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Classics & Ancient History   >   Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus

Telling the Story

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Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus

In this course, Dr Rosie Wyles (University of Kent) explores Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. In the first module, we think about where Sophocles chooses to start the story and how it proceeds, compared to other versions of the myth. After that, we think about how the original audience may have reacted to the play in light of the devastating plague that Athens had suffered in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. In the third module, we explore the character of Oedipus himself, before turning in the fourth module to the presentation of violence in the play – both as reported to us in messenger speeches and as shown to us on stage. In the final module, we turn to the role of the gods and fate in the play: does Oedipus deserve what happens to him?

Telling the Story

In this module, we think about how Sophocles has chosen to tell the story of Oedipus, focusing in particular on his preference for the gradual revelation of the facts, as well as on his decision to begin the story not with the riddle of the Sphinx, which was probably the most famous episode in the story of Oedipus, but with the plague at Thebes.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wyles, R. (2018, August 15). Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus - Telling the Story [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wyles, R. "Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus – Telling the Story." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Dr Rosie Wyles

Dr Rosie Wyles

Kent University