Oedipus Rex

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  1. What is significant about the fact that the first line of the play is a question?
    Sets a tone that the play is of questions and answers.
  2. What is your first impression of Oedipus?
    He seems to be a very proud and arrogant king.
  3. What is the house of Cadmus?
    The city of Thebes.
  4. How does the priest say the supplicants view Oedipus? How does this begin to establish Oedipus as an Aristotlelian tragic hero?
    They view Oedipus as a main force of men, making him a tragic hero due to events happening later in the plot.
  5. What impression do we get from Oedipus based on his language?
    He seems to be a good king, but seems incredibly proud and arrogant.
  6. What is Oedipus and Creon's relationship?
    Brother in Law
  7. What is foreshadowed by Oedipus' promise to the priest?
    He said that he will do whatever the oracle demands.
  8. When Creon arrives from Delphi, what does Oedipus insist that he do? What does this insist about his character?
    Creon decides to talk about the Oracle in private. Oedipus wants to talk about the issue in public. It illustrates the extent to which he loves his subjects.
  9. Why do you suppose Creon wants to talk to Oedipus in private first?
    He wants to protect the privacy of his family.
  10. Explain the dramatic irony in Oedipus' interrogation of Creon.
    The audience knows Oedipus killed Laius.
  11. What is ironic about the one survivors testimony?
    He lied.
  12. Why does the Chorus appear at this point in the play?
    The conflict has been introduced and the plot is in motion.
  13. Whose voices does the Chorus represent?
    Theban commoners
  14. Give details of how the Chorus describes the city to the gods.
    The Chorus tells the gods that their crops are not growing, their children are stillborn, and many people are dying. The dead are lying on the ground, and there are few others left to mourn them.
  15. What does Ares represent to the Chorus? What various things do they wish for him?
    Ares represents the Plague, they ask Zeus to strike him with lightning bolts.
  16. What is ironic about the curse Oedipus places on the murderer of Laius?
    He is placing the curse upon himself
  17. In this speech, Oedipus refers to Laius' descendants as "ill-fated," but to his own good fortune in obtaining Laius' throne as driven by "chance." Explain the difference between these two concepts, and why Oedipus might choose to characterize these events in different ways.
    In contrast to the term chance, he thinks that his life is governed by chance.
  18. Structurally, why is it appropriate for the Chorus to appear now?
    The Chorus first appeared at the introduction of the conflict. Now the action has begun rising toward the climax: Oedipus has ordered the culprit to come forward, and he has cursed the murderer. To mark the beginning of the rising action and to build suspense, Sophocles again has the Chorus interject.
  19. Once again, in whose voice does the Chorus speak?
    The commoners
  20. Why is it significant that it was Creon whom Oedipus sent to the Oracle and now it is Creon whom Oedipus has sent to get Tiresias?
    Oedipus is just using Creon as a tool.
  21. Explain what Tiresias means by his first statement to Oedipus.
    This knowledge will hurt Oedipus.
  22. How does Oedipus try to discredit Tiresias?
    Oedipus asks why, if Tiresias is such a gifted seer, was he unable to solve the riddle of the Sphinx.
  23. How does the Chorus serve as the "conscience" of the play?
    Reminds him that this is no time to argue but to consult with Tiresias in order to fulfill the Oracle.
  24. In what ways is Oedipus blind according to Tiresias?
    Although he can physically see, he is blind to the situation.
  25. What prophecy for Oedipus does he reiterate?
    Tiresias predicts that Oedipus will be physically blind as well, referring to how he will gouge his eyes out before he is exiled from Thebes.
  26. How is Tiresias' response to being ordered to leave comic and ironic? What traits of Oedipus' does this emphasize?
    Oedipus tells him to leave and never come back. Stubborness, lack of thought.
  27. What does Tiresias mean when he predicts, "This very day will sire you and destroy you?"
    Oedipus is going to learn who his father is.
  28. Why does Tiresias say that Oedipus, of all people, should understand his riddles?
    Oedipus is known as a great riddle solver because he figured out the riddle of the Sphinx.
  29. Whom does the Chorus believe, Oedipus or Tiresias? Why?
    Oedipus, because he saved them from the Riddle of the Sphinx and they are not sure if they can trust prophecies.
  30. Explain the irony of Oedipus calling himself wise.
    Oedipus knows the least about the situation of everyone, including the audience.
  31. Why would the Chorus assert that no one is better able to end the feud between Oedipus and Creon than Jocasta?
    Jokaste is both Creon's sister and Oedipus' husband.
  32. In what ways does Creon's behavior contrast from Oedipus'?
    Creon is calm and reasonable. Oedipus is rash and stubborn.
  33. At this point, what appears to be Oedipus' hamartia?
    His stubbornness.
  34. What is unusual about Jocasta's initial reaction when Oedipus reveals the accusation against him?
    She is not surprised.
  35. What is Jocasta's opinion of soothsayers? On what does she base this opinion?
    She has no faith in them.
  36. What is significant about Jocasta's account of Laius prophesy and death?
    The place of Laius' murder—the junction of three roads—sparks Oedipus' interest. Probably he is connecting Laius' murder spot with where he killed the stranger.
  37. After questioning Jocasta about the details of Laius' death, what does Oedipus suspect? Why is this a significant moment in the play?
    Up to this point he has denied killing Laius, now he begins to believe that he ma have.
  38. Why does Sophocles use interrogation as a means of exposition rather than show the scenes of Laius' death and Oedipus' encounter with him?
    Has to do with time. Uses it as a flashback
  39. What character trait does Oedipus' killing of Laius enforce? What will probably prove to be this traits dramatic significance?
    His impectiousness, his anger. May prove to be his tragic flaw.
  40. What is ironically similar about the reasons Laius attempted to kill his child, and Oedipus fled to Corinth? What does each action suggest about fate and free will?
    They each thought they could use their free will to escape fate.
  41. What acts of hubris do Oedipus and Jocasta commit?
    Disbelief in the prophecy.
  42. What concerns does the Chorus have about the current state of religious belief?
    The chorus believes people are losing faith in the gods.
  43. What is the meaning of Oedipus' name? Why is this significant?
    Swollen feet, that was his ailment when the messenger took him.
  44. How does the messengers information change the central question in the play?
    Up until this point the question is "who killed Laius?" now its "who are Oedipus' parents?"
  45. What does Oedipus mean when he declares himself the "child of chance"? Why is this an example of dramatic irony?
    His life was not ruled by cruel fortune but cruel fate.
  46. To heighten the suspense and create a distraction before the final climax, the Greek playwrights often included brief songs. What false hope is the Chorus creating?
    He could have been a son of the gods.
  47. What is the climax of this play?
    He is indeed the son of Laius and Jocasta.
  48. What behaviors has Sophocles presented as evil and dreadful?
    Incest, murder of parent, lack of divine will.
  49. During the dialogue between Oedipus and the shepard, what happens to their lines as they get closer to the revelation of the truth?
    They become shorter and faster.
  50. What is the contrast between Antistrophe 1 and Strophe 2?
    • The glory and strength of Oedipus is contrasted to his terrible fate. In Antistrophe 1, the Chorus describes Oedipus as the man who "though death sang, stood like a tower/ To make Pale Thebes take heart./Fortress against our sorrow!/ True king, giver of laws,/Majestic Oedipus!" (1142-1147; 1251) In Strophe 2, the Chorus states,
    • "And now, of all men ever known/Most pitiful is this man's story:/ His fortunes are most changed; his state/ Fallen to a low slave's/ Ground under bitter fate." (1150-1154; 1251).
  51. Explain the Chorus' statement, "All-seeing time discovered you unwilling." Why is this concept central to the play?
    Even though Oedipus tried to escape his fate, it found him anyway.
  52. How do you feel about Oedipus? Do you see him as a victim of cruel fate or as a man who at least partly to blame for his own sorrow?
    Its all his fault.
  53. Why does Sophocles have a messenger describe the scene of Jocasta's suicide and Oedipus' disfigurement instead of portraying them?
    It was a convention of Greek drama that are performed on stage.
  54. Oedipus believes that the gods hate him more than any other man. Does anything justify their hatred? Why do you think Oedipus has been chosen to live out such a terrible fate?
    There is little that apparently justifies the gods' hatred of Oedipus. He was simply cursed from birth because of his father's misdeed.
  55. Why is Oedipus concerned about his daughters futures and not his sons?
    His sons are grown
  56. According to the Chorus when is the only appropriate time to call a man "blessed"?
    The time of a mans death
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Oedipus Rex
2013-10-31 21:02:27
Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex
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