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Samantha Alwood

Mrs. Rutan

Ap Lit

9 August 2016

Oedipus the King Response Paper

Sophocles play, Oedipus the King, is a very interesting play. The playwright is set back in 430

B.C. where at the time there was a horrific plague that sought no end. When Oedipus sends Creon,

brother of Jocasta, to find out how to get rid of the plague, he learns that he must punish the murderer of

the previous king, Laius, only to find out it was Oedipus the whole time. Throughout the play Sophocles

does very well at telling the history of Thebes and the story of Oedipus by using many different writing

techniques and styles including literary devices, tones, themes, and characterization. Although there were

a few things I noticed that I did not like about his writing style.

One of Sophocles writing techniques that he used was his great use of literary devices.

Throughout the play he uses foreshadowinga lot too. When Tiresias, the blind prophet and servant of

Apollo, says I say you are the murderer you hunt (413), Sophocles is telling you that Oedipus is the

murderer of Laius. Also Sophocles uses a lot of imagery and if you were to count how often Sophocles

uses the words see, sight, blind and eyes you would be shocked because those words are literally

on every page. For example one line he uses is youve lost power, stone-blind, stone-deafsenses, eyes

blind as stone! (421-422); this is when Oedipus is talking to Tiresias about the truth of Laius murder. I

believe that Sophocles did a great job using imagery, foreshadowing, and a variety of other literary

devices in his play.

Sophocles also used many different tones in his play, Oedipus the King. The different tones he

uses in his writing helps the reader stay engaged and want to read more. At the beginning of the story,

Sophocles tone is more sincere because Oedipus is trying to help the people of Thebes get rid of the

plague, but as Oedipus learns more about the murder of Laius the tone changes to a concerning tone.
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Oedipus becomes more concerned because he's worrying about whether he is the murderer or not, which

can also be ironic because he wants to banish the assassin for his own protection, I curse myself as

well if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house, here at my hearth, with my full

knowledge, may the curse I just called down on him strike me (284-287). At the end the tone is

sympathetic because the Chorus feels bad that Oedipus, the greatest man, was a victim of his own curse

due to his actions earlier in the play. These tones Sophocles created while writing were helpful for the

reader to understand more about what was happening throughout the play. I believe the variety of tones

he used throughout the play was a great writing technique.

Another great writing technique Sophocles used was his themes that his writing portrayed. The

power of destiny was a huge theme that I noticed. You notice this when Oedipus learns about his fate of

killing his father and sleeping with his mother, Apollo told me onceit is my fateI must make love

with my own mother, shed my fathers blood with my own hands (1090-1092). When Oedipus learns

this he wants to prevent this prophecy; although to find out that his fate has already come true when he

was a boy. Also when Oedipus attempts to try to change his fate many times he just keeps getting closer

to his own destiny. So Oedipus fulfills his prophecy not just because of destiny but the insufficient

attempts to change his fate. This theme was big throughout the play and you learn that you cant change

your destiny after it has already begun to happen.

One last interesting writing technique Sophocles uses well is his characterization. Throughout the

play there were some characters that stood out a lot to me, including Oedipus, Creon, and the Chorus.

Oedipus stood out a lot to me because in the beginning of the play he was a confident man that was ready

for anything. Then when some of the citizens of Thebes told him about the plague, he told them that he

was pretty much already on top of it; I sent Creon, my wifes own brother, to DelphiApollo the

Prophets oracleto learn what I might do or say to save our city (81-84). Although by the end of the

play Oedipus wasnt as confident because he is quickly trying to find the murderer of Laius and is quickly

to blame someone, including Creon and Tiresias, so he can save his city and have the murderer banished.

Creon was also a character that was really interesting because he seemed as a very formal person that
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likes to keep things private. We see this when he delivers his news to Oedipus, If you want my report in

the presence of these people Im ready now, or we might go inside (103-104). When he is saying this

to Oedipus he is saying that he doesnt want the citizens to know yet I feel, although Oedipus tells Creon

that the citizens deserve to know, which I thought was very interesting. The Chorus was another

character I found interesting because I feel like they helped tell the story of Oedipus. The Chorus

contributed by reacting to what was happening in the play most of the time. Also the Chorus got to say

the last word at the end of Oedipus the King. Their last words helped the audience understand the

message of the play and gave the audience a sense of relief at the end. I thought Oedipus, Creon, and the

Chorus were very interesting and influential characters that Sophocles used to help tell the story of

Oedipus the King, which was a great characterization technique.

Even though Sophocles did a good job using many different writing styles, I thought that the way

he wrote the story was kind of confusingat least for me. This was because he gives you way too much

information towards the end of the story. When he pushed the ending I was really confused about what

just happened, so I had to reread it to make more sense of it. I thought that if Sophocles would have made

the play a little longer at the end or if he even spread the events out at the end it would have made a

smoother transition at the end of the story. If Sophocles would have done this I believe the play would

have been better and not as confusing for the reader.

After reading Oedipus the King, I thought Sophocles play was kind of senseless considering that

Oedipus was doomed from the start. Even though Oedipus didnt know his fate in the beginning, he

attempts to change it once he learns that he is supposed to kill his father and sleep with his mother.

Although by trying to change his destiny, he runs even closer to his own fate without even knowing it. I

thought that the whole situation of the story was really odd because Oedipus was just blindsided and

didnt know anything from the start of the play. Also I believe that if Sophocles were to change up a few

things within the play, the story of Oedipus would have been a lot more interesting to readbut that's just

what I think.
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Even though I didnt really like the play, Oedipus the King, that much, I thought that the play was

still better than any other play Ive read. I believe this is because it had a better tone throughout the story

and I could understand more of what was happeningmost of the time. Although I have to say Im not a

big fan of plays anyways and I would rather read a longer story that I can relate to. Overall I thought

Sophocles did a really good job with his writing style and his use of different techniques, but I thought the

story was a bit confusing at times.



I appreciate the discussion you did on Sophocles writing techniques and the theme of destiny...both of

those focuses are so important when it comes to AP reading. The only problem with this paper is it needs

to be 4-5 pages long (this is a longer response paper). Can you add to this? You could add in some

discussion of the characterizations...which characters stood out to you and why? You could also discuss

the Chorus...their purpose/impact. You could even discuss how this play compares to other plays you have

read in the past, like Shakespeare.

***Thanks Sam on the changes you made!

Mastery Incomplete

I show thoughtful commentary I do not show critical analysis of the

and analysis of the novel. novel, but present a summary.

I include incorrect information

about the novel.

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I do too much plot summary, and

not enough reflection or analysis.

I use several pieces of direct, I do not use direct, well integrated,

clearly integrated, and cited evidence or cited evidence from the novel.

from the novel.

I show organization and structure My paragraphs/paper are poorly

in my paragraphs and overall paper. structured.

I show solid grammar and I have poor grammar and

mechanics. mechanics.

I complete the required number of I do not write the required number

pages of pages; my paper is too short

I use 11 point font, double- I do not use the correct paper

spaced, and typed. formatting.

I include a thoughtful title. I fail to include a title.

I use MLA format. I fail to use MLA format.