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Oedipus Rex Mask Project

Background: Actors in Greek drama wore masks, as they allowed the actors to play many different parts.
Masks also helped amplify the actors’ voices and helped represent the character types
that would typically show up in the play (king, queen, messenger,
etc.) This made the characters easy for the audience to identify.
The masks were most likely made from lightweight materials like
stiffened linen, leather, wood, or cork, with the wig consisting of
human or animal hair.

Project Directions:
1. Choose one character from Oedipus Rex.
2. Then choose specific lines that this character speaks at a
specific point in the play. Write these lines on the attached handout
to analyze what they suggest about where the character is in the terms
of the plot and where the character is in relationship to the person he/she
is talking to. Also, analyze the lines for what can be inferred in the dialogue about
the character’s feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, etc. Additionally, consider what that
character’s place is in the society.
3. Make a mask representing (through specific images, symbols, colors, and
design) all that can be inferred about your character from the lines chosen to analyze.
4. Using the brainstorming handout, write a process essay explaining the choices you made in
representing your character. This detailed, typed essay should explain both your character
analysis and visual representation. The brainstorming handout should be attached to the essay.

Materials: You will need to construct a papier-mâché mask form to use for this project, or purchase a
plastic full-face mask. Basic paint, gems, yarn, and other supplies will also be needed.

Evaluation:
• Accurate and complex understanding of the character you are analyzing
• Intelligent and creative use of visual symbols
• Clear visual focus or purpose
• Neat and balanced appearance
• Completion of a detailed analysis explaining and analyzing your
understanding and representation of your chosen character as a mask
• Detailed, comprehensive, logical, and accurate, analysis
• Analysis is grammatically and mechanically correct

Presentation: Extra credit to anyone who dresses the part (Greek
toga) or brings in an authentic Greek treat or dish to share with the
class.

Completion of Mask: You will be given class days to work on your
mask. You may come work on your mask during lunch or after
school.