Oedipus draft and final assessment

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Remember those themes and motifs mentioned before you began reading? Now it is time to do something more with them.

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First we need to clarify the difference between a “theme” and a “motif,” as they do not mean the same thing. A theme is an idea about human nature, life, the world, that is developed over the course of a work of literature. You should be able to express a theme in a statement. A motif might be used to help develop a theme, but it is less an idea than a symbol. It is a reoccurring event, item, format, that connects elements of a story or can connect a text to other works of literature. For further definitions and examples of theme and motif, visit the Glossary of LiteraryTerms.

Using the notes you took while reading Oedipus Rex, select two of the themes or motifs from the list to focus on in your essay. You might choose to explain how a motif helps to build one of the themes, or look at two themes and how they are developed through the play.

  • Truth vs. the appearance of truth [theme]
  • Blindness vs. vision (sometimes second sight) [motif]
  • Curiosity vs. ignorance (sometimes willful) [theme]
  • Knowledge vs. misunderstanding [motif]
  • Fate and free will: do the gods dictate these awful deeds? [theme]

Download and save the literary analysis outline handout and complete it before beginning to write your essay. Remember that you need a thesis statement in the introduction to establish the argument and focus of the essay.

1- Download and save this instruction sheet for creating a literary analysis outline. Complete your own outline and submit for review before beginning the essay.

2- Using the notes you took while reading Oedipus Rex, select two of the themes or motifs from the list to focus on in your 3 page essay. You might choose to explain how a motif helps to build one of the themes, or look at two themes and how they are developed through the play.

  • Truth vs. the appearance of truth [theme]
  • Blindness vs. vision (sometimes second sight) [motif]
  • Curiosity vs. ignorance (sometimes willful) [theme]
  • Knowledge vs. misunderstanding [motif]
  • Fate and free will: do the gods dictate these awful deeds? [theme]

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