The Oedipus Casebook
Reading Sophocles' Oedipus the King
A new translation of the play with facing Greek text and selections from a stellar assortment of critics
Who killed Laius? Most readers assume Oedipus did. At the play’s end, he stands convicted of murdering his father, marrying his mother, and triggering a deadly plague. Assembling all the evidence, this book reopens the Oedipus case and lets readers judge for themselves.
"Anspach’s introduction re-illuminates the oblique and groundbreaking readings of Oedipus by Jean-Pierre Vernant, Michel Foucault, and René Girard, among others. This is a superb compilation."
—Neni Panourgiá, Columbia University, author of the award-winning Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State
"After a brilliant new translation of Oedipus Tyrannus by Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Mark R. Anspach collects classic articles on the scapegoat and drama in ancient Greece, Oedipus as pharmakos/scapegoat, and Oedipus in a judicial setting, clearly guilty or clearly innocent... It is one of the strengths of this anthology that it includes views that are contradictory, thus allowing the reader to read and interpret the play with fresh eyes. A challenging and refreshing book."
—Todd M. Compton, author of Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History (Center for Hellenic Studies / Harvard University Press)
"A book like this is overdue. It should spark lively debate inside and outside the classroom."
—Kurt Fosso, Professor of English, Classics Faculty, Lewis & Clark College
From the preface to The Oedipus Casebook:
"Guilty or not, one man cannot be the sole cause of his city’s ills. Clearly, more is at work in the downfall of Oedipus. Helene Foley recognizes in him 'the kind of leader a democracy would both love and desire to ostracize.' Perhaps that is why the cathartic cycle enacted in the theater of Dionysus still speaks to our own enlightened age. It continues to play out around us."