In this college preparatory English class, I expose students to formative texts of the Western world. One such text is Oedipus Rex, the only text from classical Greek literature students read in their English coursework unless they choose to take the elective course on its mythology. We will, therefore, explore this play with the goal of introducing students to this formative literary world, both by reading the play itself and also by studying several prominent myths of Greek antiquity. Additionally, students will obtain knowledge of some of the tenets of and contributors to Greek theater, including a study of its staging and setting as well as Sophocles’ contribution to its development. Using their understanding of literary terminology, including, most prominently, motif, they will analyze the play using several reading and discussion formats as well as activities. Ultimately, in addition to these factual understandings, students will explore the nature of knowledge—knowledge of self, of others, of the world—and how people respond to and interact with the realities with which they’re confronted.
Please note that the brilliance of my colleagues and inspiring work in the field, including the work of Jeff Wilhelm’s Action Strategies for Deepening Comprehension, inspired many of the activities and strategies found in this unit .
Lee, Lauren, "The Motif of Sight: Knowledge versus ignorance in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex" (2011). Understanding by Design: Complete Collection. 156.
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