Thyestes; Phaedra; the Trojan Women; Oedipus with Octavia 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 nurse show Theseus when he demands to know why Phaedra is determined to die in the third act?

2. According to the chorus in the third act of "Phaedra," what no longer governs mankind?

3. In what sort of garb is Phaedra's nurse dressed in the third act?

4. Why does Atreus not fear his subjects' favor?

5. How does Atreus justify his wicked plans against his brother?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is Theseus manipulated into believing his son raped Phaedra?

2. What does Theseus plan to do at the end of "Phaedra" in regards to his dead family and why?

3. Why does Phaedra wear hunting garb in the second act?

4. How does Hippolytus die in "Phaedra"?

5. How is Tantalus manipulated into releasing the Fury upon the House of Pelops?

6. Describe the murders of Thyestes' sons.

7. What is the chorus at the end of the first act of "Phaedra" singing about and how does it relate to the action of the play?

8. Describe Hippolytus' preferences in life and how he is at odds with other people over it.

9. What happens when Phaedra reveals to Hippolytus her attraction for him?

10. What plot does Atreus form against his brother and why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What roles do the gods play in the lives of Seneca's characters? How do they handle meting out justice? How do the humans look upon them? What is significant about the fact that the gods are never actually seen in any of these plays? How does this relate to the humans governing themselves and doling out punishments and justice? Develop a clear thesis statement in order to answer these questions (though not exclusively) and cite specific examples from the text to support your answers.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the circular nature of playwrights influencing each other through authors such as Seneca in the following format:

Part 1) The original versions of these plays.

Part 2) The differences between the original play and Seneca's version.

Part 3) The "revenge play."

Part 4) The use of ghosts.

Part 5) The introduction of onstage violence.

Cite specific examples from Seneca's work to support your answers.

Essay Topic 3

In "Oedipus," discuss the connection between vision and knowledge. Develop a clear thesis statement around this topic. Why is it significant that Tiresias is blind? What are some references to Oedipus being unable to see the truth? How is this related to the statement from Tiresias that "[Oedipus] wilt look with envy upon these ills for which thou seekest aid"? How does this ultimately relate to Oedipus blinding himself? Cite specific examples from the text to support your answers.

(see the answer keys)

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