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?