oedipus rex: pre-reading & web view oedipus rex: pre-reading & background. agree or...

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Name: ________________________________ Date: __________________ Section: _______________





1. There is only one way to “see” things.

2. There is such a thing as “fate.” A person has the ability to change his/her fate.

3. If we are true to ourselves, and act on our true feelings (good or bad) we will always be able to handle the consequences.

4. Family secrets should NEVER be shared outside the family.

5. If you are in a position of power, you should be exempt from following certain rules/consequences.

6. We should always work toward bettering our community even if it is ourselves that we must change.

7. Your parents’/family’s reputation heavily impacts you/your own reputation.

8. It is easier to place blame on those around us than to look inside ourselves.

9. I believe in coincidence.

10. There is a fine line between pride and arrogance. Having too much pride is evil.

Pre-Reading Thoughts

1. How did plays/movies originate?

2. Do you think it is acceptable to “pretend?” Do you think it’s a necessity?

Ancient Greece Background

Ancient Greece Religion

· Believed gods took an active interest in human affairs – successes were viewed as the sign of divine favor while problems and failures were interpreted as the result of divine anger.


· Killed 1/3 population

· Victims were “seized first with strong fevers, redness and burning of the eyes, and expelled an unusually foul breath.” Next came “sneezing, hoarseness, a powerful cough, and every kind of bilious vomiting.”

Oracle of Apollo at Delphi

· Oracle believed to speak for Apollo and communicate the will of Zeus (Apollo was Zeus’ son)


· “Seer” was taught to be capable of interpreting signs of what was to come.


· Means you are sent away for an amount of time. You cannot have any connection with your home or people in the town.

· Standard punishment for unintentional murder


· Each person has a fate assigned to him or her.

· A person who seeks to overstep his or her fate would be guilty of hubris, or pride.

Festival of Dionysus

· 6th century B.C.

· Religious festival in Athens each Spring to honor Dionysus (god of wine and fertility)

· A chorus of masked dancers performed on a circular stage, singing hymns to this god.

The First Actor

· Thespis of Icaria, a Greek poet, introduced the 1st actor on stage. The word “thespian” means “actor.”

Elements of a Tragedy


· “Tragedy” reflects this purpose – comes from the Greek word for “goat” (the goat was regarded as a sacred animal to Dionysus.)

· Aristotle – Oedipus Rex as the model of a perfectly made tragedy – “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude”

· Triggers 2 emotions: pity and terror

Hero/ Heroine-

· Conflict with the Divine (Gods and Goddess)

· Physical or Spiritual maiming (injury)

· Attempt to circumvent fate

· Position of power (noble)

· Tragic Flaw


· No positional power (citizens)

· Peripheral to main interactions (on the sidelines)

· Effected by main interactions

· Summarizes and emphasizes events in the play

· Looks at point of view


· Old

· Wise

· Humane


· Knows the story

· Interacts via pity and fear

Tragedies are tragic because

· Plot mirrors life (realistic)

· The hero experiences a downfall (reversal of fortune)

· The audience brings fear/ pity

· There is an eventual role reversal/ acceptance of responsibility

Greek Plays

· Competitions for prizes by staging plays before thousands of spectators at the festival of Dionysus

· Based plays on familiar legends and myths

· The three greatest writers of tragedy were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

Greek Theater

· Greek tragedies were performed at the Greater Dionysia, a festival near the end of March.

· 6 days – 3 playwrights (chosen by a city official) would stage 3 tragedies and one satyr (satire: using humor or exaggeration to make fun of society)

· At the end of all the productions, 10 judges would choose the winning playwright, who was awarded an ivy wreath.

· All citizens would attend, admission was free of charge

· Seats for audience were built into a hillside. Actors wore large masks that could be seen from a distance. Actors also wore elevated shoes.

· Circle marks the orchestra (“dancing place”) where chorus of a dozen or so men chanted their lines and danced

· The building, called a skene (scene), provided changing rooms for the actors. 2-3 actors might play all the roles in a performance. Scenes were often painted on the wall of the building to suggest the play’s setting.

Awesome People from Greek Drama







Play – Story told through dialogue

Drama - Tragedy, explored society questions

Dramatic Form – actual written script

Dramatic Structure – the way the action of a play is arranged

Dramatic Irony – When the audience knows something but the characters don’t

Theme – Message, lesson, moral of the play

Tragos – tragic downfall

Hubris – excessive pride

Oedipus Complex – At the age of 3 to 5, a child begins to form an attraction to the opposite sex parent and hostility towards the same sex parent

Tragedy – unhappy ending; explores society questions

Formula and Flow of Classical Greek Tragedy

Influenced by

and / or

Leads to

The consequences of which lead to


But these come too late to avoid

Which causes or brings about

KIM Handout

Key Idea/Term


Example from Play

1. Fate

2. Hubris

3. Hamartia

4. Nemesis

5. Catharsis

Oedipus Characters






The Oracle at Delphi-





The Family Tree!

Show the “true” relationship between:

Oedipus and Jocasta:

Oedipus and Creon:

Oedipus and Polybus/Merope:

Oedipus and Antigone/Isemene:

The Backstory!



ACT I (pgs 262-283)

1. How does Oedipus characterize himself?

2. What is his attitude toward the suppliants?

3. What conditions in Thebes does the Priest describe?

4. How do the suppliants view Oedipus?

5. What request does the Priest make of Oedipus?

6. What step has Oedipus already taken to deal with the problem?

7. According to Creon, what did Apollo say must be done in order to cure Thebes of its pollution?

8. According to Creon what were the circumstances of Laius's death?

9. What motive does Oedipus assign to the killer of Laius?

10. What is Oedipus resolved to do?

11. What is the reaction of the Chorus to the advice of Apollo to Thebes?

12. What conditions in Thebes does the Chorus describe?

13. What is Tiresias’ reaction to Oedipus's request for help?

14. How does Oedipus view Tiresias’ behavior?

15. What does Tiresias reveal to Oedipus as a result of the king's angry accusation?

16. Note the emphasis on sight and blindness in the dialogue between Oedipus and Tiresias. What irony is implicit in this emphasis?

17. What suspicion does Oedipus begin to harbor about Creon?

18. What superiority does Oedipus claim over Tiresias?

19. Note the frequent equation of physical sight with knowledge throughout this scene and the rest of the play. What is the irony of this equation?

20. What does Tiresias predict will happen to Oedipus?

21. What is the Chorus's view of Tiresias’ accusations against Oedipus?

22. Create a “say, mean, matter” chart. Choose a significant quote from this Act, and copy it in the “say” column. Tell what the quote means in the “mean” column.” Then write why the quote matters (in 4-5 sentences) to bigger ideas in the play in the “matter” column.

ACT II (pgs 285-300)

1. What motivates Creon's entrance at the beginning of this episode?

2. Why does Oedipus accuse Creon of conspiracy?

3. How does Creon defend himself against Oedipus's accusation?

4. What does Oedipus threaten to do?

5. What does Jocasta attempt to do? Is she successful?

6. How does Jocasta try to assure Oedipus that he not guilty of Laius' death?

7. What is Jocasta's view of prophecy?

8. Why is Oedipus frightened by the information given by Jocasta?

9. What happened to the one surviving witness to the killing of Laius?

10. Why did Oedipus go to the Oracle at Delphi and what was he told there?

11. Where did Oedipus arrive as a result of this information?