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Identify an example of foreshadowing in Oedipus the King

Identify an example of foreshadowing in Oedipus the King. Is this foreshadowing ironic? Explain.

Pick one line or short passage from Oedipus the King that struck you as interesting or moving or puzzling and explain your response.

Look at the similes used by the Chorus in lines 24-26. What is the Chorus describing in these similes? What do the similes suggest about the thing they are describing?

In line 940 the Chorus declares, “Insolence breeds the tyrant.” Do they seem to be describing Oedipus? Does he “[walk] in haughtiness” and “[give] no heed / to Justice”? If so, how? If not, why might the Chorus be describing such a character at this point in the play (at this point Oedipus has just learned that he may in fact have killed Laios, though he does not yet know the family connection between them).

Explain what seems to be going through Jocasta’s mind at lines 1118-20. If you were directing the play, how would you have her behave while listening to the conversation between Oedipus and the Messenger? How would you have her behave during the remainder of the scene?

Why do you suppose Sophocles might have chosen to have Jocasta’s death and Oedipus’ blinding take place off-stage? What is the effect of having them described to us by the Second Messenger (p. 941), rather than seeing them ourselves?

Tragedies typically end badly, as this one does, with lots of death and suffering, but they usually also offer at least a suggestion that, once the hero has been punished, the society will recover. Is there any such glimmer of hope or redemption at the end of this play?


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