Oedipus Rex Rides Again
The Oedipus Rex rides again is a classical masterpiece which has inspired little discussion amongst those whom one might have assumed would normally be interested. Written by Sophocles' sister, Sophoclesis, in 300 BC or shortly thereafter, the play has always been included in any remarkable library - yet strangely avoided. Since Uncyclopedia avoids nothing, the time has come to bring this magnificent piece of our cultural heritage to light.
- 1 A concise introduction to classical literature
- 2 Criticism of Oedipus Rex rides again
- 3 The play itself, excerpts
A concise introduction to classical literature
Classical literature (as everyone knows) was born from a screaming need (circa 500 BC). Authors of the period simply had to write something, anything at all. They didn't bother with complicated plots or many-faceted characters. The main thing was to get literature going, and so they created a plethora of one-track-minded heroes hell-bent on destroying whatever happened to annoy them even slightly. Arguably, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Holy Bible are the best examples of classical literature to have survived the storms of the ages, the burning of libraries, the rampage of the Vandals, and other calamities the Fates so nonchalantly deal our way.
To survive through centuries, a text has to be valid in any era. A good example are the chapters in the Bible that describe the building of a prayer tent. Another equally valuable piece of wisdom are the words Achilles aims at his friend Polycarbon: "Go to the mount Ida and seek the hermit living there, o friend, and ask him to gather parsley, sticks of sycamore, and a tusk of a wild boar, not older than five years, not younger than six. Tell him to mix these ingredients in a large cauldron and piss onto them. Let the dogs not drink the potion but store it in a dry, cool place."
Thus we see how classical literature with all its shortcomings has come a long way in shaping the mind of modern man, Homo Maniensis. Even today, many things are being stored in cool, dry places.
Criticism of Oedipus Rex rides again
The remarkable Mediaeval critic, Doctor Immanuel, points out that Oedipus Rex rides again contains material that cannot have been known to a woman of the 2nd Century B.C. Therefore, Sophoclesis probably wasn't the actual author of the play. However, her mother could well have written it since the rules about such things were far more lax a few decades earlier. We will need to be critical about Immanuel's conclusions in any case. His methods of studying classical texts have been out of date since the 16th Century. What leaves things pretty much in the open is that we only have the actual text and Immanuel's criticism of it. There are no third opinions to be found anywhere in the world.
The weakest part of the play, according to most classical literature experts, is its ending. The play actually ends where it seems to trail off at Act fifty-seven, scene IV. Some nevertheless maintain that the author was modern for her age, and left the ending open on purpose. Will Rex ever find his way to the Oracle? Will there be a sequel? There are also a few who suppose the rest of the play has been lost, but nobody takes them seriously. We offer no opinion. It is our duty only to report the facts.
The play itself, excerpts
As you can see by the few short samples we provide here, Oedipus Rex rides again deserves its place in the summit of the Classical Era literature. Its brilliantly fleshed-out characters, imposing plot and powerfully enticing language almost sweep anything else clear off the table. Read and enjoy.
- Rex, the oedipal protagonist
- Ophelia, Rex's sister
- Borgia, Rex's mother
- Calliphatides, Rex's father
- Lydia, maiden to Rex's mother
- Helen, Rex's cousin
- Celiaphatides, the Oracle
- Apollo, a god
- Venus, a goddess
- Jupiter, a god
- Nero, the Emperor of Rome
- Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaeans, a dog-faced coward according to some
- Tuchydides, footman to Agamemnon
- Polydamas, guard of the palace
- Nikodemus, a bard
- Clesomandius, a minstrel
- Plutarchos, a troubadour
- Hektor, a dangerous madman
- Augustus Flavium, the Academy teacher, in love with Ophelia
- Themistocles, a dangerous madman
- Members of the people, senators, guards, rabble, further madmen
- An interior of a stately mansion. Sea visible. Enter Rex, wringing his hands.
- Rex: Oh gods - why have you cast upon me this horrible gloom that makes me want to run away from my inevitable fate? Is it not enough for you that I want to be free of the clutches of the tyrannical power of Nero, the evil emperor, who doth nothing but feed his canaries to dogs? The state of my homeland is a sad one indeed - there can be no help to it: I must flee to Egypt as soon as possible, whether my relatives like it or not! Otherwise the cruel Norns certainly will cast me down in the deepest of ravines to find my way back the best I can!
- Rex walks back and forth continuing to wring his arms. He also starts to wring his legs restlessly.
- Rex: But enough of this confused state of my brain! I have better things to do than mourn my cruel fate - I will need to pack my snacks into my backbag and start down the road to Polypia, where I will ask the advice of the sagely Oracle, the wisest of men, who certainly can tell what lies in store for me! His eyes will pierce the veil of yesterday and bring back things yet unseen by mere mortals, us who again and again are subject to eating all the rotten fruit of the fruitful valley of the Nile the kings want to feed us in the sordid valley of this beloved Earth!
- Rex wrings his arms even more phrenetically, continuing to walk back and forth. At times he needs to check his balance to regain his composure.
- Rex: O dear mother Sea! Why did you ever let me burn all my possessions so easily, without shame, when all I needed to do was take the words of my fathers, heed them, and work my way to the sea of sorrows that is the ultimate goal of all our asphyxiations? Why did the time work against me in this matter along with everything else? Am I such a gadfly that everyone, even Juno, hates me? Why was I even born? Oh woe, better would it be some goadherd than a man in a world like this where no (term missing) is made better by heroic deeds! I wish I was dead - dead and buried on the gefilte sands of Thyria, where the flowers of the feisty nouns always blossom most beautifully!
- Enter Lydia. Rex notices her and starts to hysterise hysterically.
- Lydia: Is that really you, Rex, in such a sordid state? What made you forget the vows of yesterday and start tempting cruel and awkward fate? Were it not your dear father's birthday, I would scorn you even if it would cause a cataclysm! That it has come to this! That it has come to this!
- Rex: Dear Lydia! What gibbon has made you so angry? Are the gods against me in this too? Do I have to watch helplessly as the very senses of my closest family get disheveled by the chancy changes of the wind? Is it not enough to see me suffer from the state of my father's crookedness? Answer me that, ye gods, or aye, be silent eversoforth, yea!
- Lydia: What is this horrible blasphemy that has left the sodden cavity of your mouth? The rosy Dawn herself would blush to an even rosier shade, if she had ears to heed your clapeturous whining! Take my advice, a lowly servant though I am, and splinter your bones if you must, but never (term missing)!
- Rex: Dearest Lydia - what can be the meaning of this that you - a lowly servant of my father's house - aye, even lowlier than those dogs playing outside -
- Dog: Woof!
- Rex: - and so we must part. Farewell!
- Exit Rex. Lydia stands still for a time, picks her carefully spun dress morosely and starts to weep. Soon, a thunderstorm is heard. Rain starts to pour through a hole in the roof. It drenches Lydia, who by now wails uncontrollably.
- Nero: Is it a preordained bachelor that I, the benevolent tyrant to the people of Persia, will forever be doomed to be misjudged by my badmouthing subjects? Did I ever ask them for too many horses, young maidens or documents?
- Enter Themistocles, hastily.
- Themistocles: Yes it indeed is, my dear Emperor! The fates have lon ago woven their slimy nets around your slimy ankles so that any day now, you will stumble and slip because of your own slimy sliminess! You cannot easily avoid the seething cauldron of the Norns, who from afar seek to direct our destinies! The day draws nigh when you need to weep for the evil you have caused Thracia!
- Nero: Indeed it may be so, my good Themistotesticles, but now have you opened the cavity of your mouth to express your opinions slightly too sharply! GUARDS! Come and seize this slimy traitor!
- Enter a couple of slimy guards. They tackle and grasp Themistocles, who slyly throws himself on the floor and kicks one of the guards in the kneecap, but not hard - only enough to make him wince. The guards take Themistocles away, not very violently - just quickly because he is such a dangerous madman and not fit to be seen in the company of the Emperor. Exit Nero, exit everyone, even the dog. Curtains.
- The garden. Sea not visible. Enter Rex, hardly wringing his hands.
- Rex: Yes, if only my dear father would see what a peril he is in, keeping me here in this garden! I must flee, wringing my supple hands, to Egypt - or better yet, to Aramea! Else something horrible will happen, since the --- Ye gods!! I almost forgot to visit the Oracle! Make haste, Rex! Good advice is in high value now! How should I set about starting to plan the idea of getting somewhere sooner or later? GUARDS! Come and tell me what I must do, to get to see the Oracle! Where in all gods' names does he even live? I'm so desperate I could vomit! This life is excruciating, there's no mistaking the fact!
- Enter a couple of guards, not the same slimy ones as before, since these are not Nero's guards.
- Rex: Ah, there you are! Tell me quick, never spare a word - which is the quickest way to the Oracle? Must I needs be walk through the horribly terrible mountains, or is it quite enough to ride a bachelor along the coast, boarding the next ship to leave for Athens?
- Guard 1: The Oracle does not abide in Athens, master - his abode is not known to us!
- Rex: How can you then tell whether he lives in Athens or not? O gods, how I wish my father had hired more sensible guards! This life as a lonely bachelor, surrounded but not at all comforted by shallow luxury! Wine and gold rings bleed from my ears, yet I cannot make such a simple decision - come to my aid, o Jupiter, the almighty Zeus! Will there ever be an end to my suffering?
- Guard 2: Yes there will, master, some day!
- Rex: Did you, by the way, hear anything on the way here? Anything suspect? My life has been in such a state lately - I haven't been able to sleep, eat, drink... all I think of is my fate, which seems to be no closer to fulfillment than it was yesterday. What is this gloomy dusk that seems to settle itself upon my father's luscious lands? Onward! We will board the next ship and ask for awkward directions later! The day is long!
- Enter Rex, holding a human skull in his hand.
- Rex: O Hektor, why did you have to go and waste your life like a common farmer plowing his field in the sunny foothills of mount Olympos? You, who always were ready to throw your life away for the good of your king and country - aye, sad is your fate to have died ignominonuously, a cruel and excruciating fate indeed! Ah but here comes my father!
- Enter Rex's father, holding a kneecap of a kangaroo in his hand.
- Father: O Agamemnon, you dog-faced scoundrel, you, not worthy of being slain by Hektor --- Rex! What are you doing here in the garden?
- Rex: Father! I am here as by your orders! Just now I was ready to go visit the Oracle beyond the wine-dark sea, but instead, I sent only the guards who are ready to do my bidding! So, is it time to leave the garden already?
- Father: It is indeed, my dearest son, who was sucking the breasts of my dear wife when she was younger! I have come to tell you what to do now!
- Rex: Is it so indeed, father? How I have been waiting for this day! My knees are sore from kneeling on the ground and smashing my poor head against the stones of our expensive garden! Quick, out with it, father, if you are not put off by the youthful impatience that has been festering in my heart forever!
- Father: It is my decision you must go see the ORACLE!!
- Rex: Aye O Ye Gods! That has always been my deepest secret wish! How did you guess?
- Father: It became obvious to me, my awkward son, when you told me you would kill yourself unless I were to let you visit him! But beware! The road theretowithal is filled with poisonous documents, which will kill you without batting an eye! Tread your way with care!
- Rex: One thing only, O father - I do not know the way! And I'm afraid to do it!
- Father: One thing only divides men from boys, and that thing is the trip to the Oracle! Please be careful and do not throw your life away for false prophets, but go now, since it is getting late!
- Rex: Yes, late. Indeed. Very late, correct. Ho hum. Better late than never. Right!