The Three Theban Plays – Sophocles Translated by Robert Fagles with Notes on the Translation: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus. Robert Fagles’ translation conveys all of Sophocles’ lucidity and power: the cut The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedip and millions of. In Meyer’s Bedford Introduction to Literature 8th editon, the Fagles translation, there are no marked or numbered scene breaks. See end of file for citing the play .

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Are we meant to understand why Oedipus curses his sons? Good, but I caveat all this assessment with large asterisks — both the antiquity antogone works and the fact they are plays and not prose put them beyond the remit of these reviews, and this review should be read less as a review and more as an attempt to imagine what roobert review would be like if reviewing them were possible. Nothing is allowed to get in the way of the action, which procedes mercilessly and breathlessly toward its foreknown conclusion.

They are not a trilogy — they were written across a span of decades, with little attempt at continuity, and the earliest written is set the latest in the story. His hubris has no influence on things, antiyone acts only to ironically highlight the tragedy that we know is coming.

Sophocles’ Antigone

And of course, Greek literature above all is dependent on its context — unlike most modern fiction, these tragedies were intended to be experienced by people who knew the plot and the characters and the details all in advance.

I found it the hardest to read by far. There are incredibly powerful emotions here, but they are very distant — made so by the language, the structure, the unreadable symbols of yb dead culture, and simply by the fact that this is a play, and designed to be spoken and sung and not read, and at a different pace.

It is hard to know what to make of it. It is a moment but frustrating and impressive — as echoed by Antigone on whom it evidently left a lasting impression, as Polynices will be the cause of her own death also, as she almost imitates his suicidal determination. You are commenting using your Facebook account. The other way Antigone still speaks to us is, of course, ideology. It is only because Laius believes that if he has a son the son will kill him that he has Oedipus abandoned at birth — otherwise, there would have been no strife between them.

It is an interesting type of misogyny where failure to follow gender roles brings untold tragedy, but the blame is placed not on the women but on the men who failed to protect them. Like Antigone in the earlier play, Oedipus offers several explanations and none content me — perhaps, indeed, that is the point. Email Address never made public. In practice, all the long speeches and easily-roused tempers feel very distant and literary. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Her system of values cannot be comprehended by Creon — she is adament in following the law of the gods regardless of the consequences, and wholly callously.


You are commenting using your WordPress. At the same time, it is in some ways the most interesting. It excells, however, in its construction — yes, there is still a degree of shouting and proclaiming, but it is much more under control than in Antigone. In her implacable universalism, her religious fanaticism, she is the most selfish character in the play. Slowed down by over-long speeches, but the choral structure ensures that there is never any break, and just enough pause to raise the heartbeat of impatience.

It is striking to note the sheer fatalism of Polynices in this play — as so many characters, he is confronted with a prophesy of his own demise, but he carries on regardless, not because he does not believe it, but because he sees no alternative.

The Three Theban Plays

Post was not sent – check your email addresses! But this is not that sort of tragedy — nobody punishes Oedipus. If you see what I mean, sort of.

In the earlier two plays, this was frustrating; here, it rises to be the central characteristic of our impression of the play. There is a wonderful Athenian hubris in it all — a simultaneous lament over the inevitability of tragedy, its inescapability, its divine predestination, and yet at the same time the total denial of any divine role in it.

Oedipus, like Jesus, is the scapegoat who takes all the sins of man with him into the afterlife — his life is tragic, but he is compensated by the powers of a demigod after death. In the earlier two plays, people doubt the gods — nobody does in the third.

The Theban Plays, by Sophocles, tr. Robert Fagles

Even the prose is unjudgeable, and that leaves alone all the traditions and tropes of the form and the content that are unrecoverable to me. It is very hard to know how to approach the Theban plays.

Translxted find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Sophocles brings the ancient myths into his own age with a terrible acuity. It is only because Laius is journeying in a small party to gain wisdom from an oracle that he meets, attacks, and is killed by Oedipus.


They are in a dead language, which I do not know. The argument that they should not have exiled him from Thebes seems weak — he commanded them to do so, and in any case the gods had demanded his exile as the price of the end of the plague.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Two last things to say. His voice is understandable — too quick in temper, yes, and too falges, but still a reasonable man with understandable, and even admirable, objectives — even if, like Antigone, his actual motivations do not live up to his pronouncements.

This mystical, transcendental play becomes more mystical by its unfathomableness, gains greater power by the extent of darkness that supports it and is hidden by it. It has a frightening absurdity to it. Second, the notes, by Bernard Knox — these are good, and very useful in providing some context antigne depth though they sometimes get carried away.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. It is these two factors — the irresoluble conflict between two antigoone ideological perspectives, each of which both frightens and attracts us, and underneath that the fundamental rogert of the advocates both both positions — that make Antigone a strikingly modern play, or at least a strikingly modern idea for a play.

As Oedipus dies in the play, so too does the Athens of the audience — as it was being written when Sophocles, like Oedipus, could see his own death approachingthe city was engaged in the final existential struggle against Sparta in which the Athenians, with Oedipal hubris, refused to accept the surrender of Sparta even at the verge of their own destructionand by the time the audience could see the fales performed, Athens had surrendered, its walls, fleet, port and empire destroyed, and was entirely dependant on the continued mercy of the Spartans.

It is only because Oedipus sends to, and then listens to, the oracle at Delphi, that he embarks on his trwnslated, the investigation that will end with his own exile and blinding.

People come, and faglws go, around the immobile Oedipus, and there seems little sense to it all, but the mystery adds to the awe; and at the heart of it, a man approaches his death.