The Oedipus Trilogy By Sophocles Study Help Essay Questions

1. Near the end of each play in the Oedipus Trilogy, a messenger describes what has happened offstage, usually the most important action in the play. Why do you think Sophocles handles the action in this way? How does the off-stage action — left to the imagination — function in the play?

2. Choose one tragedy and discuss the role of the chorus. Does the chorus change over the course of the play? How does the chorus affect the action? How does it focus and intensify the audience's responses?

3. In Antigone, who is the real main character — Antigone or Creon? Make a case to support your choice.

4. In Oedipus the King, Jocasta, like Oedipus, sees the horror of her identity unfolding. Compare Jocasta to the tragic hero. What are her own ideas about Fate and prophecy? How does she react to her suspicions about Oedipus' birth? How does her final despair differ from Oedipus'?

5. Discuss the differences between Antigone and Ismene in their views of women in society. How does each sister's view shape the choices she makes in the play? How consistent is each in her view?

6. Choose a character who appears in two or more plays of the Oedipus Trilogy, and discuss the similarities and differences in characterization in the plays.

7. Write an essay in which you agree or disagree with the following statement: Antigone is primarily a drama of politics, not of fate.

8. As a prophet, Tiresias speaks for the gods and for Fate. How does the character of Tiresias function dramatically in Oedipus the King and Antigone?

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