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 Creon say of the news he brings?

2. What is Oedipus' initial attitude toward the crowd that has gathered?

3. Where does Creon say Laius was when he was killed?

4. How is the tale of Oedipus and the Sphinx treated in the town?

5. What does Teiresias say about his own wisdom, after Oedipus questions him about Laius' murderer?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What does Oedipus wish on the murderer?

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

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. What troubles have affected the people of Thebes?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss dramatic irony in OEDIPUS THE KING.

1) How does the fact that the audience knows the story of Oedipus affect the way the writer tells the story? How could the story be told differently, if the audience were unfamiliar with it?

2) How does dramatic irony affect the audience's perception of Oedipus? Is the audience more or less sympathetic toward Oedipus? Why or why not? How does the audience perceive Oedipus' quarrels with Teiresias and Creon?

3) How does dramatic irony affect the audience's perception of Jocasta?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the nature of power and leadership in the play.

1) What qualities make a good leader in the play? Who would make a better leader, Oedipus or Creon?

2) What are the benefits and drawbacks of power in the play? How do Oedipus and Creon view power?

3) How does Jocasta affect Oedipus's leadership in the play?

4) What role do the gods play in leadership? Compare the power of the gods to the power of men.

(see the answer keys)

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