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Oedipus Rex Questions The Prologue (p5-12) 1. Where does the play take place? 2.

Which character begins the play? . What is !edipus"s attitude to#ard the suppliants seeking his help? $. What does the priest ask !edipus to do? 5. What has !edipus already done? %. Who is &reon? 7. What is the 'essage (ro' the oracle o( )elphi #ith #hich &reon returns? *. What pre+ented Thebes (ro' tracking do#n the 'urderer o( ,aius at the ti'e the 'urder occurred? -. What does !edipus pro'ise to do? 10. The suppliants are carrying oli+e boughs (branches) #hich sy'boli.e peace. Why do you think !edipus tells the suppliants to take their branches o( supplication o(( the alter? Parados (p12-1$) 11. To #hich three gods and goddesses does the chorus appeal (or rest (ro' their su((ering? 12. )escribe the condition o( the people o( Thebes as the play begins. /cene !ne (p1$) 13. What #ill happen to the guilty person i( he co'es (or#ard and ad'its his guilt? What #ill happen i( he doesn"t? 1$. ,ist so'e o( the ironic state'ents 'ade by !edipus about the 'urder and ,aius. 15. What is the &horus"s response? 16. What 'ight be an e0planation (or !edipus ha+ing to send (or Tiresias t#ice? 11. 2t his entrance3 ho# is Tiresias described by the &horus? 18. Why do you think Tiresias #ants to lea+e? 1-. What is ironic about !edipus"s state'ent4 56 understand it all7? 28. 90plain the parado0 (so'ething that see's to be a contradiction but is not) o( blindness o( the (ollo#ing e0a'ple4 Tiresias :to !edipus;4 ,isten to 'e. <ou 'ock 'y blindness3 do you? =ut 6 say that you3 #ith both your eyes3 are blind.

!de !ne (p21-2*) 21. What does the chorus re'ind the audience about the 'urderer? 22. When the chorus debates #hether to belie+e !edipus or Teiresias3 #ith #ho' do they side and #hat is their reason? /cene T#o (p2--$*) 2 . What character trait o( !edipus is re+ealed by the (act that !edipus accuses &reon o( treason #ithout (irst hearing his side? 24. What rational argu'ent does &reon use to con+ince !edipus that he has no designs on the throne o( Thebes? 25. >a'artia is the 'istake or error co''itted by a tragic character #hich in part accounts (or his 'is(ortunes. What is !edipus"s ha'artia? 26. ?ocasta does not belie+e that 'ortal 'en are capable o( di+ination (prophesy). What proo( does she o((er to support this opinion? 21. What detail (ro' ?ocasta"s story o( ,aius"s 'urder pricks !edipus"s 'e'ory? 2*. What eye#itness to the 'urder o( ,aius still e0ists? 2-. What is re+ealed about !edipus"s personality by his description o( the encounter he had #ith the old 'an #here the three roads 'eet? !de T#o (p$*-$-) 8. >o# does the chorus (eel about the la#s o( the uni+erse? 31. What #orries the chorus 'ost? /cene Three (p$--%2) 2. )iscuss the irony in the opening o( scene three3 #here ?ocasta burns incense to the gods. . What 'essage does the 'essenger bring? $. What attitude to#ard the gods do ?ocasta and !edipus e0hibit a(ter learning o( Polybos" death? 5. Though !edipus is co'(orted that Polybos3 his (ather3 had died o( natural causes3 #hat aspect o( the oracle still troubles !edipus? 36. 2 peripeteia is a re+ersal caused by a 'a@or incident in the plot during #hich a pre+iously unkno#n piece o( in(or'ation is re+ealed. What is the peripeteia in this scene? 1. >o# does the 'essenger pro+e that !edipus #as not the child o( Polybos and Aerope? 38. What is ?ocasta"s response to this? Why does she respond this #ay?

39. What e0planation does !edipus gi+e (or ?ocasta being upset? !de (p%2-% )

/cene Bour (p% -%-) 40. /cene Bour is the anagnorisis o( the play (a recognition o( his situation). &opy the line #here !edipus"s has his anagnorisis. 41. What three heinous sins has !edipus co''itted3 sins #hich #ere unspeakable and un(orgi+able in ancient Creek society? !de Bour (p18-11) $2. What do lightDsight and darknessDblindness represent in this story? 90odus (p11-* ) $ . The ancient Creeks did not allo# unsee'ly scenes to be portrayed upon the stage3 but rather reEuired that such scenes be narrated by a character. What tales o( horror does the palace 'essenger relate to the audience about ?ocasta and !edipus? 44. Why 'ight it be signi(icant that !edipus blinded hi'sel( #ith the golden brooches (ro' ?ocasta"s go#n? /he ga+e birth to hi' and thus ga+e hi' sight initially. 45. Why does !edipus choose blinding hi'sel( rather than co''itting suicide? 46. Who #ill rule Thebes no# that !edipus is e0iled? 47. Why is this ironic? $*. What reEuests does !edipus 'ake o( &reon? 49. What (uture does he predict (or his daughters? 58. 90plain the catharsis (relie() the audience e0pects as a result o( the e0odus? 6n other #ords3 #hat #rongs ha+e been 'ade right?

Oedipus Rex Questions Answer Key The Prologue (p5-12) 1. Where does the play take place At the steps of the royal palace 2. Which character !egins the play Oedipus 3. What is "edipus#s attitude toward the suppliants seeking his help He is carin and e!pathetic a"out their sufferin and says he #ill help the!. 4. What does the priest ask "edipus to do $a%e &he"es fro! ruin "y the pla ue 5. What has "edipus already done He has already sent 'reon to (elphi for direction fro! the oracle. 6. Who is $reon )ocasta*s "rother 7. What is the %essage &ro% the oracle o& 'elphi with which $reon returns &o lift the pla ue+ ,in -aios*s !urderer !ust "e dri%en fro! the land. 8. What pre(ented The!es &ro% tracking down the %urderer o& )aios at the ti%e the %urder occurred &he"es #as tor!ented "y the sphin.. 9. What does "edipus pro%ise to do &o find -aios*s !urderer and dri%e hi! fro! &he"es+ endin the pla ue. 10. The suppliants are carrying oli(e !oughs (!ranches) which sy%!oli*e peace+ Why do you think "edipus tells the suppliants to take their !ranches o& supplication o&& the alter &o sho# that they #ere successful in o"tainin Oedipus*s pro!ise of peace to &he"es /p120 Parados (p12-1,) 11. To which - gods and goddesses does the chorus appeal &or rest &ro% their su&&ering Apollo+ Athena and Arte!is /p130 12. 'escri!e the condition o& the people o& The!es as the play !egins+ &he land is "arren+ #o!en cannot "ear children+ and people+ especially children+ are dyin . /p130 .cene "ne (p1,) 13. What will happen to the guilty person i& he co%es &orward and ad%its his guilt What will happen i& the guilty person doesn#t co%e &orward (p15-1/) 14. )ist so%e o& the ironic state%ents %ade !y "edipus a!out the %urder and )aius+ (p1/) 15. What is the $horus#s response /p161170 16. What %ight !e an e0planation &or "edipus ha(ing to send &or Tiresias twice &eiresias is hesitant to co!e. /p170 17. At his entrance1 how is Tiresias descri!ed !y the $horus He is the 2holy prophet in #ho!+ alone of all !en+ truth #as "orn.3 /p180 18. Why do you think Tiresias wants to lea(e (p12) 12+ What is ironic a!out "edipus state%ent3 45 understand it all6 (p21)

20. 70plain the parado0 (so%ething that see%s to !e a contradiction !ut is not) o& !lindness o& the &ollowing e0a%ple3 Tiresias 8to "edipus93 )isten to %e+ :ou %ock %y !lindness1 do you ;ut 5 say that you1 with !oth your eyes1 are !lind+ &iresias su ests that+ thou h Oedipus has t#o healthy eyes #ith #hich to see physically+ fi urati%ely he is "lind to the truth. "de "ne (p2<-2=) 21. What does the chorus re%ind the audience a!out the %urderer He cannot escape punish!ent fro! Apollo and the 4uries+ the three !ytholo ical horrific fe!ale !onsters #ho #ere relentless in a%en in cri!es. /p280 22. When the chorus de!ates whether to !elie(e "edipus or Teiresias1 with who% do they side and what is their reason Oedipus /p280 .cene Two (p22-,=) 23. What character trait o& "edipus is re(ealed !y the &act that "edipus accuses $reon o& treason without &irst hearing his side O"stinate+ "ull headed+ irrational+ i!petuous /i!pulsi%e0 /p390 24. What rational argu%ent does $reon use to con(ince "edipus that he has no designs on the throne o& The!es 'reon has all of the pri%ile es and none of the responsi"ilities of 5in ship. 6hy #ould he %oluntarily see5 to add stress to his life7 /p340 25. >a%artia is the %istake or error co%%itted !y a tragic character which in part accounts &or his %is&ortunes+ What is "edipus#s ha%artia 8!!oderation9 :u!pin to e.tre!e conclusions9 an er 26. ?ocasta does not !elie(e that %ortal %en are capa!le o& di(ination (prophesy)+ What proo& does she o&&er to support this opinion $he retells the oracle at (elphi+ issued at the "irth of her son+ #ho! they supposedly 5illed. /p410 27. What detail &ro% ?ocasta#s story o& )aius#s %urder pricks "edipus#s %e%ory -aius #as 5illed #here three roads !eet. /p420 28. What eyewitness to the %urder o& )aius still e0ists A household ser%ant is the only eye#itness /p440 29. What is re(ealed a!out "edipus#s personality !y his description o& the encounter he had with the old %an where the three roads %eet His hu"ris /pride0 "de Two (p,=-,2) 30. >ow does the chorus &eel a!out the laws o& the uni(erse -a#s are not !ade "y !ortals and cannot "e for otten or i nored. &o do so is to ensure personal destruction. /p481490 31. What worries the chorus %ost &he ods #ill destroy the !an #ho does not re%ere the! or #ho "lasphe!es the!. /p490 .cene Three (p,2-/2)

32. 'iscuss the irony in the opening o& scene three1 where ?ocasta !urns incense to the gods+ )ocasta+ a non"elie%er+ hypocritically appeals to Apollo to deli%er the House of &he"es fro! defile!ent. 33. What %essage does the %essenger !ring He tells )ocasta that ;oly"os+ ,in of 'orinth and father of Oedipus+ had died of natural causes due to ad%anced a e and that they #ere . /p510 34. What attitude toward the gods do ?ocasta and "edipus e0hi!it a&ter learning o& Poly!os# death &hey act arro antly and challen e the po#er of the ods. /p521530 35. Though "edipus is co%&orted that Poly!os1 his &ather1 had died o& natural causes1 what aspect o& the oracle still trou!les "edipus He still fears his !other*s "ed. /p530 36. A peripeteia is a re(ersal caused !y a %a@or incident in the plot during which a pre(iously unknown piece o& in&or%ation is re(ealed+ What is the peripeteia in this scene &he !essen er fro! 'orinth thin5s he is offerin Oedipus co!fort #ith his insi ht #hen he re%eals that ;oly"os and <erope are not the natural parents of Oedipus. /p560 37. >ow does the %essenger pro(e that "edipus was not the child o& Poly!os and Aerope He tells Oedipus that he found Oedipus as an infant on <t. ,ithairon+ #ith his an5les "ound to ether and too5 hi! to ;oly"os and <erope #ho adopted hi! as their o#n. /571580 38. What is ?ocasta#s response to this $he tries to stop Oedipus*s =uestionin of the !essen er. Why does she respond this way $he has disco%ered the truth. /p600 39. What e0planation does "edipus gi(e &or ?ocasta !eing upset /p620 "de - (p/2-/-) .cene Bour (p/--/2) 40. .cene Bour is the anagnorisis o& the play (a recognition o& his situation)+ $opy the line where "edipus#s has his anagnorisis+ 2Alas> All out> All 5no#n+ no !ore conceal!ent> O -i ht> <ay 8 ne%er loo5 on you a ain+ re%ealed as 8 a!+ sinful in !y "e ettin + sinful in !arria e+ sinful in sheddin of "lood>3 /p690 41. What three heinous sins has "edipus co%%itted1 sins which were unspeaka!le and un&orgi(a!le in ancient Creek society ,illed his father+ !arried his !other+ and fathered her children. "de Bour (p<D-<1) 42. What do lightEsight and darknessE!lindness represent in this story -i ht ? 5no#led e and #isdo!9 dar5 ? i norance and foolishness 70odus (p<1-=-) 43. The ancient Creeks did not allow unsee%ly scenes to !e portrayed upon the stage1 !ut rather reFuired that such scenes !e narrated !y a character+ What tales o& horror does the palace %essenger relate to the audience a!out

?ocasta and "edipus $he han ed herself and he "linded hi!self #ith olden "rooches he re!o%ed fro! her o#n. /p711730 44. Why %ight it !e signi&icant that "edipus !linded hi%sel& with the golden !rooches &ro% ?ocasta#s gown .he ga(e !irth to hi% and thus ga(e hi% sight initially+ &he "lindin "rin s this full circle. Also+ he #as "lind to the truth in their relationship and physically sa# #hat he should not ha%e seen. 45. Why does "edipus choose !linding hi%sel& rather than co%%itting suicide His punish!ent lasts lon er. He doesn*t #ant to !eet his father "eyond the ra%e #ith seein eyes. /p760 46. Who will rule The!es now that "edipus is e0iled 'reon #ill. /p780 47. Why is this ironic Oedipus had "een afraid of "ein dethroned "y hi!. 48. What reFuests does "edipus %ake o& $reon &o e.ile hi! /Oedipus09 &o "ury )ocasta9 'are for his dau hters /p791800 49. What &uture does he predict &or his daughters 8ll1fated+ "arren li%es /p810 50. 70plain the catharsis (relie&) the audience e0pects as a result o& the e0odus 5n other words1 what wrongs ha(e !een %ade right &he !urder has "een a%en ed+ the pla ue on &he"es #ill "e lifted+ and nature #ill return to "alance. &his relie%es the audience*s distress.