Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks
Burnet: Early Greek Philosophy

Sophocles: Oedipus the King

Oedipus and the Sphinx of Thebes, c.470 BCE.Oedipus the King (Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, Latin: Oedipus Rex) is a tragedy by Sophocles. Although it is said to have come second in the dramatic competition in Athens at its original production, sometime after 430 BC, it is now widely regarded as Sophocles' masterpiece. It is mentioned favourably several times in Aristotle's Poetics, where it stands alongside the Iliad in a comparison between the tragic and epic forms.

The plot opens with Oedipus, ruler of Thebes, learning from the Delphic oracle that a plague in the city is due to the presence of the murderers of King Laius, his precursor and first husband of his wife Jocasta. It proceeds inexorably through a series of revelations. Oedipus had once killed a man, who is now revealed to be Laius travelling with his retinue. Oedipus is not as he believes the son of King Polybus of Corinth, but a foundling. His true parents are Laius and Jocasta, and he has murdered his father and married his mother.

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Free online texts

Bartleby: Oedipus the King, translated by E.H. Plumptre. Harvard Classics edition. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Oedipus King of Thebes, verse translation by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; translated by Francis Storr.

Internet Archive: Oedipus Rex, Greek text with commentary by J.H.C. Barby (1807). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, Greek text with English notes by Howard Crosby (1860). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles - Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, translated by John Swinnerton Phillimore (1902). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Oedipus Rex, Greek text edited by F.H.M. Blaydes (1904). multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Oedipus the King, translated by F. Storr. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus. L020 - Sophocles -- Sophocles I: Oedipus the King. Oedipus at Colonus. Antigone. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text, edited by F. Storr (1912). English translation and notes by Richard Jebb (1887). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Oedipus Rex, translated by George Theodoridis (2005). Multiple formats.

San Francisco Unified School District/Internet Archive: Oedipus the King - an abridged and adapted version of the play for high school students, by Nick Bartel. HTML format, PDF available at PBS.

Society for Classical Studies: Oedipus the Tyrant and Oedipus the King: A Problem in Translation, by Frank Nisetich, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Oedipus Trilogy (Oedipus the King - Oedipus at Colonus - Antigone), translated by F. Storr. Multiple formats.

Vancouver Island University: Oedipus the King, translated by Ian Johnston (2014). HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek text (ed. by Richard Jebb, 1887) and multiple translations. Multiple formats.

Performances and Reviews

Burgess Foundation: Drama on 3 - Oedipus the King.

Chatterbox Audio Theatre: Oedipus the King - Act I | Act II | Act III. Ensemble audio performance, with additional MP3 lecture by Professor David Sick.

Other Resources

Ancient-literature.com: Oedipus the King - synopsis and analysis.

Classical Wisdom Weekly: Oedipus Rex - Moral or Murder? Essay by Anya Leonard.

EID Journal: The Plague of Thebes, a Historical Epidemic in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, by Antonis A. Kousoulis, Konstantinos P. Economopoulos, Effie Poulakou-Rebelakou, George Androutsos, and Sotirios Tsiodras.

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Kansas State University: Study Guide to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, by Lyman A. Baker.

Librivox: Oedipus Rex - public domain audiobooks.

Literature and History: Two Legs in the Afternoon -Sophocles' Three Theban Plays, Part 1 - Oedipus the King .Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

Quatr.us Study Guides: Oedipus Rex, by K.E. Carr.

Society for Classical Studies: Oedipus the Tyrant and Oedipus the King: A Problem in Translation, by Frank Nisetich, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Theatre Database: Oedipus Rex - analysis originally published in The Tragic Drama of the Greeks. A.E. Haigh. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896. pp. 188-91.

Theatrehistory.com: Oedipus Rex - synopsis, originally published in Minute History of the Drama. Alice Buchanan Fort and Herbert S. Kates. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1935. p. 17.

Wikipedia: SophoclesOedipus the King.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Sophocles: The other Theban plays - Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone.

Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

Seneca: Oedipus - Latin adaptation.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Oedipus the King is listed.


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