Oedipus the king Sophocles

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1 Name Reading guide questions Page 2 1. What does Oedipus ask the priest? Oedipus the king Sophocles 2. What kind of a king does Oedipus seem to be? English II / Tedder 1 3. What simile does the priest use when describing the state of the city in the plague? 4. What are the effects of the plague? 5. Recount what happened with the sphinx in at least 2 complete sentences. 6. What is the priest s and the people of Thebes opinion of Oedipus? 7. Oedipus says to his people, I know you are all sick, yet not one of you suffers as much as I. What does this tell you about him? 8. Whose help does Oedipus seek to save his land from the plague? Page 3 9. What is Apollo s advice to Oedipus to save the land from the plague? 10. What is the pollution that Apollo speaks about? 11. Who is Laius? 12. How did Laius die? 13. What must be done to Laius murderer? 14. What clue did the one man who survived the attack offer? 15. Recount the problem facing Thebes and the solution to it 16. What is the overall message and tone of the chorus on page 3? Page What does Oedipus ask the people to do to help solve the mystery of Laius murder? 18. What does Oedipus mean when he says, I stand as champion of the God and of the man who died?

2 19. Who was Oedipus wife s old husband? What is Oedipus attitude toward the murderer? 21. Who does the chorus think can help solve the mystery? 22. What is the irony of Tiresias physical blindness? 23. What is Teiresias attitude toward the problem facing Thebes? Why do you think Teiresias may feel this way? 24. Teiresias warns Oedipus, Of themselves things will come, even if I breathe no word on them. Which saying most closely represents his idea? a. Don t count your chickens before they hatch b. What goes around comes around c. What goes up must come down d. Spare the rod, spoil the child Page What does Oedipus accuse Teiresias of being? 26. Who does Teiresias says is the pollution? 27. What does Teiresias accuse Oedipus of doing? 28. What does Teiresias predict will happen to Oedipus s reputation? 29. Who does Oedipus think convinced Teiresias to accuse Oedipus of murder? 30. Why does Oedipus think Creon plotted against him? a. What character trait (and tragic flaw) does this reveal about Oedipus character? 31. What mystery from Oedipus past does Teiresias bring up?

3 Page What does Teiresias say will destroy Oedipus? 33. Where does Teiresias say Oedipus is really born? 34. What does Teiresias mean when he says He shall be proved father and brother both to his own children in his house. To the one who gave him birth, a son and a husband both? 35. With whom does the chorus side between Oedipus and Teiresias after their argument? 36. What does Oedipus accuse Creon of doing? 37. What does Creon know about Oedipus past? Page Why does Creon not want to be king? 39. Are you convinced that Creon did not plot against Oedipus? Why? 40. What does Jocasta ask Oedipus to do? 41. Oedipus says in response to Jocasta, This request of yours really requests my death or banishment. What is Oedipus talking about? (Recall who Teiresias said killed the king and what Oedipus promised would happen). Page What did the oracle prophesy to Laius? 43. What did Laius and Jocasta do to their son? a. Why did they do this? 44. Where was Laius killed? 45. Who did Jocasta say that Laius looked like? 46. What did the one survivor/servant do when he came home to find Oedipus king?

4 Page What did Apollo prophesy about Oedipus? 48. What did Oedipus do in response to this prophesy? 49. What does Oedipus reveal about what happened when he fled his parents house? 50. On whose testimony does Oedipus fate hinge? 51. What does the Chorus reveal about Greek values on page 9? Page What metaphor does Jocasta use to describe Oedipus on page 10? 53. Where was King Polybus king? 54. Why would Oedipus be happy to learn that Polybus is dead? (Recall who Oedipus thinks his father is and what the prophesy said Oedipus would do to his father). 55. How did Polybus die? 56. Why do Oedipus and Jocasta think that the Oracle is wrong? 57. Jocasta says, the best way is to take life as it comes. Does Jocasta believe that humans have a hand in their fate? Page What does the Messenger tell Oedipus about his father Polybus? 59. From whom did Polybus receive Oedipus? 60. What was wrong with Oedipus ankles when the Messenger received him? a. What did the Messenger do? 61. Jocasta says, do not hunt this out I beg of you what I am suffering is enough. What is she talking about? 62. Connect the dots! Who are Oedipus real parents? a. And who is Oedipus wife? b. So what does that make Oedipus and Jocasta guilty of?

5 63. Who holds the key to Oedipus past? Why does the Herdsman say I wish I d died that day? Page From whose house was the child born? 66. Why did the mother give up the child? 67. Why did the Herdsman give the child to the old man (the Messenger) 68. What news does the Second messenger bring? a. How did she die? 69. What did Oedipus do after Jocasta killed herself? a. Why do you think Oedipus blinded himself? b. What is the symbolism of this action? Page Who does Oedipus blame for his sufferings? 71. How many children does Oedipus have? a. What are his daughters names? 72. What is the irony of the chorus statement, His good fortune was the envy of all?

6 Discussion questions 6 1. Discuss how the idea of fate is the overruling order in Oedipus. 2. How does Sophocles demonstrate that self-knowledge is of utmost importance? 3. Discuss Oedipus tragic flaw of hubris, including its effects. 4. Discuss the how literal/figurative sight v. blindness or literal/figurative light v. darkness plays a role in Oedipus. 5. Discuss the issue of responsibility as it relates to Oedipus. 6. Even though the Greeks believed that humans lives were largely determined by fate, discuss how choice also plays a major role in Oedipus 7. Discuss the harmful effects of ignorance in Oedipus. 8. Discuss the effects of human intention in Oedipus.

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