Oedipus The King

Revision Cards about the context, literary techniques and plot of Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King'

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What is the incentive moment?
The plague and promise of Oedipus to the Thebans
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What is the perepetia?
Messenger arriving from Corinth
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Who has the first anagnorisis?
Jocasta
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When does Oedipus' anagnorisis happen?
After the stories of the Messenger and the Shepherd
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What is the catastrophe?
Jocasta's suicide and Oedipus' self blinding
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What is the political message of Oedipus?
If we don't listen to prophecies, it will affect society just as Oedipus' miasma did.
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What does 'Oed' sound like in the Greek?
To know
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How is Athenian democracy used against Oedipus?
He is the King of Thebes - so despite we feel a certain level of pathos towards him, there is a level of dislike apparent.
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When was Oedipus the King believed to be written?
441BC
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How is Oedipus linked to Athenian statergoi, Pericles?
Both causes the plague, Pericles started the walll of Athens which connected to the ports which leads the overpopulation, plague and his eventual death
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How is Pericles' family linked to Oedipus?
Pericles ancestor, Alcmeonidae removed a man called Cyclon from an altar where he had claimed sanctuary. Created Miasma.
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How did Spartans use this as propaganda?
The believed that the Athenians could not win the Peloponnesian War with a cursed leaders
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Why might Athenians believe that prophecies were fake just as Oedipus does?
Sparta's bribing of the Delphi Oracle from 432-422BC that Athens would lose if they attacked Sparta
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Pericles was also considered to be apart of what movement?
Sophism
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Why might have Sophocles written this play, relgiously?
Trying to enforce respecting the gods against sophism.
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When the play was performed, what epidemic was around?
The Plague that was arguably caused by Pericles' miasma
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Where does the play take place?
Outside the palace of Thebes
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What is Oedipus' first line?
"Oh my children"
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How does Oedipus appear arrogant in the prologue?
He talks of his kleos ("fame") instead of respect for the 'healer' god - Apollo.
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How does Sophocles show that Oedipus genuinely cares about his country?
He'll do 'anything' to get rid of the plague
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How does the Priest perhaps suggest that Oedipus isn't as godlike as he thinks he is?
He addresses him as "King of the land" and says that he 'cannot equal the gods'
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"I found one cure" suggests what about Oedipus?
He is the restorer of natural order - physician imagery
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Why is this ironic?
He is the one who causes the miasma
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Who did Oedipus send to recieve the Delphi Oracle?
Creon
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How does Creon suggest that this news should be shared privately?
He says so and insinuates the prescence of the priests
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What is the instruction from the oracle?
"Drive the corruption from the land"
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What does Creon insinuate is the cause of the miasma?
The murder of Laius
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What does Creon say is Apollo's comand about the killers of Laius
"Pay the killers back"
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How is Oedipus led to think that he is not the murder?
The murderers are described are plural
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As Oedipus learns of Laius' assasination, what does he become scared of?
Being assasinated himself: "Your king was murdered - royal blood!"
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What is Creon's excuse for not following up the death of Laius?
The Sphinx persuased them to not focus on it
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Who are the Chorus made up?
12/15 Citizens of Thebes
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How does Oedipus appear hubristic in his first speech to the Chorus?
Tell them that he will answer their prayers instead of the God
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What does Oedipus say that will happen to murderers, initially?
They will be 'totally unharmed' - he lies!
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What does he encourage the Theban citizens do to the murderer/s?
Banish him and not to show him shelter
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How does this echo the end of the play?
He begs Creon to banish him from Thebes
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What does the leader encourage Oedipus do?
Call Tiresias for guidaance from Apollo
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"He didn't flinch at murder, he'll never flinch at words" - This is an example of what literary technique?
Dramatic Irony
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How is the motif of blindness especially ironic in the scene with Tiresias?
Tiresias is physically blind but can see the truth, contrasting against Oedipus who cannot
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What is Oedipus' initial attitude towards Tiresias?
Pleading him to help him and the city
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By asking to be sent 'home' what is Tiresias, what is he trying to prevent Oedipus from knowing?
His fate
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How does Oedipus recieve Tiresias' hesitance?
As betraying his country
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What does Oedipus accuse Tiresias of?
Assisting the murder of Laius
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What is Tiresias' prophecy?
"You are the curse, the corruption of the land!"
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Instead of following the laws of Physis, Oedipus accuses Tiresias of being what?
Bribed for his 'trade'
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What simile does Oedipus insult Tiresias with? This simile also highlights dramatic irony.
"Eyes blind as stone"
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Who does Oedipus think his downfall is?
Creon
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In his monologue during the Tiresias scene, how is Oedipus considered hubristic?
Calls Tiresias a "scheming quack" and says "your gods - nothing"
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How does the Leader act as a mediator between Oedipus and Tiresias?
Blames Oedipus' hubris on his anger and tells him to focus on the riddle/prophecy
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Why is it ironic that Oedipus thinks that Tiresias' prophecies are 'riddles?'
He solved the riddle of the Sphinx
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What is the new riddle that Tiresias gives Oedipus at the end of the scene?
"Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich"
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Why is the ironic?
It's Oedipus - like he is the man in the previous riddle
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Tiresias explicitly says Oedipus' destiny, why does he not hear it?
Oedipus goes into the palace
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What do the chorus sing about in the first stazimon?
Power of Gods and Tiresias
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What does Creon believe he is branded by the state by Oedipus?
A traitor
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What does Oedipus think Creon plan to do?
Kill him and take his kingship
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Who has 'equal power' over Thebes?
Oedipus, Jocasta and Creon
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What does Creon not want?
The responsibility of being power
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What does Creon tell Oedipus to do to go get substansial proof?
Go to the Delphi Oracle and hear the prophecy for himself
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What extreme action does Oedipus want to inflinct upon Creon?
"I want you dead"
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What does Jocasta tell off Oedipus and Creon for doing?
Shouting in public
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What hubristic action does Jocasta tell Oedipus off for?
Not respecting Creon's keeping of oaths
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How does the Chorus begin the waver?
They 'beg' him to be sensible
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The Chorus use sailing imagery to describe Oedipus' leadership, how is it used after Creon leaves?
They want him to 'steer us through the storm'
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How does Jocasta appear hubristic when she hears of the Delphi Oracle?
She tell him to 'free yourself of every charge' insinuating the falseness of prophecies
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What does Jocasta reveal about her son?
Three days old and fastened ankles when he was thronw over a mountain
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How does Oedipus reach a partial anagnorisis upon himself?
Realises that he may have 'called down a dreadful curse' upon himself
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Who are Oedipus' adoptive parents?
Polybus (King of Corinth) and Merope
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Why does he go to the Delphi Oracle in his youth?
Someone at a banquet told him that he wasn't his 'father's son'
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What is the fate he hears from the Delphi Oracle?
Couple with Mother, Breed children with her, kill father
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How does he try to escape fate?
He runs away from Corinth
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Why is he mortified that he killed Laius?
He used the same violent hands for killing to touch his wife
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What does he tell Jocasta to do?
Look him in the eyes
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What part of Jocasta's story is his saving grace?
The fact that their were thieves rather than one murderer
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Who does he go to for this to be confirmed?
The Shepherd
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What do the chorus sing about in the second stazimon?
Destiny, Pride and Kingship
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After the parados, what does Jocasta do?
Supplicates to the Gods
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Why?
To stop his anguish and his ambition
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What does the Messenger reveal?
The death of Polybus
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Why is Oedipus gladdened by this?
Its means that he has escaped his fate
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How does the Messenger achieve the perepetia?
Tell him that Oedipus is not his true son
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How does the Messenger know this?
Polybus took him from his hands
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How did the Messenger come across baby Oedipus?
Stumbled upon him in the woods and the Shepherd passed him on
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What is significant about the baby's ankles?
They were pinned together
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What does Oedipus mean in the Greek?
Swollen Feet
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How does Jocasta reach her anagnorisis?
After the messenger tells Oedipus that the Shepherd was a servant of Laius
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How does Jocasta try to prevent Oedipus from reaching his anagnorisis?
Tries to stop him from summoning the Shepherd
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Why does Oedipus think that Jocasta doesn't want him to do this?
He think that she'll be concerned with class if he was born a slave
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How does the Leader signify the tension after Jocasta's exit
He references the silence
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What do the Chorus sing of in the third stazimon?
Oedipus being the son of a God
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How is the Shepherd shown to be nervous at the mention of the baby?
"Why rake that up again" - shows unease and he tells the messenger to 'shut up'
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How does Oedipus threaten the Shepherd?
With torture
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This scene is a good example of what Greek literary technique?
Stychomythia
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According to the Shepherd, what was Jocasta scared of?
Prophecies
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What does Oedipus realise at his anagnorisis?
"Cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands!"
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What do the chorus sing about in the fourth stazimon?
Men and the Downfall of Oedipus
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What does the Messenger report to the Leader?
Jocasta's Suicide and Oedipus blinding himself (the catastrophe)
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What word does Oedipus repeat in his first line after his anagnorisis and catastrophe?
Agony
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How does he commend the chorus?
He says they are 'loyal' for standing with him
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Why does Oedipus blind himself?
He would not be able to be brought 'joy' by seeing anything, he can;t look at his mother and father in the underworld, can't look at his children
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Why does he curse the people who saved him from the mountain?
He would've died and wouldn't have commited hubris
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What does Oedipus want to happen to him?
To be killed, thrown into the sea, never be seen again
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Who does the Chorus tell Oedipus go to for this act?
Creon
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Creon now becoming powerful over Oedipus shows what?
The very role reversal that Oedipus didn't want to happen earlier in the narrative
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Why does Creon command to take Oedipus inside?
For pity - he doesn't want everyone to see Oedipus
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Creon promises to exile Oedipus but who does he want clarification from?
The Gods
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How does Oedipus want Jocasta's body to be?
Buried her as Oedipus sees fit
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Why does Oedipus want to be exiled to Cithaeron Mountain?
Where he was supposed to be killed
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How does Oedipus want Creon to treat his children?
To not burden himself with the boys as they are men but look after Antigone and Ismene
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Whose sobbing does Oedipus hear?
Antigone and Ismene's
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How does Oedipus doom Antigone and Ismene?
Without marriage and children
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What role does Oedipus give Creon for Antigone and Ismene?
Father
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How does Oedipus sment this promise with Creon?
Touch his hand
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What happens to his daughters as he tries to reach out from them?
The Guards take them away
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What do the Chorus sing about in the Exodus?
The demise of Oedipus, being cleansed from Miasma
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What is the perepetia?

Back

Messenger arriving from Corinth

Card 3

Front

Who has the first anagnorisis?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

When does Oedipus' anagnorisis happen?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is the catastrophe?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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