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 the priest call pestilence?

2. What does Teiresias say about the murderer's financial condition?

3. How has Teiresias' pronouncement made the chorus feel?

4. Before he leaves, what does Oedipus say will happen?

5. Why does Oedipus say he's not punishing Teiresias?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Oedipus promise to do when Creon returns?

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

3. Describe Oedipus's attitude toward Creon when Creon returns.

4. Explain the irony of Teiresias' blindness.

5. What does the priest appeal to in asking Oedipus to save the city?

6. Describe how the townspeople view Oedipus.

7. Why doesn't Creon immediately tell Oedipus his news?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

Discuss the function of the chorus in the play.

1) Who does the chorus represent? What is their attitude toward Oedipus and the events that unfold?

2) How is the chorus similar to the play's audience? How is the chorus different form the audience?

3) Is the chorus always "right"? Do they reflect the attitude of the author?

(see the answer keys)

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