Oedipus Rex Essay Assignment
*Choose one of the prompts below to respond to in a well-written, proofread, three to five page paper. You do not need to answer every single question included in the prompt you choose.
*The multiple questions with each prompt are there to help you think through your response not for you to answer moving from one to the next. If you answer all of them in that latter way rather than writing a paper, you will not do well.
*In responding to your chosen prompt, support it with specific textual evidence.
*Your paper should not be all (or even mostly) plot summary. Briefly describe the events which you use to support your case.
*As with your summer assignment, feel free to include illustrative quotes. However, make sure that these add meaning to your paper. (In other words, they should not be there to take up space.) They also should be properly introduced, as we discussed in class.
*When possible and appropriate, refer to the literary techniques that Sophocles uses to craft Oedipus Rex and the effect that they have in responding to your chosen prompt.
*Your paper should be in the following format: Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins all around, and double spaced.
*Follow MLA format (Works Cited, etc.)
*Follow the standard conventions of written English. Avoid contractions and the use of the first-person point of view.
1. The Holt textbook notes, “Women’s status in ancient Greece was inferior to that of men. Many well-known Greek plays, however, center on major female characters. These characters are fully formed and complex. [Remember that Aristotle praised well-rounded characters in his Poetics.] Rather than being only mothers, daughters, or wives, they are depicted as villainesses, victims, and heroines, and sometimes all three” (241). Reflect on this statement in light of the character of Jocasta. Does Sophocles’ characterization of her uphold or refute this opinion? Why or why not? (**You also could write a similar analysis of Antigone.)
2. Find a couple of articles that explain what the Sigmund Freud calls the Oedipus Complex. Use this knowledge to write an essay that explains whether or not the Oedipus myth, as it is presented in Oedipus Rex, fits with the Oedipus complex. Are the components of the Oedipus Complex universal fears/desires? Do you think Oedipus, the character for whom it is named, has this complex? Why or why not?
3. According to the Holt textbook, “In previous scenes, Sophocles focuses on Oedipus’ kingship. In this final scene, he explores Oedipus as a man and father. According to Brockett, ‘By this point he has ceased to be the ruler of Thebes and has become the lowest of its citizens, and much of the pathos is due to this change.’ By focusing on Oedipus ‘the outcast’ rather than Oedipus the ‘self-righteous ruler,’ Sophocles arouses more pity in the audience leading to a stronger emotional experience.” Do you agree with this evaluation of the play? What do you think is the mood at the end? Is it different in a way that is significant and that allows the reader to make a greater connection with Oedipus? (You may want to think about these questions in light of the fact that Oedipus’ blinding and Jocasta’s suicide appear offstage and first are reported in a second-hand fashion.) (**You also could write an analysis comparing how the audience is made to feel about Oedipus at the end of Oedipus Rex versus Creon at the end of Antigone.)
4. Question 17 on p. 265: Discuss Oedipus Rex in light of the debate between free will and fate. (Refer to p. 265 for the full question.)
5. Prompt of your choice. (You should run this by me to make sure that it is a suitable topic for a 3-5 page paper.)
Due Date: November 12th, 2015 (Given the due date, this will NOT be a part of your first quarter grade).