Oedipus rex
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OEDIPUS REX:. (Oedipus the King) The first play in the Theban trilogy and the model of Greek tragedy. The audience watches a man’s fate unravel before him:. PROLOGUE QUESTION 1: Read the play’s backstory and evaluate the role of FATE vs. FREE WILL in the play.

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Oedipus rex

OEDIPUS REX:

(Oedipus the King)

The first play in the Theban trilogy and the model of Greek tragedy


The audience watches a man s fate unravel before him

The audience watches a man’s fate unravel before him:

PROLOGUE QUESTION 1:

  • Read the play’s backstory and evaluate the role of FATE vs. FREE WILL in the play.

  • Then explain why audiences experience CATHARSIS, an outpouring of pity or fear when Oedipus finds out his true identity.


Suppliants beggars gather at the gates of the city

Suppliants (beggars) gather at the gates of the city

PROLOGUE QUESTION 2:

There is a plague on the city of Thebes and the people have come to beg Oedipus for help. Pre-read page 160 to find out what problems the city has and make a sign for the rally at the gates of the city.


Oedipus faces a crowd of thebans his people who are suffering

Oedipus faces a crowd of Thebans, his people who are suffering.

PROLOGUE QUESTION 3: p159

  • What do we learn about Oedipus

    from his opening comments?

    Consider:

  • How does he feel about his city and his people?

  • How does he react to their begging?

  • How does he describe himself?

  • What do his comments foreshadow (hint) for the audience?


Prologue recap

Prologue Recap:

Setting: The gates of the royal home of Oedipus

Before the scene:

  • “Many years have passed since Oedipus solved the riddle of the Sphinx” and taken the throne of the previous king, Laius.

  • He has tried to escape his prophesy that he would murder his father and marry his mother—he has fled his city of Corinth.

  • He did not know he was adopted though—he kills a man on his way to Thebes (his biological father) and married the queen after saving the city from the Sphinx (his biological mother).


Prologue recap1

Prologue Recap:

  • Oedipus comes out of his home to welcome the “children of Thebes,” beggars who have come asking him to help the city.

  • Oedipus shows he cares for his people: “I’m ready to help, I’ll do anything.”

  • Oedipus ironically (DRAMATIC IRONY) references blindness—we know he is figuratively blind to his true identity and that he will literally blind himself later. (FORESHADOWING, BLINDNESS MOTIF)

  • He greets the priest who has come to speak on behalf of the people of Thebes.

  • The priest tells him that the city is a sinking ship that “cannot lift her head from the depths.” (SHIP MOTIF)


The priest speaks of the plague and begs help of oedipus

The priest speaks of the plague and begs help of Oedipus.

PROLOGUE QUESTION 4: p160-161

  • What does the priest reveal about the city and its people?

  • What does the priest want from Odysseus?

  • How does he appeal to him with flattery?

  • How does he appeal to his pride?

  • How does he remind the audience of the dangers of HUBRIS—excessive pride or arrogance?


Oedipus feels the pain of the city of thebes

Oedipus feels the pain of the city of Thebes.

PROLOGUE QUESTION 5:

  • How does Oedipus respond to the priest’s request?

  • Consider what this reveals about him as a leader.

  • What action has he already taken?

  • Consider the role of religion and the gods in ancient tragedy.


Creon says that the killer must be banished or pay back blood with blood

Creon says that the killer must be banished or “pay back blood with blood.”

PROLOGUE QUESTION 6:

  • What is Creon’s message from the oracle?

  • Consider why although Creon tries to report to Oedipus in privacy, Oedipus insists on taking the report in public.

  • What information is now needed?

  • Consider what “grounds for hope”

    Oedipus feels he now has.


Oedipus reassures i ll bring it all to light myself

Oedipus reassures:“I’ll bring it all to light myself!”

PROLOGUE QUESTION 7:

  • How does Oedipus reassure him?

  • Consider the use of DRAMATIC IRONY (the contrast between the audience knows and a character does not know.)

  • How do lines 156-159 affect the audience?

  • Consider:

    “I am the land’s avenger.”

    “Not to assist some distant kinsman.”

    “For my own sake I rid us of this corruption.”

    “By avenging Laius I defend myself.”


The chorus

The Chorus:

PROLOGUE QUESTION 8:

  • Here the Chorus represents the elders of Thebes.

  • They speak in poetry/song.

  • They narrate and comment on the action of the play.

  • They comment on the religious messages of the play as its moral compass.

  • Find at least one example of DICTION (word choice) related to religion and mourning (sorrow at a death or loss.)


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