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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At the same time, it is in some ways the most interesting. This is particularly true of Antigone, who fagels her actions many times over, but never the same way, and by the end seems almost to embrace their nihilistic motivelessness. They are great works to quote, but less good to read. I decline to judge. Maybe it is simply because both children lie, and both attempt to use their father at the end. In practice, all the long speeches and easily-roused tempers feel very distant and literary.

OK, a modern reader might say, get over it. Nor is it really a tragedy. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 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 hard to know what to make of it.

Oedipus, however, is quite a different man from Jesus, and his powers will be used differently: The translation of a poetry form alien to me into modern verse for a play, read on the page? The entire plot is mysterious to us — the mystical power that will be gained by the corpse of Oedipus once it is buried, and the importance of burying it in one place or another. In the earlier antiglne plays, this was frustrating; here, it rises to be the central characteristic of our impression of the play.

Sophocles’ Antigone

To find out more, including fag,es to control cookies, see here: If that conclusion has a flaw, it is that the crimes related no longer seem so horrific as they did to Sophocles, and thus the punishment seems less merited. It antifone these two factors — the irresoluble conflict between two different ideological perspectives, each of which both frightens and attracts us, and underneath that the fundamental insincerity of the advocates both both positions — that make Antigone a strikingly modern play, or at least a strikingly modern idea for a play.

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The two central characters — Creon and Antigone — both present compelling cases, yet both are also wholly inconsistent. It is very hard to know how to approach the Theban plays.

The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles | : Books

How do we value it? He is a pragmatist, and he cares about measurable things. The fates are implacable and merciless. Sophocles can hint at something, with a gesture that bears the full weight of his civilisation… and two and a half thousand years later, the hint remains, but the weight is gone, like a single poem surviving to a point where all the rules of poetry it followed have become unknown.

And so much also is lost without the context of transpated society — the meanings of things, the importance of things.

Hers is a familiar madness — the madness of religious fundamentalism. But is that enough to translateed one of the central curses of Greek mythology?

Again, the plot is an unusual one — the main character gradually discovers that he has murdered his father and had children with his mother. It is only because Oedipus sends to, and then listens to, the oracle at Delphi, that he embarks on his investigation, the investigation that will end with his own exile and blinding.

The Theban Plays, by Sophocles, tr. Robert Fagles

Laius and Oedipus vainly sought to escape their dooms, and so brought them on themselves, but Polynices walks toward his knowing that his death is unavoidable. Are we meant to understand why Oedipus curses his sons? If Oedipus the King is the most understandable, Oedipus at Translaated is the least.

Striking and memorable, both for the good lines and for the themes and characters — antigoje too distant to really endear themselves. 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. There are many genuinely striking phrases that deserve to be remembered, but too much of it is fluff, and the translation of the aeolic verse is neither natural nor powerful in English. 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.


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

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 argument that they should have followed him into exile is rather stronger, but still seems incongruous — this Oedipus, this Oedipus who spends the play forcefully asserting his translaated, the injustice of his punishment for actions that were not his fault, that were decided before his birth, seems a strange match to an Oedipus who curses his sons to death for not allowing that punishment to extend another generation.

It is a striking reminder of the breadth of sanity, that the same writer who could express the humanitarianism of Antigone, the cold rationalism of Creon and the sensible, heroic, intellectual Oedipus could still treat in such matters as the magic powers of the corpses of heroes as though it were an everyday concept, beyond discussion.

Oedipus — and Athens — seem to revel in the self-caused nature of their downfall.