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The Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex/Oedipus at Colonus/Antigone (The Theban Plays #1–3)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  50,274 Ratings  ·  1,103 Reviews
(1939 translation)
Paperback, 259 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Mariner Books (first published -400)
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Bookdragon Sean
The Three Theban Pays are the absolute pillar stone of ancient Greek drama, and in my opinion they contain two of the best plays ever written: Oedipus the King and Antigone.

Oedipus the King- because sometimes life's a real bitch.

Fate is unavoidable in ancient Greek Tragedy. Trying to avoid it will only lead to it, and doing nothing will lead you there too. So if a God tells you that you will die at the hands of your son, and that he will then go on to steal your wife, you’d best do nothin
Nov 17, 2016 فرشاد rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اگر راست باشد که حقیقت زهرآگین است، آنتیگونه را باید یک شوکران تلخ نامید. تراژدی تقابلها، همه چیز در برابر همه چیز، کششی به سوی مرگ... ...more
'Take these things to heart, my son, I warn you.
All men make mistakes, it is only human.
But once the wrong is done, a man
can turn his back on folly, misfortune too,
if he tries to make amends, however low he’s fallen,
and stops his bullnecked ways. Stubbornness
brands you for stupidity – pride is a crime.
No, yield to the dead!
Never stab the fighter when he’s down.
Where’s the glory, killing the dead twice over?”

(Tiresias, the blind prophet, to Creon, king of Thebes, uncle of Antigone in ‘Antigone
Sep 30, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, theatre
This Robert Fagles translation is beautiful--far superior to other versions I've read (Fitts/Fitzgerald or David Greene's, for instance). The language is vibrant and compelling, an important asset for reading drama on the page. If you've not read Sophocles since a forced-and-indifferent slog during high school, I'd encourage you to rediscover it in a better light with this translation. Highly recommended.

This was my first time reading all three "Oedipus plays" in succession, and I appreciated th
Nov 19, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, greeks-et-al
Of happiness the crown and chiefest part
Is wisdom, to hold the gods in awe.
This is the law
That, seeing the stricken heart
Of pride brought down,
We learn when we are old.

I felt an urge to return to the stories that set my mind on fire, way down the tunnels of time, and I chose blindly, or so I thought. Enjoying them even more today than I did the first two dozen times I read them, I nonetheless wondered why these plays ... and why now? In the middle of reading half a dozen other books, I still f
Aug 27, 2014 Pink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. I know we need to read these in modern translations, but how amazing is it that we still have works from ancient Greece? These stories are not at all boring, or dated, or difficult to read. Pick the translation that suits you, whether poetry or prose or somewhere in-between and dive into some incredible drama.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Oedipus tyrannus coloneus and Antigone, Sophocles
عنوان: سه نمایشنامه : اودیپوس شاه، اودیپوس در کولونوس، آنتیگون؛ مترجم: محمد سعیدی؛ زیرنظر: احسان یارشاطر؛ تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، نخستین بار سال 1334، در 196 ص؛
عنوان: افسانه های تبای؛ اثر: سوفوکلس؛ ترجمه: شاهرخ مسکوب؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، خوارزمی، 1352، در 376 ص، شابک: 9644870328؛ چاپ دوم 1356، چاپ چهارم 1385، موضوع: ادیپ، نمایشنامه، اساطیر یونان، قرن پنج پیش از میلاد
افسانه های تبای، اثر ماندگار ادیب مشهور یونانی سوفوکلس هستند. در یادداشتی
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
*Note: I only read Oedipus Rex and Antigone, not Oedipus at Colonus.

There is literally nothing I could tell you about these plays that you don't already know from the thousands of books and movies that have referenced or been influenced by Oedipus ever since it was first performed. Four stars for overall story and dramatic themes, two stars because I didn't find it a very engaging or enjoyable read, averaged out to a nice three. Five stars for literary importance, though.

The self-fulfilling prop
Mana H
Apr 10, 2015 Mana H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب را در تنهایی بدی خواندم وقتی هیچ نور امیدی نبود. در تلخی و ملال تنهایی این تراژدیها زیباترند. ارسطو میگوید شفقت و ترس از ملزومات تراژدیست. من ترسم ریخته بود ان روزها و شده بودم شفقت و شفقت ...more
علی‌رضا میم
کتاب خیلی عالی و فوق العاده بود.
از کتابهایی که سخت میشد زمین گذاشت. متن بسیار روان بود.مضامین و مفاهیمش هم علی رغم اینکه متن حدود دوهزار سال قبل نویسانده شده، بسیار ناب و دست اولند.

از سه بخش تشکیل شده کتاب.
بخش اول مواجهه ادیپوس به سرنوشت و تقدیری که از آن فراری بود.
بخش دوم مرگ ادیپوس و بخش سوم کشته شدن آنتیگنه.

خمیر مایه اصلی داستان فرار از تقدیر انسانیهو ادیپوس پیشگویی معبد دلفی در مورد سرنوشت شوم خودش رو میدونه. و هرچه که سعی میکنه که ازش فرار کنه، ناگهان در لحظهای که نفس راحتی میکشه، با کنجکاو
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Alternate title: in which everyone stabs or hangs themselves.

Seriously, this book features a hell of a lot of suicide. And I get it - finding out that you've been banging your son for the past 15-20 years can't be a pleasant experience. But this just ended up feeling repetitive to me.

The biggest problem with this one for me, I suspect, is that all the action in the story takes place off stage. And I totally understand why that's the case, but it means that all the reader/viewer gets is recaps
Justin Evans
May 03, 2014 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-and-drama
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/
I thoroughly enjoyed this translation of Sophocles Theban plays. Robert Fagles placed the plays in the order written, rather than in their dramatic chronology. At first I thought this was strange, but I followed his lead and read 'Antigone' first. Now, after reading Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, I have a much greater feeling for Antigone's suffering and a much better understanding of Creon's perspective as well. Now I'm ready to re-read Antigone better armed with the facts of their re ...more
Alireza Sahafzadeh
خیلی خوب بود انگار نه انگار از دل تاریخ بیرون آمده است و به قبل از میلاد مسیح برمیگردد هر سه نمایشنامه بر تقدیر و خرد آدمی تاکید داشتند و بحث اصلیشان بر همین دو عنصر میگشت دیالوگ ها و جملات عالی بطور سرشاری در این سه نمایشنامه یافت میشد
Daniel Chaikin
Jul 03, 2016 Daniel Chaikin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
42. Sophocles I : Oedipus The King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone (The Complete Greek Tragedies)
published: 1954 (my copy is a 33rd printing from 1989)
format: 206 page Paperback
acquired: May 30 from a Half-Price Books
read: July 3-4
rating: 4

Each play had a different translator

- Oedipus the King (circa 429 bce) - translated by David Grene c1942
- Oedipus at Colonus (written by 406 bce, performed 401 bce) - translated by Robert Fitzgerald c1941
- Antigone (by 441 bce) - translated by Elizabeth W
Feb 13, 2013 Dayla rated it really liked it
So, what did we learn? Circle one

1. Embrace any prophecy, as fighting against it will only make it come true
2. Always give way to anyone playing chicken with you on the road
3. Stay in school and pay special attention to "riddles," because only smart people end up with a good career as a king
4. Don't marry the widows of any king, unless you have her DNA checked
5. If you accidentally marry your mother, don't tell her because she will hang herself
6. If you have two brothers, don't break the law in
Jan 03, 2017 Alan rated it really liked it
Star missing because I don't know Greek, and this translation is older than I am. I read Antigone in trans as a college freshman, taught Oedipus a couple dozen times, always applicable to the current epidemic--AIDS/ HIV, or whatever, first scene, citizens prostrate before the ruler who brought on the disaster, unbenownst. NOW we have a BENOWNST disaster-bringer to prostrate ourselves before--the Swamp-Drainer with his Cabinet of Swamp Monsters. And the Congress, the Full Swamp, has just eliminat ...more
Oct 31, 2015 Mohsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
دوستی از دیرباز به من آموخته بود اگر گمان بردی که مالک سرنوشت خویش شده ای نگاهی به سرنوشت های غمالوده کتاب
زندگی بیاند سرنوشت ادیپ مردی شرافتمند که از قبل مرگش سرنوشتش مشخص است و والدینش که ازین جغد شوم در هراسند سعی در فرار از ان میکنند خود ادیپ هم چنین میکند ولی اخر دست چیره ی سرنوشت تمامیشان را به قهقرای زوال میکشاند و مردم تبای که ادیپ را از خود میرانند و همچون بازیچه ای، زمانی که از سرنوشت شهر خویش در هراس میافتند انها باز تلاش میکنند تا ادیپ را بازگردانند تا مگر اسودگی خاطرشان را باز بیابن
Sofia T. (♥ Dimitri Belikov)
Read for University!
May 20, 2017 Manab rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play, poetry
পড়লাম। উদবেলের উদরেক ঘটতেছে না ভেতরে। আমি বোধহয় ভাবছিলাম যে থিবিয়ান নাটক তিনটা পড়লে বোমা ফাটবে মগজের কোণায় কোণায়।
সেরকম কিছু হচছে না। উলটা বইটার দিকে আমি খুবই ভাবলেশহীন হয়ে তাকায়ে আছি।

দবিতীয় নাটকে ত নাড়া দেয়া ত নাড়া দেয়া, একটা হাওয়াও বইলো না। কলাশের পেছনের দরজা দিয়ে বড় পোলা ঢুকলো, সামনের দরজা দিয়ে সটান বের হয়ে গেলো। ছোটো ছেলেরেও পাওয়া গেলে মনদ হইত না, অনয নাটকে হয়ত সে ছিলোও, সেই নাটকগুলো ত হারায়ে গেছে ইতোমধযে। এই মলাটবদধকরণটা পরচণড বাজে হইছে, মানে যতই আপনি ভূমিকায় চেচান যে এরা তিনটা ভিনন তরিপিটকে
Akemi G
Aug 30, 2016 Akemi G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction, dramas
As always, I am torn among the many translations. I have this Penguin edition, translated by Robert Fagles (1982), and the older (1949) translation by Dudley Fitts & Robert Fitzgerald.

Fagles' translation reads well, but so does Fitzgerald's. Fitzgerald breaks down the play to scenes, which I like--even though these are short plays, I find Fagles' no-break translation rather tiresome. (I have no idea which style is more faithful to the ancient Greek original.)

Sometimes the two translations
Edward Waters
Aug 04, 2011 Edward Waters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most English translations of, say, the Greek New Testament are shepherded by a conviction that the original words had divine inspiration and so are best rendered verbatim wherever possible. At the same time, there generally is a concession (for good or ill) to the reality that if what results is not sufficiently lofty and reverential in tone, the faithful are unlikely to accept it. Attempts at classical Greek drama and poetry tend to be guided by rather different considerations: The translator's ...more
Sincerae Smith
I had to read Antigone, the third play in The Oedipus Cycle, in the 9th or 10th grade. The teacher filled us in about the occurrences in Oedipus Rex, but our starting point was only with Antigone. My memory fails to recall which grade exactly, but I certainly remember how my English teacher made it deathly boring. I can't remember which teacher, but it still clings to my memory his or her words about Oedipus' "fatal flaw." This was repeated over and over I guess to sound like an expert. One of t ...more
Rachel Lightwood
Oedipus Rex was the only play I read out of this anthology of Sophoclean tragedies. It was surprisingly quite amusing. I thought it would be more... well, tragic really. The ugly sobbing kind of tragedy - Titanic style. But instead it read like a soap opera. The drama scale was beyond imaginable. We had people dying and crying left, right and centre. It was fantastic!

The writing was good too. It had the feel of a ancient Shakespearean play but was much more "readable". There was no need to have
Victor Morosoff
Nov 30, 2015 Victor Morosoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sofocle mi-a câștigat definitiv admirația (deși cred că este, totuși, un eufemism). Oedip rege este, la fel ca și Antigona, aspră (și probabil ceva mai complexă), dar debordând de umanitate și aforisme tragice ce denotă o superioară înțelegere la fiecare pagină. 4,6/5

Nu la fel de concisă și limpede ca celelalte două piese ale trilogiei, Oedip la Colonos întruchipează mai mult un soi de clarificare și legitimare a acțiunilor din celelalte două tragedii tebane. 4/5

C'est vrai que le désir de lire
Jul 25, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
That. Was. Awesome!
This story (Antigone) was so beautiful, but awful and tragic. (I know it's a tragedy, but God its depressing) (°ω°`)

The characters were all really developed and even though at the beginning I disliked Creon, I felt utterly awful for him at the end. I'm confused to where Ismene went at the end of the play, and what her reaction to xxxxxxxx's death was, and I didn't really get Tiresias' prophecy either, but that didn't effect the story for me. (I must stop rambling)
In conclusion
Z Nayebi
Apr 29, 2016 Z Nayebi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
به سختی به این کتاب میتوان 5 نداد. درواقع کتاب بین 4 و 5 حرکت میکند. فرازهای زیادی از کتاب و مقدمه و موخره درخشانش قطعا 5 است اما همین حرکت میان 4 و 5 و به شکل مطلق در اوج نماندن باعث میشود که در مجموع به کتاب 4 ستاره بدهم.
مقدمه شاهرخ مسکوب و به خصوص موخره آندره بونار حقیقتا درخشان بودند. خواندن تراژدی ها قبل و بعد از خواندن مقاله ی بونار تفاوت های جدی ای باهم دارند. "خواندن" نیروهای متضاد هستی و درون وجود انسان از لا به لای سطور نمایشنامه های سوفوکلس شاید تا حدی توضیح دهنده کاری باشد که بونار م
Ricardo Santos
Nov 11, 2016 Ricardo Santos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Talvez a melhor porta de entrada para a tragédia grega. O leitor contemporâneo vai ficar surpreso ao perceber como essas peças não têm nada de chato. São leituras vibrantes, com intrigas e reviravoltas dignas das melhores séries de tv históricas e de fantasia. Os personagens são complexos, na medida do possível, sempre revelados pelos diálogos intensos e poéticos. Há aqui um profundo conhecimento da alma humana. Obrigatório.
Katie Herring
Mar 20, 2013 Katie Herring rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
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: the cut and thrust of his dialogue, his ironic edge, the surge and majesty of choruses and, above all, the agonies and triumphs of his characters.

"I know of no better modern English version." -Sir Hugh Llyod-Jones, Oxford University
Steven Peterson
May 25, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing
The Theban plays are extraordinarily rich in their observations on the human condition; let us consider lessons to be drawn from these.

The first tragedy, King Oedipus, begins with the city of Thebes suffering great afflictions. King Oedipus swears that he will find the cause of the evil and improve the lot of the Thebans. His uncle, Creon, found that the pestilence would be lifted when the murderer of the previous king, Laius, was brought to justice. Oedipus immediately ordered that the killer
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Sophocles (born c. 496 bc, Colonus, near Athens [Greece]—died 406, Athens), (Greek: Σοφοκλής; German editions: Sophokles, Russian: Софокл, French editions: Sophocle) 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 ...more
More about Sophocles...

Other Books in the Series

The Theban Plays (3 books)
  • Oedipus Rex  (The Theban Plays, #1)
  • Oedipus at Colonus (The Theban Plays, #2)
  • Antigone (The Theban Plays, #3)

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“If through no fault of his own the hero is crushed by a bulldozer in Act II, we are not impressed. Even though life is often like this—the absconding cashier on his way to Nicaragua is killed in a collision at the airport, the prominent statesman dies of a stroke in the midst of the negotiations he has spent years to bring about, the young lovers are drowned in a boating accident the day before their marriage—such events, the warp and woof of everyday life, seem irrelevant, meaningless. They are crude, undigested, unpurged bits of reality—to draw a metaphor from the late J. Edgar Hoover, they are “raw files.” But it is the function of great art to purge and give meaning to human suffering, and so we expect that if the hero is indeed crushed by a bulldozer in Act II there will be some reason for it, and not just some reason but a good one, one which makes sense in terms of the hero’s personality and action. In fact, we expect to be shown that he is in some way responsible for what happens to him.” 31 likes
“All men make mistakes.” 26 likes
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