Oedipus the King Test | Final 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. Why does the messenger tell Oedipus he is not Polybus' son?

2. Where did Laius order his infant child to be put?

3. Why does Oedipus say he must remain afraid?

4. What does Oedipus first say to Jocasta, after questioning the messenger about Polybus' death?

5. What does Creon say Oedipus can do, if he finds proof Creon's lying?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the first thing Oedipus tells Jocasta, when he tells her about the argument between himself and Creon?

2. What is the shepherd's reaction to being questioned about the infant he gave away and being told that Oedipus is that infant?

3. What does Jocasta's description of the place where Laius was killed mean to Oedipus?

4. How does Oedipus react to Creon's self defense?

5. What does Oedipus say, when he finally finds out the truth about his past and his present situation?

6. How does Jocasta feel about Polybus' death?

7. What prophecy does Jocasta tell Oedipus about?

8. What main news does the messenger from Corinth bring?

9. What did the oracle at Delphi tell Oedipus about his parentage?

10. How does the chorus react to Creon's self defense?

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

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

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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