Described as the Mona Lisa of literature and the world's first detective story, Sophocles' Oedipus the King is a major text from the ancient Greek world and an iconic work of world literature. Aristotle's favourite play, lauded by him as the exemplary Athenian tragedy, Oedipus the King has retained its power both on and off the stage. Before Freud's famous interpretation of the play - an appropriation, some might say - Hlderlin and Nietzsche recognised its unique qualities. Its literary worth is undiminished, philosophers revel in its probing into issues of freedom and necessity and Lacan has ensured its vital significance for post-Freudian psychoanalysis. This Reader's Guide begins with Oedipus as a figure from Greek mythology before focusing on fifth-century Athenian tragedy and the meaning of the drama as it develops scene by scene on the stage. The book covers the afterlife of the play in depth and provides a comprehensive guide to further reading for students.
Sean Sheehan has taught in London and Singapore and is now a full-time writer. He has written a number of books including Joyce's 'Ulysses': A Reader's Guide (2009) and Zizek: A Guide for the Perplexed (forthcoming).