You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus

2. The Original Audience

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the ways the play may have resonated with the original audience, focusing in particular on the plague of Thebes and the 'democratic' behaviour of Oedipus and Creon.


In this course, Dr Rosie Wyles (University of Kent) explores Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. In the first module, we think about where Sophocles chooses to start the story and how it proceeds, compared to other versions of the myth. After that, we think about how the original audience may have reacted to the play in light of the devastating plague that Athens had suffered in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. In the third module, we explore the character of Oedipus himself, before turning in the fourth module to the presentation of violence in the play – both as reported to us in messenger speeches and as shown to us on stage. In the final module, we turn to the role of the gods and fate in the play: does Oedipus deserve what happens to him?


Dr Rosie Wyles researches the cultural history of the ancient world through theatre performance. She did her undergraduate studies in Classics at Oxford and was awarded her PhD on the ancient performance reception of Euripides from the University of London in 2007. Her research interests include Greek and Roman performance arts, costume, reception within antiquity and beyond it, and gender.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wyles, R. (2018, August 15). Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus - The Original Audience [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wyles, R. "Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus – The Original Audience." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,