Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Review of 'Oedipus Rex' by Sophocles

Image result for oedipus rex book cover"'... What man wins more happiness than just its shape and the ruin when that shape collapses?'

Sophocles' Oedipus Rex has never been surpassed for the raw and terrible power with which its hero struggles to answer the eternal question, 'Who am I?'  The play, a story of a king who acting entirely of ignorance kills his father and marries his mother, unfolds with shattering power; we are helplessly carried along with Oedipus towards the final, horrific truth."

I'm just going to say it: I hated this play.  I hated that everyone was jumping to conclusions about who did what and I hated the reaction at the end.

The only reason I was reading this play is because I thought that I would be long-term substitute teaching a 10th Grade English class in the fall and this was on the teacher's syllabus.  I'm really glad that it was short so that I only had to force myself to read the 54 pages for a short while.  I don't think that I would be a good teacher for this book.

I thought the story was too dramatic.  Like, yes, I think it would be horrific to find out that you had murdered your own father and creepy to find out that you had accidentally married your mother, but I think the characters totally flew off the handle in reaction to the news.  Maybe I feel this way because of what the Oracle in Delphi said to Oedipus-- that he would marry his mother and kill his father.  Oedipus was already married, so you knew who his mother was.  The only mystery that was left was had he already killed his father already or not?  That's the only part I wrestled with.

But for the wife to commit suicide because she found out her son was Oedipus (wouldn't she know his name by the way?  Well, maybe not if she had not named him and made that name public before getting rid of Oedipus as a child).  Then for Oedipus to stab his eyes out and send his two daughters (half-siblings?) away to be raised by other people was kind of appalling to me, honestly.

I don't know... I had a lot of strong feelings about this book and I won't be reading it again if I can help it.

I give 'Oedipus Rex':
Thanks for Reading!


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