Thursday, August 15, 2013

Classics Review- Oedipus Rex

(Cover from GoodReads)
"My children, generations of the living
In the lines of Kadmos, nursed at his ancient hearth:
Why have you strewn yourselves before these altars
In supplication, with your boughs and garlands?"
-Opening Line

Book: Oedipus Rex
Author: Sophocles
Translation: Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald
Genre: Tragedy
Published: 1966
Medium Read In: Paperback
Pages: 78

Rating (Scaled 1-10): 9

Why I'm Reading It: Two words: Summer. Reading. If you can't tell, I really like to read. Yet, like any high school student, I do tend to dread summer homework, mostly because it signals the end of the time period in which I normally get the chance to read endless amounts of books, and I will have to face school once more. I like to read my summer reading towards the end of the season, just so I can get the chance to remember what I read slightly better. I figured I may as well review those books, so here is the first one!

Summary: There is a plague in the city of Thebes, and the king of the city, Oedipus, tries to reason why the city has been struck. During the play, Oedipus finds out about his past and the horrific truth of it.

Review:  This was my first time ever reading any of the Greek tragedies, and I will say I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting something quite boring and hard to read. I really liked "The Illiad" when I read it as few years ago. Some may argue that was a tragedy, but minus a few deaths I didn't really think it was tragic per se… Anyway, I was glad that Sophocles ended up not been a boring playwright, and I enjoyed the experience.

The language flows really well, and the story presented emotion in a few words. The soliloquies fit well, and gave a good insight into the various different characters that gave the monologues. I really liked some of the various monologues, my favorite being the Second Messenger's part. The speech managed to take the reader to the part of the story where they were meant to, despite not being present and only have Iocaste's actions recounted to them.

I will admit that it is sort of hard to rate the classics. I don't want to bore anyone with any essay-type analysis of the plot, as I certainly wouldn't want to read any of that in a book/play review. I am a firm believer in reading a book before seeing the movie version, and I think that this sort of echoes that. While I knew the plot before hand because of studies in Greek mythology, the play definitely expanded my appreciation for the play.

I have plans to see it if it comes to any of my local high school theaters soon, and at the very least I will be viewing the play from one of the accounts it is posted to on YouTube. It opened up the ideas I have had on the story of Oedipus for quite some time, and helped me to understand the characters better. Anyone who is seeking a better understanding of the Greeks, their myths, or who just is looking to read a good play will enjoy "Oedipus Rex," and hopefully it will open your mind as well as it did mine.

1 comment:

  1. I actually loved the whole Oedipus Cycle. I had to read it for my AP English Literature and Composition class. It was pretty good. Although we didn't read Oedipus at Colonus, I read it during my free time. Amazing plays.


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