Oedipus the King meets the Ana Lasic Story Template
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
"What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning two legs at noon and three in the evening?"
Before I go into the heroine’s journey (on the wheel) and non-linear structures (on the wheel), I would like to show you that the Intuitive screenwriting wheel works as an Intuitive (archetypal) storytelling wheel. This structure I am talking about is universal and can be used for creating any story, for film, theater or even novel. Whenever we have a main character that goes on a quest, we find a similar transformation of the psyche occurs, which we have already spoken about. Of course, in modern storytelling, we create different or broken and nonlinear, two or more main characters plotlines, but I’ll get to that later.
For now, let’s see how the Ana Lasic story template can serve us while breaking down the structure of Oedipus, the story of man, one of the greatest tragedies of all time, written by Sophocles around 429 B.C.
Argument: “While Thebes was under the rule of Laïus and Jocasta there appeared a strange and monstrous creature, "the riddling Sphinx," "the She-Wolf of the woven song," who in some unexplained way sang riddles of death and slew the people of Thebes. Laïus went to ask aid of the oracle of Delphi, but was slain mysteriously on the road. Soon afterwards there came to Thebes a young Prince of Corinth, Oedipus, who had left his home and was wandering. He faced the Sphinx and read her riddle, whereupon she flung herself from her rock and died. The throne being vacant was offered to Oedipus, and with it the hand of the Queen, Jocasta. Some ten or twelve years afterwards a pestilence has fallen on Thebes. At this point the play begins.”
Excerpt From: Sophocles. “Oedipus King of Thebes / Translated into English Rhyming Verse with Explanatory Notes.” iBooks.
1. Warrior →Fool (The exposition of a wound — ego) BATTLEFIELD
Pain caused by the wrong identity vs. all possible identities.
The city of Thebes is now devastated by “this plague of power.” King Oedipus is in despair. He sends his brother in law, Creon to the oracle at Delphi to ask “what task can save his city?”
“Up, O chief of men, and lift thy city from its grief.”
“And let thy kingdom be a land of men, Not emptiness. Walls, towers, and ships, they all are nothing with no men to keep the wall.”
Once again, we see that the ordinary world is a battlefield. It is the part of the story where the wounds just hurt so much that someone just has to do something about it.
This time, the wounds belong to everyone, and Oedipus, as just king (who is blind to his flaws), says that he is suffering the most. He also feels obligated to do whatever he can to save his people. So, just before the story starts, he sends Creon (his wife’s brother) to ask the Oracle what can be done.
Chorus prays: “Wounds beyond telling; my people sick unto death; And where is the counsellor, where is the sword of thought? And Holy Earth in her increase perisheth: The child dies and the mother awaketh not. I-ê! I-ê! We have seen them, one on another, gone as a bird is gone, Souls that are flame; yea, higher, Swifter they pass than fire, To the rocks of the dying Sun.”
2. Creator →Orphan (A ray of hope) HEART’S DESIRE
Hero’s heart and truth vs. non-authentic relationships and lies.
Creon is back with the message from the Oracle: “Find the murderer of Laius.”
Oedipus knows immediately that he was the one who has to discover the truth about what happened to the late king, whose throne and wife he inherited. He feels that the truth can set them all free, but at the same time, he is afraid that if he doesn’t address the problem, he might be the next target. He says: “this is now our ray of hope.”
“It falls on me then. I will search and clear This darkness. Well hath Phoebus done, and thou Too, to recall that dead king, even now, And with you for the right I also stand, To obey the God and succour this dear land. Nor is it as for one that touches me Far off; 'tis for mine own sake I must see This sin cast out. Whoe'er it was that slew Laïus, the same wild hand may seek me too: “
The chorus prays to the gods to help them in their despair.
3. Explorer →Magician (The hero decides to go on a quest) A BETTER LIFE IS POSSIBLE
Wrong belief vs. new vision.
“as I would for mine own father, choose for ill or good this quest.”
Oedipus is determined to find the murderer of Laius. At the point, he doesn’t know that the course he is putting against the murderer, is going against himself.
“I speak on him this curse: even as his soul Is foul within him let his days be foul,
“And life unfriended grind him till he die. More: if he ever tread my hearth and I Know it, be every curse upon my head That I have spoke this day. “
The Explorer/Magician stage, as we know, can also introduce a mentor into the story. Tiresias with his magic abilities plays the role of the mentor here, as he comes to tell Oedipus what only gods but no men can see. After Oedipus pushes him, he finally says: Oedipus is to be blamed.
“Thou seek'st this man of blood: Thyself art he.”
“Tiresias, the blinded seer, was both male and female: his eyes were closed to the broken forms of the light-world of the pairs of opposites, yet he saw in his own interior darkness the destiny of Oedipus.95”
Excerpt From: Joseph Campbell. “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” iBooks.
4. Lover →Caregiver (Wish storyline) LOVE INTRODUCED
Love triggers fear (overprotectiveness).
Oedipus wants to protect his position as a king, but also his marriage with Jocasta – that’s why he attacks her brother Creon, as he thinks he is the one who is plotting against him. As the two men fight, Jocasta (Oedipus lover and caregiver at the same time) enters.