ENGL 2111/Fall 2020/Schedule/Lesson 5

From Gerald R. Lucas

 L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 

October 7 – October 27: Greek Tragedy and Oedipus the King
This lesson will look at the definitive Greek tragedy, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.


Oedipus the King (or Oedipus Rex (OR)) is based on a legend deeply rooted in the cultural identity of Athens. It concerns the relationship between humans and their gods and, perhaps more importantly, primal hopes and fears that unearth a terror and despair normally buried in human consciousness. OR is from a time of revaluation and uncertainty, when more progressive political and cultural ideas began to usurp more traditional institutions. This so-called golden age threatened to do away with practices of the past rooted in a god-centered view of the universe, and replace them with a faith in human-centered ideas and institutions. OR could be read as a warning to proceed with caution: we humans should not have too much confidence in our own abilities when so much of the universe is yet unknown or maybe beyond our understanding.

The first part of this lesson will introduce Greek tragedy as a dramatic genre before spending two weeks on Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

 Note: Your Short Lit Crit Response is due on 10/13, so please begin this early. You will likely need time to research and read—more than you would just posting in the forum. You may choose a secondary text that addresses any of the texts or concerns we have addressed so far in class, including Greek tragedy or epic poetry in general. If you are unsure of the validity of the secondary you chose, email me about it before you begin. Please email me your response as an attachment.

Lesson Instructions and Explanation

Generally to avoid confusion, I have tried to make all lessons work the same way. Each lesson will have its weekly section presented in a chart. Work your way from left to right. Open links in tabs, so you don’t lose track of this page.


This is the date this sections’s work is due. Complete everything in the row before 11:59:59 pm on this date.


These are the readings for this section. Read them carefully, taking notes as you do. I recommend reading from a book or on paper, as you can highlight an annotate as you progress. This will help you in the next sections.


This section will usually be a reading quiz on what you just read, so be sure to take it while the reading is fresh in your mind. However, it may also include other assignments or activities that must be accomplished.


Most writing will be on the class forum. This section will contain instructions and guidance for completing your writing. Often, this will link to a series of discussion prompts for the text you’re reading. Choose one prompt, or thread, to answer, or create your own post (especially if there are none there you can or want to respond to) by clicking + New Topic. I’m looking for your engagement here, so aim for a single longish post and a shorter response to someone else’s post. Using secondary sources correctly for support will always earn you more points. Be sure you’re following the conventions outlined in Writing in the Liberal Arts and the guidelines in Academic Forum Posts.


The test will be the last activity. It will test your knowledge of the entire lesson’s materials. Take this only after you have accomplished everything else in the lesson. The idea here is that you show me what you learned about the all of the lesson’s material. Please write in complete sentences and give enough detail to answer the questions. Your answers should convince me that you have learned and thought about the materials.

Due Read Do Write Test
Quiz Lit Crit Response[1] -
Quiz Respond -
Quiz Respond Test


  1. Please email me your response as an attachment
  2. This text with the sections labeled is available on the forum (PDFFileicon-pdf.png).
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