Oedipus Rex Study Guide
Terms in this set (60)
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.
What problem is afflicting the city of Thebes?
Thebes is unable to produce any crops, causing a famine. A plague.
Why do the supplicants believe that Oedipus will be able to find a solution to the famine?
He solved the Riddle of the Sphinx and is a hero to the people of Thebes
Why does Oedipus claim he suffers even more than the supplicants?
Oedipus claims that each supplicant suffers only for himself individually while he, Oedipus,suffers for the individual subject, his subjects generally, and for himself.
What impression do we get from Oedipus based on his language?
He seems to be a good king, but seems incredibly proud and arrogant.
What action has Oedipus taken to find an answer to the city's problem?
Sent Creon to the Oracle of Delphi.
What is Oedipus and Creon's relationship?
Creon is Oedipus' brother-in-law
Why does the Priest suspect Creon brings good news?
He sees that Creon is wearing a crown made from a laurel, the tree of Apollo, and believes he
would not do so if he had brought bad news.
What news does Creon bring with him when he returns? What possible reasons are there for his suggesting that he reveal his news in private?
Apollo says that Thebes is full of guilt, and the "plague" will end after the guilt is banished. Creon may have suggested telling the news inside so that the city would not be buzzing with rumors and half true tales of the search for Laius's murderer.
What does Creon report from the Oracle?
The killer of Laius has to be exiled or killed to end the plague.
What is Oedipus' reaction to Creon's information?
He immediately asks questions about the circumstances of Laius' murder, presumably in order to help find the murderers and purge the city.
Explain the dramatic irony in Oedipus' interrogation of Creon.
The audience knows Oedipus killed Laius.
What is ironic about the one survivor's testimony?
Why did the citizens of Thebes not investigate Laius' murder at the time it occurred?
They were preoccupied with the Sphinx
What does Oedipus promise to do? Why, according to Oedipus, must his resolution be strong?
Oedipus promises to find the murderer of Laius. He feels it is his duty as king to save his people and also believes that the person who killed Laius may do the same to him.
Whose voices does the Chorus represent?
The people of Thebes
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.
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.
What is ironic about the curse Oedipus places on the murderer of Laius?
He is placing the curse upon himself
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 Teiresias?
Oedipus is just using Creon as a tool.
Explain why Teiresias does not want to tell Oedipus who Laius' murderer is.
This knowledge will hurt Oedipus.
What terrible thing does Oedipus accuse Tiresias of doing?
Plotting to murder the king.
Goaded into anger by Oedipus, what does Teiresias finally tell him?
The truth revealed to Oedipus, what does Tiresias predict for him?
Oedipus will become poor, homeless, godless, and blind.
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.
In what ways is Oedipus blind according to Teiresias?
Although he can physically see, he is blind to the situation.
What does Teiresias mean when he predicts, "This very day will sire you and destroy you?"
Oedipus is going to learn who his father is.
According to the chorus, why will they not condemn Oedipus after Teiresias accuses hm of being the murderer?
Because the city is full of rumors and they need proof before they can accuse anyone of the actions.
Why doesn't Creon want to be king (and thus would not have plotted against Oedipus) ?
Creon says he doesn't want to be king because he does not want the stress or fear of being king when he can have all the same power and the same standing without all the duties of being king.
Why is Creon so furious with Oedipus?
Because Oedipus has accused him of plotting against the king and trying to steal his crown.
In what ways does Creon's behavior contrast from Oedipus'?
Creon is calm and reasonable. Oedipus is rash and stubborn.
Explain the irony of Oedipus calling himself wise.
Oedipus knows the least about the situation of everyone, including the audience.
What is Jocasta's opinion of prophesies? On what does she base this opinion?
She has no faith in them. She beieves that a prophesy she and her first husband received did not come true.
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.
After questioning Jocasta about the details of Laius' death, what does Oedipus
Up to this point he has denied killing Laius; now he begins to believe that he may have.
What happened to the servant who survived the attack on Laius?
When he saw that Oedipus became king, he asked Jocasta to send him from the city to tend flocks.
What does Oedipus relate about his past to explain his fears that he murdered Laius?
A drunken man told him that his parents in Corinth were not really his parents. Oedipus was suspicious and went to the shrine at Delphi. There the god told him that he would murder his father and marry his mother. After hearing the dreadful prophecy, Oedipus fled Corinth to avoid this evil. Before he arrived at Thebes, he did kill a man where the three highways came together.
Why did Oedipus kill the man at the crossroads?
Oedipus was angry at him because he pushed Oedipus off the road.
What is ironically similar about the reasons Laius attempted to kill his child, and Oedipus fled to Corinth?
They each thought they could use their free will to escape fate.
How will Oedipus determine whether he was the man who killed Laius?
Oedipus will send for the one survivor who was with Laius the day the king was killed. If this survivor says that several men were responsible, then Oedipus will know he is innocent, because he was alone when he murdered the man at the crossroads.
Why is Jocasta pleased at the news of Polybus' death?
If Oedipus' father is dead, and Oedipus did not kill him, then the prophesy was false, and seers are discredited.
What information does the messenger give Oedipus to put an end to his dread of the Oracle? How does this man know the truth?
The messenger explains that Oedipus was not the natural son of Polybus and Merope. A shepherd found Oedipus, who had been left to die with a skewer that pinned his feet together. This shepherd, one of Laius' men, gave the baby to the messenger, who in turn gave it to the childless Polybus.
What is the meaning of Oedipus' name? Why is this significant?
Swollen feet. The baby's feet were nailed together before he was given to King Polybus.
How does the messenger's information change the central question in the play?
Up until this point the question is "who killed Laius?" Now it is "who are Oedipus' parents?"
What does Jocasta fear Oedipus will learn if he continues to seek the truth of his parentage?
Jocasta clearly fears that Oedipus will learn that he is the son of Jocasta and Laius - that he did indeed murder his father and marry his mother.
Why is the shepherd so reluctant to identify Oedipus as the child he gave to the messenger?
To acknowledge that Oedipus was that child would be to admit that he did not follow Laius' instructions.
What is the climax of this play?
Oedipus discovers he is indeed the son of Laius and Jocasta.
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.
What does the servant report is Oedipus' explanation for his self-mutilation?
He shouts that his eyes should not see anymore of the evil that he had created.
Oedipus believes that the gods hate him more than any other man. Does anything justify their hatred?
Oedipus is overly proud, but there is little else that apparently justifies the gods' hatred of Oedipus. He was simply cursed from birth..
How does Oedipus' cursed life speak to the central issue of the play?
This issue of why Oedipus was cursed speaks to the question: how much control do we have over our own lives? Regardless of Oedipus' good deeds and noble qualities, he was chosen to live out a terrible fate, but not because of any wrongdoing on his part. The Greeks felt the gods became angry with people who were guilty of pride, and Oedipus certainly was, so perhaps that justifies his fate in some way. He also attempted to escape the will of the gods through free will.
Why must Oedipus seek Creon's permission to go into exile?
Creon is now the king.
Besides exile, what else does Oedipus ask of Creon?
To give Jocasta a proper burial and to take care of his daughters.
Why is Oedipus concerned about his daughters' futures and not his sons'?
His sons are grown
How does Creon treat Oedipus in this final section.
pride, believing that one is as good or better than the gods
moment of realization
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
Test Preparation TOEIC, SAT, TOEFL
AP English Oedipus Rex Study Guide
AP English Oedipus Rex Study Guide
World Lit: Oedipus The King
OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR
American Lit Final Test Review
Honors Spring Benchmark 2 Literary Terms
The Great Gatsby--REVIEW-- (Entire book)
The Great Gatsby chapters 6 & 7
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
Oedipus Rex Study Guide
Oedipus the King Study Questions Answers
1984 part 2 study guide