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The Oedipus Plays Audiobook

The Oedipus Plays: An Audible Original Drama

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Publisher's Summary

The three Theban plays by Sophocles - Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone - are one of the 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 blood line, 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.

©2015 Audible Originals (P)2016 Audible Originals

What the Critics Say

"This outstanding full cast, and Roger Marsh's original music, serves Ian Johnston's vigorous verse translation of Sophocles very well. None of the actors can be singled out; they're all marvelous at combining the original declamatory tradition with modern ideas about portraying character and emotion. The result is a moving dramatic experience that is enhanced by, but does not require, a background in the classics. This is a first-rate example not only of why the classics endure, but also of what can be done with the medium of audio." (AudioFile magazine)

"The casting is first rate, as are Ian Johnston's strong, simple lines and the startlingly effective music." (The Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance


There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Sort by:
  • Zeus Baba
    Oslo, Norway
    2/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "mesmerizing!"

    such a masterful performance of the most profound tragedy of all time.
    listen, read, feel every scene!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vincent
    27/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Was truly great!"

    I absolutely love these plays and the cast here was great. If your buying to hear the tale for the first time or refreshing yourselves of the joy of these, this is a great buy. I personally loved the acting and I have not one bad word for Sophocles.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • LacyADM
    Texas
    12/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So Well Done!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to anyone who loves Greek tragedy, and to anyone forced to read Greek tragedy against your will!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Antigone, voiced by Hayley Atwell. A strong and compassionate woman.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Hayley Atwell's performance was enchanting. She removed all stiffness from the translation and conveyed the emotion of the character.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to each of the plays in one sitting apiece. They are not the kind of stories you binge on - they are the kind you listen to and then digest as you ponder them later.


    Any additional comments?

    There's a reason Greek tragedy is still relevant almost 2500 years after it was written. This is a great way to introduce yourself to it, and it's also a great way to enjoy it even if you've already read and loved the works in print.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alex
    21/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding for something written about 441 bc"
    Where does The Oedipus Plays rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    About the upper middle


    What other book might you compare The Oedipus Plays to and why?

    None... Oedipus was unique


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    It was an extremely well orated story. Despite being familiar with the tale, I found it to be quite entertaining. I agree with some previous posts that the musical accompaniment was distracting and annoying which explains the 4 star rating. The chorus was consistent with story structure of the period and might not be for everyone, but I got used to it. It was definitely worth the Audible credit!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • nisbus
    Iceland
    15/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent in every way"

    I cant really fault this rendition. it had me glued from beginning to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James
    usa ma
    22/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very well done."

    this was a very well done work. Worth every penny. highly recommended. if you are looking for a great audio drama look no further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quotarian
    Pennsylvania
    31/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Greeks have a word for us."

    Superb rendition! Voices clear and deeply moving. I've read these plays and seen them staged, but this was the best. Kudos to the clarity of the chorus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jkeramidas
    Brooklyn, NY
    26/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great performance but..."

    Much of it sounds like it was recorded in a garage. Muted, sometimes echoing. And then there are times, particularly with the chorus that sound like a studio. Just diminished the listening experience a bit

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Anna Maria Rusanova
    25/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great!"

    I liked the way the play was transfermed in an audio book!!! Great readrs too!!! Thank you for providing it for free!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dr
    21/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "In the harsh Sophoclean Light"

    Each time I read (or in this case listen to) Oedipus The King, it grows more devastating. I read it first as a student some 13 years ago and it moved me then despite my tender age. I tought the play when I became a teacher, and renewing my aquaintance with it again at 32, thanks to this excellent production, I find that it has grown even more powerful. You need age and success on your side to truly understand the dreadful implications of this story of a good but proud man brought to ruin by an inescapable destiny. Anyone interested in Theatre or Literature should get this. you don't need a grounding in Greek mythology to enjoy it as most actions are explained by the characters, but be advised it isn't an easy listen. The production values are good and the acting is for the most part excellent; Johnstone's translation is indeed authoritative, but it it sometimes lacks the pithiness of Robert Fagles' translation. this is made up for by the strength and pathos of the main performers, and the occasional clunkiness of the translation is most apparent in the lines of the chorus; watch out for Jonathan Oliver, something about his voice suits his role in the chorus perfectly. I look forward to listening to the two remaining Theban plays, but I think Oedipus will haunt me forever. I've learned to count no man truly happy until he is dead, and you don't forget lessons like that in a hurry.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Clavs
    21/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very well performed"

    This dramatisation of the Oedipus plays is very well performed. It really has the drama of ancient Greek theatre. I also really liked the musical interludes and the way the plays were split up. The only frustrating thing was the really short chapters that sometimes change mid dialogue. I couldn't find a good place to pause.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Christopher
    14/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought provoking"

    A good interpretation and very worth the experience of listening. It certainly makes you think.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • GavinOutlook
    Dunbar, United Kingdom
    4/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for me.Felt dated"

    Thought I would enjoy as I love audio Drama. This just seemed dated and filled with annoying music and group chanting.
    I'm sure it is actually better than I rate it but as I say it did not work for me.
    On the plus side i did learn from it and understand the story better

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ocean
    17/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "brilliant performances"

    great cast of narrators who breathe life into these seminal plays: "wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy..."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mrs
    BRIGHTON, United Kingdom
    7/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Short sweet essential journey into the world of Sophocles"

    I listened to this to refresh my memory of my classics classes back at school. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting all three short stories although the acting is a little to be desired!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    26/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "well worth a try!"

    I have only a passing acquaintance with Greek tragedy, but I recommend this as an easy entry into three of its central texts. Oedipus The King works the best in these audio versions - I feel that Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone benefit from the visual scale of the stage - but I really enjoyed all three.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • DaveTT
    Somerset, UK
    4/02/17
    Overall
    "Tragic."

    Having only known about Oedipus from the medical term "Oedipus Complex", this series of plays about the tragic life of Oedipus and his family reallt explains a lot.
    I enjoyed the narration by multiple characters as it helped me visualise the scenes and focus on the story.
    I recommend this to anyone who has read or has an interest in Greek history, Greek tragedies or even Shakespeares works such as Macbeth, Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet, as it is in the same vein but from a much earlier time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amy
    7/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprisingly great"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I really would. I wasn't really paying attention to who was reading this when I bought this I just mainly wanted it to go through Antigonie as I was reading it for a Classical History Drama group and wanted to be able to convey more emotion that I already was into my performance by hearing someones elves interpretation and I was really surprised at how good it was. I'm yet to listen to the others but Antigone is really very good.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Oedipus Plays?

    Hearing Hayley Atwell's voice as one of the voices in the performance as she really is a heroine of mine.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The sheer emotion of the speeches due to the fact in a print copy of the book it is written out as a play with very little in the way of stage directions which you would miss out by just reading it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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