Sophocles (ca. 496-406 B. C.E.)
Oedipus Rex (ca. 430 B. C. E.)
Things to Consider :
** Homework Questions **
- Roles of Gods/Roles of Humans in Fate
- Roles of Prophets
- Relation of Character to Plot
- Images of Vision
- Oedipus vs. Gilgamesh/Agamemnon/Priam/Achilles
- Dramatic Irony (see p. 484)
- Roles of Women: Iliad vs. Oedipus
- Role of Chorus
- Sigmund Freud
- Interesting Essay on Oedipus and Sphinx
- How has Oedipus come to rule Thebes?
- What kind of king is Oedipus?
- What is the cause of the plague? How does this plague
compare with that found in the Iliad?
- What does Oedipus think is the reason that Kreon urges
Tiresias to blame Oedipus?
Zeus and Apollo make no mistakes
when they predict what people do.
But there is no way to tell
whether an earthbound prophet sees
more of the future than we can. (601-5)
- How does Jokasta initially react to Oedipus's claims?
- Why has Oedipus killed Laios? Is he
- Why does Oedipus blind himself? Is it indeed an act of
"free will and heroism," as Michael Bayton suggests in another
edition of the play?
- Explain: "It was Apollo who did this./He made evil,
consummate evil,/out of my life" (1513-15).
- Is Oedipus's suffering really undeserved, as Michael
Other Discussion Questions:
- In what ways, according to the editors, can Oedipus be seen
as a typical fifth-century Athenian?
- Why do the citizens come to Oedipus's palace?
- Who is Tiresias?
- How does Kreon respond to Oedipus's claims?
- Why, at first, can't Oedipus be sure that he has killed
- Why does the messenger from Corinth believe that the news
of Polybos's death will bring joy to Oedipus and Jokasta?
- Explain: "Why should a human being live in
fear?/Chance rules our lives! " (1118-19).
- Explain: "In their very dreams, too, many men/have
slept with their mothers" (1123-24).
- Why does Oedipus call himself the "child of Luck"
(1226)? What does that mean?
- Why does the servant say that the palace can't be washed
clean by either the Danube or the Rion (1391)? What does
- Why does Oedipus ask for a sword when he is looking for
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- Explain: "I must not name what should not be"
- Explain Kreon's speech (1613-23).