Oedipus the King

ISBN-10: 0062132083

ISBN-13: 9780062132086

Edition: 2012

Authors: Sophocles

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Praised by Aristotle as the pinnacle of Greek drama, Oedipus the King is the ancient world's most shocking and memorable play: the story of a city's beloved hero and his royal family brought to hellish ruin by fate, supernatural manipulation, and all-too-human weakness.With a plague ravishing Thebes, it falls upon Oedipus, the king, to discover its cause. Yet in consulting the blind prophet Tiresias, Oedipus uncovers not only the roots of the gods' displeasure but also a dreadful secret about his own past. Prophesied from childhood to destroy his loved ones, Oedipus long ago left his homeland. In fleeing his fate, however, he has unwittingly fulfilled his grim destiny, for, as he is to discover, Thebes was always his true homeland; the stranger he slew on the road his true father; and the queen who bore his sons and daughters, his own mother. Oedipus' shame is irredeemable—and his revelation will have terrible consequences for all involved.Sophocles masterfully invokes the Western culture's most extreme taboos to explore our deepest questions about fate and free will, in a suspenseful story that still haunts audiences after 2,500 years. This phenomenal translation by Robert Bagg achieves an accurate but idiomatic rendering of the Greek original that is suited for reading, teaching, or performing.
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Book details

List price: $8.99
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 8/7/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 176
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.528

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).

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