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Women of Trachis

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  859 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Mutability; uncertainty; a universe of precipitous change: these themes are at the heart of Sophocles' tragic vision. But nowhere are they elaborated with more urgency than in Women of Trachis. There are no subtle shifts of Fortune's favors in this tragedy, only stunning and total reversals, a relentless spinning of her fickle wheel. Thesis moves to crushing antithesis wit ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published -450)
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Community Reviews

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Here’s something I just realized, about ten years too late: Greek is really, really hard. All you ambitious youngsters out there contemplating a fast-paced career in classics, take it from me: Ancient Greek will break your heart. I’ve been sweating over this infernal language for more than a decade, off and on, and even now I don’t read it so much as piece it together, clause by tortuous clause. You can, with a bilingual edition of Dante and a good dictionary, teach yourself Italian in six month ...more
David Sarkies
Jul 09, 2015 David Sarkies rated it liked it
Shelves: tragedy
War and the absent husband
24 October 2012

This is the only Herculean play of Sophocles that we have, and when I use the term Herculean, it is not in the big and massive context that we generally use the term, but rather the story focuses around the Greek hero Heracles. This play could also have the subtitle of 'The Death of Heracles' and in many ways it is a tragedy true to form. However, it also adds to the mystery of how the story of Heracles played out. The problem with Heracles is that we ha
Hal Johnson
Sep 17, 2015 Hal Johnson rated it really liked it
At the climax of this play, a character literally begs his son, "Son, I want you to kill me and marry my wife." And his son is begging off: "Dad, I think that's weird. Ask something else of me." But the father keeps putting the lean on, until the son relents.

According to Rene Girard, this is one Sophocles play that Freud never refers to. It's interesting to speculate how different the history of twentieth-century psychology would have been if he had.
Sep 12, 2016 Keely rated it really liked it
Shelves: greek-plays
I read the Theban Plays in 2014 and I'm not sure why I avoided reading another Sophocles play for so long but this has become a favourite. Mostly for the character of Deianira and the astounding writing that Sophocles is capable of. Would have gotten a 4.5 if not for Heracles being the biggest fuckboy in the last ten pages. Can't wait to read more of Sophocles' work.
May 06, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classicalstudies
The most underrated and under-appreciated installment in the Sophoclean canon, Trachiniae (or "The Women of Trachis) is an entertaining tragedy about the marital struggles of a ancient Grecian princess, Deianeira, the wife of Heracles (aka Hercules). With all the raw aggression and detail typical in Sophocles' depiction of human emotion, the characters in the play are constantly reminded of the weights that befall spirits once young and unchecked. The Chorus in Trachiniae provide a fascinating b ...more
Nov 25, 2013 Dachi rated it liked it
The Trachiniae, or Women of Trachis, is one of the plays which takes its name from the chorus, like the Trojan Women or the Suppliant Women. But whereas those names give some idea of the subject of the play, the title Women of Trachis suggests nothing. Gilbert Muarray's 1947 edition is titled The Wife of Heracles.

The play is a labarum of Sophocles' standard themes: irony, anguish, death and suicide. The wise learn too late, the innocent fall. Servility to providence.
Wael Mahmoud
Jul 29, 2013 Wael Mahmoud rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, translated
I read E. F. Watling's translation.

Not as good as The Oedipus Cycle or Ajax or Electra but still got some good points, The tragedy is well presented, The characters made a strong impression even the silent Iole.

The problem in this play is the long dialogues and the unneccesary role of the chours.

Erica Zahn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ramona Boldizsar
Jul 04, 2013 Ramona Boldizsar rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays

I was entirely absorbed in this tragedy -i loved it with my entire soul, only that I felt so sad while reading it. Yesterday, while and after reading Ajax, I felt good, I felt nice, I felt as if I have gotten one step closer to something -or maybe to Sophocles. Even though I lived the play Ajax as I kind of always do with plays -I was there, living intensely etc etc etc and even though I quite believe Ajax is a star better than The Women of Trachis... I couldn't but feel this play, somew
Garrett Cash
Sophocles's Women of Trachis would be more accurately titled as The Death of Heracles. This play is closer in form to the sort of accidental but inevitable tragedy found in Oedipus the King than the "question of justice" plays like Antigone and Electra. It's not quite as good as any of the previously mentioned plays, but it holds its own and is still a great example of Greek tragedy; and more enjoyable than any of Aeschylus's plays. The ending, as usual for Sophocles, is extremely strong and tho ...more
May 27, 2015 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Women of Trakhis was a quick and mostly bland read.

Robert Bagg's translation is approachable and thoughtful; I appreciated the notes he included on some of the difficulties of translating and how other translators may render certain lines. It gave a fuller picture of the Greek without disrupting the flow, and I love when translators share their method with the reader.

I know it's shallow, but I was excited to pick it up because it had a pretty cool cover and because I hadn't heard of it before. I
Oct 16, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: greek-drama
For some odd reason, plays about or involving Heracles are very "hit-or-miss" for me (for example, Alcestis is a favorite of mine, but Children of Herakles is pretty awful). This play was more of a miss; it suffered from the soap opera-ness that I really don't like in plays and was a bit all over the place.

Women of Trachis is about Heracles' wife patiently waiting for her husband to return home, only to discover that he is in love with a younger, prettier woman. In order to get him to stop, she
Edward Cheer
Jan 31, 2016 Edward Cheer rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I was struck with absolute awe with how fantastic this play was. I'm not sure what it was about the title, but I was expecting a lot less relatable (maybe because the title rang with a similar tune of "The Suppliant Maidens"), but... good God! This is definitely one of Sophocles' greatest plays. The intense drama of an aging woman learning her husband chooses to marry a woman, and gives into temptation to try to win his love, while inadvertently slaying the son of a god is incredibly fascinating ...more
So Hakim
Jan 28, 2015 So Hakim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tragedy concerning the family of Heracles. It takes on well-known episode, where Deianeira unwittingly murdered her husband with poisoned robe.

The story has quite subtle complexity in it. It is short -- but also full of pathos. Nobody ever planned anything big. They just do things as they see fit, but lo and behold, tragedy unfolds out of thin air.

There are plot twists, and quite brutal ones at that. (I should say no more because spoiler)

So it began like this. Bumbling machismo husband thought
Julian Meynell
Jun 12, 2016 Julian Meynell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, ancient, greek, plays

This is probably considered the worst play be Sophocles to come down to us and while I have still one more play to read by Sophocles this is my favorite so far. It is structured in a bizarre way revolving around Deianeira for the first three-quarters of the play and then around her husband Hercules for the last part. Deianeira is waiting for her husband to return home with an increasing mix of hope and dread foreboding. She becomes more and more concerned. Then she learns that a new beau
Cymru Roberts
Dec 30, 2014 Cymru Roberts rated it really liked it
Shelves: greek-drama
A tragedy without a tragic hero immediately begs the question: WHY ALL THE PAIN?! We look for clues in the characters, even middling ones, and the chorus. We stumble upon hints, like the title. The Women of Trachis. In this play they serve as the chorus, the group of homegirls surrounding Deianira, her chillwomen come to stew in the house of jealous lovers. Strange, to name the play after them… If Heracles ain’t the hero of this sad tale (and he’s certainly worthy of it, so strong, so fierce in ...more
Jan 30, 2009 Núria rated it really liked it
No em vaig poder resistir a comprarme el primer volum del coleccionable sobre els clàssics de la Bernat Metge que acaben de treure. I si es presenta l'ocasió, probablement en cauran més. És que jo no em puc resistir a una bona edició d'un text clàssic, amb bones notes i una bona introducció. I veure l'edició bilingüe, amb el text grec original al costat, em fa venir de nou unes ganes boges d'estudiar filologia clàssica.

'Les dones de Traquis' ja em va conquistar amb la primera frase: "És una dit
Mike Jensen
Jul 12, 2015 Mike Jensen rated it it was amazing
Everybody gets screwed, and not in a good way.

We do not live with the story of Heracles and Deianeira, so it may seem odd today. It was vital to the culture of religious observance of ancient Greece, so this play should be read with that in mind. The reversals are as horrible as in any Greek tragedy, and if you can accept what we might view as the fantasy elements of the story, it is a great one.

Remember, never trust a centaur.
Oh dear. The Greek soap operas continue. Trachinian Women is even more soap-opery than Oedipus Rex, complete with infidelity, marital struggles, suicide, poisonous robes (?), you name it.

Even though I enjoyed this one a little more than Oedipus Rex, I think it's time for Sophocles and I to end our short-lived relationship. The same problems have arisen in both these plays. Tedious storylines; long, drawn-out speeches that go nowhere; and, simply, not a lot to get you interested in what's going o
Silvio Curtis
Dec 18, 2014 Silvio Curtis rated it it was amazing
Don't remember this well, but I liked it a lot. It's about the death of Hēraklēs. His wife Dēianeira is a model of feminine loyalty by ancient Greek mythological values, but she gets worried when Hēraklēs brings home a pretty young concubine from his latest war who he seems pretty serious about. She decides to give him the cloak covered in the blood of the centaur Nessos, who Hēraklēs shot, which Nessos claimed as he died would work as an aphrodisiac charm to turn Hēraklēs back to her. Of course ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-owned
Well, not everything written by Sophocles can be a masterpiece. This was a retelling of the death of Heracles--and I do mean a RETELLING. All the major action is narrated by secondary characters--"The Messenger," "The Nurse," etc. The ending is very protracted, despite the play's short length. Not the most memorable work.
Jan 19, 2015 Serina rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, college
It wasn't meant to be read in this way, but from a modern perspective, the story was nonsensical and misogynistic. Yeah... I don't understand what the ancient Greeks were thinking. Decent translation, at least.

And I may be a tad bit getting tired of the repeating events and themes in Sophocles' tragedies.
Chris Wolfington
May 24, 2015 Chris Wolfington rated it liked it
I thought this play was alright. It's a tragedy focusing on Herakles, and how his dominance generated negativity in his household. The love story sort of makes me think of Shakespeare.
Nov 22, 2015 I_ty_toje rated it really liked it
После цикла об Эдипе немного градус спадает, но все равно интересно. Ревнивая жена, приворот, наказание от уже умершего сквозь время - интересный поворот и обычно его не ждешь.
Sarah Sabri
Apr 25, 2013 Sarah Sabri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
من كان يتصور ان يقوم انسان، بشر، بالتغلب على كل قوى الطبيعة المتوحشة ؟!!! ومن كان يتصور أن تقوم امرأة ضعيفة بالتغلب على الرجل الذي تغلب حتى على الطبيعة ذاتها ؟.!!!
هذا هو ماحدث هرقل تمكن من التغلب على قوى الطبيعة المتوحشة في أعماله الأثني عشرة وعاد منتصراً لتقضي عليه زوجته ديانيرا بغير قصد بواسطة ثوب !!!!
أجمل ما في المسرحية تصوير سوفوكليس لشخصية ديانيرا العذبة الرقيقة، التي تشعر بالشفقة حتى على المحظية التي جاء بها زوجها وتظهر نحوها العطف ولا تفكر أن تؤذيها وإنما تفكر فقط في استعادة زوجها الذي تح
Jul 19, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una tragedia muy buena, de las mejores que he leído de Sófocles.
Sufrí un poco por Deyanira (esposa de Hércules), más que nada por lo ingenua que fue al creerle al centauro Neso y lo que eso desató.
Pero por otro lado no me apena lo que le sucedio a Hércules pues tuvo la osadia de enviar a su amante a casa de su esposa, eso fue cruel y además antes de morir ató a su hijo (Hilo) a Yola, la amante y causante de la tragedia.
Sarah Tribble
Mar 08, 2016 Sarah Tribble rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed this -- funny in parts, despite being a tragedy, and a simplistic yet simultaneously complex piece to embark on my play-reading career with.
Jess Grayson
Aug 28, 2016 Jess Grayson rated it really liked it
Shelves: degree-books
One of my favourite tragedies, quite an interesting portrayal of a wife trying to win back her husband.
Jori Richardson
Dec 07, 2012 Jori Richardson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of Classical Literature, those in search of some overlooked literature
This has always been my favorite of Sophocle's works. Queen Deianeira is a wife whose husband is in love with another younger, more beautiful woman. With good intentions, she puts together a scheme to reclaim his heart. (view spoiler)
This is the original, true "Romeo & Juliet" story. Besides the setting, the plot line is not at all different. Like Shakespeare's famous tragedy, this tell
Mar 01, 2016 Monique rated it really liked it
I had to read this for my classics paper, and I really enjoyed it
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  • Alcestis
  • The Ecclesiazusae (or Women in Council)
  • The Seven Against Thebes
  • Works and Days (Academic Monograph Reprint)
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).
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