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Oedipus the King Paperback – August 3, 1984


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Paperback, August 3, 1984
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--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (August 3, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671543113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671543112
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,654,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A great work of world literature has at last become a great poem in English. Mulroy’s translation is far superior to other available English verse translations.”—Robert J. Rabel, editor of Approaches to Homer, Ancient and Modern

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

The playwright uses irony and other literary tools throughout the story to heighten the impact of these intensely dramatic events.
Eric Edson
If you don't like ancient writing I suggest you not read it or else you will end up being very frustrated and not understanding the main idea for the book.
Slaveboy
I enjoyed this book because it made me think about things that I usually don't think about, and it made me look at things in a different way.
Jenn Mosby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert James on July 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Oedipus the King" or Oedipus Rex is the world's first great tragedy. Almost everyone knows the tale of the man who murdered his father and married his own mother. The only question is, which translation do you read? Bernard Knox makes an excellent case for his prose translation of Sophocles classic. This is a version designed for the a filmed version meant for the classroom; as such, it is remarkably smooth and easy to read. There is little poetry left in it; if that is what you seek, look elsewhere. This edition comes with a nice set of introductory essays on the background of the play, the theater, and Sophocles. All in all, a nice little edition.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on April 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The central statement of Greek tragedy is that Man can not control his Destiny; that there is an ineluctable Fate, preordained and inescapable. No matter how much the poor humans fight against it, it must be fulfilled. And there is no character as tragic as Oedipus in all literature. In this play, we see Oedipus as a successful man who has become King of Thebes, happily married to an older woman named Iocasta. As the play unfolds, we can feel the proximity of something terrible indeed. When the blind sage Tiresias starts to unfold the true story of Oedipus, we can creepily feel the sheer horror that grips him, as he learns that he has killed his father and married his mother, unknowingly. I have no notice of any other plot that can be described as more tragic than this one. Besides, it is one of the main sources of our culture, as with all true Classics. Oedipus summarizes some of our worst fears and traumas: the need to "kill the paternal figure", the "dependency on our mother", the "impossibility of control external forces that shape our fate". It is horrific and fascinating, and there is simply no way to be indifferent to it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ursiform TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My prior exposure to Oedipus Rex goes back to my school days, which is about half way back to the period when the play was written (or so it feels). That was in some English teacher (you-shouldn't-enjoy-what-you-read-in-my-class) approved translation. And I recall we spent more time with Antigone.

Mulroy attempts to translate the play into a verse form the evokes how the Greeks would have experienced it on stage. It seems to me that he largely succeeds; his translation seems quite stageable. One challenge is that Greek audiences would have had a cultural context for interpreting the play that we lack. Fortunately, the translator provides a concise but excellent introduction that prepares the modern reader to understand the play.

The play itself tells, at times elliptically, the story everyone sort of knows. Oedipus is prophesied to kill his father the king, so he is sent off to die. Instead he ends up adopted by another king. When he learns of the prophesy he flees to avoid killing his "father". He ends up in his real homeland and kills his real father, then marries his mother. The play covers his learning the truth. It would be a shorter play if he was a little quicker on the uptake.

Although I understand its historical significance, I have trouble warming up to ancient Greek literature. It tends to be limited by the constraints of prophesies and way the gods are believed to direct the action. I recommend this translation of an important piece of literature. But I consider reading it to be more for self-eduction than for entertainment. At least it elevates the work above the I-want-you-to-suffer versions sometimes inflicted on students.

If you are looking for a few laughs on this subject, consider: Oedipus Rex
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nick Shaw on November 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Oedipus" is an excellent story of ironic occurrences. Irony is a main theme in the book. "Oedipus" is a story about a boy that is entangled in a situation of incest and hubris, and later on in his life, as a man, he learns of the mistakes that he has made and retaliates strongly. It is a well written story, giving great detail in each line and each statement. My thoughts on the book is that it was a little disturbing thinking about how his life had to have been and how he dealt with his problems. Overall, I think that "Oedipus" is a great book and should be read by a mature audience.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matt Newkirk on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles was a very good reading because of the way that the author is able to throw the reader for a curve ball. Sophocles was very good at making the reader unsure of what was going to happen. Every couple of scenes the author is able to make the reader say to himself/herself, "Wow I didn't see that one coming!" It is writing like this that makes an author like Sophocles go down in the history books for all time.

I believe that Sophocles' purpose in writing this story is to get the reader to wonder whether we as humans have free will to choose or if we are just puppets in the hands of fate. I believe that Sophocles tries to convey this question throughout the entire play not just in specific scenes and it all comes out in the end. The reason why I say that this is the theme is because if you look at what the oracle said to Laius he said that their son, Oedipus, would kill him and marry his wife. In order to try and prevent such a drastic ending they sent their son away in hopes that he would be killed. It came about however that when Oedipus was older he heard this prophecy and not wanting to kill his adopted father ran away. On his journey he met five men that looked wealthy so Oedipus needing some supplies killed all the men but one and stole their stuff. Oedipus decides that he wishes to go to Thebes and live in that land. There was a great famine in the land of Thebes however and the only way to stop it was to answer a riddle given by the great sphinx. Oedipus was the one to solve this riddle so in honor of his achievements he was to become king and marry the queen whose husband had died. It just so happens that the man that Oedipus killed was Lauis his father and the prophecy also came true that he would marry his mother.
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