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Oedipus Rex: Take Home Exam

Part II:  Why is each place significant in the play?
1.  Delphi:  City of Phokis, seat of a celebrated oracle of Apollo.
2.  Corinth:  City state where Oedipus was taken after the king and queen abandoned him.
3.  Thebes:  City where Oedipus was born and later ruled.
4.  Kithairon:  Mountain range near Thebes where the infant Oedipus was exposed.
5.  Iocaste's bed:  Where Oedipus was conceived, later also where his children were conceived with Iocaste.  Also where she  committed suicide.


Part III:  Write a 200 word essay.  respond to the following using specific examples from the text to back up your statements.  "How does Oedipus Rex fulfill the requirements of a Greek tragedy?"

            In Greek tragedy an imitation of an action that is serious is told in an artistic form such as in a work of literature.  "Oedipus" by Sophocles fulfills the requirements for a Greek tragedy. Oedipus is the story of a tragic hero whose fatal flaws lead to his downfall.  Three elements of a Greek tragedy include fatal flaws, fate, and Greek law.

            Oedipus was a hero to the people of Thebes as he saved them from the devouring Sphinx by solving the riddle.  he was a good man- husband and king.  However, certain flaws such as his determinism lead to his catastrophe.  Oedipus struggles to learn the truth about Laois' murder and uncover his origins, believing he is doing the right thing. As shown in Scene II, Oedipus questions the shepherd until the entire truth is revealed.

             In Greek mythology it is presumed that your fate is predestined and that you cannot struggle against it.  Oedipus' fate was, as told by an oracle, (Scene II Pg. 42) "I should lie with his own mother and that I should be my father's murderer."  What began as a quest to find Laois' killer turned into a quest for the truth about who Oedipus was.  As much as he tried to avoid his downfall by leaving Corinth and the parents he thought were his, the prophecy was inevitable.

            In Greek law, a person is always responsible for his or her reactions regardless of the situation.  Oedipus was charged responsible for Laoi's death and the destruction of the peple of  Thebes as well as himself.  Although Oedipus thought he was escaping his fate by leaving Corinth, he had taken a step closer to destruction.   Oedipus' hubris and hamartia contributed to why he took full responsibility of everyone's suffering even though he was not aware of the truth of who he was.

            Oedipus is an excellent illustration of Greek tragedy.  He was a man of high degree whose fate affects many.  Oedipus' fatal flaws, the destined fate, and Greek law all connected to form his downfall.


Part IV:  Write a dialogue as you imagine it would sound.  "Laois and Iocaste when they hear the horrible prophecy of their baby's future."

Laois:    I cannot believe that you are pregnant!

Iocaste:    You were drunk and it just happened.

Laois:    The prophecy, what if it comes true?

Iocaste:    Do you really believe our child will be a murderer?

Laois:    The prophecy states that if we ever have a son he will kill me and lie with you.

Iocaste:    That is impossible.  We must think of  a solution.  How can we get rid of this baby?

Laois:    Do you think we will be safe?

Iocaste:    I am not too sure.

Laois:    How about if we tie his feet togetther so that he cannot harm us.

Iocaste:    No, the fate destined for our child is too powerful.  We should have this child and leave it to die in a far
                 away place.

Laois:    Only time will tell what happens, but anything to save us.