The Oedipus Game
As you complete the online review game of "Oedipus Rex," circle the CORRECT
answers on this worksheet as evidence you actually played the game.
1. Oedipus enters from the palace. His mask shows a care-worn man, no longer
young. As he comes to speak to the people on the steps, you notice he has a stick and is
limping slightly. Why?
It's a punishment from Apollo
It's due to an old childhood injury
It's because of a birth defect
2. Why do they [delegation of priests] believe that Oedipus can help?
Because he is the king
Because he can help them in their prayers
Because of his track record
3. What does he [Oedipus] tell the priests he's already done to solve this new
problem of the plague?
Sent his brother-in-law to Delphi?
Consulted the old blind prophet, Tiresias?
Sent delegates to ask for Apollo's help?
4. What, according to the oracle, is causing the plague?
A crime committed by Laius, the previous king.Investigate it!
An undetected murderer. Find him!
A source of pollution. Root it out!
5. What will make detection [of Laius's murderer] difficult?
Laius was alone when he was killed, far away from Thebes
He was killed by thieves
There are no surviving witnesses
6. Why wasn't the ruler's murder fully investigated at the time?
They were distracted by another event
No one liked him, anyway
His wife, Jocasta, forbade any investigation
7. Why is [Oedipus] especially anxious to [reopen Laius' murder case] ?
The killer might strike again
Because he's good at solving problems
Because he is good ruler
8. After the Chorus' song, Oedipus re-emerges. He says that he will grant their
prayers. He makes a proclamation, telling the people to denounce the murderer, or for
him to give himself up. What punishment will he receive?
None - there'll be a free pardon if he confesses
Death - but the city will be cleansed
Exile - banishment from Thebes
9. The only punishment will be banishment: which sounds lenient as an alternative
to death. But no one comes forward to confess. What will be the punishment for the guilty
man when he is found?
10. Why is [Oedipus] so anxious to avenge Laius?
He was his father
He was like a father to him
He was Jocasta's husband
11. When, shortly, Tiresias arrives, guided by a young boy, how does Oedipus treat
12. Tiresias, having arrived, seems reluctant to say anything. Is this because
he doesn't know the answer?
it isn't lawful to reveal the answer?
he knows the answer?
13. But his scruples merely infuriate Oedipus, who assumes that Tiresias
killed Laius himself
is a traitor to Thebes
hates him, because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx
14. Oedipus does not seem to be listening [when Tiresius accuses him of the
murder]. Is it because he's too angry, or is it because
he is convinced that Tiresias is part of a plot against him?
he knows he is totally innocent of the charges?
he is secretly worried, but decides to brazen it out?
15. Why should Oedipus believe that Tiresias is a bogus prophet?
He said nothing about the murder at the time
He failed to solve the riddle of the Sphinx
He's a blind old fool who's never said anything useful
16. [Once Oedipus has angered Tiresius], what does he tell Oedipus?
That Laius was his father?
That he killed his father and married his mother?
That he is blind?
17. Oedipus accuses [Tiresius] of talking in riddles. "Isn't solving riddles what you are
good at?" mocks the old man. And he departs, adding to the "riddle". The murderer...
... is not a Theban
...is brother and father to his children
...killed Laius at a crossroads
18. The Chorus don't think [Oedipus] is guilty. Why not?
.They can't believe anything bad of the king
They don't believe in Tiresias' powers
They believe Apollo will reveal the truth
19. What is Oedipus' case against [Creon] based on?
He's next in line to the throne
He is in league with Tiresias
He had a motive for killing Laius himself
20. How does Creon defend himself?
Telling Oedipus he can go to Delphi and check the oracle for himself?
Saying he was already sharing the power with Oedipus and Jocasta?
Telling Oedipus he's always been a friend as well as brother-in-law?
21. What does Oedipus propose to do to Creon now?
22. But something about [Jocasta's] story [about the circumstances surrounding
Laius' death] worries Oedipus - why? Does he think ...
...he may have killed his father?
...he may have killed Laius?
...Jocasta may be his mother?
23. Why had [Oedipus] left Corinth, and his parents Polybus and Merope?
Because of a quarrel with his parents?
Because of doubts that Polybus was his father?
Because he killed a man who insulted him at a banquet?
24. But when [Oedipus] went to Delphi, what did Apollo tell him?
You will kill your father and marry your mother?
You will kill your father?
Your parents abandoned you at birth?
25. Why did [Oedipus] kill [the man he met at the place where three roads meet] ?
The man insulted him
The man tried to run him down
The man assaulted him
26. What does [Oedipus] believe that he's guilty of?
27. Why does Oedipus have hope in finding the Old Shepherd?
He killed all the party
Laius was killed by robbers
The shepherd won't recognize him
28. What does [the Chorus] think about what has happened?
They can no longer trust the gods
Their rulers do not respect the gods
The gods will make certain their prophecies are fulfilled
29. [Jocasta prays] to Apollo, because her husband is terrified by the oracles (which
came from him). But she is interrupted by an arrival - who is it?
An old shepherd, the witness to the murder?
A completely different old shepherd?
30. What is the news [the messenger] tells Jocasta?
Polybus is dead
Oedipus' father is dead
Oedipus must return home
31. Oedipus joins his wife in celebrating the failure of prophecy. But what still worries
He might have killed Laius?
He might sleep with Merope?
He might have to go back to Corinth?
31. The shepherd says there's no need to worry at all, because ...
Merope is not his mother
His mother is also dead
Polybus was not his father
32. How, then, had Polybus come to treat Oedipus as his son?
Polybus had no son of his own, and adopted Oedipus
Polybus' shepherd found him
The shepherd gave the baby to Polybus
33. When Jocasta hears this, she reacts, but says nothing. Why?
She knows the truth will come out
She suspects the truth may come out
She hopes the truth will not come out
34. What does Oedipus think [Jocasta's] problem is [when she runs screaming into
the house] ?
She knows she's his mother
She thinks she's married to a slave's son
She's a woman, and can't face the truth
35. The Old Shepherd has arrived - but it seems he does not recognize the
Corinthian, despite the time they allegedly spent together on Mount Cithaeron. How long
One season, from spring to autumn?
36. Who had given [the Old Shepherd] the baby to kill?
A servant in Laius' house?
37. Why, according to the shepherd, was he told to get rid of the baby?
It would kill its father and marry its mother
It would kill its father
It would kill its parents
38. A messenger comes out of the house, to report on the horror inside. He saw
Oedipus rush in, demanding a sword. What did he want it for?
To kill Jocasta?
To kill himself?
To blind himself?
39. What do the Chorus blame for what's happened to [Oedipus]?
40. [Who] in particular?
41. Why did [Oedipus] blind himself instead of taking his life?
So he would not have to see his children/siblings
So he would not have to face his parents in the underworld
So he wouldn't have to see his fellow Thebans
42. Creon returns, now the ruler. What does he order his men to do with Oedipus?
Drive him out of the city.
Take him into the house
43. Why will Creon not grant Oedipus' wish [to die]?
He's waiting to be told what to do, by higher authority
He wants to make Oedipus suffer, for revenge
He wants him to stay in Thebes, because of a prophecy
44. [Before Oedipus is cast out of Thebes,] he'd like to say farewell to ..
His wife's body?
45. [Oedipus] voices his fears for [his daughters] ... fears that
they'll be exiled with him
they'll never get husbands
Creon won't look after them
46. Creon's men remove the girls. Where does Oedipus go as the play ends?
Into the house?
"The Oedipus Game," by Andrew Wilson.