CTION: 01

Answer the following questions. 

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1: How does Oedipus come to manifest
the riddle of the Sphinx?

Ans. The Sphinx riddles answer
‘man’ and Oedipus’ fate is consider to be connected. As a consequence of
seeking the answer for his kingdom’s plague, Oedipus go through the three
levels of the Sphinx’s riddle. He is that child with pierced ankles, who
crawled on his four feet to escape from that shepherd. Then he is the king of
Thebes, a proud adult. And finally he is the blind old man, walking with a
cane, who left his own kingdom.

2: How did Oedipus save Thebes before becoming the king?

Ans. A Sphinx had been
terrorizing Thebes for an endless amount of time. It placed plague disease over
Thebes and refused to remove it until answered its riddle correctly. Many
heroes attempted to answer the riddle, but when even someone answered
incorrectly he was eaten alive. When Oedipus answered the Sphinx riddle
correctly, it killed itself.

3: How Oedipus might be more
than one man?

Ans. The play’s central
inconsistency as potentially one of its themes has been discussed. The Thebans
have heard that Laius was killed by more than one man. In fact, Oedipus had
committed the murder alone. We can think of Oedipus’ various roles in the play
King/brother/father/son and consider whether the conflict might be a conflict
between the one and the many or not in this play.

4: How can you
differentiate Oedipus Rex as
private play or a public play?

Ans. The relationship between
public and private (or between oikos/polis) in the play could be seen. If you
see the outcome of Thebes or the outcome of Oedipus has been playing by him.
Oedipus who is considered as a father/son/brother or simply as the king of
Thebes might force the reader to think differently.

5: How might a consideration of
the conditions of Greek theatrical performance impact upon our understanding of
Oedipus Rex?

Ans. The importance of the
Greek theatrical conventions that would have originally been employed when
Oedipus was performed as a play. If we think practically there were no electric
lights, no sound recorded music, and perhaps not any props even. This thing
might also change the interpretation of the play as well.

6: How did Oedipus and Laius confront?

Ans. There was a Delphic
Oracle about Oedipus as a king’s child that he would grow up and kill his
father and would marry his own mother. Oedipus and his father Laius confront at
this point to initiate the fulfillment of the prophecy.  

7: What proposal does Creon make about the message from
the god, Apollo?

Ans. Creon says that he must have
talk to Oedipus alone for king’s benefit and to protect his privacy in front of
Chorus. So he
suggests that he and Oedipus should have go somewhere to communicate for
private purposes but Oedipus insists that Creon should speak publicly in front
of all the chorus. In fact Creon don’t want to ruin Oedipus private
image as a king of Thebes in front of his people.

8: What does the people of Thebes want Oedipus to do for
them?

Ans. They want him to find out
the cause of the plagues and they want him to end it as soon as possible.

9: What has been happening in Thebes that brings all the
chorus to Oedipus’s palace?

Ans. There have been a disease
called plagues in which the famine and women cannot reproduce any more. There
have also been severe droughts and in the result of that nothing can grow in
Thebes any more.

10: What promise does Oedipus make about the information
of Laius’ murderer?

Ans. If he is a foreigner,
mercy will be given to him but will be greatly punished if he is a citizen of
Thebes. A reward will be given to who gives information regarding murderer
which lead to his capture.

11: What is the role of Creon?

Ans. Creon is a brother in law
of king Oedipus, Jocasta’s brother and also was the king of Thebes for a short period
of time. He has no desire to be king anymore.

12: What is the attitude of the Chorus toward the
prophet’s revelation?

Ans. Chorus are not satisfy.
They doubt it and take it as a lame conversation. They say that it is all lie,
they are with Oedipus and against the prophet.

 

13: Why Sphinx died itself?

Ans.
Sphinx’s riddle was not easy to answer by any ordinary person with lack of
humor. As Oedipus answered its riddle correctly which had never been answered
before by anyone. Sphinx threw itself off the cliff and died.

 

 

14: Why do Thebans come to the Oedipus?

Ans.
A procession of priests, who were sorrowful citizens of Thebes comes to
Oedipus. They tell the whole situation to the King of Thebes that Thebes has
been struck by a plague, the citizens are dying, and no one knows how to put it
to an end. Priest ask the king to save the kingdom.

15: Why did Thebans think Oedipus as their life saver?

Ans.
Thebans think that Oedipus is an intelligent and decent king who cares deeply
for his people and want nothing but prosperity of Thebes Moreover when Thebes
has been struck by a plague, they gather around his palace so that Oedipus
might save them from the calamity and contagious disease.

16: Why did Creon go to the Oracle?

Ans. He went to the Oracle at
Delphi to seek Apollo’s advice in saving Thebes from plague disease. He also
wanted to know the cause and remedy of the plague regarding safety from Apollo.

17: Why did Oedipus kill Laius where three roads meet?

Ans. Oedipus’s killing of
Laius was totally predestined. Here the three roads represents past, present
and future. He kills his own father, king Laius, at a place where three roads
meet in the name of self-defense. Oedipus was ignorant and totally pushed along
by the irreversible flow of time incident happened.

18: Why Oedipus become physically old
before the time?

Ans.
Youth and age could be considered in play though the actions happen in a single
day, One might also want to think about fathers and children and the impact the
generations has on age. Mental health of Oedipus is not the same throughout his
whole journey as he has faces a lot of sorrows that it could be easily seen
through his physical appearance.

19: Where did Oedipus get
his name?

Ans. When Oedipus was three days old, just
after receiving the prophecy his parents decided to kill him. Parents received
a prophecy saying that he would kill his father once he’ll become old. So, they
pierced and bound his feet with rope and hand him over in a shepherd hands to
be abandoned on a mountainside. Luckily Oedipus survived in that incident which
was totally because of his fate, but was left with a scar on his feet. In fact,
his name in Greek meanings is “swollen foot.” Which was given by the
King and queen of Corinth.

20: Where did Oedipus kill his father?

Ans. Oedipus decided to run
away and not to return back home ever to Corinth,
but to travel towards new place, Thebes.
On the way, Oedipus came to Davlia,
there was the junction of three roads crossed each other. Where he came in
contact with a carriage driven by his biological father, King Laius. And killed
King Laius in self-defense.

21: Where Creon went to bring the message?

Ans. Creon went to Delphi
Oracle to bring the message from God Apollo. The Gods had caused the plague in
Thebes because of the murder of King Laius, previous king of Thebes. The gods
had demanded that the murderer should be killed. The plague would be completely
end after the completion of this task.

 

22: Where the character of Laius is fits in the play?

Ans. Laius was the king of
Thebes before Oedipus. He was married to his Cousin, Jocasta. When his son was
born, Apollo warned that his son would kill him in future. Laius tied his feet
together and hand him over in the hand of messenger to kill him on a mountain.
Afterwards Laius was killed by Oedipus, who had survived.

23: Where was Oedipus found
as a baby?

Ans. After knowing that this child would
kill King Laius in the future, the king pierces his ankles and sent him on a mountainside to die along with a shepherd. Luckily
another shepherd found the baby Oedipus in woods, and took him to King Polybus
and Queen Merope of Corinth who had not any children before, they happily
accepted him and also name him Oedipus and raise him just like their own son.

24: Where did Oedipus give when he was a
baby?

Ans. A Theban shepherd find the baby
Oedipus on mountainside, he took him from the woods and hand him over to King
Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth, who name him Oedipus and raise him as
their own son.

25: When did Jocasta kill
herself?

Ans. Jocasta thought that her son had already died
the day she handed him over to the shepherd. She did absolutely wrong with her
own child. But somehow she was helpless at that time. She killed herself because
she cannot live knowing what she did
this with Oedipus and also now she can’t face the public after all she
did before. So in the struggle of escaping from the situation, she welcomed
death.

26: When
Oedipus realizes that the prophecies has all come true?

Ans. One set of prophecies has to do with
Theban King Oedipus life. According to these prophecies, Oedipus will kill his
own father and marry his own mother in the future. So later in the play when he
realize that in fact he is murderer of King Laius and his wife Jocasta is his
biological mother, there he realizes about the truth of prophecy.

27:
When does Oedipus punish himself?

Ans. Many years later, when plague finally
end in Thebes, Oedipus ordered to search who had killed
Laius, and discovered later that he himself is a murderer who was responsible for all
this mishap.  As he made a strict
statement about Laius murderer Oedipus then seized two pins from her dress
and blinded himself with them. He left the kingdom and
later became bagger.

28:
When does Oedipus show his flaws in the play?

Ans. Oedipus shows weakness in several
areas. His tragic flaw are his most significant weakness. However, Oedipus shows weakness elsewhere
as well. In dealing with Creon, Oedipus acts unreasonably and is unable to
control his anger.

29:
When Jocasta began to suspect the truth about Oedipus?

Ans. Jocasta first becomes uncomfortable
when Oedipus tells her of his dilemma and the oracle’s prophecy. However, when
the messenger arrives with news of the death of Polybus then the pieces really
starts to come together for her. After the messenger reveals that the Polybus
and Merope were not in fact Oedipus’s biological parents, her initial fear
about the oracle’s prediction starts to sinks in as a reality.

30:
When does Creon realize his mistake?

Ans. Creon is the tragic character in the play “Antigone”. Creon’s tragic flaw, hubris, causes his downfall. Creon does not listen to anyone. He is
stubborn and his pride
is so high. He cannot bring himself to acknowledge that he could ever wrong
which is in fact his major mistake throughout the play.

 

SECTION: 02

THEME
OF FATE IN OEDIPUS REX

Belief in Greek philosophy is the
belief that someone’s fate is unchangeable and predetermined. The Greeks of old
era believed that fate should be accepted in any condition because it
ultimately cannot be avoided in any cost.

In this Greek tragedy, Oedipus the
King, the irony of fate brings the downfall of Oedipus. , Fate is something
that unavoidably befalls two characters. In this story, Fate effects two
specific characters. Gods has already decreed Oedipus and Jocasta’s fate even
before they know it. Trying to avoid destiny is pointless because no matter
what, it will catch up to you, where ever you are. Their fate was in fact
decreed the day they were born, and trying to avoid seems to have been
pointless and useless.

Throughout the whole play, Oedipus tries to
change his fate many times. When two messengers and an oracle confirmed that he
is destined to marry his mother and kill his own father. At that time he knows
that there is something he definitely wants to avoid, so he decided that he
would attempt to change his fate which is by the way completely impossible to
sound. He does everything he can do to change that fate, but because of his
parents’ actions in ordering him killed as an infant; his knowledge of the people
who have raised him as parents is in fact incorrect. As a result he decided not
to tell his parents he was leaving so that he could avoid hurting their
feelings. He picked up and run away. When he was on his journey to Thebes, he
ended up killing all but one of the men there where three roads crossed. This
is where Sophocles proves that you can never run from your fate even if you try
really hard. Even Jocasta accounts for this happening, “That it was fate that
he would die a victim, death of a man by the hands of his own son, a son to be
born to Laius and me. But now, king was killed by a foreign highway robber at
the place were three roads meet-so goes the story”. The man he killed in that
street was actually his own father. 

In other words, fate is the only thing that is
completely and utterly out of Oedipus’ control. His family secrets, an
inscrutable past. In particular, it’s that pierced ankle. We can’t think of any
other instance of fate that is any more crucial to the plot of this play.

All in all, he had to say no to his fate and
was incapable of changing anything. Thus, the tragedy happened.

SECTION:
03

ATTITUDE OF OEDIPUS AND JOCASTA TOWARDS RELIGION

In this tragic play, Oedipus Rex, Gods
and religion has greatly influenced the social structure which in turn has a
profound effect upon how the events unfold later as story continues.

Oedipus is the
head of the whole Kingdom. Oedipus owning a sensitive gentle heart, reverence for
God and prophecy within has a strong faith on predictions and God’s Will. His
sacrifice of hometown to save his father’s life proves his religious belief on
God Apollo’s shrines. Society also plays an important role in this belief. Over
the duration of the play, there is a bright sense of commands towards the
actual incident, because Thebes is facing a severe plague, and of course
towards the King Oedipus, because he is unknowingly in a relationship with his
own mother which has been proved by prophecy as well later in the story.

 

Teresias, a messenger, tells Oedipus that in fact he is
the reason behind this critical condition. For Oedipus, religion is pushed
backward as he is a strong self-admirer. All these unfolded chapters lead
Oedipus into the contamination at that time which will only be cleansed by the
Gods and fate wills nothing else would be consider.
The king’s household and family are greatly affected by the religion in several
ways because there is a lack of believe in the Gods which has caused wreckage
among their lives.

 Jocasta, both Oedipus’s wife and
mother, is a strong believer in the Oracle. She does not want to believe that
Oedipus is en route to kill his father and marry his own mother. She is frankly dubious
of prophecies and, therefore according to the religious ideas of that
lifespan, guilty of inapplicability towards the gods could be reflect.

  Jocasta is criticized for her distrust on
prophecies and is an understandable prejudice though. She does not believe that
the prophecy King Laius heard of came true. She believed her son as dead and
husband killed by the wayfarers. Her believe in the idea
that man can change his fate is being challenged as she discovers that Oedipus
is truly her son and he in fact killer of her first husband. She is punished by
the Gods for being such a disbeliever. This hidden consequence faded away her
strong belief on prophecies.

              Jocasta was critical of prophecy but not fully
sacrilegious. In play she offered prayers in her fear and asking for God
Apollo’s help and magical protection from all the disruptions. The
unendurable thoughts drive her crazy enough to take her life.

 

SECTION: 04

CONTRAST OF OEDIPUS AND JOCASTA PERSONALITIES

 

OEDIPUS

STRENGTHS: Determined, Loyal ruler, Faces fear

WEAKNESS: Angry, Denies Fate

Of
your two choices, pride or anger, it is pride that comes nearest to identifying
the tragic flaw of this character. The ultimate
cause of Oedipus downfall is his
unwillingness to accept his fate Oedipus shows weakness in several areas. Oedipus
has a temper. Indeed, it was sudden anger
that led him to unknowingly kill his real father, King Laius, at the crossroad.
The murder of his father has an essential link in Oedipus downfall, making his
violent temper, a good candidate for a tragic flaw.

 His hubris can be seen as his tragic flaw and
most significant weakness as well. There is no denying that Oedipus is a proud
man. Of course, he has got pretty good reason to be hubris. He is the one that
saved Thebes from the Sphinx. If he hadn’t come along and solved the Sphinx’s
riddle, the city would be still under the thrall of that creature. It seems
that Oedipus rightly deserves the throne of Thebes. One of Oedipus’ greatest
act of hubris is when he tries to deny his fate. Oedipus tried to escape
his fate by never returning to Corinth, the city where he grew up, and never
seeing the people he thought were his parents again.

However, Oedipus shows weakness elsewhere as well. In
dealing with Creon, Oedipus acts unreasonably and is
unable to control his anger. We can see Oedipus’ anger when he lashes out at
both Creon and Teiresias for bringing him bad news. Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is not perfect,
but has tragic flaws. Aristotle points out
that Oedipus’ tragic flaw is excessive pride (hubris)
and self-righteousness. He also points out certain characteristics that
determine as tragic hero. Oedipus has a
temper. Indeed, it was rash anger that led to him
unknowingly kill his real father, King Laius.

Furthermore,
the reason Oedipus is dead set on solving the mystery is because he is so
determined and loyal to save his
people.

 

 

JOCASTA

STRENGTHS: Compassionate,
Understandable, Skepticism

WEAKNESS: Commits sin, abandoned her baby

 

Jocasta is the Queen of Thebes, but
it’s just not as glamorous as it sounds. By all accounts, it seems like her
first marriage with King Laius was a pretty happy one. Sometimes Jocasta is
criticized for her distrust of prophecies. That is, until he received the
prophecy that he was destined to be murdered by his own son

It’s an understandable prejudice.
Though Jocasta doesn’t know that the prophecy Laius received came true. This
seemingly disproves the prophecy that said Laius would die by his son’s hand.
As far as Jocasta knows, she abandoned her baby boy to exposure, starvation,
and wild beasts for nothing. She has very good reason to be more than a little
skeptical of prophets. Here she commits major sin when she abandoned her own
child and disproves all the aspects of being a mother.

Jocasta plays both a spousal and
maternal role to Oedipus. She loves Oedipus romantically, but like a parent,
she wishes to protect Oedipus’ innocence from the knowledge of their
relationship. Oedipus does not stand alone.
Jocasta’s love and anxiety are always at his side. It is her tragedy that she
actively leads Oedipus towards their common disaster,
and that she realizes the truth gradually though always in advance of him.
Jocasta is sceptical of oracles and is, therefore, impious from the traditional
point of view.

Like Oedipus, Jocasta commits most of her
“sins” in ignorance. Yes, she did abandon Oedipus purposely when he
was a baby, but even Oedipus says he wishes he had died on that mountainside. It’s
important to note that though Jocasta is critical of prophecy, she isn’t
necessarily sacrilegious. 

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