01. Introduction
02. Grammar/Activities:
03. Reading Section
04 Listening Section:
05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
07 Final TOEFL tests

Speaking practice test 1.09

(Question type: Task 4)

You will now listen to part of a lecture. You will then be asked a question about it. After you hear the question, you will have 20 seconds to prepare your response and 60 seconds to speak.

Using points and examples from the talk, explain why the professor thinks that Oedipus Rex meets the definition of a classic tragedy.

Preparation time: 20 seconds

Response time: 60 seconds

Text Explanation

There are two things you should be ready for: a definition or explanation of a general idea and examples of that idea.

In this case, the general idea is the definition of a classic tragedy. The professor lists a few important parts of a tragedy: a search for happiness, a flaw, responsibility, and the audience’s reaction (catharsis). Then, when he starts speaking about the play Oedipus Rex, it is unsurprising that those features of a tragedy are repeated.

In fact, this lecture is very structured, so it’s great practice for hearing organization of lectures and taking notes that show the organization.

When you speak about it, be sure to talk about the specific parts of Oedipus Rex that match the professor’s definition of a tragedy. You have to connect the example to the general idea.

L2 - Sample notes

  • Tragedy: person flaw, happy. BUT respons.
  • Oedipus Rex (don’t worry about the spelling!)
    • flaw: pride. Kills man⇒king, marries
    • plague—caused.
      • woman=mom, man=dad
      • blinds self, mom dies
      • apologizes⇒catharsis

Sample response #2

The professor says that a classic tragedy is more than a sad story. It has these specific qualities… like, three specific qualities. The first is that a hero tries to find happiness but has a tragic flaw. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus tries to find happiness. But his pride causes some major problems. He accidentally, err, murders his father and, uhh, marries his mother. The second thing about a tragedy…uhh…the next thing is that the hero accepts responsibility for everything. Oedipus does this before he blinds himself. Then the third part of tragedy is a feeling of release for the audience. After Oedipus accepts blame for the plague and everything he has done, the audience has a sense of relief. They see how brave he is… umm...