To what extent do they represent natural forces?
Essay Questions—Select one from each play and write about a one-page to two-page response, double spaced, using details and quotes from the literary works. 30 points each Oedipus the King 1. Traditionally, ancient Greek theatre, particularly in staging the tragedies, did not portray
violence and bloodshed on stage. This is evident in the drama of Sophocles; thus, the suicide of Iocastê is only reported to us, as is the same for
when Oedipus blinds himself with the queen’s brooches. The horror of these “scenes” is only given in the report by the second messenger. (This report begins on page 1237.) Of what advantage or disadvantage to the play is this limitation? How effective or ineffective is this reportative
technique in portraying the “drama” of the scenes. 2. “Oedipus is punished not for any fault in himself, but for his ignorance. Not knowing his family history, unable to recognize his parents on sight, he is blameless; and in slaying his father and marrying his mother, he behaves as any sensible person might behave in the same circumstances.” Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Why or why not? A Midsummer
Night’s Dream 1. Discuss the parallel plots in the play as a means of holding four very different groups together. What is the relationship among the four plot lines in the play (Athenian lovers, fairies, royalty, “rude mechanicals”)? Why do you think Shakespeare puts such a motley crew
together in the same play? 2. To what extent is order vs. disorder a major theme in the play? How does disorder exist–and how is it turned into
order? Characterize the fairies and their magic. To what extent do they represent natural forces? What else might they represent? Notice that the fairies’ magic takes place at night and that it is several times compared to or mistaken for dreams. Consider Puck’s epilogue.