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Oedipus Rex

(The Theban Plays #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  180,007 ratings  ·  3,694 reviews
"...what man wins more happiness than just its shape and the ruin when that shape collapses?"

Sophocles' Oedipus Rex has never been surpassed for the raw and terrible power with which its hero struggles to answer the eternal question, "Who am I?" The play, a story of a king who acting entirely in ignorance kills his father and marries his mother, unfolds with shattering pow
Paperback, 75 pages
Published June 22nd 2006 by Prestwick House - (Literary Touchstone Classic) (first published -429)
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Daniel The quote may be from a different translation. Translations can differ to a surprising degree. I would look for a similar line in the translation that…moreThe quote may be from a different translation. Translations can differ to a surprising degree. I would look for a similar line in the translation that you have and go from there. (less)

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What can I say about SophoclesOedipus Rex that has not already been said? Apart from the patricide and the infamous incest, this is an ancient tale of angst and overall calamity. But since I recently revisited it, this legendary tragedy hasn’t left my mind.
"Look and learn all citizens of Thebes. This is Oedipus.
He, who read the famous riddle, and we hailed chief of men,
All envied his power, glory, and good fortune.
Now upon his head the sea of disaster crashes down.”

I felt after reading th
Ahmad Sharabiani
Οἰδίπους Τύραννος = Oedipus Tyrannus = Oedipus = Oedipus Rex = Oedipus the King (The Theban Plays #1), Sophocles

Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophoclesو that was first performed around 429 BC. Oedipus sent his brother-in-law Creon to ask advice of the oracle at Delphi concerning a plague ravaging Thebes.

Creon returns to report that the plague is the result of religious pollution, since the murderer of their former King, Laius, had never been caught. Oedipus vows to find the murde
"Look and learn all citizens of Thebes. This is Oedipus.
He, who read the famous riddle, and we hailed chief of men,
All envied his power, glory, and good fortune.
Now upon his head the sea of disaster crashes down.
Mortality is man’s burden. Keep your eyes fixed on your last day.
Call no man happy until he reaches it, and finds rest from suffering."

I believe that in one way or another, everyone - at least to some extent - has heard of the story of Oedipus and Jocasta. It's one of those tales tha
Sean Barrs
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes life's a real bitch.

Fate is unavoidable in ancient Greek Tragedy. Trying to avoid it will only lead to it, and doing nothing will lead you there too. So if a God tells you that you will die at the hands of your son, and that he will then go on to steal your wife, you’d best do nothing because it’s going to happen anyway. Any preventative action you take will only lead to the same ending. So, you’re pretty much screwed. You might as well lie down and accept it. The God's are mean.

Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Oedipus Rex, the first of "The Theban Plays," written by Sophocles around 430 BC. If you are unfamiliar with Greek tragedies, the thing you need to know most is that the authors often played with the concept of fate: not just that some things are meant to be or to come back and haunt you, but that there is always more going on than you realize at the time. This is one of the plays you should absolutely read. Although borderline spoiler, it's important t
nothin like a forced reread in order to write a terrible paper


classic oedipus!!! always going and getting himself into life-ruining, city-destroying shenanigans :')
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing


I have not read Sophocles’ text recently, but listened to
this exceptional audio edition. Powerfully acted out, with an eerie chorus and dramatic music, it has been a superb experience.

I have come back to this play now in a roundabout way. As part of a Seminar on Aesthetics, The Eye that Thinks, imparted in the Prado Museum, we were prompted by our Professor Félix de Azúa to read Oedipus in a Hegelian framework. We had been discussing the contributions of Hegel to Aestheti
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
Zenki the Pixie
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, classics
You'll enjoy this book if you like:

👑 Plays (duh)
👑 Ancient Greece (also duh)
👑 A fast read!
👑 Gods who release plagues on a kingdom to ignite drama
👑 (view spoiler)
👑 Murder mysteries
👑 Knowing something crucial about the plot early on and waiting for characters to find out all about it (A.K.A. Slow characters)
👑 Dysfunctional families
Dave Schaafsma
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
“I want a girl, just like the girl, that married dear old Dad”—Oedipus

But, why accept a copy when you can get the real thing?!

I read this because 1) recently I had read (out of order) Antigone and thought I might reread the whole trilogy; 2) I plan to see a local production of the play and 3) I had some vague notion that the play, about a king, might throw some literary light on our current American King and kingly conduct. I listened to it, though I had to start over 3-4 times because the reade
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tamoghna Biswas
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
“Mock me for that, go on, and you’ll reveal my greatness.”

I was, quite frankly blown away by the entire story of the three Theban Plays. And by the amazing story that it narrates. The first one, Oedipus Rex, or simply as Penguin translates it: Oedipus the King is hors d’oeuvre to the extreme vigor of the three consecutive plays, not as much great as the latter ones, probably for being so short. It finishes almost as soon as it begins to intrigue, which can prove a bit infuriating, undoubtedl
“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.”
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really do not like my mother.

I realize that moms (mums for the English) have many hats to wear. There is the tumult she has with the husband who never listens to her, and the children who end up at the principal’s office, and the clothes that need mending, and the purveying and construction of victuals to meet everyone’s different palate. Got it. I cannot even imagine what extra toll and toil the 1960’s will bring on these unappreciated females. But that is still years away. I like to focus o
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm being irreverent, but whenever I think of this work I cannot help recalling Mel Brooks in History of the World Part 1.

Apart from the legendary, and infamous, incest, this is an ancient tale of psychological terror and angst. Human nature does not change and the themes Sophocles explored are still relevant today, this is truly a timeless work.

David Sarkies
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to David by: David Hester
Shelves: tragedy
The Ultimate of Greek Tragedies
8 April 2012

This play is so messed up that a part of me says that it has to be based on true events. It is sort of like one of the arguments that people use regarding the authenticity of the Bible: every character (with the exception of Jesus Christ) is so flawed that one cannot consider that the stories have been made up. In particular we see the heroes of the Israelite nation, that being Abraham, Moses, and David, warts and all. However when us consider the Gre
✨    jay   ✨
honestly, I feel bad for Oedipus. He left his house to do the right thing and try to avoid killing his dad, just to come across his real dad and kill him anyway. It's really unfortunate and it really sucks for him. And then he had to go and skewer his eyeballs like yikes he's not having a good time, is he ?

RIP Oedipus eyes, I'm sorry this happened to you. Honestly, I know this play is super tragic, and it actually is interesting how he tried to avoid his fate which led to him fulfilling it anywa
Bam cooks the books ;-)
This is my first reading of the ancient Greek play. Like so many stories that are part of our cultural consciousness, I thought I was very familiar with the plot but was so wrong. I asked my husband what he knew of Oedipus Rex and he said the same thing I was thinking: man murders his father and marries his mother=oedipus complex ala Dr Sigmund Freud.

That, of course, is what happens but the true tragedy is that it was not intended. In the opening scenes of the play, Thebes has been plagued by f
Arthur Graham
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it
"How dreadful the knowledge of the truth can be
When there’s no help in truth."

Wow. This was...intense. And I don’t mean the sort of intensity I feel whenever I read a Shakespeare play, but this is a sort of intensity I can’t even describe.

To be honest I kind of expected for this to be quite dry. I mean, I was required to read this for my English literature class and you know how it usually is. Plus, this old is pretty old, and not Shakespeare old. Usually books like this can be quite tedious a
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can say that the movie and the book were both delightful.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play, essential
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
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reviews, plays
Sophocles invites us to question ourselves: Are we able to evade our destiny? Or will we inescapably see it fulfilled?

Although Oedipus the King is a well-known Greek tragedy, the way Sophocles illustrates how Oedipus discovers his immoral situation is astounding and makes it worth reading.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let every man in mankind's frailty consider his last day; and let none presume on his good fortune until he find Life, at his death, a memory without pain.

Quick question for the day: how can one love Antigone and not have read Oedipus Rex? While dishonorable, it wasn't difficult given how prevalent the play is in our reality, the Freudian safeguards, the Lizard King finding such delight in a Florida retelling.

Much like those Star-Crossed Lovers I was prepared for enjoyment but found the craftin
Joey Woolfardis
Sure, poke your eyes out. Like that's going to help with anything. ...more
Marta :}
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I actually like this one better than Antigone, the subject is very disturbing, but I liked the writing a lot.
rose ★
see... i get that this is, just speaking in terms of the technical aspects of the plot and structure and character, well done, especially if you’re looking at it in the context of what aristotle considers a great tragedy to be (which is what my understanding going into this was based on).

but i still don’t care because gross. i would please like to take five thousand baths now.


current stress level: the kid in my class who yelled ”NO! NO NO NO NO!!” when we reached that part.


i’m pretty Not E
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a dark story. Some of the biggest taboos are explored: incest and parricide. Some important existential questions are asked: are we masters or victims of our fates and to what extent? Do we have a destiny? Is there such thing as God’s (or the gods’) plan for us? Can we fight and escape it?

The real culprits are Œdipe’s natural and adopted parents’. The first pair ordered the killing of their child to escape the fate announced by The Oracles. The second pair never told their child that he wa
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
OMG this Oedipus dude just totally banged out his own mom LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLZ

But really, there were descendants whose genetic makeup is irrevocably tied into my own that were walking the Earth when Sophocles wrote this play. And here I am, in 2017, thousands of years later, reading it. Literature serves humanity in subtle yet profound ways; it is one of the only bridges we have into the psychology of the past. The world is so goddamn complicated. Reading books like t
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Sophocles (born c. 496 bc, Colonus, near Athens [Greece]—died 406, Athens), (Greek: Σοφοκλής ; German editions: Sophokles , Russian: Софокл , French editions: Sophocle ) 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 b ...more

Other books in the series

The Theban Plays (3 books)
  • Oedipus at Colonus (The Theban Plays, #2)
  • Antigone (The Theban Plays, #3)

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