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Audible Theatre Collection: Oedipus

Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

The three Theban plays by Sophocles - Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone - are great landmarks of Western theatre. They tell the story of Oedipus, King of Thebes, who was destined to suffer a terrible fate - to kill his father, marry his mother, and beget children of the incestuous union. He does this unknowingly but still has to suffer terrible consequences, which also tragically affect the next generation. 

These three plays were written around 450 BC, with the playwright following the established convention of presenting the story through main characters but using a chorus - sometimes one voice, sometimes more - as an independent commentator that also occasionally participates in the drama. When the audiences of ancient Athens went to the amphitheatres to see the plays, they would have known the basic story of poor Oedipus. 

Nevertheless, the power of Sophocles' retelling made the Theban plays deeply horrifying and affecting - and this is still true now, some 2,500 years later. There is also a strong contemporary resonance for us, for in the 20th century the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud famously adopted the story to illustrate his Oedipus complex, which, he argued, was a condition of the unconscious mind in boys - that they want to sleep with their mothers. It is interesting that through the character of the queen, Jocasta, in Oedipus the King, Sophocles states this unequivocally. 

Oedipus the King is well known. The other two are less so: Oedipus at Colonus, which deals with his last days, and Antigone, which casts the spotlight on his daughter, who, as part of the accursed bloodline, chooses to act in a way she believes is right, whatever the consequences. Yet they are equally powerful and moving. 

This audio production, with Jamie Glover as Oedipus and Hayley Atwell as his daughter, Antigone, is a world premiere audio recording of all three plays. 

With the authoritative but modern translation by Ian Johnston, specially commissioned new music from the English composer Roger Marsh, and a cast of outstanding actors, this Audible Original presentation of Sophocles' Theban plays will be listened to not once but many times. 

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 3 episodes to your Library now.

©2016 Audible, Ltd. (P)2016 Audible, Ltd.

What listeners say about Audible Theatre Collection: Oedipus

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  • Overall
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Passed the test of time

I was utterly gripped by this excellent translation which brought this ancient material to vivid life. I only tried this because it was free and I'm so glad I did. I was vaguely familiar with the plots but I became involved and moved despite the ancient format, including the use of the chorus. I advise anyone looking at these titles with trepidation to go for it!

15 people found this helpful

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Really easy to follow....

I am no expert in the classics, but thought I would give this a go. With some background knowledge of greek mythology (care of S.Fry Heros) it was really easy to follow and fun to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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Download issues

There seems to be an issue with the Audible Theatre collections; I purchased these almost a month ago and all that is available on my kindle fire app is a long description of the show with no option to play or download the episodes.

9 people found this helpful

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I wish I could listen

This selection has never played - I don't know why. I downloaded in the same way as usual, and it is supposedly downloaded according to Audible, but there is nothing playing

1 person found this helpful

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An incredible production for an unbelievable price

Beautifully constructed, wonderfully acted and all for free. It is perhaps one of the greater modern shames that Freud's derivative work is misinterpreted for only the first of the plays when such honourable acts awaited Oedipus and his daughter Antigone.
A true Tragedy, the Oedipus Plays plumb the depths of mortal despair to identify the nobility and villainy of its characters.
Recommended for lovers of the great classics.

1 person found this helpful

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Superb!

Whee has this gem been all my useless reading life! Superb everything I want the rest.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic and free

A brilliant rendition of arguably the most influential and well known of the surviving tragedies. All parts superbly acted and delivered. Couldn't ask for more especially as it's free! (if you pay the monthly audible subscription of course.)

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  • 21-02-20

Emensly Gripping

Culture at its best. Thoroughly enjoyed listening. It took a while to get into the story line, yet once there, purely delightful.

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definitely worth listening

It only lasts one hour or so and is very easy to listen to.
The story is of course classic, the lines poetic and the scenes quite touching and powerful. Actors done quite well in expressing the pathos of the story.
Love Sophocles.

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Clumsy and intolerable.

It is very unfortunate that Ian Johnston seems to be THE translator of the classical stuff, because his translations are invariably clumsy and intolerable.