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  • 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.

    As an Audio Show - free for members - when you add Audible Theatre Collection: Oedipus to your library, you'll get three plays, with runtimes that vary from 90 to 120 minutes.

    ©2016 Audible, Ltd. (P)2016 Audible, Ltd.
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Episodes
  • May 9 2018
    Antigone and Ismene, the daughters of Oedipus, discuss the disaster that has just befallen them. Their brothers Polynices and Eteocles have killed one another in a battle for control over Thebes. Creon who now rules the city, refuses Polynices proper burial rites. Family loyalties, bloody warfare and an edict that one sister cannot honour. The third part of Sophocles masterpiece comes to its dramatic conclusion, in a stunning new production.
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    1 hr and 27 mins
  • May 9 2018
    A plague has stricken Thebes. The citizens gather outside the palace of their king, Oedipus, asking him to take action. He replies that he has already sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to the oracle at Delphi for divine guidance. One of the greatest works of classical theatre is dramatically brought to life, in this tragic tale of prophecy, plague, murder, mystery and revenge. Audible presents one of the ancient world's greatest imaginations, in this dramatic, exclusive new recording.
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    1 hr and 39 mins
  • May 9 2018
    After years of wandering in exile from Thebes, Oedipus arrives in a grove outside Athens. Blind and frail, he walks with the help of his daughter, Antigone. Father and daughter come to rest on the hallowed ground of the Eumenides, the Goddesses of Fate. It is the very ground that Oedipus was prophecised to die upon. An ancient tale of Gods, fate and prophecy, exclusively brought to you by Audible in a sensational new recording starring Hayley Atwell.
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    1 hr and 58 mins

Critic Reviews

"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 listeners say about Audible Theatre Collection: Oedipus

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The next best thing to seeing the plays performed!

Sophocles wrote plays, not novels. They were meant to be performed. This presentation is great, and should be mandatory in high schools and colleges!

1 person found this helpful

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Greek food for thought

Outstanding work and performance, obviously from lovers of the work. A must for anyone who admires the richness of Greek tragedy

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Ok

This was a decent dramatization, but I didn't love it. It just didn't pull me in. I know the story and have found in interesting, but this just didn't do it for me.

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Excellent performance and translation

Ian Johnson’s translation is both accessible and poetic, and the actors were very good. Hayley Atwell playing Antigone was especially superb.

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Stellar Performances of Three Classics

I really enjoyed listening to the Oedipus Trilogy. The actors truly captured the essences of the characters.

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Outstanding and captivating

Jamie Glover is spectacular. Every time he spoke I was on the edge of my seat. This story was wonderfully acted by all and was an interesting sequel.

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Loved listening to this entire series!

This series was amazing to listen to! performances were great and I couldn't wait to keep listening!

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Outstanding Performance

Great fun to listen to these voice actors put these stories together. Very well done

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  • Sara
  • 06-10-18

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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  • Lazy Kipper
  • 01-15-20

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • Paul H
  • 12-19-18

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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  • pixie225
  • 06-09-18

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 05-18-19

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.

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  • Doug
  • 07-28-18

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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  • S. Evans
  • 10-26-20

Amazing, terrific production.

Really enjoyed this trio, great acting, really clear translation, with enough poetry but never losing its grip on the meaning. Full of vim.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-27-20

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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  • D.
  • 02-21-20

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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  • dustinwind24
  • 12-14-19

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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  • Panos Kerasiotis
  • 09-29-20

Sophocles deep thinking is as relevant as always

How amazing are the stories told, still relevant and so powerful. if you dont have the chance to see it live in a theatre, as it is meant to be presented. do yourself a favour and at least listen to these plays. my personal favourite is Antigone.