Friends' Book Discussion Series

Oedipus Rex

Please join us for a talk on Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) by Sophocles to be held Wednesday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the small meeting room on the 2nd floor. The talk is first in the series on the theme of family relations in Western literature, sponsored by the West End Library Friends. The presenter is Ori Z. Soltes, resident scholar in theology and fine arts at Georgetown University.

Discussion questions are:
1. What information do we get from the play (or elsewhere) regarding the family of Laius and Jocasta before the events that unfold in the drama?
2. What/whose are the primary actions/decisions that cause the drama to unfold as it does?
3. Could things have gone in a different direction? Is there a point or a series of points of no return where the outcome becomes inevitable?
4. What is the functional relationship between fate—pre-determination—and free will within the play?
5. What is the role of the gods in the whole mess?
6. What role does knowledge play—and what kinds of knowledge and ignorance are operative or inoperative when, where and by whom—in the shaping of the events of the play?
7. What are some of the likely consequences of the events of the play—ie, where could (and did) Sophocles go dramatically with this story next?
8. What are some of the most fundamental symbols used by Sophocles to underscore many of the preceding questions in the course of the play? 
9. How does this play fit into the larger frame of triadic family relationships in Greek (and world) literature?
10. What did Freud find so compelling about this drama and what did he do with it?