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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.

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

Why does !edipus choose blinding hi'sel( rather than co''itting suicide? 46. What (uture does he predict (or his daughters? 58. Who #ill rule Thebes no# that !edipus is e0iled? 47. What e0planation does !edipus gi+e (or ?ocasta being upset? !de (p%2-% ) /cene Bour (p% -%-) 40.39. &opy the line #here !edipus"s has his anagnorisis. /cene Bour is the anagnorisis o( the play (a recognition o( his situation). 90plain the catharsis (relie() the audience e0pects as a result o( the e0odus? 6n other #ords3 #hat #rongs ha+e been 'ade right? . 41. What do lightDsight and darknessDblindness represent in this story? 90odus (p11-* ) $ . Why is this ironic? $*. What tales o( horror does the palace 'essenger relate to the audience about ?ocasta and !edipus? 44. 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 three heinous sins has !edipus co''itted3 sins #hich #ere unspeakable and un(orgi+able in ancient Creek society? !de Bour (p18-11) $2. 45. 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. What reEuests does !edipus 'ake o( &reon? 49.

What does the priest ask "edipus to do $a%e &he"es fro! ruin "y the pla ue 5. 8.in -aios*s !urderer !ust "e dri%en fro! the land. )ist so%e o& the ironic state%ents %ade !y "edipus a!out the %urder and )aius+ (p1/) 15. 4.Oedipus Rex Questions Answer Key The Prologue (p5-12) 1. To which . 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. 6. 9. 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. What has "edipus already done He has already sent 'reon to (elphi for direction fro! the oracle. Where does the play take place At the steps of the royal palace 2. What is the %essage &ro% the oracle o& 'elphi with which $reon returns &o lift the pla ue+ . What is the $horus#s response /p161170 16. Why do you think Tiresias wants to lea(e (p12) 12+ What is ironic a!out "edipus state%ent3 45 understand it all6 (p21) .cene "ne (p1.gods and goddesses does the chorus appeal &or rest &ro% their su&&ering Apollo+ Athena and Arte!is /p130 12. 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!..3 /p180 18. 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.) 13.) 11. What %ight !e an e0planation &or "edipus ha(ing to send &or Tiresias twice &eiresias is hesitant to co!e. What does "edipus pro%ise to do &o find -aios*s !urderer and dri%e hi! fro! &he"es+ endin the pla ue. /p130 . /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. Which character !egins the play Oedipus 3. 10. Who is $reon )ocasta*s "rother 7. '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 .

?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. /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 . 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. 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.=) 23. "de "ne (p2<-2=) 21.cene Two (p22-.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. What worries the chorus %ost &he ods #ill destroy the !an #ho does not re%ere the! or #ho "lasphe!es the!.2-/2) . >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.tre!e conclusions9 an er 26. /p420 28.cene Three (p. &o do so is to ensure personal destruction.20. /p490 . What eyewitness to the %urder o& )aius still e0ists A household ser%ant is the only eye#itness /p440 29.=-. 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 . 6hy #ould he %oluntarily see5 to add stress to his life7 /p340 25. What detail &ro% ?ocasta#s story o& )aius#s %urder pricks "edipus#s %e%ory -aius #as 5illed #here three roads !eet.2) 30. /p410 27. /p481490 31. 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. >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. 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.

>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.illed his father+ !arried his !other+ and fathered her children. /571580 38. Why does she respond this way $he has disco%ered the truth. 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.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 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.ithairon+ #ith his an5les "ound to ether and too5 hi! to . 33.32. What e0planation does "edipus gi(e &or ?ocasta !eing upset /p620 "de . . 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 . /p600 39.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.cene Bour (p/--/2) 40.oly"os+ . /p530 36. What %essage does the %essenger !ring He tells )ocasta that . What three heinous sins has "edipus co%%itted1 sins which were unspeaka!le and un&orgi(a!le in ancient Creek society . /p521530 35.oly"os and <erope are not the natural parents of Oedipus.(p/2-/-) . '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. 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. /p560 37. 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 . . What is ?ocasta#s response to this $he tries to stop Oedipus*s =uestionin of the !essen er. "de Bour (p<D-<1) 42.oly"os and <erope #ho adopted hi! as their o#n.

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