Unit 5: Oedipus the King by Sophocles
Unit 5 Oedipus the King by Sophocles
Essential Questions and Skills:
How does the structure of Oedipus meet Aristotle’s ideals of drama, as explained in The Poetics? What is the role and function of the Chorus in the play? What is a tragic hero and is Oedipus the ideal tragic hero? What is the role of secondary characters on Oedipus and the ploy of the play? How does Sophocles’s diction affect plot, characterization and theme? What is the role of irony (dramatic, situational, and verbal) on the play?
Perrine’s Literature Structure, Sound, and Sense, Chapter 3
Aristotle’s Architectonic Elements of the Drama set down in The Poetics
Handout: Critical Concepts: Dramatic Irony
Handouts: Theme, Explication, Greek Drama
Voice Lessons: Classroom Activities to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone by Nancy Dean
A. Close Reading: Explication of Lines” Either as you’re reading or after you’ve completed reading, choose six very powerful lines from the play, one for each category. Note where they appear in the play, so that you can refer to them later: lines that foreshadow later events, lines that reveal a conflict, lines that reveal a character’s personality, lines that explain why a character behaves that way, lives that refer to past events, lines that seem like sage advice. Prepare a brief explication of each of the lines chosen, relating them to the category, to the specific scene in which they appear, and to the work at large.
B. Group Work: Each group will examine a different section of the play to discover how words related to sight and blindness are used throughout the play. The groups will create a graphic organizer, utilizing the following categories: Sophocles’s Words, Literary Technique Utilized, Context, Significance to Plot, Character, and Theme.
C. Writing Assignment: Write a well-organized essay discussing and demonstrating how Sophocles’s diction, in relation to sight/blindness, affected Oedipus’s plot, characters, or theme.
D. Un-timed AP Essay: Choose one of two: According to critic Northrop Frye, “Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of divine lightning.” Select a play in which a tragic figure functions as an instrument of the suffering of others. Then write an essay in which you explain how the suffering brought upon others by that figure contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole. OR Many works of literature not readily identified with the mystery or detective solution to the mystery may be less important than the knowledge gained in the process of its investigation. Choose a novel or play in which one or more of the characters confront a mystery. Then write an essay in which you identify the mystery and explain how the investigation illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.
E. Weekly vocabulary assessments
F. Student generated AP style multiple choice questions
G. Weekly exercises from Voice Lessons: Classroom Activities to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone.
H. AP Style Multiple Choice Test
Literary Humor: Why doesn't Oedipus swear?
Answer: Because he kisses his mom with that mouth!!!