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Sophocles was born at Colonus, near Athens in about 496 BC and is considered to be one of the premier playwrights of Greek tragedy. His stories may have been filled with strife, but Sophocles himself was prosperous and came from a good family. It is said that he was handsome, wealthy, and a highly respected citizen of Athens. During his life, he wrote over 120 plays and was instrumental in how plays would eventually be performed, including the addition of stage props.Sophocles' great Theban trilogy has all the intensity and power that you have come to expect from a Greek tragedy. Produced in colorful and poetic language, this is the story of a noble family catapulted into tragedy and loss of power, a story of pride, cursed with the stain of incest, murder, and suicide. Sophocles's plays are the pillars of ancient Greek drama and have been enthralling readers and theater goers since the fifth century.
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First digital edition 2017 by Anna Ruggieri
To Laius, King of Thebes, an oracle foretold that the child born to him by his queen Jocasta would slay his father and wed his mother. So when in time a son was born the infant's feet were riveted together and he was left to die on Mount Cithaeron. But a shepherd found the babe and tended him, and delivered him to another shepherd who took him to his master, the King of Corinth. Polybus being childless adopted the boy, who grew up believing that he was indeed the King's son. Afterwards doubting his parentage he inquired of the Delphic god and heard himself the word declared before to Laius. Wherefore he fled from what he deemed his father's house and in his flight he encountered and unwillingly slew his father Laius. Arriving at Thebes he answered the riddle of the Sphinx and the grateful Thebans made their deliverer king. So he reigned in the room of Laius, and espoused the widowed queen. Children were born to them and Thebes prospered under his rule, but again a grievous plague fell upon the city. Again the oracle was consulted and it bade them purge themselves of blood-guiltiness. Oedipus denounces the crime of which he is unaware, and undertakes to track out the criminal. Step by step it is brought home to him that he is the man. The closing scene reveals Jocasta slain by her own hand and Oedipus blinded by his own act and praying for death or exile.
Oedipus. The Priest of Zeus. Creon. Chorus of Theban Elders. Teiresias. Jocasta. Messenger. Herd of Laius. Second Messenger.
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