Discussion prompts and documentation practice
Ode IV sums up the truth of Oedipus’ identity the play reveals. How are we meant to respond to this revelation and to the character of Oedipus?
Answer : In the beginning, Oedipus was known as a magnificent character but soon after some negative events, his fate has changed and has fallen from his glory. He used have great power over Thebes, unfortunately, after his destiny, Oedipus realizes he has tainted his population while he was king. It is for that reason that he is considered like a slave or belongs to the lower class because of what he has done.
“Your splendor is all fallen” (Ode IV, l.9)
“His fortunes are most changed, his state, fallen to a low slave’s.” (Ode IV, l. 29-30) “The great door that expelled you to the light, gave night- ah gave night to your glory.” (Ode IV l.34-35)
2. In the Exodus, the dramatic scene of Iocaste’s suicide and Oedipus discovery of the body is described by the messenger rather than presented in an actual scene. What is the effect of Sophocles choice to present it ‘offstage’?
Answer : To give a better description of the outlook of her death and Oedipus’ reaction to her death, also to let the spectators create their own image of the scene instead of them just watching it, it makes them think of how the scene would have played. It makes them gather all the crucial information and details from the messenger’s monologue in order to create their own conclusion in their minds. Also, you can notice in the messenger’s tone of voice and the way he’s describing the story, he’s purposely evoking a horrified reaction to the audience.
What does the act of self-blinding signify to Oedipus’ characterization?
Answer : He literally blinded himself from his fate which he now knows is a sin against both his parents. He is trying to hide his own knowledge by not visually facing his crimes and his sins. Now he can not “face men in their eyes” and...
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