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

by Sophocles (Author)

Series: Oedipus Cycle (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,08246471 (4)156
A new and welcome translation of Sophocles' great Oedipus cycle, by one of the distinguished translators of our era In this needed and highly anticipated new translation of the Theban plays of Sophocles, David R. Slavitt presents a fluid, accessible, and modern version for both longtime admirers of the plays and those encountering them for the first time. Unpretentious and direct, Slavitt's translation preserves the innate verve and energy of the dramas, engaging the reader--or audience member--directly with Sophocles' great texts. Slavitt chooses to present the plays not in narrative sequence but in the order in which they were composed--Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonus--thereby underscoring the fact that the story of Oedipus is one to which Sophocles returned over the course of his lifetime. This arrangement also lays bare the record of Sophocles' intellectual and artistic development. Renowned as a poet and translator, Slavitt has translated Ovid, Virgil, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Ausonius, Prudentius, Valerius Flaccus, and Bacchylides as well as works in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew. In this volume he avoids personal intrusion on the texts and relies upon the theatrical machinery of the plays themselves. The result is a major contribution to the art of translation and a version of the Oedipus plays that will appeal enormously to readers, theater directors, and actors.… (more)
Member:BHCABooks
Title:The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus
Authors:Sophocles (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (1984), Edition: 1st, 430 pages
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Antigone; Oedipus Rex; Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

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» See also 156 mentions

English (45)  Catalan (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Don't recognize the edition I read back in high school from the pages and pages of entries, so I don't know which translation I read. I just remember the power of these plays, challenging my youthful illusions that reason and good intentions would be enough to get me through life. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
This book contains the trilogies: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. I use Antigone when I teach Western Civ I; have not taught it since 2016. (Students aren't taking ancient history courses anymore! ) I knew the premises of both the Oedipus plays, but had not read them, that I can remember; although they were very familiar as I was reading. IMHO they are the best of the ancient plays; with Antigone being my all time favorite. It doesn't get any better than sons sleeping with their mothers, gouging eyes out with pins, and being walled up in a cave to starve and suffocate!;) 162 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Jun 26, 2021 |
Antigone

"Wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy,
and reverence towards the gods must be safeguarded.
The mighty words of the proud are paid in full
with mighty blows of fate, and at long last
those blows will teach us wisdom."

This final passage represents the theme for Antigone. These are the wise words that the Chorus speaks and are the ones that Creon should have listened to in the beginning. He was warned by his son. The blind prophet Tiresias told him to heed his words. Yet Creon did not. The price he pays for his insolence, disrespect, and lack of better judgement is a deep one; the loss of his son, wife, and niece, all by suicide. Creon's fall from grace is thunderous one.

Sophocles is a master of writing these downfalls from glory. He knew how to write a tale that would affect the crowd (and the reader) and have them reflect on their own lives. The reaction from the Athenian audience must've been one of shock and awe.

I enjoyed Oedipus the King more than this play. The destruction of the main characters are nearly the same, but how the events unfold for Oedipus is rivaled like no other. Antigone is definitely worth the read though!

---------------------------------------------------------------
Oedipus the King

This play was my introduction into Tragedy and Drama and what an inauguration it was! The horrible circumstances that fall upon Oedipus are truly horrific and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

The Gods are a cruel bunch, but I already knew this after reading The Iliad. Oedipus learned the hard way that trying to change the course of his terrible destiny was fruitless and in vain. He just couldn't see (no pun intended...hehe) that he was the reason the vile plague on Thebes continued. There is so much foreboding and cosmic irony stuffed into the story that its impossible to not laugh as you see the coincidences in the dialogue.

Truly a great, entertaining, sad, tragic, and amazing play. It would've been amazing to watch this performed in ancient Athens.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oedipus at Colonus

The final chapter of the Theban Plays opens with old, weathered Oedipus arriving just outside of glorious Athens. Alongside him is his faithful daughter Antigone, who has been his guiding eyes ever since he took his own years ago. They end their trip directly in front of a sacred forest, where the Furies are worshipped. This is the site of Oepidus' final resting place, according to the prophecy that was told to him. He has been searching for this very spot for many years.

Multiple characters come on the scene and this is where the audience witnesses the fierceness and cutting anger that stirs inside Oedipus' heart. He has a good amount of indignation pent up after so many years, and his words come in the form of daggers which strike and stab his own son Polynices and his brother-in-law/uncle Creon. He doesn't hold back.

I found this play exciting and enthralling. The monologues were great and full of energy. The ending itself was great, with one of the most powerful gods letting his presence known. I enjoyed Oedipus the King greatly, and Oedipus at Colonus is a close second. Antigone was okay, but I have to reread it and see how I feel afterwards.

Overall, a fantastic literary journey. ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
So... not over-rated. Fagles' translation is solid, much clearer than his Aeschylus, though I actually prefer the opacity he brought to that text. Of course, that might have been in Aeschylus. I will never learn Greek well enough to tell.

Antigone was the earliest of these plays, though the last within the narrative. I can't help but read it with my Hegel glasses on: the clash between Creon and Antigone is an example of a failed conceptual grasp of the world, in which the claims on us of family/tradition/ancient gods cannot be accommodated by our living in larger, civic communities. Divine law and human law sometimes do not go together, but only a tyrant would insist on hewing to the latter alone. Removing the Hegel glasses, I can see that Creon, to his credit, does change his mind. But this being Greece, by then it's all too late. The 'lesson', if you like, is simply that one has to exercise excellent judgment in these matters.

This question of judgment works through the Oedipus plays, as well; each tyrant (Oedipus in OK, Creon in OC) fails to use good judgment; the good king Theseus does exercise it, and thus Athens rules etc etc... I know we're 'meant' to think that these plays are really about always bowing down to the gods and accepting fate, but that just doesn't square with what actually happens: Athens succeeds because of Theseus's wisdom just as much as his piety; Thebes will eventually fall because of its kings' folly just as much as their impiety. In OK, Oedipus has the chorus's support in his argument with Tiresias, because Oedipus's defeat of the Sphinx acts as proof of his regality; but when he accuses Creon without evidence, they give up on him... because by acting without evidence, he shows poor judgment. And so on.

The best play for reading is easily Oedipus the King, which is horrifying and glorious in equal measure. Also, if anyone out there knows of a good book on Tiresias, let me know.

As for Knox's introductory essays, they're not particularly thrilling. There's too much plot-summary (good news for freshmen, I guess), and his insights are so skewed ("these plays aren't depressing! They're about how we do have some control over our lives!") that it's hard to take him seriously. but they're still worth reading. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (82 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
Viehhoff, HeinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watling, E. F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyckoff, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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my choice and master spirit of this age.
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"he setteth his mind to finish his work, and watcheth to polish it perfectly."
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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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A new and welcome translation of Sophocles' great Oedipus cycle, by one of the distinguished translators of our era In this needed and highly anticipated new translation of the Theban plays of Sophocles, David R. Slavitt presents a fluid, accessible, and modern version for both longtime admirers of the plays and those encountering them for the first time. Unpretentious and direct, Slavitt's translation preserves the innate verve and energy of the dramas, engaging the reader--or audience member--directly with Sophocles' great texts. Slavitt chooses to present the plays not in narrative sequence but in the order in which they were composed--Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannos, Oedipus at Colonus--thereby underscoring the fact that the story of Oedipus is one to which Sophocles returned over the course of his lifetime. This arrangement also lays bare the record of Sophocles' intellectual and artistic development. Renowned as a poet and translator, Slavitt has translated Ovid, Virgil, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Ausonius, Prudentius, Valerius Flaccus, and Bacchylides as well as works in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew. In this volume he avoids personal intrusion on the texts and relies upon the theatrical machinery of the plays themselves. The result is a major contribution to the art of translation and a version of the Oedipus plays that will appeal enormously to readers, theater directors, and actors.

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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

 

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