Oedipus the King Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Oedipus say about the fact that Laius' death wasn't looked into before?

2. What reason does Teiresias give for not answering Oedipus' questions?

3. Why does the priest say they've come to Oedipus?

4. What is Creon's relationship to Oedipus?

5. Who does the chorus leader say should reveal the murderer?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Oedipus offer a deal to the murderer and set rules for the people of Thebes?

2. Explain the irony of Teiresias' blindness.

3. Describe the message that Creon brings from the oracle.

4. What is the attitude of the townspeople when they speak to Oedipus?

5. What rumor does the chorus leader remind Oedipus of?

6. What does Oedipus accuse Teiresias of, that finally forces the prophet's tongue?

7. What is Teiresias referring to when he says Oedipus and his children will be "equals"?

8. How does Oedipus' attitude toward Teiresias change during their first discussion?

9. How does Oedipus respond to the townspeople's pleas for help?

10. Describe what the people of Thebes have with them at the beginning of the play.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Oedipus' temper and his tendency to anger.

1) What types of things cause Oedipus anger? What instigates Oedipus's anger with Teiresias? Creon? Laius?

2) How does Oedipus' temper affect his ability to lead Thebes? Does Oedipus get angry for his own sake or for the sake of Thebes?

3) What is the root of Oedipus' anger? Is Oedipus angry about the things he says he is, or is there a deeper reason for Oedipus' anger?

Essay Topic 2

In OEDIPUS THE KING, much of the action takes place offstage or in different times, and is retold by the characters and messengers. Discuss how this affects the play.

1) How is hearing about Jocasta's suicide from the second messenger a different experience than seeing it?

2) How is hearing Oeidpus retell the story of meeting Laius on the road different from seeing it?

3) How effective is it for Oedipus to come on stage with his eyes gouged out at the end of the play? Is it more affecting since most of the violence of the play takes place offstage?

4) What other effects does the action taking place offstage have on the play?

Essay Topic 3

There is a saying that "ignorance is bliss." Discuss knowledge versus ignorance in the context of the play.

1) Why is Oedipus driven to seek out the truth about himself? Why isn't he afraid of what he might find?

2) Why does Jocasta not want Oedipus to find out the truth, even when she has clearly realized it herself? Could there be any benefit to the characters in continuing to live in ignorance?

3) In the end of the play, if Oedipus could go back and undo his own knowledge, do you think he would? Use evidence from the play to support your position.

(see the answer keys)

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