Study Guide

The Story of Oedipus

Introduction

Have you ever felt like the world was against you? Like no matter how hard you tried to do the right thing it all just kept going wrong? Then you might want to grab a cup of coffee with our buddy Oedipus and settle in for a nice session of kvetching. He gets a bad rap for killing his dad and sleeping with his mom, but we cut him some slack because he didn't know he was doing those things when he was doing them.

The Fates had decreed that Oedipus would do all these things too, so the cards were even more stacked against him. Now, you might not believe in Fate (or maybe you do) but it seems like everybody has felt at times like their life was a bit out of control, like there were larger forces at work that were moving you against your will. It could be societal pressures, financial factors, or maybe just your parents making you do crap you don't want to do.

In the end, though, we're all a little bit like Oedipus. Though he may sound like a major creeper on paper, really he's a lot like the rest of us: just trying to make his way in world that can be pretty harsh sometimes.

Best of the Web

The Story of Oedipus Resources

Movie or TV Productions

Oedipus: Star of Stage and Screen
This version of Oedipus Rex taped for television won a Primetime Emmy. So, yay for it.

All Star Cast
This movie stars Christopher Plummer (Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music) as Oedipus, Orson Welles as Teiresias, and Donald Sutherland as the leader of the Chorus.

Historical Documents

Oedipus el Rey by Luis Alfaro
This modern Chicano riff on the Oedipus story is set in an LA barrio.

These Seven Sicknesses by Sean Graney
Oedipus kicks off this modernized marathon of all of Sophocles' extant plays.

Videos

Veggie Oedipus. Veggiepus Rex.
This awesome version of the story is performed by veggies. Did we mention it's awesome? Oh, yeah, we did.

Cartoon Oedipus
This video features delightfully crude animation and a snarky narrator.

Masked Oedipus
You can watch a complete performance of Oedipus the King with the actors wearing masks like they did back in ancient Greece.

Audio

I am Oedipus. Hear Me Roar.
Follow the link to listen to the tragedy of tragedies, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles.

More Roaring
Just in case you didn't get enough Greek tragedy with the last link, follow this link to listen to Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus.

Books

Lots of Tragedy
You can read all three of Sophocles' Oedipus plays for free here.

Bulfinch: Man of Legend
You've got to check out our buddy Bulfinch's version of the story along with like every other myth ever.