Cover art: Mounet-Sully as Oedipus, a caricature by Capiello, 1899

Oedipus the King

Sophocles, translated from the Greek by Laurence Senelick
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First performed around 430 BCE, Sophocles’ OEDIPUS THE KING remains as shocking a tragedy as it must have been to the ancient Greeks. Thwarted by the will of the gods and fate, Oedipus rises to become King of Thebes by killing his father and marrying this mother, thus fulfilling the prophecy that he has sought to avoid.

Production Info

Cast: 8 total (1 female, 7 male, doubling, nonspeaking parts)
Full Length Drama (about 110 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Period Costumes
Categories: , Tags: ,

Press Quotes

“The plot of the play consists of nothing other than the gradual rising and artistically protracted revelation — similar to the work of psychoanalysis — that Oedipus is himself the murderer of Laius, but also the son of the murdered man and Jocasta. King Oedipus, who has slain his father and married his mother, is only the wish-fulfillment of our childhood.” —Sigmund Freud, Interpretation of Dreams

“To me personally, Oedipus is a kind of symbol of the human intelligence, which cannot rest until it has solved all the riddles — even the last riddle, to which the answer is that human happiness is built on an illusion.” —E R Dodds

“The histrionic basis of Sophocles’ art is what makes it so crucial an instance of the art of the theater in its completeness.” —Francis Fergusson

“Oedipus is a man totally committed to his own freedom to be who he thinks he must be, to live up to his own notion of heroic greatness. He’s Oedipus, whose greatness manifests itself in being totally true to itself, without duplicity.” —Ian Johnstone

About the Author


  • Sophocles

    Sophocles (c. 496 – 406 BCE) was the most celebrated of the ancient Greek tragedians. Of Sophocles' more than 120 plays, only seven have survived in their entirety, the most famous of which feature Oedipus and Antigone and are generally known as the Theban plays.

  • Laurence Senelick

    Laurence Senelick is Fletcher Professor Emeritus of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being, The Final Curtain: The Art of Dying on Stage; The Crooked Mirror: Plays of a Modernist Russian Cabaret; Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre. Others books include: The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, as well as over a hundred articles in learned journals. He is a former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Senelick was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Prof. Senelick has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research for The Chekhov Theatre; the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association for The Age and Stage of George L. Fox and The Changing Room; and the George Jean Nathan Award for best dramatic criticism of 2000. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. He was also awarded a stipend from the TranScript/Mikhail Prokhorov Fund for Translation from the Russian. In 2008 he won the Graduate Teaching award (doctoral level) of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and in 2012 the Betty Jean Jones Prize of American Theatre and Drama Society for Distinguished Teaching. He is a widely produced translator of plays from such authors as Chekhov and Feydeau, and director at Tufts of his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare? He has acted and directed with such organizations as the Poets' Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the revue The Proposition. He recently devised new courses on Cabaret, Theatre and Visual Studies, and Low Comedy and played Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Balch Arena Theatre. His recipes appear in the Bon Appetit cookbooks.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/19/2017
Pages 76
ISBN 9780881456981

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Oedipus the King is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC