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Oedipus Rex


Publication Year: 2011

Oedipus Rex is the greatest of the Greek tragedies, a profound meditation on the human condition. The story of the mythological king, who is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother, has resonated in world culture for almost 2,500 years. But Sophocles’ drama as originally performed was much more than a great story—it was a superb poetic script and exciting theatrical experience. The actors spoke in pulsing rhythms with hypnotic forward momentum, making it hard for audiences to look away. Interspersed among the verbal rants and duels were energetic songs performed by the chorus.

            David Mulroy’s brilliant verse translation of Oedipus Rex recaptures the aesthetic power of Sophocles’ masterpiece while also achieving a highly accurate translation in clear, contemporary English. Speeches are rendered with the same kind of regular iambic rhythm that gave the Sophoclean originals their drive. The choral parts are translated as fluid rhymed songs. Mulroy also supplies an introduction, notes, and appendixes to provide helpful context for general readers and students.


Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

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pp. ix-xiv

This volume was designed to answer a need that I have felt in teaching Greek tragedy in translation. In my experience, available translations fail to convey the essential fact that Greek tragedies as originally performed were—in one word—dynamic. The convention of translating choral odes into free verse with ...

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pp. xv-xxxviii

Greek myths and legends, such as those concerning Oedipus, were passed along orally by imaginative storytellers for hundreds of years before they were written down. Hence they are mostly fictional. They do, however, have an authentic historical setting: the Mycenaean Period, when Greek-speaking people made ...

Oedipus Rex

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pp. 1-89

Appendix 1. The Riddle of the Sphinx

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pp. 91-92

Appendix 2. A Synopsis of Sophocles’ Theban Trilogy

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pp. 93-103

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 105-109

E-ISBN-13: 9780299282530
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299282547

Page Count: 109
Publication Year: 2011