Oedipus the King Study Questions Answers
1. why have the priests come to the altar at thebes?
The priests are trying to figure out how to remedy the plague
2. how did oedipus once liberate thebes?
Oedipus liberated Thebes by answering the sphinx’s riddle
3. why is creon away from thebes when the story opens?
he is at the oracle of Apollo trying to get answers for the plague and how Oedipus can save the city
4. according to creon, what does apollo want done?
According to creon, apollo wants to purify the land of pollution (the plague and the murderer)
5. how was Laius killed?
Laius was murdered by many robbers, allegedly
6. why wasn’t the death of the king fully investigated?
The Sphinx caused them to forget the crime
7. who are the members of the chorus supposed to be
The members of the chorus represent the townspeople.
8. briefly summarize the prayer made by the first chorus.
The chorus reminds us of the plague and that it is terrible compared to war. They also call upon Apollo.
9. What “reward” does Oedipus offer for information about the murderer?
Oedipus offered money.
10. What punishment does Oedipus threaten for withholding information about the murderer?
He says he will banish them if they withhold information.
11. Why has Oedipus sent for Tiresias?
He sends for Tiresias because he is a reputable profit.
12. Why didn’t Tiresias come immediately when Oedipus sent for him?
He doesn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.
13. Why does Oedipus first grow angry with Tiresias?
Tiresias wont tell Oedipus what he knows.
14. Why does Tiresias grow angry with Oedipus?
He calls him a traitor to the city.
15. What accusations does Tiresias make against Oedipus?
He accuses Oedipus of killing the king.
16. why does Oedipus grow angry with Creon?
He thinks Creon and Tiresias are plotting to get rid of him.
17. what prediction does Tiresias make?
Oedipus will realize he is the murderer, lose his eyesight, have no joy, lose all of his money, be exiled, and discover his odd relations with Jocasta and Laius.
18. How do the people feel about the accusations Tiresias and Oedipus are making?
They don’t know what to believe but are siding with Oedipus.
19. What does Oedipus think that Creon is plotting?
He thinks Creon is plotting to take his crown.
20. Why does Creon share Oedipus’s power?
The power is divided three ways among the family.
21. According to Creon, why wouldn’t he want to be a king?
Creon already gets all the perks of being a king, without actually being the king.
22. Why does Creon tell Oedipus to go to Delphi?
Creon tells Oedipus to go to Delphi to prove his innocence from the oracle.
23. What advice does Jocasta give to her quarreling husband and brother?
Jocasta advises that they not let the feud be known to the public.
24. Why does Oedipus release Creon?
Jocasta tells him to release Creon.
25. What is Jocasta’s proof that humans cannot prophesy the future?
Laius was killed by robbers, not her son, therefore the oracles must be wrong.
26. Why is Oedipus so disturbed by Jocasta’s description of the prophecy about her child?
He realized that he may have actually killed Laius because their stories have eerie similarities.
27. What favor did Jocasta grant the slave who witnessed the murder?
She told him to run and never look back and to be a Shepard in the field.
28. Who were Polybus and Merope?
Polybus and Merope are Oedipus’ supposed mother and father, respectively.
29. Why did the drunken man’s story bother Oedipus?
It bothered Oedipus because the man called him a bastard.
30. Why did Oedipus go to Delphi when he was a young man?
He went to Delphi to prove that he is not a bastard child.
31. Why did Oedipus run away from home?
He ran away from home to avoid fulfilling the prophecy.
32. Why did Oedipus kill the travelers?
They tried to push him off the roads.
33. Why is Jocasta sure that Apollo’s prophesy turned out to be wrong?
Jocasta thinks her son is dead, therefore he couldn’t kill Laius.
34. Why does Oedipus send for the shepherd?
He wants to find out what he witnessed of Laius’ murder.
35. Do the members of the chorus side more with the divide prophesy or with Oedipus?
They side with Oedipus.
36. what offereings does Jocasta bear to the temples of the gods?
She bears olive branches and incense.
37. What news does the messenger bring?
He says that polybus is dead and that he is not Oedipus’ father.
38. Why does Jocasta say taht the death of Polybus is a blessing?
This means that the oracle did not know the truth.
39. How does the messenger know that polybus was not Oedipus’ father?
The messenger is the one that found Oedipus.
40. How did Oedipus get his name?
He had severed Achilles Tendons when he was found and his feet were swollen.
41. What advice does Jocasta give Oedipus about trying to solve the mystery of his birth?
He shouldn’t try to figure it out.
42. Which character in the story is a slave?
The herdsman is a slave.
43. How do the messenger and the shepherd know each other?
The messenger got Oedipus from the herdsman.
44. Why does Oedipus threaten to torture the Shepherd?
The shepherd won’t tell him anything.
45. What awful truth does the shepherd reveal?
He reveals that Oedipus is Laius’ and Jocasta’s son and they tried to get rid of him because of the prophesy
46. Why did Jocasta give her child to the shepherd?
She wanted to escape the prophesy.
47. Why didnt the shepherd kill the child?
He pittied him.
48. Briefly summarize how the chorus reacts to the truth about Oedipus?
They feel bad for Oedipus and his misfortunes and they pity him.
49. How does Jocasta die?
She hanged herself.
50. How does Oedipus blind himself?
He stabs his eyes with Jocasta’s gold brooches.
51. Why does Oedipus blind himself instead of killing himself?
He thinks he deserves a worse punishment.
52. Who replaces Oedipus as ruler of Thebes?
Creon replaces Oedipus.
53. Why does Creon order that Oedipus be taken to the palace?
Creon orders that Oedipus be taken to the palace because it is a family affair and they don’t need to speak about it in public.
54. What does Oedipus ask Creon to do with him?
Oedipus asks Creon to take him to the middle of nowhere.
55. What does Oedipus ask Creon to do for his children?
He asks Creon to take care of his daughters.
56. What wish does Creon grant Oedipus?
He grants him exile.
57. Briefly summarize the chorus’s final speech.
We should focus on the end of life because it is the most important and they stress that happiness is a life without pain.