Oedipus the King (The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Oedipus the King (The Theban Plays #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  89,676 ratings  ·  1,166 reviews
The great masterpiece on which Aristotle based his aesthetic theory of drama in the Poetics and from which Freud derived the Oedipus complex. King Oedipus puts out a sentence on the unknown murderer of his father Laius. By a gradual unfolding of incidents, Oedipus learns that he was the assassin and that Jocasta, his wife, is also his mother.
Leather Bound, The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written, 159 pages
Published 1980 by The Easton Press (first published -442)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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 Suffering and Fate that determines many things no matter how we struggle to change it....
Oedipus hears about his dreadful fate from the Delphic oracle and flees from Corinth. But instead of fleeing from his fate he runs into it...

Oedipus a passionate heart,who ask questions and take risks,has all the quali...more
We all know the story that this play tells; it has been part of the cultural heritage that most of us have known for as long as we can remember, and many of us have read it any number of times. Each reading brings new insights, new questions, and rather than tell the story once again, I prefer to dwell on the thoughts and questions that this reading brought to my mind.

Wherein lies the Evil in this play? In the prophecy and, apparently, the determinism of the gods that Oedipus will kill his fathe...more
What's interesting about fate, and what's different from our world and Oedipus's, is that "fate" doesn't really exist in our world. No real oracles go around telling you you're going to sleep with your mother. Instead, it's a philosophical device. On one side you've got "free will" (traditional very Western, very American even with the idea of the individual going forward), and on the other side you've got your fatalists (see my mom and her Vietnamese cosmology [is that the word? Whatever, I’m g...more
I'd say "spoiler alert" but it seems ridiculous . . .

I've taught this play for years, and I think this year I finally decided what makes this play great. My students never feel sympathy for Macbeth, but they do for Oedipus, and that always used to bother me. They whine in their teenage attitudinal voices, "But he didn't know that was his father." I always respond, "So it's ok to KILL PEOPLE if they're not your father?!"

In identifying with Oedipus, they forget the nature of the atrocities he co...more
David Gallagher
As a student in a Greek high school I was more or less forced to read this, translate it from the ancient Greek text for my exams to "prove" I deserved to go to the next educational level (where we did Homer), do assignments on it, listen to my professors as they spoke of its "meaning" and ask myself why Sophocles wrote it to begin with. And I HATED the damn thing. I hated Oedipus just as much as I hated Sophocles.

However, when I left high school, I realized that people - not only in Greece, bu...more
Tragedy is the end of the big famous fight between the free human being and the Gods, where Gods (fate) always win. Odipus is a big winner who loose to the Gods.
اودیپوس شاه، مشهورترین تراژدی سوفوکلس، در باره ی ستیز اودیپوس با تقدیر خویش است. اودیپوس که برخلاف همه ی دیگران، تقدیر خویش را می داند، هر چه از آن بیشتر می گریزد، در چنبر آن گرفتارتر می شود.
سه گانه ی سوفوکلس (ادیپوس شاه، ادیپوس در کولونوس، انتیگونه) را ابتدا محمد سعیدی به فارسی برگردانده که در اواسط دهه ی سی شمسی توسط بنگاه ترجمه و نشر...more
And I thought Hamlet had an odd family. Oedipus' tragic case is that of curiosity killed the cat, or is it of inescapable fate, or something else that my feeble mind can't discover. Sophocles, so many centuries after the theaters in Athens became silent, still begs reading and interpretation, because he was a writer of great power, who here crafted a story of such power that Freud, being both purposely controversial and self-serving, named it one of the three greatest literary works of all time....more
Jan 08, 2013 FREEBIRD rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Greek mythology, plays or messed up tales
Recommended to FREEBIRD by: Life
Free will does not exist.

At least, according to Sophocles it doesn't. Take Oedipus Rex as a perfect example, he hears an oracle predicting his future, a future so horrible that he cannot bear the thought of it. So he packs his bags and leaves his father and mother for fear of killing one and sleeping with the other. However, his fate follows him and he ends up doing exactly as predicted.

The real kicker here is that it's almost as if the gods are playing a joke on Oedipus. First they tell his bi...more
I don't know, how can one give Sophocles a rating? Although it is a classic and one of the pillars of the Western literary canon, I took off a star because it was too sad! I know that makes me a sap but poor King Oedipus, my goodness! Was he too proud? Too confident of his accomplishments? Or maybe that he had the gall to believe that one could escape his fate? And why that fate? Aristotle was certainly correct in referring to Sophocles as having mastered Tragedy. And the Chorus: "Oh, generation...more
Lazy Seagull
Of course, it may be the Greco-Roman mythology geek in me speaking, or perhaps the Latin student, but...I actually really liked this play! It came as a pleasant surprise, too; I thought it was going to be another play where I would have to grind my teeth and look past paragraphs upon paragraphs of angsty repartee while hating the main character(s).

Sophocles is brilliant. Loved this one, and I look forward to reading the other two. I'd already read plenty of versions (watered-down) of the Oedipus...more
My professor in the university once said,"I've been teaching this play in the drama course for more than 3 years, and every time I think I'm done with it, it teaches me something new. Perhaps when it stops amazing me, I will stop teaching it."
I think this is what great literature is about- never grows old nor stops teaching. The play doesn't only make us question the role of god(s),fate, and destiny and whether it's fair to be controlled by external powers. It also makes us question who we are...more
Amir Atef
رواية أوديب ملكاً هي أعظم مأساه كتبت وتم تأديتها على المسرح في التاريخ ، كتبت عام 474 قبل الميلاد، حبكة متقنة وحوار أكثر من رائع، كانت وستظل نموذجا هاما في فن المأساه، حوار يفوق الوصف، شخصية أوديب لسوفوكليس ليست مجرد عمل فني كبير لشاعر عظيم ، وليست كذلك شخصية كلاسيكية تمثل العصر الذي نشأت فيه فقط، إنما هي تعبر عن طموح الإنسان وتحديه للآلهة واختراقه المناطق المحظورة.
أحداثها حيكت بريشة كاتب متميز لا يضاهيه أحد ـ وإن كنت أحب يوربيديس ـ لكن كلامي هذا للإنصاف، أحداث مشوقة بدءا بالنبوءة ثم الالقاء في...more
Snafu Warrior
Odavno sam obećao sebi da ću nakon završetka prvog ispitnog roka sesti i napisati neke malecne recenzije za sva ova velika dela koja smo obrađivali. Naravno, delimično pod uticajem tih predavanja, a i sekundarne literature, sa druge strane, ostaje mi da prihvatim od toga sve što meni lično odgovara i što sam zagovaram. Krećem sa Edipom, zbog mnogo čega - ova drama iz više razloga predstavlja kulminaciju antičke tragedije, po Aristotelovim rečima je najbolji predstavnik, a i ono što je od svih os...more
Karl H.
First, let me clear something up. Oedipus is one of the classics of Western Literature as a tragedy, not as a murder mystery, a genre that wouldn't yet be invented for more than a thousand years. The questions Oedipus asks us are not questions of motive and guilt. Oedipus is not a detective. We know who did it, the audience would've known who did it, almost everyone in the play who Oedipus questions knows what's up. It's not really a mystery to anyone besides Oedipus and the chorus. There's only...more
4.5 stars

"Count no man happy 'til he dies, free of pain at last."

Oedipus the King is sad but brutal, a very dark but moving tale that we think we all know -- but actually reading it, especially the raw emotion that is encapsulated in those last few pages, is crushing. This is the true definition of Greek tragedy, so any criticism I could heap on it seems very twenty-first century and almost inapplicable. However, I did take a star off because it measures my personal enjoyment -- the latter half...more
Jorge Gómez
Personalmente, admiro a esta obra, tal vez no sea una de mis favoritas, pero luego de 2500 años transcurridos desde que fue escrita sigue pareciendo una obra que no está desadaptada al tiempo, cuyos recursos literarios no son obsoletos ni aburridos, no es lenta, inocente, ni peca de los vicios de los años transcurridos, eso ya de por si es un gran merito.

Por otro lado, muchos conocíamos la historia antes de leerla, pero, la forma en que esta historia es develada, pero sobretodo, la impresionante...more
You *think* you know the story but unless you've read it, you don't know the whole story. We read this in a high school lit class right around the time that I was "discovering" Greek and Roman mythology for the first time. This is no formulaic Thursday night TV drama. This is NOT "we have a mugging and a body" - this is a REAL mystery and you have to remember that the Greeks pretty much invented plot twists and the story can keep your attention *despite the fact* that you've "already heard it"....more
Das mit den Augen war fies.
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) did a brilliant job in voicing the title role of Oedipus in what I found to be an 'easier' to understand translation by Duncan Steen for the full cast audio.

I'm glad I've finally read the famous, fabulously sensational story of incest and patricide about the man who kills his father and marries his mother, after encountering Freud's derivative Oedipus Complex in psychology class a decade ago.

Sophocles showcases the limitations of prophecy in stating the destinatio...more
Ich bin echt froh dass ich Ödipus durch die Uni endlich mal lesen musste - jeder kennt die Geschichte aber so wirklich gelesen haben sie dann eben doch nicht alle. Ich wollte es auch schon immer mal lesen und war eigentlich angenehm überrascht. Wenn man sich erstmal an die Sprache gewöhnt hat und sich dann wirklich Zeit nimmt in aller Ruhe zu lesen versteht man den Text sehr gut. Die Geschichte ist, obwohl man ja schon weiß worauf es am Ende hinausläuft, spannend. Man will wissen wann Ödipus die...more
Alp Turgut
Konusunun işleniş biçimi ve karakter betimlemeleriyle Yunan tragedyasının en güçlü örneklerinden biri olarak kabul edilen "Oedipus the King / Kral Oidipus", Sophokles'in akıcı dili ve Bedrettin Tuncel'in harika çevirisiyle rahatlıkla okunabilecek çarpıcı bir trajedi örneği. Oidipus'un korkunç kaderinin konu alındığı eseri okudukça şaşkınlığınızı gizleyemiyorsunuz. Tragedyanın asıl ilgi çekici tarafı ise gerçekleri öğrendiği takdirde başına gelecekleri tahmin eden Oipudus'un her insan gibi merakı...more
The sunken city. I loved this tragic play ever since I read it the first time in high school, then twice more in college.
Is Oedipus Rex the ultimate Greek play? Yes, if not in entertainment value than perhaps in structure and theme. At least among the Greek plays I have read that is my regard for it. As with all early Greek drama, you are at the mercy of the translator in terms of enjoying the nuances of the text. Regardless of which translation one reads, I feel the play itself is a masterwork.

Oedipus Rex isn’t the most entertaining play I’ve ever read. It doesn’t contain the most interesting characters or emoti...more
In this book a baby named Oedipus was born in the land of Thebes. His parents, which were the king and queen had his prophecy read. It said that he would marry his mother and kill his father. Know this his parents sent him away with a shepherd to have him killed in the mountains. Instend the shepherd gave him to a man who took him to another kingdom. After growing up in his new home, Oedipus finds out about his prophecy. Him thinking that the king and queen of his new home were his real parents,...more
I was just frustrated with how transparent everything was and thus how dumb Oedipus ended up looking for not figuring it all out.

He was told by TWO clairvoyants, TWO, that he would end up married to his mom and killing his dad. And when the blind man tells him this for the second time, he is SO OUTRAGED, but that's *after* he was told the *exact same thing* by an oracle in Pytho! Also, he was told that his parents in Corinth weren't his ("changeling") and just let that go and decided to be bumme...more
Silent Writer
Nov 01, 2010 Silent Writer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who is brain-dead, or tthat has no common sense
Recommended to Silent by: English class required reading
Don't bother reading this hogwash! This play is garbage! The whole plot is bleeding stupidity!

The prophesy said that Oedipus would kill his father; later to add that he would marry his mother! The characters so clueless that they can't put together the facts! His ankles, for goodness sakes, are a dead give away! Once his father died, and a new suitor became available for the throne and Jacosta's hand in marriage, it was so obvious Oedipus was her son! Why would she marry a man around the age of...more
Melissa Rudder
As Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex (or Oedipus the King) is a short play, my review will be brief. From my extremely limited experiences, I whole-heartedly dub Oedipus Rex the most accessible and enjoyable Greek tragedy.

My biggest problems with Oedipus Rex are results of the period with bore it, not a fault of Sophocles. Being a child of a fast moving, “modern” age, the play seemed to lack necessary action. As is the custom with Greek tragedy, all the dramatic parts (suicides, murders, eye piercing...more
Virat Panicker
Oedipus the King by Sophocles was an intensely twisted story. It had plenty of conflict and the plot twists made it impossible for me to stop reading it. The main character of the story was Oedipus who was the ruler of Thebes. In the beginning of the story Oedipus was very arrogant and thought that he was better than everybody. Anything the people felt or did he felt more or did better. When the people were suffering because of the plague he said he actually suffered more because he had to think...more
Alan Smith
To the ancient Greeks, the word "Tragedy" didn't just mean something with a sad ending. To them, the word referred to a play with a certain defined structure and theme - about a happy person who, because of a single tragic flaw, becomes the victim of the gods. The format was invented for a specific purpose called "catharsis" - the idea was that you went to the theater, watched the play, and gained an emotional release that made your own petty issues fade into insignificance.

"Oedipus Rex" is perh...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Crash Course Lite...: Oedipus Rex 1 6 Feb 22, 2014 08:35PM  
Crash Course Literature 2 1 16 Feb 13, 2014 02:29PM  
Orange B 2014: Oedipus 29 22 Sep 13, 2013 08:57AM  
  • Bacchae
  • Prometheus Bound
  • Clouds
  • Tartuffe
  • The Wild Duck
  • Phèdre
  • Crito (BCP Greek Texts)
  • Theogony (Classical Library)
Sophocles (Greek: Σοφοκλής; German editions: Sophokles, Russian: Софокл) was an ancient Greek tragedy playwright. Not many things are known about his life other than that he was wealthy, well educated and wrote about one hundred and twenty three plays (of which few are extant). One of his best known plays is 'Oedipus the King' (Oedipus Rex).
More about Sophocles...
Antigone The Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex / Oedipus at Colonus / Antigone Antigone / Oedipus the King / Electra Oedipus at Colonus Electra

Share This Book

“To throw away an honest friend is, as it were, to throw your life away” 181 likes
“Fear? What has a man to do with fear? Chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown. Best live as we may, from day to day.” 90 likes
More quotes…