same. His startling realizations, his deep regrets, his crippling remorseâ€“all of these become our own. And so it becomes seemingly impossible not to allow for that most important of all human emotions to well up our hearts. Iâ€™m talking about the grand thing known as empathy.