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Oedipus at Colonus
A verse translation by David Mulroy, with introduction and notes

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Laura McClure, and Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell, Series Editors

Best-selling translator David Mulroy completes the trilogy of Sophocles’ Theban plays

Oedipus at Colonus is the third in Sophocles’ trilogy of plays about the famous king of Thebes and his unhappy family. It dramatizes the mysterious death of Oedipus, by which he is transformed into an immortal hero protecting Athens. This was Sophocles’ final play, written in his mid-eighties and produced posthumously. Translator David Mulroy’s introduction and notes deepen the reader’s understanding of Oedipus’ character and the real political tumult that was shaking Athens at the time that Sophocles wrote the play. Oedipus at Colonus is at once a complex study of a tragic character, an indictment of Athenian democracy, and a subtle endorsement of hope for personal immortality.

As in his previous translations of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Mulroy combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh poetic style. He uses iambic pentameter for spoken passages and short rhymed stanzas for choral songs, resulting in a text that is accessible and fun to read and perform.


Author. Photo credit, NameDavid Mulroy is a professor emeritus of classics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His translations of Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and The Complete Poetry of Catullus are also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Author. Photo credit, Name

Sophocles (ca. 497/6 B.C.E.–407/6 B.C.E.) was the most acclaimed dramatist of his era, winning more than twenty festival competitions in ancient Athens. He is believed to have written 123 plays, but only seven have survived in complete form. His life spanned the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire.





“A joy to read. . . . Mulroy invites readers to reevaluate and discover a new appreciation for this often difficult play. Readers will appreciate his eye (and especially his ear) for detail, and his talent for recapturing much of the majesty and magic of Sophocles’ original.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

“David Mulroy's verse translation is metrical and clarifying, his lines passionate, dynamic, and efficient, moving swiftly toward their fated end. The play's tragic personae are drawn so sharply they seem exposed, as to an X-ray. It is as if Mulroy has a cell phone that connects him directly to the classical world. This is a superb contribution to Ancient Greek studies.”
—Kelly Cherry, author of A Kind of Dream: Stories



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Of Related Interest

Sophocles; A verse translation by David Mulroy, with introduction and notes

Oedipus Rex
Sophocles; A verse translation by David Mulroy, with introduction and notes

Oedipus Rex: A Dramatized Audiobook
Sophocles; A verse translation by David Mulroy

The Complete Poetry of Catullus
Catullus; translated and with commentary by David Mulroy

January 2015
LC: 2014009155 PA
180 pp.   5 x 8

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Paper $9.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-30254-2
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