Click on the links below for materials related to this unit

Modern Greece

Introduction Materials

PBS Movie

The Structure and Function of Greek Tragedy

Our Heritage From Ancient Greece

The Role of Theatre in Ancient Greece

Gods and Men


Oedipus Rex

Power Point

Background Terms and Characters

Movie Questions

Character Analysis



Moral Dilemma


Character List

Guided Reading

Section Guide

Prologue, Pardos, Exodus

from Book 22: The Iliad

The Hero Cycle

The Iliad Power Point

Study Guide

Shield Activity

Storyboard Instructions

Presentation Rubric


Oedipus Rex by: Sophocles


Sophocles (495 BC-405 BC) was a famous and successful Athenian writer of tragedies in his own lifetime. Of his 120 plays, only 7 have survived. Oedipus the King, also called Oedipus Tyrannos or Oedipus Rex, written around 420 BC, has long been regarded not only as his finest play but also as the purest and most powerful expression of Greek tragic drama.

Oedipus, a stranger to Thebes, became king of the city after the murder of king Laius, about fifteen or sixteen years before the start of the play. He was offered the throne because he was successful in saving the city from the Sphinx, an event referred to repeatedly in the text of the play. He married Laius’ widow, Jocasta, and had four children with her, two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene.


Antigone by: Sophocles


Once Oedipus ceased being king of Thebes, his two sons, Polyneices and Eteocles, agreed to alternate as king. When Eteocles refused to give up power to Polyneices, the latter collected a foreign army of Argives and attacked the city. In the ensuing battle, the Thebans triumphed over the invading forces, and the two brothers killed each other, with Eteocles defending the city and Polyneices attacking it. The action of the play begins immediately after the battle. Note that Creon is a brother of Jocasta and thus an uncle of Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, and Polyneices.

The Iliad: from Book 22 by: Homer


A war started over a single fruit. This is where the tale of the Iliad began. It developed over time to become one of the great epics of our society, one that many people all over the world have come to like, sympathizing for each of the characters. Homer's creative use of the Greek language makes it far more interesting, his lengthy descriptions give the mind something to picture. Its as if you were there, standing next to each of the main warriors as these things happened to them. Homeric similes make the picture even more vivid, comparing the Greek and Trojan warriors to everything from deities to boars. Not only is this a tale of war, but the fights that occur between men when their pride gets hurt. How every man has that one thing he will always be mad about. The characters may seem devoid of human emotions, but eventually develop individual personalities. In only a few parts does it seem like only a listing, that the deaths that occur are not actually real people. You can relate to the main characters, sympathize or even hate them as you go through. The Greek gods are an extreme part of this tale.