| 1.2.3 Read: Oedipus Rex Part I
| Reading Guide
| British and World Literature Sem 1 (S1893793)
| Allyce Bosecker
| Date: ____________
Oedipus Rex, also called Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, lines 1 through 753 ("Thrill through my soul, my queen, at this thy tale") Read online at http://www.bartleby.com/8/5/ .
Here are a few words from the reading that you may have difficulty with (you will not be tested on these). unmeet (line 6): unsuitable; improper
ruth (line 13): compassion for the misery of another
succour (line 46): relief; aid; help
mountebank (line 411): a flamboyant or theatrical hawker of quack medicines augur (line 511): one who can see into the future
sinuous wiles (line 565): devious tricks
Take a look at the list of characters from the play (the dramatis personae): Oedipus, king of Thebes
Creon, brother of Jocasta
Teiresias, a soothsayer
Priest of Zeus
Messenger from Corinth
Jocasta, wife of Oedipus
Chorus of Priests and Suppliants
Note that last one, the chorus. In a Greek play, the chorus is made up of a group of actors who recite dialogue and sing songs. The chorus can be outside the plot, or it can help move the plot along. Depending on whom you ask, the chorus represents the playwright, the social conscience of the community in which the play is set, the audience, or all three. As you read, pay attention to what the chorus says: What is Sophocles trying to achieve through the chorus? Commentary? Relief from the tension of the plot? (There's no one answer to this question, incidentally.) Did You Know?
As you read the play, you'll notice the words stroph. (an abbreviation for strophe) and antistroph (an abbreviation for antistrophe). These simply represent a kind of call and response between voices from the chorus in which they comment on both sides of the action of the play.
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