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Oedipus Rex Lesson Plan
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Teachers and professors: Get the most from your time in the classroom when you use this lesson plan for Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. This lesson plan will help you guide your class though the complexities of Sophocles's characters as well as his central themes, including knowledge, ignorance, choices, and consequences. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- In Oedipus Rex, what promise does Oedipus make to anyone who comes forward with information about Laios’s murder? He promises that no harm will come to the person who comes forward even if he has kept silent out of fear.
- When Oedipus asks the prophet to reveal the name of the murderer, what is the prophet’s response? Teiresias says that he has known all along, but he has made himself forget because he thinks it is better that no one knows.
- What “proof” does Iocaste offer that prophets do not tell the truth? Iocaste tells Oedipus, Laios was told that he would be murdered by his own son. To avoid the prophecy, they’d left their infant son to die in the mountains; therefore, Teiresias’s accusations against Oedipus cannot possibly be true.
- How did Polybos come to raise Oedipus as his own son? A shepherd brought the infant to the messenger now speaking to Oedipus, and he in turn gave the infant to the childless King and Queen of Corinth to raise.
- Why didn’t the shepherd destroy the infant as instructed? He’d pitied the baby, and gave it to the man from Corinth. The shepherd figured the baby would be far enough, away and no one would discover that he’d let the child live.
- What truth does Oedipus learn? He learns that he was the infant who grew up and killed King Laios (his father) at a crossroads after leaving Corinth, and that he unwittingly married his own mother after solving the Sphinx’s riddle. She also bore him four children: two sons and two daughters.
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