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Oedipus at Colonus

by Sophocles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Oedipus Cycle (2)

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4301041,308 (3.48)20
The latest title to join the acclaimed Greek Tragedy in New Translations series, Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus tells the story of the last day in the life of Oedipus. It was written at the end of the fifth century BCE in Athens, in the final years of the "Golden Age" of Athenian culture, andin the last year of Sophocles' own life. At the center of the play is the mysterious transformation of Oedipus from an old and blind beggar, totally dependent on his daughters, to the man who rises from his seat and, without help, leads everyone to the place where he is destined to die. In thebackground of this transformation stands the grove of the Furies, the sacred place of the implacable goddesses who pursue the violators of blood relationships. Although Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother, is an obvious target of the Furies' vengeance, he enters their grove at thebeginning of the play, sure that it is the resting place Apollo has predicted for him. The reversals and paradoxes in the play speak to the struggle that Oedipus' life and the action of the play bring vividly before us: how do we as humans, subject to constant change, find stable ground on which tostand and define our moral lives? Sophocles offers his play as a witness to the remarkable human capacity to persevere in this struggle.… (more)



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English (8)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A straightforward romp, the second in The Oedipus Cycle, detailing the journey-- both internal and external, that Oedipus makes. It was entertaining and there were many good passages and lines to behold. Nevertheless, it came off as a little basic but that might be part of its charm.

3 stars! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jan 14, 2020 |
Look, I really like Mulroy’s translations, but this is such an opaque play. There are little hints of an interesting plot there (the start of Seven Against Thebes, basically), but it’s like Sophocles is trying to make a very different point. Oedipus just isn’t an interesting enough character to carry a whole play. ( )
  NKarman | Mar 20, 2018 |
I understand that this trilogy is a classic, and has stood for over two thousand years. There are some real questions proposed by Oedipus and Theseus that are worth thinking about. However, Sophocles' work seems to ramble on - carried by frequent dialogue from 'the Chorus.' This reduces the effectiveness of the message, and makes it hard to follow in general. A reliance upon the mass protestations of the public (the Chorus) seems like an easy way to push plot along without developing characters, in my opinion. ( )
  bdtrump | May 9, 2015 |
This play is not as interesting as the others in the Oedipus cycle. It concerns the period immediately preceding Antigone, and is very talky, with many of the long speeches adding little to the information or entertainment value. The play would be a total wash for anyone not familiar with Oedipus the King or the myth in general; though it does discuss the tragedy, it doesn't fulfill expectations in any way. Primarily interesting as a piece of theatrical history. ( )
  Devil_llama | Feb 18, 2015 |
Perhaps 3½ stars for the play but not in this translation. Storrs translated the ancient Greek as if he was trying to write like an Elizabethan. I have enough trouble understanding the Elizabethans when their native tongue was English!

I don't think that this play is as good (strong, powerful) as the other two Oedipus plays. However, this middle play of Sophocles' trilogy provides an important bridge between the more powerful first (Oedipus Rex) and last (Antigone) plays. It concludes the action of Oedipus Rex and sets the scene for the action in Antigone. Those two can of course stand on their own, but this play does flesh out the overarching story. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (73 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
SophoclesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buschor, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grennan, EamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jebb, Richard ClaverhouseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitzinger, RachelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masqueray, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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