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Oedipus Rex (Wisconsin Studies in Classics)by Sophocles
Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
Oedipus at Colonus follows Oedipus Rex and Antigone in the trilogy of Greek dramas about the king of Thebes and his unhappy family. David Mulroys translation combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh verse style, and his introduction and notes deepen the readers understanding of the play and the politics of Sophocles Athens.
Oedipus at Colonus is the third in Sophocles' trilogy of plays about the famous king of Thebes and his unhappy family. It dramatizes the mysterious death of Oedipus, by which he is transformed into an immortal hero protecting Athens. This was Sophocles' final play, written in his mid-eighties and produced posthumously. Translator David Mulroy's introduction and notes deepen the reader's understanding of Oedipus' character and the real political tumult that was shaking Athens at the time that Sophocles wrote the play. Oedipus at Colonus is at once a complex study of a tragic character, an indictment of Athenian democracy, and a subtle endorsement of hope for personal immortality.
As in his previous translations of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Mulroy combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh poetic style. He uses iambic pentameter for spoken passages and short rhymed stanzas for choral songs, resulting in a text that is accessible and fun to read and perform.
About the Author
Sophocles (ca. 497/6 B.C.E.407/6 B.C.E.) was the most acclaimed dramatist of his era, winning more than twenty festival competitions in ancient Athens. He is believed to have written 123 plays, but only seven have survived in complete form. His life spanned the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire. David Mulroy is a professor emeritus of classics at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee. His translations of Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and The Complete Poetry of Catullus are also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
Table of Contents
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Appendix 1. The Riddle of the Sphinx
Appendix 2. A Synopsis of Sophocles' Theban Trilogy
Suggestions for Further Reading
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