Oedipus Rex Essay Topics

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Oedipus Rex can be a challenging work for students. The essay topics included here can help students refine and focus their ideas, and ultimately demonstrate what they learned from the play.

Essay Topics

The essay topics below represent a variety of academic approaches to the text. Choose the topics that best align with your curriculum and method of instruction.

Destiny

Oedipus Rex can be read as a play about destiny. Before the play begins, the gods have set his destiny as a horrific one - to kill his father and marry his mother. Once Oedipus learns his fate, he attempts to avoid it by leaving the couple he believed to be his parents, but his plan to thwart destiny only serves to make those prophesies come true. In a well-developed essay, explore the ideas of free will and predetermination in the play. Can the characters be held responsible for their actions? Do any of their choices matter? Look specifically at Oedipus, but address Jocasta and Creon as well.

Irony

Oedipus Rex contains dramatic, situational, and verbal irony. Cite direct examples of all three types of irony in the play, then explain the effect of irony on the overall themes of the work. Also, examine how Sophocles uses irony to affect the reader's mood and his attitude towards Oedipus, Tiresias, and Jocasta.

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