Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

On the Different Translations of "Oedipus Rex" 12th Grade

Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” (lit. “Oedipus the King”) has proven to be without a doubt one of the most acclaimed tragedies of all time, having maintained relevance in the literary canon ever since its composition and debut performance around 429 BCE. Like most high-profile works of literature, this Ancient Athenian tale exists no longer as a single playwright’s vision, but rather as a multitude of translations, each of which has put its own unique spin on the age-old story that every scholar now knows so well. Among these translations are that of Thomas Gould, J.E. Thomas, and Francis Storr: three apparently similar accounts which, upon a closer line-by-line reading, reveal fascinating nuances in theme and characterization. Such nuances, in turn, reveal each translator’s unique take on the original Greek text--and more specifically on the the character of Oedipus, whose moral compass and general disposition have been (and continue to be) interpreted in a number of different ways.

Those familiar with “Oedipus Rex” will recall that much of the play consists of a lengthy dialogue between Oedipus and the blind prophet Tiresias, who is called upon to disclose the murderer of Laius and the source of the plague (which, of course, is...

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