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King Oedipus Questions Essay

1. Oedipus characterizes himself by in line 7 of scene 1, Oedipus says, “I Oedipus, a name that all men know.”(known afar) This shows he has much pride for himself. He feels he is very important, and that no one is above him. He knows the people need his help, and he feels prideful that they would need him. The people view him as their saviour. They are relieved to have him there to help them, and they almost worship him for his help. But as for Oedipus his attitude towards the suppliants is good, he anticipates his subjects needs and is always one step ahead of them.

2. The conditions in Thebes the Priest describes is there city is in a tide of death from which there is no escaping. For example “Death in the pastures”. They need/the city of Thebes needs the king’s help. The suppliants view Oedipus as not the equal of gods, but as the first of men, whether in the ordinary business of mortal life, or in the encounters of man with more than man.

3. The request the Priest make of Oedipus is to save and deliver them out of there heavy afflictions. (Save Thebes) He sent his kinsman Creon, the son of Menoeceus to the Pythian house of Apollo, to learn what act or word of mine could help you.

4. The reaction of the Chorus to the advice of Apollo in Thebes is in Thebes, City of Light, from the Pythian House of Gold the gracious voice of heaven is heard. With fear my heart is riven, fear of what shall be told.

5. The irony in Oedipus’s speech was Oedipus, who suffers for all the people, is the cause of his people’s pain.

6. Oedipus summons Teiresias because he is the one who could help them most in their search. Oedipus views Teiresias’s behaviour as “Such words – such insults to the state would move a saint to anger”

7. Teiresias reveal to Oedipus as a result of the king’s angry accusation is “You are the cursed polluter of this land” and again “I say that the killer you are seeking is yourself.”

8. The suspicion that Oedipus does to begin to harbor about Creon is “Ah, riches and royalty, and wit matched against wit in the race of life, must they always be mated with envy? Must Creon, so long my friend, my most trusted friend, stalk me by stealth, and study to dispossess me of the power this city has given me.”

9. Teiresias predicts on this day you your birth and brings you death. Also that his greatness/misfortune will ruin him is what will happen to Oedipus.

10. The Chorus’s view of Teiresias’s accusations against Oedipus is the Chorus rejects Teiresias accusations. They do not accept Teiresias charges that Oedipus is the very killer that all Thebes seek and that the gods want punished.

Scene 2 (Pages 39-50)

11. What motivates Creon’s entrance at the beginning of this episode is Oedipus sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to the prophetic shrine of Apollo to find out what must be done to save the city. Oedipus accuses Creon of this conspiracy because Creon asks the elders what was said about him, for he is concerned about the rumours that have started spreading. He knows of no feud between himself and Oedipus and it upsets him that the prophet was said to have lied on his behalf. He claims that he has never caused any harm to Oedipus that he knows of, and asks why this accusation was directed at him. As Oedipus enters, he asks Creon how he could come there and accuses him of trying to steal the crown and of murdering Laios. He also accuses Creon of influencing him to call Tiresias down there and to ask for his opinion, which he believes Creon plotted with Tiresias and was the reason Tiresias called him Laios’ killer.

Furthermore, he questions why Tiresias didn’t come forward at the time of the murder and says that he refuses to be convicted of murder he accuses Creon of seeking his death and conspiring with Tiresias to dethrone him, the elders ask Oedipus to calm down and believe Creon, for they do not believe that Creon is a fool, and they believe his oath because nobody should cast off a friend as unworthy or doubt their word. Oedipus says that when they seek support for Creon, they seek his death or exile from Thebes. This statement brings grief to the elders because they support and believe Oedipus.

Creon defends himself against Oedipus’s accusation by Creon points out that he has an equal third (the other two thirds belonging to Oedipus and Oedipus’ wife) in governing Thebes, and yet he lets Oedipus rule entirely while he enjoys his life and all the pleasures of royalty. Therefore, he says, there is no reason for him to kill Oedipus to take the throne and he does not want to rule. Oedipus is free to judge him, Creon says, but not without some proof, as it is “not right to think good men, without a reason, bad or bad men good.”(Line 609) Creon believes that it takes time to judge for: “time alone can make it clear a man is just while you can know a traitor in a day.”(Line 613)

Oedipus threaten to do is Oedipus says that if someone plots quickly, he must respond quickly or he will have missed his chance and the other person will have gotten what they wanted. Furthermore, he calls Creon a traitor and says he wants him dead. Oedipus promises not to harm the man that comes forward, or is known to have killed Laios. He is not interested in taking this man’s life, only that he no longer lives in Thebes, so that the city can get better. He therefore promises only to exile Laios’ killer.

12. (Also 13) As Creon leaves, Oedipus’ wife, Jocasta, asks her husband to explain to her why he is so angry. Oedipus says that Creon is plotting against him and having the prophet say that he killed Laios. In response to this, Jocasta tells Oedipus how there is no truth in what any prophet says as an oracle once predicted that Laios would be killed by his, and her, son (As they were previously married). However, three days after their son was born: “Laios had the feet of this child bound and pinned. Someone tossed it in a mountain wilderness. So there. Apollo didn’t cause this boy to be his father’s killer. Laios didn’t bear the terror he feared from his son.

That’s what the words of prophecy defined.”(Line 717) Although this story was supposed to help Oedipus calm down, it has the opposite effect and Oedipus becomes extremely worried. Oedipus proceeds to ask Jocasta many questions about the place and time of Laios’ death, as well as demanding an accurate description of Laios, all of which Jocasta provides. Frantic now, Oedipus summons for the man who had escaped the attack and had brought the news to Thebes. However, the man is not easily to be found because after he came back and found that Oedipus had taken Laios’ place, he pleaded with Jocasta to “send him to the fields, the sheep pastures, so far he couldn’t even lay eyes on Thebes.”(Line 761) Because he was such an excellent servant and had won great favour, Jocasta did so. However, Jocasta says that he can be fetched and so he will be searched for.

14. Jocasta’s view of the prophecy is Jocasta tells the story of how her son was supposed to kill his father and sleep with his mother, but, she says, this never happened. Therefore, she claims that Oedipus should not believe in fate.

15. What had happened to the one surviving witness to the killing of Laius is Oedipus then sends for the one surviving witness of the attack to be brought to the palace from the fields where he now works as a shepherd.

16. Oedipus takes comfort when in Jocasta’s full detail story of Laius’s death is “You said he spoke of robbers – that robbers killed him. If he still says robbers, it was not I; one is not more than one. But if he speaks of one lone wayfarer, there is no escape; the finger points to me. Jocasta tries to reassure Oedipus by “that was what he said; He cannot go back on it now – the whole town heard it. Not only I. And even if he changes his story in some small point, he cannot in any event pretend that Laius died as was foretold.” Oedipus then makes a request that let us have the shepherd here. Send one to fetch him.

Scene 3 (Pages 50-56)

17. The prayer Jocasta makes is to Oedipus to keep his temper and wits.

18. The news the messenger delivers to Oedipus is that Oedipus’s father, the King of Corinth, has died of natural causes. Oedipus’s reaction to this news is he is kind of relieved since the oracles, the prophesying birds, that scream above them said that he was to kill his own father but he has the other still to fear about is mother.

19. Jocasta asks Oedipus not to seek out the herdsman and then leave because Jocasta urges quite energetically that Oedipus drop the issue before he discovers more than he bargained for. Then after Oedipus said no to Jocasta, Jocasta makes reference to seeing Oedipus for the last time and runs off wailing.

20. Oedipus interpret Jocasta’s emotional behaviour by Oedipus assumes she’s ashamed of his low birth (since as an infant he was found in some rather raggedy swaddling clothes) and vows to set things right.

21. The irony of the arrival of the messenger occurring just after Jocasta’s prayer is she prays for Oedipus to keep his temper and wits (protect him and pray for like the gods to do this) but then the opposite thing totally happens and he don’t listen to Jocasta and tries to find out more even after Jocasta warn Oedipus to drop the issue before he discovers more than he bargained for. The messenger’s news is really not the good news he thinks it is but his father is now dead and he stills has worry about the other involving his mother.

Scene 4 (Page 56-59)

22. Herdsman had been employed once in the employ of Laius. The Herdsman is reluctant to answer the questions of Oedipus and the Messenger because he is afraid. The Herdsman tells Oedipus that he gave the boy to Laios. The revelation this makes is that Jocasta told Laius to destroy the baby because of the prophecy that the baby will kill his father to sleep with his mother.

23. The general comments on human life the Chorus make based on the example of Oedipus is that even Oedipus being this great man was brought low by destiny. Also that Death can bring peace. The Chorus says that Oedipus has been punished in both body and soul. They also say that death would have been better than blindness. The Chorus is stating that his days are ending. The horrible fact with regard to Oedipus’s marriage the Chorus point out is that Oedipus has married his mother. The chorus points out that Oedipus’ daughters are also his sisters.

Not only did he marry his mother, he also had children with her. Oedipus unknowingly murdered his real father, and then married his mother. It says that Oedipus’ marriage will fall apart. In the beginning Oedipus knows he has murdered someone but he had no knowledge that the man he killed was really his father. He also didn’t know that the woman he married was his mother these are the facts that’s the Chorus point out.

Scene 5 (Pages 59-68)

24. Jocasta does in this scene is she kills herself/commits suicide by a noose.

25. The reasons Oedipus give for his self – blinding are: * Jocasta kill herself

* Also after learning the truth (Kill his father, and married and had children with his mother.)

26. The important truth about his life Creon points out to Oedipus is his respect for the Lord of Life, The sun above us – if not for the children of men. The unclean must not remain in the eye of day; nor earth nor air nor water may receive it. Take him within; piety at least demands that none but kinsmen should hear and see such suffering. The general lesson the Chorus draw from the example of Oedipus life is “Oedipus, Greatest of men; he held the key to the deepest mysteries; Was envied by all his fellow-men for his great prosperity; Behold, what a full tide of misfortune swept over his head. Then learn that mortal man must always look to his ending, And none can be called happy until that day when he carries His happiness down to the grave in peace.”


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