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Choose one of the following prompts:

1. Fate: Many of the characters in Sophocles' plays seems to have a desire to break free from the control of the fate the gods have determined for them. Based on what you have read in one of the plays, what is Sophocles trying to teach his audience about a human's ability to control his/her fate? In doing so, analyze how the characters behave as a result of knowing what their destines will be. What are the effects of discovering their destinies?


2. Acting on Emotions: Sophocles' plays are designed to instruct his audience members - even those in positions of authority - about how to behave in a morally correct fashion. Choose one of the plays and analyze how acting on emotions (jealousy, suspicion, pride, anger, love) leads to negative effects for the characters, while acting in a prudent manner indicates wisdom in the characters.


3. Conscience vs. Society: Characters in both of the plays must choose between following what society says is the right thing to do and following what they believe in their hearts to be the right thing to do. Often, choosing to follow the conscience is the more difficult road to walk. For one of the two plays, identify the difficult choices the characters make and analyze the effects that these choices have on the characters' lives.


4. Tragic Hero: Aristotle identifies the tragic hero as a character who falls from a lofty position because of a tragic flaw (hamartia) - normally that flaw is pride (hubris). Identify the tragic hero of one of the plays. Analyze the scenes in which the character displays pride and identify the effects that this pride has on the character's life. How could his/her life have been different if he/she had behaved in a less prideful manner?


 

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