The Oedipus Plays
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Discuss the role of the sentry in Antigone. How does this minor character affect our impressions of major characters, or of the play’s central conflict?
2. Examine the messenger’s speech narrating the death of Jocasta and the blinding of Oedipus in Oedipus the King. What is the messenger’s attitude toward the events he describes? What is the effect of his announcement on the audience?
3. What is the difference between Oedipus’s relationship with Antigone and his relationship with Ismene in Oedipus at Colonus?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Creon is the only character with a major role in all three of the Theban plays. Does he change over the course of the three plays? If so, how?
2. Although there is little or no onstage violence in the Theban plays, the characters in Oedipus at Colonus are very much concerned with war. What different things does war mean to each of the play’s characters?
3. What importance does Antigone’s gender hold in Antigone? How does it shape the way other characters view her?
4. All three of the Theban plays are shaped by Oedipus’s incestuous marriage to Jocasta. What do these plays say about incest?
5. In each of the three plays, the Chorus repeatedly gives us moral lessons, often condemning “pride.” Are we to take the proclamations of the Chorus as absolute truth, or is the Chorus just as fallible as the other characters? Is pride really the catalyst for all the catastrophes of the plays?
by KajuKoa, January 31, 2013
Creon is not the one who comes to Oedipus first, it is actually the blind seer, Tiresias, who can "see" future, past, and present.
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