Click this quilt piece to go to Litonline's home page.VCCS Litonline Introduction to Literature
English 112 (English Composition II)
Click on the sphinx to read the play.

Oedipus the Wreck

Teaching the Play

Below are ideas submitted to the Oedipus Forum about teaching the play.

I am teaching this text in Australia to senior high school students next year. I guess you need to work out what you feel comfortable teaching and the size of your class, but I always get my kids out of their chairs and acting out scenes from the play. I guess having a drama background, it helps!! (Senior kids have little time to "play", so getting them up, complete with props and costumes, helps them embrace the play and understand it better. It's also great for a laugh.) Begin giving kids some basic material on plot and characters. (Some questions to direct pre-reading is always helpful.) Placing the play in context is also a good idea. 

A mini-research project on Greek theatre helps them centre their focus on what life was like when the play was written. Try and think of a "hook" to get them in. A challenging question or sparking a debate based on the themes and issues of the text works well. Give the students a theme or issue to look at, or divide up parts of the play and get them to "teach" it via an oral presentation using multimedia--e.g. Powerpoint, video, slide images--and have them identify important quotes. Get them to create a page of notes on character/theme/plot development for their "bit" of the play. Afterwards, "fill in" any gaps they have missed yourself. Debates, quizzes, workshopping passages and small/large group discussions are great ways of getting your students acquainted with the text and engages them more than constant teacher-centred lessons.

Good Luck!!! Kylie Sinclair -- Victoria, Australia

A 9th-grade formula assignment: In 2000, Tara passed along her teacher's recipe for a paper on a book, specifically Oedipus the King--
This report must be on the book Oedipus the King by Sophocles.
  • typed (12 font, Times new Roman, double spaced)
  • 5-6 pages in length
  • The essay must begin with a description of the time period, location, main characters and basic plot of the story (2-3 pages).
  • The summary must be followed by a discussion of four themes of history. You may pick out of the following (pick 4): 1. Geographic Influences 2. Government (Political Change) 3. Religion 4. Economic Development (means of survival) 5. Culture (Architecture, Literature, the Arts) OR 6. Society (Including Women's Role). This part must be 1 to 2 pages long.
  • In addition to the expository part of the essay, the final paragraphs will explain what you considered to be the strong and weak points of the book both in terms of historical interest and accuracy and personal readability (1 page).


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