HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus…
Loading...

The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus (edition 2000)

by Sophocles

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,95643403 (4)145
Aristotle called "Oedipus The King," the second-written of the three Theban plays written by Sophocles, the masterpiece of the whole of Greek theater. Today, nearly 2,500 years after Sophocles wrote, scholars and audiences still consider it one of the most powerful dramatic works ever made. Freud sure did. The three plays--"Antigone," "Oedipus the King," and "Oedipus at Colonus"--Are not strictly a trilogy, but all are based on the Theban myths that were old even in Sophocles' time. This particular edition was rendered by Robert Fagles, perhaps the best translator of the Greek classics into English.… (more)
Member:jamesshelley
Title:The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus
Authors:Sophocles
Info:Penguin Classics (2000), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 430 pages
Collections:Your library, Completed (inactive)
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Antigone / Oedipus Rex / Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 145 mentions

English (41)  Catalan (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
I didn't enjoy these Ancient Greek Plays as much as others I have read in the last few months. I don't know if its the translation, or the subject matter. But I found the stories to be dry, convoluted, and rather boring. I found King Oidipus to be a tragic character that is too whiny and hypocritical. I really feel for his daughters, Imene and Antigone. They were caught in the web that is the curse of their family. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Sep 28, 2019 |
The oral traditions of Greece included the mythos of the life of Oedipus long before the first performance of this play, and the audience knew exactly what would happen before the gears of the plot begin turning. But the relentless, clockwork motion of the play kept theatergoers rapt then, as it does now, because watching fate unfold when it is known to you but not to the people who are its prisoners is a privilege borrowed from the gods.

Oedipus is portrayed bold, mighty, and just, as the Priest claims him "greatest in all men's eyes".(l 40) Yet he also has human foibles and it is soon clear he has a destiny that, in spite of his actions, cannot be avoided. One theme of Oedipus the King is based on his hubris, but there is also the importance of his search for knowledge, the truth of his own being. Before the action of this play begins, Oedipus has already attempted to outrun fate, marking himself early for destruction. By attempting to escape a prophecy that he would kill his father, and leaving the palace at Corinth where he was raised, he sets the machinery of doom in motion.

Traveling along the highways, he soon enough meets and murders a man he thinks is merely an overly aggressive stranger. Years later, he discovers that the dead man is his natural father, Laius, and that he has unwittingly performed the act he was trying to avoid. The play begins with Oedipus again attempting to reshape the arc of his life that was described by prophecy. The hints of his coming failure are numerous.

In the Priest’s first long speech, when he begs Oedipus to save the city, he appeals to the king’s long experience—as a statesman, as a wanderer, as a ruler and as a vagrant. Unknown to the Priest and to Oedipus—but known to the audience—is that this king’s experience also includes killing his father and marrying his mother. The very experience to which the Priest appeals is moving Oedipus step by step to destruction. This exchange between the Priest and Oedipus is an example of how Sophocles builds dramatic tension into his play by including multiple levels of meaning in a single statement.

The technique will be repeated throughout the play. It reappears just a few lines later, when Oedipus tells the Priest that he has asked for help from the Oracle at Delphi and will follow its advice or consider himself a traitor. With the borrowed omniscience of the gods, the audience knows that Oedipus is already a traitor for having killed Laius, and that he will be faced with pronouncing the judgment he has pronounced upon himself. It remains only to witness what happens.

In another exchange weighted with similarly complex levels of meaning, Creon tells Oedipus what he has learned from the Oracle. Creon begins with the murder of Laius as background, and Oedipus says that he knows of the previous king, but has never seen him. Creon continues, delivering the Oracle’s instructions, and Oedipus vows to find and punish the murderer of Laius.

While the Oracle’s wishes are being delivered by Creon and while Oedipus reacts to them, the audience knows, as before, what Oedipus does not—that he murdered Laius, that he is the dead king’s son and that the widowed queen Oedipus married is his mother. Once again, there is something transfixing, tragic and doomed about watching Oedipus, in his ignorance, attempting to follow the Oracle’s orders but all the time preparing for the revelation of his crime and his subsequent doom.

The first hint of the truth is revealed to Oedipus by the blind prophet, Tiresias, and the king answers the seemingly unbelievable charge with rage, insults and threats. Raised in Corinth by the royal house as if he were the natural son of his adoptive parents, Oedipus rejects what Tiresias says as errant nonsense, saying "Had you eyes I would have said alone you murdered him [Laius]."(ls. 348-9) The blind prophet, who taunts Oedipus as being the one who is unable to see the truth, claiming "you are the land's pollution."(l 353) He challenges the king to reconsider everything about himself and the challenge is met with rage - Oedipus is unable to see the truth or to hear well-intentioned advice.

Pride and faith in his own abilities moves Oedipus ever onward toward doom, failure to honor the gods results in the very destruction they foretell, and humanity is unable to escape what is predicted for it. His wife, Jocasta, is a flawed individual. Her arrogant dismissal of the gods and her proclamations of victory over fate foretell her undoing. As much as Oedipus, she is unable to see until it is too late that her life fulfilled the very prophecy she sought vainly and pridefully to undo. Oedipus begins to see, in brief glimpses, how blind he has been to the central facts of his own life.

Thinking that he is doing a good deed, a Messenger tells Oedipus that it’s fine for Oedipus to come back to Corinth any time—he’s in no danger of fulfilling the prophecy there, the Messenger says. By telling Oedipus that the queen who raised him is not his natural mother, the Messenger has unknowingly revealed enough of the truth to make Oedipus tragically curious and to push Jocasta toward despair. Motivated by a simple desire to ease worry, the Messenger has released the machinations of fate that will produce the full revelation of the truth and all its awful effects. When the Messenger speaks, he is as blindly ignorant of his fatal role in serving destiny as Oedipus and Jocasta are of theirs. He speaks, but he does not see.

In this section, the theme is hammered home time and again that people go through their lives thinking they are fulfilling one purpose when they are actually lurching toward the completion of several others. The gods know this and watch events unfold from above. The first audiences of this play knew the histories of its characters before the first lines were spoken, and the drama unfolded for viewers who watched with the borrowed omniscience of the gods. Modern readers are left to decide for themselves what they think about fate, prophecy and human attempts to outrun destiny.

The climax of the play is both pitiful and tragic. Yet, it also yields knowledge for Oedipus of who he really is, even as he goes forth as a blind man. The chorus intones the message that "Time who sees all has found you out / against your will;" (ls. 1213-14). As Aristotle put it in his Poetics, Sophocles has organized his story so as to emphasize the elements of ignorance, irony, and the unexpected recognition of the truth. The magnificence of this drama has allowed it to endure and challenge readers ever since. ( )
1 vote jwhenderson | Jul 25, 2019 |
I can't make any judgement as to the quality of the translation of this particular edition, but I found this a mostly clean, engaging read which pulls the reader along. There are times when the translation is a little clunky, the syntax confusing for the Anglophone reader, but it seemed to be mostly in service of an attempt at preserving some of the original metre and some sense of the millennia separating us from Sophocles. The stage directions, use of font changes and labelling to indicate when lines are sung or chanted, and brief textual notes, will no doubt make this a helpful edition for students. ( )
1 vote siriaeve | Jun 19, 2019 |
The encounters of man with more than man. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Ah, Oedipus and all of his family problems. I purchased this book my first year of teaching because it was part of the recommended curriculum for sophomore English. While I'm generally not a fan of plays (or having to teach them), this one offered up all sorts of hilarious discussion opportunities with the sophomores and they were hooked. Oedipus has a million problems and it was fun to read and discuss with my students. ( )
1 vote justagirlwithabook | Aug 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (423 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sophoclesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Banks, Theodore HowardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitts, DudleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grene, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grene, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hecht, JameyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lattimore, RichmondEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roche, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watling, E. F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyckoff, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
for Duncan Grant
my choice and master spirit of this age.
for Martin W. Tanner
"he setteth his mind to finish his work, and watcheth to polish it perfectly."
for Clarissa
First words
My children, scions of the ancient Cadmean line, what is the meaning of this thronging round my feet, this holding out of olive boughs all wreathed in woe?
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4)
0.5
1 5
1.5 3
2 51
2.5 16
3 207
3.5 50
4 399
4.5 33
5 363

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140444254, 0140440038

Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300117760, 0300119011

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 141,654,370 books! | Top bar: Always visible