Oedipus the King
Hayes Barton Press, 1882 - 159 pages
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Roger L. Stevens, chairman, and The Smithsonian Institution, S. Dillon Ripley, II, secretary, present The American College Theatre Festival, produced by the American Theatre Association, Jed H. Davis, president and The American National Theatre and Academy, Donald Seawell, chairman, sponsored by American Airlines, George Spater, president and American Oil Company, B.J. Yarrington, president, Eisenhower Theater, April 17 through 29. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, The Theatre Department presents "Oedipus the King," by Sophocles, prepared by Burnet M. Hobgood and Anthony Graham-White, with acknowledgment to T.H. Banks, musical score by Alvin Epstein, directed by Burnet M. Hobgood, associate director Jim Hancock, musical director Carlton Young, stage manager Twila Sauer Young, assistants Patt Broadus, Floyd Kuntz, costume coordinator Judith Michener, technical director Allen Heaton.
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"King Laius kills another man's son, and the son's father prays to Apollo to avenge his son's death. When King Laius goes to the Oracle at Delphi the priest of Apollo tells him that because he killed the other man's son, Apollo will grant him a child but the child will someday kill him. When Laius's wife finally does bear him a son he gives it to a slave to bring to a remote mountain, maim it, and leave it to die. The shepherd can't kill him, so he gives Oedipus to another shepherd. This other shepherd takes Oedipus to a nearby kingdom, Corinth. Oedipus is adopted by the King and Queen and grows up thinking that they are his family. Oedipus goes to the Oracle and the Oracle tells him that he will kill his father. He leaves Corinth so as not to harm his ""fake"" father. On the road (at a spot where three roads meet) Oedipus kills King Laius, not knowing who he is or his rank.He then answers the Sphinx's riddle and becomes king. The story starts here. The downward spiral of his life is followed, as he finds out his true heritage, discovers he's sleeping with his mother, and eventually stabs out his eyes."
This was a play written 2400 years ago, so that alone makes it amazing. It still has a solid moral that is useful to modern humanity. The play was exceedingly short in story form (159 pages with half of those the same story in Greek). It had good rhyme and meter, but the best part of the story happened before the story began. The most interesting part, with the Sphinx, was before as well. The Sphinx's riddle was, "What walks on two feet, three feet, and four feet, and is weakest on the most." The answer was "Man".