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 ask of the citizens of Thebes?

2. Who does Teiresias say he was "wise enough" to?

3. What course of action does the chorus leader suggest Oedipus should take?

4. Who does Oedipus accuse Teiresias of being in league with?

5. What does Oedipus first say to Creon as he approaches?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why doesn't Oedipus listen to Teiresias?

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

3. What does Oedipus wish for any townspeople who don't obey his orders?

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

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

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

7. What reason does Oedipus give for coming himself to see the crowd of people who have gathered at the beginning of the play?

8. Why is Oedipus concerned about Creon at the beginning of the play?

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

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

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

Examine the nature and consequences of defying the gods in OEDIPUS THE KING.

1) How does Oedipus defy the gods? How do Laius and Jocasta defy the gods? What does the punishment seem to be for this defiance?

2) Why does Creon insist on consulting with the gods before banishing Oedipus? If the gods insist on this type of close compliance to their prophets, is there any need for a ruler as intermediary? Where is Creon's power as king, if he must defer to the gods?

3) How would the characters be best able to please the gods? What would have been the results of their actions?

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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