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. Who does the priest suggest Oedipus listen to, in order to solve the town's problems?

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

3. What does Oedipus call the people of Thebes?

4. What does Oedipus say the killers had to have?

5. Why does Oedipus feel linked to Laius?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What reason does Teiresias give for coming to see Oedipus?

6. Explain the irony of Teiresias' blindness.

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

8. How does Teiresias feel about having come to see Oedipus at the king's request?

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

10. Why doesn't Oedipus listen to Teiresias?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the characters' intentions in their actions and their responsibility for the bad consequences.

1) What is Oedipus' intention in fleeing Corinth? Does Oedipus have any control over the unintended consequences of his actions?

2) What was the shepherd's intention in saving Oedipus? Is Oedipus right or wrong in condemning him at the end of the play?

3) To what extent is each character responsible for the tragic happening? Does the level of responsibility have anything to do with the characters' intentions?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss prophecy in OEDIPUS THE KING.

1) What is the reasons gods provide prophecies in OEDIPUS THE KING? If the characters know their futures, why aren't they better able to change them?

2) How do prophecies fulfill themselves in OEDIPUS THE KING? Are prophecies escapable?

3) How is the prophecy Laius receives different from the prophecy Oedipus receives? Why are these prophecies different?

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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