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Oedipus is the Anglicised name for Οἰδίπους (pron: "Oidípous", meaning "swollen foot") the mythical Greek king of Thebes.

The name is spelled in a variety of alternative ways, e.g. Edipus in early Dutch, "Oidipoes" in Frisian languages and in early Afrikaans, "Oidipus" in other Germanic languages such as German, Czech, Swedish, or later Afrikaans (post 1960). In addition, Oidipus, Oedipoes and Oedipous are also found in Dutch and Flemish.

The myth and the plays

A tragic hero in Greek mythology, on whose tragic life a number of plays have been based, the best known perhaps Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (429 BC), and the follow up play Oedipus at Colonus. (According to surviving records, Aeschylus won first prize at the City Dionysia with a trilogy about the House of Laius in 467 BC. One part of the trilogy was a play about Oedipus. However, we know only know about it by reputation, as no text is extant. Euripides also wrote an Oedipus, but here only a few fragments survive.)

Both the myth and the Sophocles plays about the myth have served as the basis for many adaptations and experiments over the years, both local and international. Also in South Africa (See also Classical Theatre in South Africa)

The name Oedipus and aspects of the history have additionally been immortalized in a way by Freud's concept of the "Oedipus complex"[1].

Among the plays of consequence in South Africa are:

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

Oedipus by Seneca

La Machine Infernale by Jean Cocteau.

Oedipus by Ted Hughes

Oedipus by Hugo Claus

Greek by Stephen Berkoff

Oidipoes by Ben de Haeck

Ugcaleka Ubuyile is an African intrepetation in Xhosa.






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