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Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King

  

by Sophocles

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Oedipus the King

Questions

1. What does the priest tell Oedipus is wrong with Thebes?
2. Why does the priest believe Oedipus can do something about the problems in Thebes?
3. What was the name of the king of Thebes prior to Oedipus’s reign?
4. What must Oedipus do to save Thebes?
5. Why wasn’t the death of the former king looked into right after he died?
6. What person does the Chorus first suggest Oedipus go to, to find out who killed the former king?
7. When Oedipus shoots down their first suggestion, who do the Chorus then suggest Oedipus speak to, to find out who killed the former king?
8. What is special/significant about the second person the Chorus suggests Oedipus speak with?
9. Who does the person that Oedipus speaks with say killed the former king?
10. What does Oedipus think about what the person tells him?
11. What is Oedipus told about his future?
12. What is the last and most disturbing thing Oedipus learns about himself?
13. When Oedipus returns to Thebes, who does he accuse of killing the former king, and what is that person’s relation to him?
14. What prophecy does Jocasta, Oedipus’s wife, share with him?
15. What did the former king do about this prophecy?
16. Who does Jocasta believe killed the former king?
17. Why does Jocasta's story about how the former king was killed upset Oedipus?
18. Why does Oedipus want to speak with the servant who was present the night the former king was killed?
19. What is Jocasta's opinion on prophecies?
20. What does Jocasta remind Oedipus before going to fetch the servant?
21. What news does the messenger bring, and what does Jocasta think it proves?
22. When the messenger questions Oedipus about what Oedipus is afraid of, what information does the messenger share with Oedipus?
23. Who found Oedipus as a child and how was he found?
24. What does the old shepherd tell Oedipus?
25. How do Oedipus and Jocasta react to the news of the day?

Answers

1. The priest believes Thebes is cursed. Crops, animals and people are dying.
2. Thebes was cursed before and Oedipus was able to lift that curse by defeating the creature that caused it.
3. Laius
4. He must track down the people who killed Laius, Thebe’s former king, and kill them.
5. The sphinx warned the people of Thebes against it.
6. Phoebus
7. Tiresias
8. He is a blind prophet.
9. Oedipus
10. He thinks Tiresias is lying, and plotting to steal his throne.
11. He is told that he is cursed and will end up a blind outcast.
12. Oedipus is told that his wife is also his mother.
13. Oedipus accuses Creon, his wife’s brother, his brother-in-law (also acceptable: his uncle).
14. The former king heard a prophecy that he would be killed by his son.
15. He had his infant son killed.
16. Highwaymen
17. Oedipus had an altercation with some men on the highway before he became king of Thebes, and he killed some men. He is now worried that he may have killed the king.
18. He wants to ask the servant if it was one man or more than one who killed the king, because if it was more than one man, than it couldn’t have been Oedipus.
19. She thinks they can’t be trusted and are often wrong.
20. Even if Oedipus did kill the former king, he could not be the king's son, because the king's son was killed.
21. The messenger says the King of Corinth, Oedipus’s father, has died of natural causes. Jocasta believes this disproves the prophecy that Oedipus killed his father.
22. Oedipus was adopted.
23. A shepherd found him and his feet were pierced and bound.
24. Jocasta is indeed Oedipus's mother.
25. Jocasta hangs herself; Oedipus gouges out his own eyes and asks Creon to send him into exile.

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