Oedipus the King

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Oxford University Press, 1978 - Drama - 114 pages
14 Reviews
With attention to the intensity of spoken language, a poet and a classicist combine talents to create a new translation of Sophocles' tragic drama about the downfall of Oedipus after he murders his father and marries his mother

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AliceAnna - LibraryThing

Very stilted and no sense of the modern drama that was to come. I understand that the work of Sophocles and his compatriots laid the groundwork for modern drama but it is difficult to see the connection. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ariesblue - LibraryThing

Oedipus of Sophocles is a great work of art written by a great poet,this play symbolizes for the human misery and despair... the torments of the human soul,the innocence and guilt,Wisdom Out of ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
Preliminary Note
95
Glossary
113
Copyright

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About the author (1978)

The Greek dramatist Sophocles, born to a wealthy family at Colonus, near Athens, was admired as a boy for his personal beauty and musical skill. He served faithfully as a treasurer and general for Athens when it was expanding its empire and influence. In the dramatic contests, he defeated Aeschylus in 468 b.c. for first prize in tragedy, wrote a poem to Herodotus (see Vol. 3), and led his chorus and actors in mourning for Euripides just a few months before his own death. He wrote approximately 123 plays, of which 7 tragedies are extant, as well as a fragment of his satiric play, Ichneutae (Hunters). His plays were produced in the following order: Ajax (c.450 b.c.), Antigone (441 b.c.), Oedipus Tyrannus (c.430 b.c.), Trachiniae (c.430 b.c.), Electra (between 418 and 410 b.c.), Philoctetes (409 b.c.), and Oedipus at Colonus (posthumously in 401 b.c.). With Sophocles, Greek tragedy reached its most characteristic form. He added a third actor, made each play independent---that is, not dependent on others in a trilogy---increased the numbers of the chorus, introduced the use of scenery, shifted the focus from religious to more philosophical issues, and brought language and characters, though still majestic, nearer to everyday life. His finely delineated characters are responsible for the tragedy that befalls them, and they accept it heroically. Aristotle (see Vols. 3, 4, and 5) states that Sophocles said he portrayed people as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. His utter command of tragic speech in the simple grandeur of his choral odes, dialogues, and monologues encourages the English reader to compare him to Shakespeare (see Vol. 1).

Stephen Berg is the founder of "The American Poetry Review". He lives in Philadelphia.

Diskin Clay is R.J.R. Nabisco Professor of Classical Studies at Duke University.

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