Greek Theater: Oedipus
Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex,
or Oedipus the King,
is considered to be the epitome of Greek tragedy. Sophocles made his first appearance as a competitor at the City Festival of Dionysia in 486 BCE at the age of about 28, winning out against Aeschylus in the first of what would be 18 victories at the competition. Despite its acclaim today, Oedipus Rex
was not among Sophocles’ winning entries at the festival. The play begins as the young king Oedipus learns that his predecessor, King Laius, had been murdered years ago. He vows to avenge the king and bring prosperity back to the kingdom. However, his pride makes him ignore the warnings of his brother-in-law, Creon, and the blind sage, Teiresias. Oedipus fails to see that he, in fact, mistakenly killed the former king. In the scene featured in this reader’s theater presentation, Oedipus argues with Teiresias about Laius’ murder. The scene features Carmen Geraci and Sidney Shaw; director Robert Pickering introduces the action with contextual information.
- Show to introduce a lesson or unit on Greek theater.
- Show along with the “Introduction to Greek Theater” segment from About Drama.
- Have students give their own reader’s theater performances of this and other scenes from Greek drama.
- Have students explore tragedy and the idea of the tragic flaw.
Lesson plans using this resource: