“Oedipus the King” Essay Questions

“Oedipus the King” Essay Questions
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1. What is Creon’s argument refuting Oedipus’ allegation that he (Creon) is plotting to overthrow the throne?

Creon sees Oedipus as avoiding the true message from Tiresias which points out towards the prophecy. Creon believes that Oedipus knows that if the truth is unraveled, he will be deposed and Creon will ultimately take power.

2. When Jocasta tries to reassure Oedipus by telling him that prophecies are sometimes wrong, upon what does she base this opinion?

Jocasta base her opinion on the proof that the oracle of Delphic once hinted to Laius that his son would murder him, while according to her the son was cast out of Thebes as a baby before a band of thieves murdered Laius.

3. Why does the messenger from Corinth come to Thebes?

The messenger comes from Corinth to declare the news that that Polybus, king of Corinth, who is thought of as father of Oedipus, has died of old age. This is intended to manipulate Oedipus and Jocasta over the false prophesies that he would kill the father.

4. Why did the lone survivor of the attack on King Laius ask to be moved to the far edge of the Kingdom?

The lone survivor is the same man who gave Oedipus to Polybus and saw the young Oedipus kill King Laius. He therefore knew that his safety and cover up over the revelation would be dependent on his staying far from the kingdom.

5. What is the one detail of the original account of the attack on King Laius that indicates someone other than Oedipus might have killed him?

There are allegations that King Laius was killed by thieves. However, Oedipus understands that the description of the circumstance under which King Laius died matches his action of killing.

6. Why doesn’t Oedipus want to go back to Corinth to take the throne?

When he was growing as a young man, Oedipus learned from an oracle that he had a fate of killing his father and marrying his mother. The fear of this prophecy drove Oedipus from his home in Corinth and made him to reject taking the throne when Polybus dies.

7. What does the messenger reveal about Oedipus’ parents in Corinth?

The messenger reveals that Oedipus is not biological son to Polybus and Merope. He reveals that he is the one who took Oedipus to Polybus after shepherds offered him as an abandoned baby boy from Laius house.

8. When Jocasta begs Oedipus to stop asking anymore questions about his origin or about who killed the king, what does he accuse her of? (Why does he think she wants him to stop?)

Oedipus is enraged at Jocasta’s insistence that he should stop enquiring about his real parents. Oedipus argues that maybe Jocasta is interested in seeking whether Oedipus was born of poor parents (Oedipus the King, lines 1008–1310).

9. What does Oedipus ask Creon to do for him after he’s gone from Thebes?

Oedipus realizes that he has just fulfilled the prophesy by having murdered the father and marrying the mother and feels ashamed to the extent of requesting Creon to kill him.

Work Cited
Sophocles, E A, and Gilbert Murray. Oedipus the King [oedipus Rex]. Lexington, KY: ReadaClassic.com, 2011. Print.