Oedipus the King by E. A. Sophocles
(Oedipus Rex)

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Synopsis

The story of Oedipus the King (or Oedipus Rex), is a Theban play written by Sophocles, one of the three ancient Greek Tragedians whose work as survived. In the story of Oedipus Rex, Laius, King of Thebes, finds an oracle foretelling that the child born to him by his queen Jocasta would slay his father and wed his mother. So when in time a son (Oedipus) was born the infant's feet were riveted together and he was left to die on Mount Cithaeron. But a shepherd found Oedipus and tended him, and delivered him to another shepherd who took him to his master, the King of Corinth. Polybus being childless adopted Oedipus, who grew up believing that he was indeed the King's son. Afterwards doubting his parentage he inquired of the Delphic god and heard himself the word declared before to Laius. Wherefore he fled from what he deemed his father's house and in his flight he encountered and unwillingly slew his father Laius. Arriving at Thebes he answered the riddle of the Sphinx and the grateful Thebans made their deliverer king. So he reigned in the room of Laius, and espoused the widowed queen. Children were born to Oedipus and Thebes prospered under his rule, but again a grievous plague fell upon the city. Again the oracle was consulted and it bade them purge themselves of blood-guiltiness. Oedipus denounces the crime of which he is unaware, and undertakes to track out the criminal. Step by step it is brought home to him that he is the man. The closing scene reveals Jocasta slain by her own hand and Oedipus, King of Thebes, blinded by his own act and praying for death or exile.
 

About E. A. Sophocles

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Bernard Knox was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire on November 24, 1914. After studying classics at St. John's College, Cambridge, he fought with the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, he married Betty Baur and began teaching Latin at a private school in Greenwich, Connecticut. During World War II, he served in the United States Army where he parachuted into France to work with the resistance and went on to join the partisans in Italy. He received a Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre for his service. He received a doctorate from Yale University in 1948. He also taught at Yale University, becoming a full professor in 1959, and became the founding director of Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies, a position he held until 1985. He was an authority on the works of Sophocles and his first book was Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles' Tragic Hero and His Time (1957). He also edited the anthology The Norton Book of Classical Literature (1993). His essay appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The New York Review of Books. They were also collected in numerous books including The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy (1964), Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater (1980), and The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics (1993). He received numerous honorary degrees and distinctions during his lifetime including the George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism in 1977; the Charles Frankel Prize of the National Endowment of the Humanities in 1990; and the Jefferson Medal of the Philosophical Society of America in 2004. He died of a heart attack on July 22, 2010 at the age of 95.
 
Published October 31, 1972 by Penguin. 92 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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