When the play opens, Thebes is suffering a plague which leaves its fields and women barren. Oedipus , the king of Thebes, has sent his brother-in-law, Creon , to the house of Apollo to ask the oracle how to end the plague. Creon returns, bearing good news: once the killer of the previous king, Laius, is found, Thebes will be cured of the plague (Laius was Jocasta 's husband before she married Oedipus). Hearing this, Oedipus swears he will find the murderer and banish him. The Chorus (representing the people of Thebes) suggests that Oedipus consult Teiresias , the blind prophet. Oedipus tells them that he has already sent for Teiresias.

When Teiresias arrives, he seems reluctant to answer Oedipus's questions, warning him that he does not want to know the answers. Oedipus threatens him with death, and finally Teiresias tells him that Oedipus himself is the killer, and that his marriage is a sinful union. Oedipus takes this as an insult and jumps to the conclusion that Creon paid Teiresias to say these things. Furious, Oedipus dismisses him, and Teiresias goes, repeating as he does, that Laius's killer is right here before him - ­ a man who is his father's killer and his mother's husband, a man who came seeing but will leave in blindness.

Oedipus again swears that he will figure out this secret, no matter how vile the answer is. The Chorus senses that something bad is about to happen and join Jocasta's cry in begging the mystery to be left unresolved. Oedipus's men lead in an old shepherd, who is afraid to answer Oedipus's questions. But finally he tells Oedipus the truth. He did in fact give the messenger a baby boy, and that baby boy was Laius's son - the same son that Jocasta and Laius left on a hillside to die because of the oracle's prophecy.

When the play opens, Thebes is suffering a plague which leaves its fields and women barren. Oedipus , the king of Thebes, has sent his brother-in-law, Creon , to the house of Apollo to ask the oracle how to end the plague. Creon returns, bearing good news: once the killer of the previous king, Laius, is found, Thebes will be cured of the plague (Laius was Jocasta 's husband before she married Oedipus). Hearing this, Oedipus swears he will find the murderer and banish him. The Chorus (representing the people of Thebes) suggests that Oedipus consult Teiresias , the blind prophet. Oedipus tells them that he has already sent for Teiresias.

When Teiresias arrives, he seems reluctant to answer Oedipus's questions, warning him that he does not want to know the answers. Oedipus threatens him with death, and finally Teiresias tells him that Oedipus himself is the killer, and that his marriage is a sinful union. Oedipus takes this as an insult and jumps to the conclusion that Creon paid Teiresias to say these things. Furious, Oedipus dismisses him, and Teiresias goes, repeating as he does, that Laius's killer is right here before him - ­ a man who is his father's killer and his mother's husband, a man who came seeing but will leave in blindness.

Oedipus again swears that he will figure out this secret, no matter how vile the answer is. The Chorus senses that something bad is about to happen and join Jocasta's cry in begging the mystery to be left unresolved. Oedipus's men lead in an old shepherd, who is afraid to answer Oedipus's questions. But finally he tells Oedipus the truth. He did in fact give the messenger a baby boy, and that baby boy was Laius's son - the same son that Jocasta and Laius left on a hillside to die because of the oracle's prophecy.

Sophocles , (born c. 496 bce , Colonus, near Athens [Greece]—died 406, Athens), with Aeschylus and Euripides , one of classical Athens’ three great tragic playwrights. The best known of his 123 dramas is Oedipus the King .

These few facts are about all that is known of Sophocles’ life. They imply steady and distinguished attachment to Athens, its government, religion , and social forms. Sophocles was wealthy from birth, highly educated, noted for his grace and charm, on easy terms with the leading families, a personal friend of prominent statesmen, and in many ways fortunate to have died before the final surrender of Athens to Sparta in 404. In one of his last plays, Oedipus at Colonus , he still affectionately praises both his own birthplace and the great city itself.

Sophocles won his first victory at the Dionysian dramatic festival in 468, however, defeating the great Aeschylus in the process. This began a career of unparalleled success and longevity. In total, Sophocles wrote 123 dramas for the festivals. Since each author who was chosen to enter the competition usually presented four plays, this means he must have competed about 30 times. Sophocles won perhaps as many as 24 victories, compared to 13 for Aeschylus and four for Euripides, and indeed he may have never received lower than second place in the competitions he entered.

When the play opens, Thebes is suffering a plague which leaves its fields and women barren. Oedipus , the king of Thebes, has sent his brother-in-law, Creon , to the house of Apollo to ask the oracle how to end the plague. Creon returns, bearing good news: once the killer of the previous king, Laius, is found, Thebes will be cured of the plague (Laius was Jocasta 's husband before she married Oedipus). Hearing this, Oedipus swears he will find the murderer and banish him. The Chorus (representing the people of Thebes) suggests that Oedipus consult Teiresias , the blind prophet. Oedipus tells them that he has already sent for Teiresias.

When Teiresias arrives, he seems reluctant to answer Oedipus's questions, warning him that he does not want to know the answers. Oedipus threatens him with death, and finally Teiresias tells him that Oedipus himself is the killer, and that his marriage is a sinful union. Oedipus takes this as an insult and jumps to the conclusion that Creon paid Teiresias to say these things. Furious, Oedipus dismisses him, and Teiresias goes, repeating as he does, that Laius's killer is right here before him - ­ a man who is his father's killer and his mother's husband, a man who came seeing but will leave in blindness.

Oedipus again swears that he will figure out this secret, no matter how vile the answer is. The Chorus senses that something bad is about to happen and join Jocasta's cry in begging the mystery to be left unresolved. Oedipus's men lead in an old shepherd, who is afraid to answer Oedipus's questions. But finally he tells Oedipus the truth. He did in fact give the messenger a baby boy, and that baby boy was Laius's son - the same son that Jocasta and Laius left on a hillside to die because of the oracle's prophecy.

Sophocles , (born c. 496 bce , Colonus, near Athens [Greece]—died 406, Athens), with Aeschylus and Euripides , one of classical Athens’ three great tragic playwrights. The best known of his 123 dramas is Oedipus the King .

These few facts are about all that is known of Sophocles’ life. They imply steady and distinguished attachment to Athens, its government, religion , and social forms. Sophocles was wealthy from birth, highly educated, noted for his grace and charm, on easy terms with the leading families, a personal friend of prominent statesmen, and in many ways fortunate to have died before the final surrender of Athens to Sparta in 404. In one of his last plays, Oedipus at Colonus , he still affectionately praises both his own birthplace and the great city itself.

Sophocles won his first victory at the Dionysian dramatic festival in 468, however, defeating the great Aeschylus in the process. This began a career of unparalleled success and longevity. In total, Sophocles wrote 123 dramas for the festivals. Since each author who was chosen to enter the competition usually presented four plays, this means he must have competed about 30 times. Sophocles won perhaps as many as 24 victories, compared to 13 for Aeschylus and four for Euripides, and indeed he may have never received lower than second place in the competitions he entered.

Revising and updating his classic 1958 translation, Paul Roche captures the dramatic power and intensity, the subtleties of meaning, and the explosive emotions of Sophocles’ great Theban trilogy. In vivid, poetic language, he presents the timeless story of a noble family moving toward catastrophe, dragged down from wealth and power by pride, cursed with incest, suicide, and murder.

When the play opens, Thebes is suffering a plague which leaves its fields and women barren. Oedipus , the king of Thebes, has sent his brother-in-law, Creon , to the house of Apollo to ask the oracle how to end the plague. Creon returns, bearing good news: once the killer of the previous king, Laius, is found, Thebes will be cured of the plague (Laius was Jocasta 's husband before she married Oedipus). Hearing this, Oedipus swears he will find the murderer and banish him. The Chorus (representing the people of Thebes) suggests that Oedipus consult Teiresias , the blind prophet. Oedipus tells them that he has already sent for Teiresias.

When Teiresias arrives, he seems reluctant to answer Oedipus's questions, warning him that he does not want to know the answers. Oedipus threatens him with death, and finally Teiresias tells him that Oedipus himself is the killer, and that his marriage is a sinful union. Oedipus takes this as an insult and jumps to the conclusion that Creon paid Teiresias to say these things. Furious, Oedipus dismisses him, and Teiresias goes, repeating as he does, that Laius's killer is right here before him - ­ a man who is his father's killer and his mother's husband, a man who came seeing but will leave in blindness.

Oedipus again swears that he will figure out this secret, no matter how vile the answer is. The Chorus senses that something bad is about to happen and join Jocasta's cry in begging the mystery to be left unresolved. Oedipus's men lead in an old shepherd, who is afraid to answer Oedipus's questions. But finally he tells Oedipus the truth. He did in fact give the messenger a baby boy, and that baby boy was Laius's son - the same son that Jocasta and Laius left on a hillside to die because of the oracle's prophecy.

Sophocles , (born c. 496 bce , Colonus, near Athens [Greece]—died 406, Athens), with Aeschylus and Euripides , one of classical Athens’ three great tragic playwrights. The best known of his 123 dramas is Oedipus the King .

These few facts are about all that is known of Sophocles’ life. They imply steady and distinguished attachment to Athens, its government, religion , and social forms. Sophocles was wealthy from birth, highly educated, noted for his grace and charm, on easy terms with the leading families, a personal friend of prominent statesmen, and in many ways fortunate to have died before the final surrender of Athens to Sparta in 404. In one of his last plays, Oedipus at Colonus , he still affectionately praises both his own birthplace and the great city itself.

Sophocles won his first victory at the Dionysian dramatic festival in 468, however, defeating the great Aeschylus in the process. This began a career of unparalleled success and longevity. In total, Sophocles wrote 123 dramas for the festivals. Since each author who was chosen to enter the competition usually presented four plays, this means he must have competed about 30 times. Sophocles won perhaps as many as 24 victories, compared to 13 for Aeschylus and four for Euripides, and indeed he may have never received lower than second place in the competitions he entered.

Revising and updating his classic 1958 translation, Paul Roche captures the dramatic power and intensity, the subtleties of meaning, and the explosive emotions of Sophocles’ great Theban trilogy. In vivid, poetic language, he presents the timeless story of a noble family moving toward catastrophe, dragged down from wealth and power by pride, cursed with incest, suicide, and murder.

The plot of Sophocles’ great tragedy Oedipus the King (sometimes known as Oedipus Rex or Oedipus Tyrannos ) has long been admired. In his Poetics , Aristotle held it up as the exemplary Greek tragedy . Samuel Taylor Coleridge called it one of the three perfect plots in all of literature (the other two being Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist and Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones ). Oedipus the King might also be called the first detective story in Western literature. Yet how well do we know Sophocles’ play? And what does a closer analysis of its plot features and themes reveal?

Tiresias the seer then reveals that the man Oedipus killed on the road was Laius – the former king of Thebes and (shock horror! Twist!) Oedipus’ biological father. Laius’ widow, Jocasta, is Oedipus’ own mother – and the woman Oedipus had married upon his arrival in Thebes. When this terrible truth is revealed, Jocasta hangs herself, and Oedipus puts out his own eyes and leaves Thebes, going into self-imposed exile so he can free the Thebans from the plague.

Or perhaps that’s to impose a modern reading onto a classical text which Sophocles himself would not recognise. Yet works of art are always opening themselves up to new readings which see them reflecting our changing and evolving moral beliefs, and that is perhaps why Oedipus the King remains a great play to read, watch, analyse, and discuss. There remains something unsettling about its plot structure and its ambiguous meaning, and that is what lends it its power.

The Internet Classics Archive | Oedipus the King by Sophocles


Sophocles - Wikipedia

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