Oedipus Rex

Oedipus the King: An Introduction to Greek Drama Detailed lesson plan from PBS with downloadable text of the play, teaching strategies, and plenty of recommended online resources. The goal of the unit is to gain an insight into Greek tragedy and concepts such as fate, hubris, and (dramatic) irony. Other lesson objectives from PBS include:

  • Recognize the Greeks concern with fate, self-determination and the role of gods and oracles in everyday life.
  • Learn about the origin and development of drama in Athens in the 6th and 5th centuries BC.
  • Analyze and critically assess the specific role of characters within the play and role of the chorus.
  • Gain an understanding into the different genres of drama (including comedy, tragedy and Satyr plays)
  • Discover some of the social concerns of the ancient Greeks by knowing the themes of some of their plays.
  • Be able to compare and contrast ancient Greek drama with modern dramatic forms such as movies and modern theatre.

Core information about Greek drama and playwrights can be found on this Web site under the following headings: -

Oedipus Rex - Symbols in 60 seconds

Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex This teaching unit is useful for its extended background information, but perhaps more for its "Suggestions for Developing Students’ Understanding of the Play." (Scroll down towards the bottom of the page to find them.) Among the suggestions:

  • Prereading exercises to help students understand a play as much as the actual reading or postreading exercises.
  • Allow some students to interpret the play through illustrations or cartoons.
  • As students read the play, ask each one to keep a notebook of significant lines.
  • have students improvise how particular character would behave in entirely new situations and settings.
  • immediately before reaching the climactic scene, or denouement, stop the reading of the play and have each student write a brief summary of what will happen from that point to the end
  • students rewrite plays into different genres.

Oedipus: The Theban Story and its Interpretation Section from the Classics Pages that includes interpretations, articles, and games.

"Fate, Freedom, and the Tragic Experience: An Introductory Lecture to Sophocles's Oedipus the King" A retired University instructor addresses such issues as the role of fate and the appeal of tragedy. He also provides a definition of the hero and an explanation of the role of the chorus.

Roger Dunkle's Study Guide for Oedipus Rex From the Classics Technology Center. "Exercise for Reading Comprehension and Interpretation" is essentially a long list of reading questions and hyperlinked terms. Interesting part about the hyperlinked terms is that they lead to a Glossary where you can hear the pronunciation of Greek words.

KNU Oedipus Rex Part 6

Oedipus Game Students should enjoy playing the Oedipus Game from the Classics Pages. Students answer timed multiple-choice questions in this simulation activity. Not as easy as it looks!

Greek Myths, Oedipus, ... and Star Wars An English and History education student at Memorial University has come up with an interesting lesson which should prove interesting and demanding for students. It uses "The Return of the Jedi" to teach "timeless humanistic themes expressed through a culturally responsive drama".

Hyperlinked Online Version Students can click on the table of contents to read the play online. Google Books also has a version available