"Oedipus the King" was introduced around 429 B.C.E. in Athens. This was Sophocles' most celebrated play. It is recognized by many titles, such as its Latin title "Oedipus Rex" and "Oedipus Tyrannus." Sophocles' performed this play at the annual festival of Dionysus--a religious festival, which celebrated Dionysus, the god of intoxication, death, and fertility. Sophocles was one of the dramatists that reigned supreme at these festivals. Most of the Greek tragedies were based upon mythologies. The Athenian audience knew the mythological themes of Oedipus, therefore Sophocles' used dramatic irony and details to evoke emotions of shock, sympathy, and grief from the audience.
Sophocles presented a significant amount of expositional information (in the prologue and the parados) so that the audience or reader could gain insight about the play. The play focuses on Oedipus, the main character. "Swell foot", the meaning of his name, derived because he was abandoned at birth and found with an iron pin embedded into his feet. It was predestined for Oedipus to kill his father and commit an incestuous relationship with his mother. Therefore Oedipus' parents King Laius and Queen Jocasta sent him away at birth to die from exposure. The abandoned baby is raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope as a Prince. Prince Oedipus of Corinth is told of the prophecy that Apollo has placed upon him. He ventures out to seek the truth from the Oracle of Delphi....
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Moonstruck Drama Bookstore.
5 October 2004 http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc1.htm.
Perseus Digital Library Project. Ed. Gregory R.Crane. 5 October 2004 Tufts University
5 October 2004 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu.
Roberts, Edgar V. and Jacobs, Henry E. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing.
6th ed. Upper Saddle: Prentice Hall (2000): 1304-1343.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. Ed. E. D. Hirsch, Jr. 2002.
3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (2002) http://www.bartleby.com/59/. 4 October 2004.
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