Oedipus Rex MCQs

Multiple Choice

Identify the letter of the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.


The questions below refer to the selection “Oedipus Rex.”

            1. Who is Oedipus?

  1. A messenger                                             c.   Jocasta’s brother
  2. The king of Thebes                                    d.    Laius’s shepherd

            2. Oedipus left Corinth, the home of his youth, in an effort to avoid —

  1. fulfilling a terrible prediction                     c.   participating in the great war
  2. having his ankles pinned together              d. finding out the true identity of his parents

            3. Why are the people of Thebes in despair at the beginning of the play?

  1. A seer has predicted a flood.                       c.   The Sphinx is holding the city captive.
  2. A king has just been murdered.                  d. A plague is killing people and livestock.

            4. How did Oedipus save Thebes once before?

  1. By answering a riddle                                c.   By building a new temple
  2. By sacrificing a goat                                  d. By killing a criminal

            5. Creon learns what is causing the city’s current trouble from —

  1. a dream                                                     c.   the Theban elders
  2. a shepherd                                                 d. the oracle at Delphi

            6. What is the cause of the city’s troubles?

  1. The city has been sheltering a murderer.
  2. The king has insulted Apollo’s messenger.
  3. The queen has plotted to overthrow the king.
  4. The people have failed to worship the gods.

            7. Who is Teiresias?

  1. Oedipus’s father                                        c.   A blind prophet
  2. A member of the court                              d. The leader of the chorus

            8. According to Teiresias, who killed King Laius?

  1. Jocasta                                                      c.   Creon
  2. Choragos                                                   d. Oedipus

            9. Who, along with Teiresias, is accused of conspiring for the throne of Thebes?

  1. Jocasta                                                      c.   the Theban elders
  2. Creon                                                        d. the king of Corinth

          10. At the beginning of Part 2, what important news does the messenger from Corinth bring Oedipus?

  1. King Polybus has died.                              c.   Merope has fled the country.
  2. Zeus has lifted the plague.                         d. The Sphinx has seized Creon.

          11. Upon hearing the news, Oedipus still fears the prediction about —

  1. his daughter                                              c.   his father
  2. his brother                                                d. his mother

          12. What truth does Oedipus learn from the shepherd?

  1. Apollo has commanded his death.              c.   Laius and Jocasta are his real parents.
  2. He has escaped the curse of his birth.         d. Creon has succeeded in taking the throne.

          13. What eventually happens to Jocasta?

  1. She hangs herself.                                     c.   Creon rescues her.
  • Oedipus kills her.                                      d. She dies of the plague.

          14. What does Oedipus, in his sorrow and shame, do?

  1. He stabs Creon.                                         c.   He blinds himself.
  2. He attacks Choragos.                                 d. He kills his children.

          15. Near the end of the play, Oedipus requests that he be —

  1. given a new trial                                        c.   banished to a mountain
  2. publicly executed                                      d. allowed to rule a smaller city

Literary Focus: Dramatic Irony

The questions below refer to the selection “Oedipus.”

          16. What is ironic about Oedipus’s declaration of the curse against Laius’s murderer?

  1. The true murderer is already dead.
  2. Oedipus is pronouncing his own doom.
  3. Oedipus has no power to punish a foreign criminal.
  4. The Theban elders already know who the murderer is.

          17. In seeking Laius’s murderer, Oedipus says, “I take the son’s part, just as though I were his son.” What is

ironic about this statement?

  1. Laius’s son died in infancy.                       c.   The murderer has already been found.
  2. Oedipus is really Laius’s son.                     d. Laius never had any children of his own.

          18. When Jocasta calls Oedipus “miserable” and rushes into the palace, Oedipus assumes that she —

  1. intends to kill herself
  2. is ashamed of his low origin
  3. will bring their children to hear the news
  4. is angry with him for questioning the shepherd

          19. Why does Oedipus ultimately fail to escape what he had been running away from?

  1. Lack of courage                                         c.   Lack of knowledge
  2. Lack of authority                                       d. Lack of intelligence

Vocabulary Development

The questions below refer to the selection “Oedipus.”

Select the best synonym for each of the following Vocabulary words.

          20. compunction

  1. action                                                       c.   regret
  2. freedom                                                    d. shamelessness

          21. decrepit

  1. energetic                                                   c.   weak
  2. excitable                                                   d. sleepy

          22. expedient

  1. clue                                                          c.   difficulty
  2. limitation                                                  d. convenience

          23. venerate

  1. allow                                                         c.   poison
  2. despise                                                      d.   respect

          24. primal

  1. original                                                     c.   unique
  2. modern                                                     d.   stylish