Oedipus Rex

2 Sessions, Tuesdays, March 1 & 8

1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Sink Building, Room 233

Member Fee: $30, Non-Member Fee: $40

Most people are familiar with the story of Oedipus, the tragic hero of Greek mythology who murdered his father and married his mother. However, this happened long before the opening of Oedipus Rex, the Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. The focus of the play is on the man in search of the murderer of the king, which becomes a search for his own identity. The questions raised will be: what, if anything, could have saved him? If the oracle is immutable, can we talk of free will? If "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32), does this apply to Oedipus? Whom do the gods choose to be the bearer of such horror - the best or the worst of human beings? Why? Does Sophocles justify the gods' behavior, or does he exalt human beings for their capacity to suffer for love's sake? Talking about nobility of character, can we make a comparison between Oedipus and Job? Christ? What is the relationship between father and son in Western culture? (Freud coined the concept of the Oedipus Complex.) These topics, among others, will be discussed over the two sessions of this course. 

Please review this play. (It is available in any book store or library; any translation from the Greek is fine.) Bring the text to class and we will review it before discussing the issues. Lively participation will be encouraged.

Susanne Kimball is a retired literature professor, having received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from UCSD in San Diego, who has taught world literature on all levels both at UCSD and UTSA in San Antonio. Since relocating to Asheville, she has taught literature courses at BRCLL and OLLI, as well as being a docent for the Asheville Art Museum. Susanne has also been a feature writer for WNCWoman magazine.