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THE OEDIPUS TRILOGY
TERM PAPER IDEAS
Here are some suggested topics to help you develop critical and creative essays. When you write your essay, make sure you refer to specific dialogue or character actions that support your interpretation. Also try to give examples and references from the beginning, the middle, and the end of the play to suggest the continuity of the theme you're developing.
1. Discuss the role of the choral odes.
2. Discuss three examples of "warnings" Oedipus receives before he discovers the truth.
3. Defend Teiresias' initial refusal to identify Oedipus as the murderer of Laios.
4. Discuss the role of the messengers in providing information needed to develop the plot.
5. Trace the use of eye imagery in the dialogue of Teiresias and Oedipus.
6. Discuss the role that irony plays in revealing the truth about Oedipus.
7. Compare and contrast the two messengers and their roles.
8. Discuss Oedipus the King as a modern "murder-mystery."
9. Discuss the plays as lessons in inevitable human destiny.
10. Discuss Oedipus as a "tyrant figure."
11. Discuss the religious conflict between Oedipus and Teiresias.
12. Write a character sketch of Iocaste that shows her changing attitude toward Oedipus.
13. Discuss the political conflict between Oedipus and Creon.
14. Discuss the wisdom Oedipus gains through his suffering.
15. Trace the changing views of the Chorus from the beginning of a play to the end.
16. In what ways do Sophocles' plays reflect Greek religious views and beliefs?
17. What moral or religious lesson can the plays teach us today?
18. Discuss Sophocles' use of Ismene and Antigone to arouse pity for Oedipus.
19. Compare Oedipus and Creon-their values and their limitations.
20. What is the role of prophecy in developing the theme of fate?
21. Discuss Oedipus' confession of forgiveness in the Exodus of Oedipus the King.
22. Discuss the moral of the first play given by the Chorus in the Exodus.
23. Discuss Sophocles' use of the Oedipus legend in developing the plot.
24. What is Oedipus' tragic flaw?
25. What is the price Oedipus pays for self-knowledge?
26. Oedipus is sometimes seen as a Christ figure, sacrificing himself for the good of Thebes. Develop this theme using three examples.
27. Discuss the trilogy as plays about the relationship of man to the gods.
28. Compare and contrast Creon and Teiresias as noble spokesmen for the truth.
29. Discuss Oedipus' self-righteousness in his scenes with Creon and Teiresias.
30. Discuss the role of justice by citing three examples.
31. Compare and contrast Creon's and Oedipus' decisions to exile themselves from Thebes.
32. Discuss the atmosphere of "impending doom" that hangs over Oedipus the King.
33. Discuss Oedipus' excessive pride, or hubris.
34. Discuss the plays as a commentary of moral corruption.
35. Compare and contrast Iocaste's roles as queen, mother, and wife.
36. Write a character sketch of the Chorus as an "ideal spectator."
37. Discuss the implications of Creon's becoming king of Thebes.Table of Contents | Oedipus the King Message Board | Oedipus at Colonus Message Board | Antigone Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version