The Oedipus Trilogy Oedipus at Colonus Lines 1 – 524 Questions and Answers

Sophocles

Oedipus at Colonus Lines 1 – 524 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What has Oedipus learned from his years of begging and wandering in exile?

2. Where do Oedipus and Antigone tread at the beginning of the play?

3. How does the Citizen react to the strangers in the sacred grove?

4. What prayer does Oedipus offer after the Citizen leaves?

5. How does the Chorus react at first to the news that someone has trespassed on the sacred grove?

6. How does the Chorus react when Oedipus, haggard and blind, reveals himself?

7. How does the Chorus react when Oedipus gives his name?

8. How does Oedipus shame the Chorus into accepting him?

9. What news does Ismene bring?

10. How does Oedipus react to Ismene’s news?

Answers
1. From his years of begging and wandering in exile, Oedipus has learned humility and he has learned acceptance.

2. At the beginning of the play, Oedipus and Antigone tread on a grove that is sacred to the Eumenides.

3. The Citizen reacts to the strangers in the sacred grove with a mixture of anger and fear. He is angry that they have trespassed, and he is fearful of divine retribution.

4. After the Citizen leaves, Oedipus prays to the Eumenides in both their manifestations—kindly and punishing—and he asks them to give him the great gift promised by the gods that will balance the agonies of his younger years.

5. The Chorus reacts like an angry mob to the news that someone has trespassed on the sacred grove.

6. The Chorus reacts with pity when Oedipus, haggard and blind, reveals himself.

7. The Chorus reacts with fear and disgust when Oedipus tells them his name.

8. Oedipus shames the Chorus into accepting him in several ways. He appeals to the Athenian tradition of compassion and charity toward strangers, and he claims that the terrible crimes he unknowingly committed were the acts of an innocent man who was the plaything of the gods. He also says that the gods are watching right now to see how the Chorus treats him.

9. Ismene brings news that Creon, her uncle, is trying to get Oedipus back to Thebes because the city will be cursed unless Oedipus is buried properly. But that plan does not include burial inside the gates of Thebes, which infuriates Oedipus.

10. Oedipus reacts to Ismene’s news with joy and vindication, saying that he knew the gods had something great set aside for him after all his suffering.