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Electra and Other Plays

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,089 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
"These authoritative translations consign all other complete collections to the wastebasket."—Robert Brustein, The New Republic

"This is it. No qualifications. Go out and buy it everybody."—Kenneth Rexroth, The Nation

"The translations deliberately avoid the highly wrought and affectedly poetic; their idiom is contemporary....They have life and speed and suppleness of phrase
Paperback, The Penguin Classics, 212 pages
Published 1953 by Penguin (first published -450)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Laura Leaney
Dec 26, 2015 Laura Leaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something about Greek literature, Sophocles and Homer most especially, that buries itself in the mind so that it remains unforgettable. The moaning, groaning, wailing, and suffering becomes “your own heart’s speech.” It’s more than a little eerie to identify so well with ancient mythological figures, but their grief and agony articulate the distant voices of the collective unconscious.

Perhaps I’m easy to please, but I found all the plays in this edition extraordinarily compelling. My f
Elnaz yousefi
Oct 19, 2015 Elnaz yousefi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater
همينطوري كه من يونان و اسطوره دوست دارم،ديگه سوفوكل هم جاي خود دارد.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Four Tragedies: Ajax, Women of Trachis, Electra, Philoctetes, Sophocles
عنوان: الکترا ، فیلوکتتس، زنان تراخیس و آژاکس، نویسنده: سوفوکل؛ مترجم: محمد سعیدی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، 1335؛ در 318 ص
Wael Mahmoud
Oct 21, 2013 Wael Mahmoud rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, translated
It's very sad that from 123 plays written by the great master of Greek Tragedies Sophocles only 7 complete plays survived.

In this collection we know how Sophocles can make a great drama from a small tiny event as in Ajax, We know he is the real master of The Greek tragedies compared to Aeschylus and Euripides reading his version of Electra, We know his charm in presenting characters even if they are silent, with only two sentences "Iole in Women of Trachis ", Finally we see in a Greek play a wel
Jan 23, 2012 S'hi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: This is a joint review with Jean-Paul Sartre's The Flies (which is in his Two Plays, with In Camera being the second)

Although there are four plays in this book I didn’t get much out of the first one as I began it, so jumped across and just decided to read Electra.

I found this very interesting for the use of deception to give oneself an advantage about the situation one is entering before admitting one’s alliance with another. But this is an example given by the gods in some plays, just as
Oct 08, 2011 Keeley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn about ancient Greek literature
For most people, the name Sophocles is synonymous with Oedipus. Yet, both as a reader of literature and a classical educator, I prefer the non-Oedipus plays of Sophocles, the Ajax in particular. These translations of the plays dealing with Ajax, Hercules, Electra and Philoctetes, edited by Richmond Lattimore and David Grene, are accessible, intelligible, and faithful to the original. I have used this translation many times with students and highly recommend it to someone who wants to read Sophoc ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Oneflwover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You cannot count on tomorrow until you've survived today.

You can't engage in a boxing match with Love
Who'd be such a fool? Love governs even the gods
At his own sweet will. He certainly governs me.
-Sophocles from Women of Trachis
Apr 06, 2013 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, classics
Great translation of the text. Very readable. Introductions to each play were helpful. Would have preferred footnotes or endnotes to expand, but great translations.
Sep 13, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Sophocles is a master of plot development and timing, an expert at building and releasing tension – even if the audience knows what is going to happen. That is immensely difficult to do. He is excellent at twisting the expectations of the audience and the characters.

Compared to Aeschylus, Sophocles seems less ornate and more direct. (Although, of course, I’m reading a translation.) He uses few allusions, less imagery and plainer language. Sophocles cannot be accused, as Aeschylus is, of violenc
The plays are excellent, based on myths containing sensationalist material such as matricide, fratricide, revenge killings, suicide, adultery and deception. Sophocles definitely deserves his legendary status. The ability of these ancient dramatists to portray these stories with the limited resources and technology available at the time is ingenious.

This edition contains good prefaces to the plays which includes an explanation of how the plays might have been staged. However, there is a good gen
Steve Hemmeke
Oct 03, 2012 Steve Hemmeke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heady stuff. Greeks put in hard places by the events of the Trojan war. They are on the periphery, and the main guys like Odysseus play cameo roles in these plays. They are like spinoffs of Homer's great works, the Iliad and Odyssey, hundreds of years later, in the 400s before Christ.

Fate and loss of honor are big themes. What do we do when fate turns against us so that we lose our reputation, stumble and fall? For Ajax, it led to cynicism. "Most men have found friendship a treacherous harbor."
Apr 16, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myth
Sophocles wrote emotionally moving plays that depict powerful collisions between two conflicting views on honor and morality. With the exception of Electra, each play ends with the two warring sides transcending their polarized viewpoints and reaching a resolution together. This resolution is triggered by the counsel of an outside influence, be it another character who shows up fashionably late or a ghost come back from the dead.

This exploration of conflict has a few recurring themes. Sometimes
Nov 08, 2010 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Ajax, one of the warriors at Troy, who got angry he was not awarded the armor of the dead Achilles. Instead the armor was awarded to Odysseus his rival. Athena, forever on the side of Odysseus, saves Odysseus from the attack Ajax planned on the leaders of the Greek army. She made Ajax mad and he shames himself by slaughtering a herd of cattle and sheep whom he believes to be his enemies. After his delusions passed, he contemplates suicide.

Ajax: “Long life? Who but a coward would
Jan 15, 2009 Cate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was some pretty light reading. The stakes are always very high in Greek drama. They are fun to read, but after awhile all the wailing and gnashing of teeth can get a bit loud in my head. My husband accurately drew the conclusion that Greek drama is sort of like Japanese animation - always screaming, always the most intense of situations. While this is all true, this is the birth of theater and entertainment as we experience it today. It is also interesting that the gods are always causing s ...more
Marjan Ak
به همون اندازه که درک اساطیر یونان و روابط خدایان و انسان هاشون برام سخت و پیچیده است هنر و ادبیات یونان رو دیرتر درک میکنم... و انتظار میرفت تو آثار سوفوکل این پیچیدگی ها کمتر باشه!!
May 06, 2013 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub, non-fiction
I only read Ajax & coordinating intro. This was for a special bookclub called "Ancient Greeks & Modern Life". Ajax is a combat vet returning home & things don't go well. The connection to modern life is currently returning vets have the same troubles adapting to civilian life, perhaps more so since most their peers out of the combat zone have no idea, nor want to know what they've done to make it home. At least in ancient Greece, all (male) citizens served from 18 yrs to 60 yrs old, ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"La vita più dolce sta nel non avere alcun pensiero."

Aiace: Bellissimo esempio di onore eroico.
Aiace non può sopportare la vergogna per aver ucciso la mandria credendo che fosse gli Atridi e gli altri guerrieri e per non aver ottenuto le armi di Achille.
Decide perciò di levarsi la vita per morire con onore e non subire la derisione dei compagni d'armi.
Odisseo è descritto in modo negativo nel corso di tutta la vicenda, ma si dimostra valoroso quando afferma che Aiace merita di essere sepolto con
When Aristotle talked about somebody who could write a good tragedy, he was talking about Sophocles. These plays (The 4 extant plays outside of the Theban Plays)are a testament to this fact. While the "Women of Trachis" is perhaps weak, the other three plays are all knockouts. Sophocles' treatment of the Electra myth is worth getting this copy of translations alone. Quite good, and highly recommended to people interested in Greek Tragedy.
Jun 18, 2010 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sophocle's Electra is, I think, the worst version, but it has the virtue of examining the complacency of Electra's sister with Electra's revolutionary vigour. Sophocles is a very psychologically penetrating dramatist, and, I think, nowhere more so than in Philoctetes and Ajax. Jealousy is Sophocles' main theme, usually, and so I must recommend this especially to the cynical; truly great drama, all the same.
Czarny Pies
Aug 17, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Electra is a must read.
Shelves: greek-and-roman
The question with a writer of Sophocles' stature is not whether to sample his work but where to stop. I am a great fan of Shakespeare but have read less than half of his plays. I know very few people who have read Paradise Regained. I strongly concur with the commonly held belief that that Sophocle's Theban Plays (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone) ought to be read by all those who love literature.

The four other plays of Sophocles that have survived are contained in this volume. I str
Johnnelle Walker
Although I love Robert Fagles translations of the three Theban plays, I think penguin classics has found another great translator in David Raeburn. Philoctetes was excellent. And no matter who translates it, Sophocles' Electra cannot compete with Aeschylus' Orestia (probably not fair to compare a complete trilogy to a single tragedy, but it's what we've got.). Definitely recommend:)
Michael Fogleman
Read Philoctetes for Freshman Seminar 2010.
Read Ajax in 2011 before a performance of it at American Repertory Theater in Boston. Re-read Philoctetes for pre-lecture Seminar/lecture on 4/08/11.
Re-read Philoctetes and Ajax in 2011. Wrote this essay on Philoctetes:
I only had to read Electra for my Mythology class but I wish I had more time to read the other stories. This version was vastly more entertaining that the Orestia which I had previously and it was only a retake on the second play from the Trilogy. This one was much more to the point and fixed a lot of the loop holes present in the other stories.
Dec 17, 2015 Nina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hs-college
Sophocles, I appreciate your ability to write dialogue that sounds like something an actual human being might say, without using ridiculous metaphors about animals and sickness and the need to be poetic about every statement you make. (I'm looking at you, Aeschylus.)
Nov 07, 2013 Libby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I like Sophocles version of the character Electra. She was my main unanswered question after reading the Oresteia. Read Philoctetes and I wish the other versions of this play by other authors survived. I like that it ties into other legends and stories.
Mark Woodland
Jul 28, 2011 Mark Woodland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? All of the well-known Greek playwrights are important reading, both for their historical significance as well as the fact that they're excellent plays. They haven't remained famous for 2,400 years because they're not worthy of it.
Sep 08, 2008 Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: course-assigned
Poor Clytemnestra! Poor Heracles! Poor Ajax! Fate, it seems, is filled with justice, and it paid all them their due. But most of all, poor Philoctetes! It is a pathetic mind that would rather see a wound glorified than healed.
Aug 12, 2007 L S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I confess, I don't know about plays like the Colonus but there's always time to warm up to it. Antigone, though, and Oedipus make claims that Euripides is the most modern of the playwrights sound exaggerated.
Nov 23, 2009 Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading it with an eye toward how it is similar and dissimilar to Hofmannsthal. I had always read that Hofmannsthal stayed close to the Sophocles. Doesn't seem like it to me.

On to Euripides.
The value in this book is war. According to the Greeks of the time, war is good and you have to create it in order to win it and therefore win glory.
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  • Euripides IV: Rhesus/The Suppliant Women/Orestes/Iphigenia in Aulis
  • Aeschylus II: The Suppliant Maidens, The Persians, Seven against Thebes, and Prometheus Bound (The Complete Greek Tragedies)
  • The Comedies
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia
  • The Complete Plays
  • The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
  • The Fall of Troy
  • Greek Tragedies, Vol. 1: Aeschylus: Agamemnon, Prometheus Bound; Sophocles: Oedipus the King, Antigone; Euripides: Hippolytus
  • Greek Lyric Poetry
  • Homeric Hymns
  • The Odes of Pindar
Sophocles (Greek: Σοφοκλής; German editions: Sophokles, Russian: Софокл) was an ancient Greek tragedy playwright. Not many things are known about his life other than that he was wealthy, well educated and wrote about one hundred and twenty three plays (of which few are extant). One of his best known plays is 'Oedipus the King' (Oedipus Rex).
More about Sophocles...

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“When he endures nothing but endless miseries-- What pleasure is there in living the day after day,
Edging slowly back and forth toward death?
Anyone who warms their heart with the glow
Of flickering hope is worth nothing at all.
The noble man should either live with honor or die with honor. That's all there is to be said.”
“ODYSSEUS             I cannot recommend a rigid spirit.” 0 likes
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