2. In what ways is this play similar to and different from the Eumenides? Do you think that Sophocles also believes that suffering leads people to wisdom?
3. Why has Oedipus left Thebes?
4. Do you think that Oedipus blames the gods for his fate more than he does in Oedipus the King? (See Oedipus the King, pp. 241-42.) If even Oedipus will not blame the gods for such a terrible fate, then what do you think Sophocles is saying about the gods and how they treat humans? Why do they cause pain and suffering for humans? (This last question may not have any easy answer. One commentator says that "Oedipus imposes himself on the gods; it is not forgiveness, for there was no sin. [Oedipus at Colonus] is Sophocles' answer to the tragedy of life. He cannot justify God to man, but he can justify man to man" [Kitto 420]. What do you think of this comment?)
5. Do you agree with the Chorus that "Not to be born is best / when all is reckoned in" (358)? How do you account for this viewpoint? Do you think Sophocles agrees? Why or why not? For one view, read Knox's introduction, p. 273.
6. In what senses is Oedipus a hero? (See pp. 300, 319.) Notice how Oedipus moves from despised beggar to a figure of towering anger to a hero who leads Theseus, even though he is blind. Compare / contrast the ways in which the beggars Odysseus and Oedipus become leaders and even (in the case of Oedipus) a revered hero. After he dies, Oedipus becomes a hero-daimon whose "presence in the soil [is] feared by some and thanked by others" (Knox 265). (See also Knox's introduction, pp. 256-58.)
7. What do you think of Oedipus' "departure" at the end of the play? Think of some possible meanings for this strange ending. (See Knox's introduction, pp. 275-77.)
8. Sophocles wrote Oedipus at Colonus when he was quite old, just as Athens was about to suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. Colonus (a suburb or part of Athens) was also Sophocles's hometown. How do these facts change your view of certain scenes?