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chorus leader

Aristotle (?)

Greek philosopher and scientist; discovered logic, ethics, metaphysics, politics, natural science, physics


a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero/heroine


comes from Greek word "tragoidia," meaning "goat song"

anagnorisis (?)

the critical moment of recognition or discovery, especially preceding peripeteia

peripetia (?)

a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances or situation especially in a literary work

Poetics (?)

the art of writing poetry


excessive pride or self-confidence

pity and fear

feeling sorrow and compassion caused by suffering/misfortunes of others; unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous

tragic hero

a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat


the process of releasing a strong or repressed emotions

chorus and its function

commented on actions during scene through odes; sets overall mood and expresses theme; sings and dances; gives background info

stichomythic dialogue

originated in ancient classical tragedy; individual lines of verse dialogue are assigned to alternating speakers


a single verse is broken between alternate speakers

dramatic irony

irony that is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play


entrance to the theater used by chorus

What is the state of Thebes at the beginning of the play?


With what imagery does Sophocles, beginning with the Priest and running throughout the play, use to describes Thebes? (?)

sad, plagued

How is Oedipus characterized at the beginning of the play? (What does he express? How do the people view him?) (?)

he is courageous and loved by his people

What does Oedipus promise his people in the beginning of the play?

he will rid Thebes of the person who caused the plague

How does the Chorus describe the land?

doomed, corrupted, suffering

Of what does Oedipus accuse Teiresias?

murdering Laius

Given what you know about what Teiresias knows, why does Teiresias say, "Alas, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that's wise!"?

Teiresias is commenting on how tragic the truth is, and how he wishes he didn't know it

What is paradoxical about the following: (Teiresias to Oedipus): "Since you have taunted me with being blind, here is my word for you. You have your eyes but see not where you are in sin, nor where you live, nor whom you live with."

Teiresias is blind and is able to see the truth, while Oedipus can see but is blind to the truth

What rational argument does Creon use to explain his innocence?

Creon has no desire to rule

Briefly summarize how Oedipus gets to Thebes

when Oedipus heard the prophesy from the Oracle, he decided not to return to Corinth (in order to avoid killing his mother and father who ended up not being his real parents), but instead to travel to Thebes

In the development of the play, several clues are given to reveal Oedipus' true identity. Name the "clues" and who reveals each


What fact clues Oedipus in to who might have killed Laius?

the fact that Laius was killed on a road to Delphi, and the fact that only one man survived, frightens Oedipus

What is it that disrupted the investigation of Laius' murder in the first place? (?)

Oedipus came to Thebes and took over

What gave Jocasta and Laius a false sense of security?

they thought their son was dead

What gives Oedipus a false sense of security?

he thinks that Polybus and Merope are his parents, not Jocasta and Laius

What does Oedipus fear after hearing of Polybus' death?

he fears Merope, the woman he thinks is his mother, because he doesn't want to sleep with her

Towards the end of the play, one more clue from the shepherd/herdsman is needed to finally determine Oedipus's identity, to teeter him over from possible innocence to true guilt. What is the face to be revealed?


When does Jocasta realize Oedipus' identity?


What is the climax of the play? Trace the plot structure. What are the exposition, rising action, falling action, and resolution?

exposition - Thebes is in ruin
rising action - Laius' murder begins to be investigated; many people are accused but found innocent
climax - Oedipus is found guilty
falling action - Jocasta is found dead
resolution - Oedipus banishes himself

What do dark and light align with?

seeing and blindness

Explain the paradox of seeing/blindness

those who see the truth wish they were blind (Oedipus); those who are blind (Teiresias) see the truth

How is Oedipus a tragic hero? What is his tragic flaw?

Oedipus banishes himself for the sake of his nation; he is a tragic hero because what he does is heroic, but it is unfortunate for him

Why does Oedipus blind himself?

because he is ashamed of the truth

What does Oedipus fear about his daughters?

that they will never marry because of this curse


a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight


a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary, artistic, or musical work


exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally


an exclamatory passage in a speech addressed to a person or thing


a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (jumbo shrimp)


blind messenger


Jocasta's brother/Oedipus' brother-in-law/Oedipus' uncle


sun god


makes riddles that no one can solve; Oedipus kills her


Oedipus' fake dad


Oedipus' fake mom


Oedipus' fake home town


Oedipus' home town; where he rules over


where Oedipus was sent to die as a baby


god of wine, partying, revelry, festility

Antigone and Ismene

Oedipus' daughters


where the oracle is located

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