Oedipus: Study Questions
The following questions
are intended to help you reflect on the nature of Greek Drama during
the 5th and 6th centuries B.C., some of the events in the play and
the implications of those events . Consider all of the questions; but choose only one question to answer and post in the Study Question folder (please
include the questions with your answer). Comment on the answers of
others as you read them.
1. The "tone" of
the first speech Oedipus establishes the relationship Oedipus feels he
has with his people. How would you describe that tone and that relationship?
Cite examples from the speech.
believes there can be a wisdom which "profits not the wise." Oedipus
finds this difficult to believe. How do Oedipus' actions in the first
portion of the play indicate that he sees little value in the concept
that it may be foolish to be wise?
qualities does Oedipus exhibit in the play that indicate that he is,
in fact, quite a good leader of men?
use of dramatic irony in this play is a hallmark of Sophocles' skill
as a playwright. One definition of dramatic irony is its
unintended results - we say, or do, something intended for one purpose
and it, in fact, accomplishes another unintended and opposite one. Dramatic
irony is also said to occur when the characters in a play do one thing
and the audience knows it will mean or cause something else. The irony
is the result of the contrast between the meaning intended by the speaker
(character) and the significance which the audience knows resides in
the remarks. Can you find any instances of this type of "dramatic
irony" in the play, places where characters do something or say
something intending one thing but the audience knows that this will have
an unintended effect?
theme of "blindness, both physical and psychological, is a major
one in this play. Using examples from the drama, explain how you see
this carried throughout the play.
do you think the meaning of the Chorus' last speech is. Explicate. How
does Oedipus' fate exemplify the theory of this speech?
role of the theater in Greece during this time was a very different one
from the role the theater plays today. By raising the questions of belief
in prophets and gods and those of fate and destiny, Sophocles was able
to use the Theater in the way the Greeks intended. Explain.