About The Oedipus Trilogy, by Sophocles Free eBook
The Oedipus Trilogy, by Sophocles
OEDIPUS THE KING
Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed around 429 BC. Originally, to the ancient Greeks, the title was simply Oedipus as it is referred to by Aristotle in the Poetics. It is thought to have been renamed Oedipus Tyrannus to distinguish it from Oedipus at Colonus. In antiquity, the term “tyrant” referred to a ruler, but it did not necessarily have a negative connotation.
Of his three Theban plays that have survived, and that deal with the story of Oedipus, Oedipus Rex was the second to be written. However, in terms of the chronology of events that the plays describe, it comes first, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone.
Prior to the start of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus has become the king of Thebes while unwittingly fulfilling a prophecy that he would kill his father, Laius (the previous king), and marry his mother, Jocasta (whom Oedipus took as his queen after solving the riddle of the Sphinx). The action of Sophocles' play concerns Oedipus' search for the murderer of Laius in order to end a plague ravaging Thebes, unaware that the killer he is looking for is none other than himself. At the end of the play, after the truth finally comes to light, Jocasta hangs herself while Oedipus, horrified at his patricide and incest, proceeds to gouge out his own eyes in despair.
Oedipus Rex is regarded by many scholars as the masterpiece of ancient Greek tragedy. In his Poetics, Aristotle refers several times to the play in order to exemplify aspects of the genre.
OEDIPUS AT COLONUS
Oedipus at Colonus is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles' death in 406 BC and produced by his grandson (also called Sophocles) at the Festival of Dionysus in 401 BC.
In the timeline of the plays, the events of Oedipus at Colonus occur after Oedipus Rex and before Antigone; however, it was the last of Sophocles' three Theban plays to be written. The play describes the end of Oedipus' tragic life. Legends differ as to the site of Oedipus' death; Sophocles set the place at Colonus, a village near Athens and also Sophocles' own birthplace, where the blinded Oedipus has come with his daughters Antigone and Ismene as suppliants of the Erinyes and of Theseus, the king of Athens
In Greek mythology, Antigone is the daughter/sister of Oedipus and his mother, Jocasta. The meaning of the name is, as in the case of the masculine equivalent Antigonus, "worthy of one's parents" or "in place of one's parents
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