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The Theban plays by Sophocles
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The Theban plays (edition 1974)

by Sophocles

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8,232None377 (4)94
Member:timspalding
Title:The Theban plays
Authors:Sophocles
Info:London: Penguin, c1974. 168 p. ; 20 cm.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:greek tragedy, translations

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The Three Theban Plays: Antigone ; Oedipus at Colonus ; Oedipus the King by Sophocles

ancient (110) Ancient Greece (182) Ancient Greek (57) ancient literature (49) Antigone (46) classic (216) classical (77) classical literature (101) classics (550) drama (1,076) fiction (355) Greece (204) Greek (446) Greek drama (101) Greek literature (208) greek tragedy (98) literature (288) mythology (163) Oedipus (59) own (41) Penguin Classics (52) play (232) plays (521) poetry (48) read (106) Sophocles (162) theatre (255) tragedy (277) translation (92) unread (53)
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When it comes to tragic irony, few ancient or modern playwrights come close to Sophocles and these are the three works that showcase his dark genius at its best. This particular edition is translated by the ever-dependable Robert Fagles, and contains the following plays, in the order they were first produced:

1 - ANTIGONE: Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and heir to her family's persistent dark cloud of misfortune. She wants to bury her equally-unlucky brother but her loyalty to her doomed brethren may cost her. (Of course it will! It's Sophocles!)

2 - OEDIPUS THE KING: Oedipus is the best king for miles around and everyone knows it, including him.* Unfortunately an ominous stain is creeping into his idyllic kingdom; a plague is raging and it seems the gods are upset about something or other. The only person who seems to know what's up is a blind prophet and he's got some bad news for poor Oeddy.

3 - OEDIPUS AT COLONUS: The action in this place takes place between the events of Oedipus the King and Antigone. This the most philosophical of the trilogy, dealing with ideas of fate, guilt, and redemption. (I thought it was a bit boring.)

* Uh oh! Hubris! ( )
  saturnloft | Sep 28, 2013 |
Sophocles' is one of only three Ancient Greek tragedians with surviving plays. The plays by the earliest, Aeschylus, remind me of a ancient frieze--not stilted exactly, but still stylized, very formal. The plays by the last of the three, Euripides, to me seems the most natural, the most modern. Sophocles is more in the middle in more ways than chronologically. He is credited with adding a third actor onstage to allow for more conflict and less emphasis on the chorus. His Theban Plays are about Oedipus and his daughter Antigone, of the royal family of the ancient Greek city of Thebes, and the plays are often grouped together, but actually were each part of tetralogies that have been lost and written years apart. Only seven of over a hundred plays by Sophocles still remain in existence. Oedipus the King and Antigone are his most famous and influential, and I was introduced to both plays in high school, and amazingly, that didn't put me off for life.

Oedipus the King is a mystery story--with Oedipus the detective unraveling a secret that becomes his own doom. You may have heard of the "Oedipus Complex" associated with theories by Freud. Yes, that's this Oedipus, and that speaks to how primal, how deep goes some of the themes in this play. In the book 100 Top Plays, Oedipus the King comes in second only to Shakespeare's King Lear as most important play. Antigone comes in at number fifteen, after Aeschylus' Oresteia and two plays by Euripides. Antigone is the rare play with a female title protagonist--and its basic theme of the individual against the state resonated with me strongly, even as a teenager first reading it. Oedipus at Colonus, I found less memorable and impressive. In terms of the timeline, its events fall between those of Oedipus the King and Antigone, though this was actually one of Sophocles' last plays. That said, it falls nicely in between the two, filling some gaps, and it does have its beauties. But comparing this to the other two is like comparing Shakespeare's King Lear and Hamlet to, oh, his Cymbeline. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | May 20, 2013 |
Probably my favourite plays I ever had to read for Classical Studies. Oedipus, particularly. They certainly are tragedies, but they're wonderfully structured ones that, to me at least, certainly pack a punch. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
“Olha, espectador, remonta a fundo, de sorte que a mola se desenrola com lentidão ao longo de uma vida humana, uma das mais perfeitas máquinas construídas pelos deuses infernais para o aniquilamento matemático de um homem” Jean Cocteau, em sua peça A Máquina Infernal, descrevendo o instante em que Édipo vence a esfinge, descreve perfeitamente o espírito de toda a Trilogia Tebana. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
Rated: C+
The New Lifetime Reading Plan: Number 6

Roving ambition helps many a man to good,
And many it falsely lures to light desires,
Till failure trips them unawares, and they fall
On the fire that consumes them. Well was it said,
Evil seems good
To him who is doomed to suffer;
And short is the time before that suffering comes. (Antigone) ( )
  jmcdbooks | Jan 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (124 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sophoclesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grene, DavidEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lattimore, RichmondEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Banks, Theodore HowardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grene, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyckoff, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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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?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140444254, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:50 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Towering over the rest of Greek tragedy, these three plays are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written. Robert Fagles' translation conveys all of Sophocles' lucidity and power.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140444254, 0140440038

Yale University Press

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

Editions: 0300117760, 0300119011

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