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Oedipus

Oedipus

Written by Sophocles

Narrated by Michael Sheen, John Moffatt and Full Cast


Oedipus

Written by Sophocles

Narrated by Michael Sheen, John Moffatt and Full Cast

ratings:
4/5 (39 ratings)
Length:
1 hour
Released:
Aug 18, 1999
ISBN:
9789629546991
Format:
Audiobook

Description

This new translation of the great classic of Ancient Greece starts a cycle of drama recordings by Naxos AudioBooks. The anguished tale of Oedipus, who having solved the riddle of the Sphinx and become King of Thebes, gradually realises the crimes he has, unwittingly, committed, remains a drama of unremitting power 2,500 years after it was written. With full drama values, Naxos AudioBooks the atmosphere of the Greek amphitheatre to the soundworld of audio, with the outstanding young actor Michael Sheen – recently seen as Henry V (RSC) and Amadeus (West End) and on film and TV.
Released:
Aug 18, 1999
ISBN:
9789629546991
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Sophocles (497-406 BC) is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. Sophocles wrote over 120 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form. For almost 50 years, Sophocles was the most celebrated playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens that took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia.


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Reviews

What people think about Oedipus

4.2
39 ratings / 28 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    A standard morality play.
  • (4/5)
    It's a classic tragedy play, I think it's great. It keeps you guessing while telling you everything. Can be hard to read, but if you take it slow and take the time to look up what the words mean, it's understandable.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent story.
  • (4/5)
    My only familiarity (which was itself limited) with Oedipus is from psychology, the Oedipus complex, etc.I was surprised to find that Oedipus received an oracle telling him of his future--and that it was his desperate attempt to avoid that future that made it come true. He did not know his true origins, if he had just stayed where he was he would have been fine--but then you can't avoid an oracle, can you? Even if the oracle itself sets it all in motion. Confusing to think about, which makes for a good story.
  • (3/5)
    The classic play that gave rise to the Freudian "Oedipus Complex", the idea that somehow all boys hate their fathers and want to sleep with their mothers. A play about prophecy and predestination, and gods that will blight an entire country because they're angry with one person, who has done something without knowing it, and is being given cryptic hints as to what has been done. Also about divine retribution and poetic justice; after Oedipus twits the blind man, he ends up himself blind and helpless. Overall, a good solid read, not too long to read in one sitting, and some interesting moments when it's possible to spot how many of the ideas presented in this work of ancient Greece are still bouncing around the modern world.
  • (5/5)
    Oedipus of Sophocles is a great work of art written by a great poet,this play symbolizes for the human misery and despair...
    the torments of the human soul,the innocence and guilt,Wisdom Out of Suffering and Fate that determines many things no matter how we struggle to change it....
    Oedipus hears about his dreadful fate from the Delphic oracle and flees from Corinth. But instead of fleeing from his fate he runs into it...

    Oedipus a passionate heart,who ask questions and take risks,has all the qualities of a great man...he has gone through sudden shifts on the course of his life and lets every situation control him....

    Despite his flaws, Oedipus is a good person who seeks the truth no matter how devastating. and who accept the responsibility for his actions.....

    At the end of the play, Oedipus accepts his fate as well as the punishment given to him ....

    He had promised to exile the one who is responsible for the plague , and he fulfills his promise even if he himself is the one to be exiled. By mercilessly punishing himself, he becomes a great hero...
    who has a Respect for Justice ....

    Jocasta, on the other hand, appears as a person who would rather control the situation. She reveals that she is more mature than Oedipus and even reveals a maternal side towards him. This is evident in the way she tries to stop Oedipus from investigating further into the mystery of his birth. At this point, she has realized the possibility that Oedipus may be her son. She would rather let the dreadful fact remain a mystery then let it ruin their lives
    The entwined sheets with which she hangs herself symbolize the double life she has led........

    Oedipus tragic position and his trial to elude the prophecies and to challenge his Fate, that was inevitable as he at last fails, but just having the courage to attempt , makes him a true hero.

    This play raises a question,when someone is trying to avoid doing things. Does he have free will or the ability to choose his own path or is everything in life predetermined?







  • (3/5)
    This was one of the hardest reads. I didn't enjoy the writing at all in this particular writing, but I was forced to read it for my theater course. It was an okay read, but I would not want to subject someone else to this book. It is very sad and horrible, in my opinion.
  • (5/5)
    In these end times, it's rare to come to any great work fresh, but it's hard to imagine much that's as predetermined as Oedipus--forget Freud, forget Turin Turambar, forget that the Sphinx has been missing her nose so long none of us even remembers what she looked like when she asked Oedi that riddle that we've all known the answer to as long as we knew that riddles had answers. Even the basics of this story are, pardon the expression, mother's milk--if you know one thing about The Broters Karamazov it's Jesus and the Inquisitor, or maybe that a SON MURDERS his mean old dad; and if you know one thing about Hamlet it's to be or not to be or maybe that there's something a bit OEDIPAL between the prince and his ma; but if you know one thing about Oedipus, it's the same thing everyone else in the world knows: he killed his father and married his mother, and even 2400 years later he's not lived it down.And granted, there are surprises actually coming to the play--Sophocles observes the thee unities (in fact he was Aristotle's major model for what constitutes quality drama, including those stupid unities), and so this isn't done in the way a modern would do it, as a twisted Bildungsroman, a coming to filthy self-knowledge. We don't see the expected sweep of a tragic life: no Sphinx, no killing at the crossroads, except in flashback; we don't see Oedipus living as a broken man, and feel the catharsis of watching time restore him some human dignity (I understand some of that comes in the sequels). Instead we get the story of a single (really bad) day, in classic(al) Thespian style. And for me at least it does suffer the littlest bit for it. Things don't happen for a reason, but simply because they're fated; we create our own prison; yeah yeah. But at least that long term gives us a chance to make our own meaning. Sophocles is a master and the text is rich, rich, but anything we can say about the "meaning" here, the what is a just king (Oedi and Cleon and their respective flaws) or the compulsion to self-knowledge (Oedipus as proto-Faust) or the sick generation game of blood-will-out and how we repeat our parents' mistakes (I note that the original reason for Laius's being cursed, according to Euripedes, was that he buggered a young boy--history's original pederast, in the Greek imagination, as before that boy-love was reserved for the gods because it was soooo hot--and think it doesn't take much imagination to see this as a kind of story aabout child abouse, somewhat displaced of course, and its scars).......you can do all that but the fact remains that all that happens in this play is--Sophocles doesn't even how you, he tells you--Oedipus kills his dad and marries his mom, and puts out his eyes, and that's it, that's the play. It's all anyone knows about Oedipus, and they're still talking about it. It's like high school.And so there's a slight unfinishedness about this, despite yer precious unities. Luckily, as a dramatization of what amounts to just a cringeworthy episode, it's magnificent. Sophocles knew his craft. Every step--the bravado, the intrigue, the slowly unfolding horror--is riveting, and elevated in that Greek way that makes you really believe in the significance of it all, and the characters are so deft and economically conveyed. Oedipus most of all, and the fact that everyone knows except him (even the original audience did, because the story was an old one) is what makes it work. He's not some crawling goatbotherer, not an angel--what he is is a worldbeater, a hero and bully, bursting with self-love and assurance of his place in the pantheon, a too-good-for-his-own-goodnik whose monster victory (putting him on a place with Theseus, Bellerophon, etc.) came from not only an immense piece of cleverness but also from a riddle about the measure of the lineaments and life of a man: four legs in the morning, two in the noon, three in the evening like Oedipus's poor auld dead dad, right?It's the biggest, most artfully induced cringe of all when you think about it that way (depending how you handle the part where he puts brooches through his eyes). Oedipus is the tall brilliant son of Polybus and Merope, the prince of Corinth, and no doubt on some level the awful prophecy that causes him to flee home is also a source of self-fascination--some hint of mystery, of divine machinations, and if the prognosis of fatherslaying and motherfucking is a bit usettling, well, let him go deal with that by making his name elsewhere, taking Thebes, all to easy, as is his birthright (ouch) and the rest of the spoils, up to and including the recently bereaved queen. No propriety will stay in his way, and how that must multiply his chagrin when the truth comes--he is the riddlemaster, the mocker of Tireisas, THE HERO, and killing your dad and marrying your mum is the kind of thing that happens to poor people.One more metaphor there--if you're born to success, or even a self-made man, don't look to closely at how you got it. And that's the final measure of Sophocles's artistry (at least in this book--I'm looking forward to that how-do-you-put-your-life-back-together stuff in ): that he manages to make this high-fiving swell sympathetic. Sophocles leaves Oedipus at the darkest moment: when "Who am I?" becomes "What am I?" And who (knowing all along who, what ego, what id) mutilated my life?" The last thing we see him do is put out his eyes not because he can't face suicide, exactly, but because he can't face the idea of seeing Laius and Jocasta in Hades, nor face the world as the thing he now is. And then, gather his daughters to him. Suffering makes us complex, and I'm curious to see what's next for the Prince of Thebes, but until then this little number hits like a thunderbolt.
  • (5/5)
    Sophocles's fatalism is somewhat foreign to the modern reader, and while Oedipus's determination to discover the truth is admirable, it's unfortunate that this turns out to be his fatal flaw. But this is still a powerfully dramatic play even today.
  • (3/5)
    The classic play that gave rise to the Freudian "Oedipus Complex", the idea that somehow all boys hate their fathers and want to sleep with their mothers. A play about prophecy and predestination, and gods that will blight an entire country because they're angry with one person, who has done something without knowing it, and is being given cryptic hints as to what has been done. Also about divine retribution and poetic justice; after Oedipus twits the blind man, he ends up himself blind and helpless. Overall, a good solid read, not too long to read in one sitting, and some interesting moments when it's possible to spot how many of the ideas presented in this work of ancient Greece are still bouncing around the modern world.
  • (5/5)
    I believe Shakespeare looked to this particular play for many of the ideas he had incorporated in his own plays. Oedipal complex is a given, but I'm sure he got the idea to manipulate characters like Othello and Macbeth through language like the way the soothsayer entices Oedipus on until he eventually learns the truth. I'm not saying the soothsayer meant to have Oedipus learn the truth, I don't think that, but Shakespeare may have thought that was a clever way to bring Oedipus to his ruin.But on the play itself, it's a classic even older than Shakespeare obviously. If you've read Shakespeare, you should read this. At least it's short and written in plain English (well, depending on which translation you read).
  • (3/5)
    The Sphinx: "This monster has been rated Exemplary!!" Not by a Daughter of Athena, she wasn't... :P Yet another quick, boring read for school :P
  • (4/5)
    This is the first (in logical order) play in the Oedipus trilogy (actually, each play stands by itself) about a doomed family. This play has been called the first great detective story. Remember -- the Oedipus complex. The Oxford Press edition is a highly readable translation with helpful notes and glossary.
  • (3/5)
    Read this play again for my English literature class. Glad I did. This is a fantastic play and it is really relevant to modern times. It also seems to relate to conversations and thoughts I am having about freewill.
  • (5/5)
    The best recording I've heard of a Sophoklean tragedy in translation (or any other Ancient Greek play translated or not). If you know something better or as good, please tell me. This one is a good listen.
  • (5/5)
    This is the most gripping page-turner in the history of mankind - a psychological thriller without comparison. A murder-mystery, a story of pride and fall and the tale of a man who learns the truth about himself and takes the consequences that result out of this. A masterpiece.
  • (5/5)
    One of my all time favorites. Just proves that you can't change fate. Classic!
  • (4/5)
    I liked this translation (my SYNC audiobook info didn't include who the translator was...)The full-cast recording was very good, except for some of the chorus bits which were a bit difficult to follow.
  • (3/5)
    This was one of the hardest reads. I didn't enjoy the writing at all in this particular writing, but I was forced to read it for my theater course. It was an okay read, but I would not want to subject someone else to this book. It is very sad and horrible, in my opinion.
  • (4/5)
    Sophocles, you dirty man.
  • (4/5)
    It's a classic tragedy play, I think it's great. It keeps you guessing while telling you everything. Can be hard to read, but if you take it slow and take the time to look up what the words mean, it's understandable.
  • (4/5)
    Sure, poke your eyes out. Like that's going to help with anything.
  • (4/5)
    An oracle tells Oedipus that he will murder his father and marry his mother, so he flees Corinth, vowing never to return, to avoid his fate. King Laius of Thebes is told by an oracle that he will be killed by his son, so he arranges to have his son killed shortly after his birth. You know where this is going, right? The point seems to be that you can't avoid fate. The gods are either controlling human action, or at least omniscient about the future. The Naxos audio production is very good, although I was thrown by the pronunciation of Creon as “crayon”. I kept imagining a box of Crayolas. I think P.D.Q. Bach missed an opportunity when he wrote the lyrics for “Oedipus Tex.”
  • (2/5)
    Very stilted and no sense of the modern drama that was to come. I understand that the work of Sophocles and his compatriots laid the groundwork for modern drama but it is difficult to see the connection.
  • (3/5)
    This was one of the hardest reads. I didn't enjoy the writing at all in this particular writing, but I was forced to read it for my theater course. It was an okay read, but I would not want to subject someone else to this book. It is very sad and horrible, in my opinion.
  • (4/5)
    What's interesting about fate, and what's different from our world and Oedipus's, is that "fate" doesn't really exist in our world. No real oracles go around telling you you're going to sleep with your mother. Instead, it's a philosophical device. On one side you've got "free will" (traditional very Western, very American even with the idea of the individual going forward), and on the other side you've got your fatalists (see my mom and her Vietnamese cosmology [is that the word? Whatever, I’m going to use it], in which the people who are around you are literally born to be so because of the debt you owe each other in the present, owed in the past, and/or will use in the future). I'm not really a fan of philosophy, and as far as I'm concerned the goodness of each approach is only to be judged by how useful they are to a specific person in a specific situation (and place and time).I say that there is no fate in our world, but that's not really true. What separates fate from free will is foresight, and there's plenty of that in our world. A cancer patient (like my aunt) being told she has six months to live. One step lower on the surety scale, my remaining aunts and my mother living under the knowledge that they're likely (what, like 50/50 chances) to get this dubious inheritance from their father (oh hey! Antigone, didn’t see you there). Or even to the much lower level of common sense, like stock markets: what goes up so precipitously, without merit, is likely to come down just as precipitously.What’s interesting about Oedipus, is at first glance the prophecies within are so abhorrent, who wouldn’t react in horror to the idea of killing one’s father and sleeping with one’s mother? But at second glance, is it not common sense, is it not true for all families that one day the son will surpass the father, one day the father will fall and the son will take the father’s place? Is it not true men will judge their relationships with women against that first relationship with their moms? The prophecy given to Oedipus and to his birth parents is a sensationalist version of the common sense truth for all families (even to those where the son cannot so literally inherit a father’s throne). And the real-world response to that un-sensational real-world dilemma is: “Hey, one day I’m going to die, and I’m going to try and leave the world(kingdom) in the hands of a good human being” (& “I’m going to teach my son to treat the women he loves with respect” & “I’m going to be good to my father while he’s alive and a really good person when he’s gone”).You might say I’m unfair in comparing Oedipus to an unchangeable fate (cancer, though for most people, I don’t think killing one’s baby is really an option on the table… but we’ll get back to that). No, my aunt couldn’t change her rapidly-growing tumor, but she could change the way she went out. She took hold of her finances for the first time in her life, she aired her grievances towards her husband (and the frightful in-laws) and her children instead of stewing in them, she tied up her inheritance to provide for her youngest through college, she got the death she wanted (at home and with Buddhist rites), all so she could live her remaining months in peace, and die in peace, instead of continuing to live (practically a lifetime) in sorrow. Is it fair she died so young? Is life fair?My mom doesn’t know if she’s going to get cancer in 4 years, but she’s you know, de-stressing her life, selling the house, doing things she wants to do, and going in for all her medical tests. No, it’s no magic trick to see one’s future, it’s magic to decide what to do about it. It’s easy to get desperate and anxious to change one’s fate, hey, how else do you think those snake doctors make a living… It’s not always easy to see the difference between trying to ‘master your fate’ and trying to make the best of it/just being proactive/smart.I say sensationalist, but that’s not really true—you needn’t look far—when there’s a real shortage of women in the world (China and India are the real places of impact, though considering how much of the world population is from those two countries, it is effectively, a world impact) due to selective-gender abortion and female child abandonment (told you I’d get back to it). The ‘making the best world’ response (from parents, and from governments/society) is to educate girls, give them the same chances as boys, give them a world where women can be as useful to their families as men. The ‘master your fate’ response has created increased demand for sex-trafficking (and increased forced marriages and honor killings). Of course people want to escape “fate”, it is so human (and what makes the play so human)—of course, whether you call if “life” or “gods” or “fate”, it isn’t fair, but how much of it is really “fate” and how much is it our (humans) own choices? And if we think the answer is to try ignorance, how can we try ignorance (no foresight)—people spend their whole lives trying to know, trying to make the world make sense (and we make gods and science to try and make sense of it for us) and it really is for the best psychics are really charlatans, because we got plenty of foresight on our own thanks, we just don’t know what to do with it (can’t ignore it either, see global warming). As the alcoholics/Christians say: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,/Courage to change the things I can,/And wisdom to know the difference.”Basically what I’m saying is Sophocles is pretty genius, and Freud is a hack for as usual focusing on the WRONG PART of the text.
  • (4/5)
    Somehow I skipped having to read the Greek tragedies as a student; I missed a year of high school and perhaps that was when they came around on the curriculum.Obviously, I'm no Greek scholar and I don't really feel qualified to comment much upon the quality of the play beyond saying that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was interesting to watch the inexorable march toward the prophecy's fulfillment and to follow the various metaphors around "sight". I'm so used to prose that I found the verse difficult at the beginning, like picking up Shakespeare after a long absence, only more so. Still, by slowing down and reading each line at a deliberate pace, I found myself becoming immersed in it.At first, my mind rebelled against what I expected to be a rather harsh fate laid upon Oedipus. I guess I was expecting the prophecy to be fulfilled due to gods interfering with mortals. As the play progressed, however, I realized that nothing was being forced upon him. Each action that occurred was the outcome of Oedipus' own choices. The results may seem somewhat overwhelming by modern standards of justice, but they were the natural consequences of his own actions.I found myself wondering how the original audience would react to this play. The modern reader, simply through osmosis of a minor amount of literary history, is aware that Oedipus is doomed—that the very act of trying to avoid the Oracle's prophecy brings it to fruition. Was that in the "collective knowledge" of the time? This is recommended and perhaps I'll try "Antigone" next.
  • (3/5)
    Simply put, Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother, Jocasta. When the city of Thebes is struck by plague, Oedipus sets out to discover who the murder of Laios, his father, is as it will lift the curse placed upon the city by the gods, specifically Apollo. In the end, Oedipus discovers what he has done, Jocasta kills herself, and Oedipus blinds himself before exiling himself from Thebes.This happens to be the fourth time I’ve read Oedipus Rex. This tends to happen when your English teacher quits at the end of every year. However, I still enjoy reading Oedipus Rex because of the way Sophocles presents the story. Sophocles does not tell the story chronologically, instead, the reader learns about Oedipus’ past as he himself uncovers it. Plus, the irony throughout the tale, such as “none are as sick as I” {pg. 31}, makes it all the more enjoyable.However, mucking through the play alone, i.e. without your classmates reading the parts in the mocking and sarcastic voices teenagers are known for, can make it extremely boring and hard to get through. Watch “Fraiser” instead.