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The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus (The Theban Plays #1–3)

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  38,230 ratings  ·  729 reviews

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 his choruses and, above all, the agonies and triumphs of his characters.
ebook, 432 pages
Published February 1st 1984 by Penguin Books (first published -400)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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James
Sophocles Theban play cycle, Antigone, Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, spans the length of his career as a playwright. Traditionally, Antigone is placed at the end of the cycle, but chronologically it was the first that Sophocles wrote. I think this offers a big key to interpreting the plays as a whole. This key has to do with the evolution of Athenian society and how the subject-matters dealt with in the plays relate to the rapid growth and decay that Democratic Athens experienced—a period ...more
Erin
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
...more
Justin Evans
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/
...more
Jim
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
Dayla
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
...more
Steven Peterson
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
...more
Steve Hemmeke
Really depressing.

The major theme is that you can't avoid the fate of the gods, even if you try. The upside is, even if you draw a short straw, you can still be pious and reverent toward the gods, and wise and loving to your family.

Oedipus definitely drew a short straw. That doesn't mean his life was short, though. He lives a long life, and the last decade or so is all agony over his bizarre circumstance.

In part one we learn about that craziness. Key theme is the truth. The truth will come out.
...more
John
What a brutal, awful world it was for the pagans. They believed in gods who, for no reason at all, sentenced men to arbitrary acts of inhumanity--even so designed as to be done unknowingly, yet with terrifying consequences.

The story of Oedipus and his family is simply awful. It makes for an interesting story, but the fact that the Greeks believed the world was so ordered that such things occurred demonstrates their own spiritual blindness and willful ignorance of the order of grace and justice o
...more
Niloofar
از جمله بهترین نمایشنامه هایی ست که از آن لذت برده ام.
Julie
TOPICS TO COVER:

Your Name: Julie Barnard
Date: 1/4/10

Main Characters in the Text (if there are multiple works within one text, name the work, followed by the characters):
Oedipus
Anitgone
Creon


Genre of the work (play, novel, poem, etc.):
play

Setting:
Greece

Action of the work or the sequence of events (if there are multiple works within one text, name the work and only include the most important events):

Action sequences include when Oedipus kills the king of Thebes (without knowing he is the k
...more
Ana Lo
TOPICS TO COVER:
King Oedipus
Antigone

Your Name: Ana Lo
Date: 1/04/10

Main Characters in the Text (if there are multiple works within one text, name the work, followed by the characters):
• King Oedipus
o Oedipus
o Jocosta
o Teiresias
o Creon
o The Chorus
• Anigone
o Antigone
o Creon
o Ismene
o Haemon

Genre of the work (play, novel, poem, etc.):
- A Play

Setting:
- The City of Thebes

Action of the work or the sequence of events (if there are multiple works within one text, name the work and only include the most im
...more
Edward Waters
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
Nicholas Whyte
Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus The Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) (Wordsworth Classics)… by Sophocles
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1968366...

This is the Wordsworth Classics edition of Antigone / Ἀντιγόνη, Oedipus the Tyrant / Οιδίπους Τύραννος and Oedipus at Colonus / Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, all translated by Jamey Hecht. I took them fairly slowly, to let the blank verse translation sink gently into my mind.

I found Antigone / Ἀντιγόνη the most politicall
...more
Jeni Enjaian
I'll start this review by saying that I am definitely not the target audience. While I enjoy attending the occasional play and love Shakespeare, I find that reading most plays leaves something to be desired. That being said, I found this particular plays very limited in scope. Perhaps that's due to both the genre and the time in which they were written. The plot was incredibly easy to predict. (Although I suspect that even the mildest familiarity with Greek mythology will render the plots of the ...more
David Withun
Sophocle's Theban Cycle, of course, contains three of the greatest plays ever written: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, and Oedipus at Colonus. There is little that can be said, in a short review like this one, that has not already been said about these plays. They are masterpieces of the human imagination which explore some of the perennial themes of human life: justice, death, destiny, truth, power, family, sin, redemption -- to name but a few. All of these plays are essential reading for any educated p ...more
John
wow, these stories were awesome! much more interesting than when i read them in high school. i dont remember reading the third one - and that was the best one! jameys footnotes have some valuable contents, including some very powerful insights into the text.

i thought the shakespearean style was just perfect for these texts. sophocles seems to have an understanding of people and their relations on the same sublime level of shakespeare. would fit in perfectly beside king lear.
Riccardo
Edipo Re non ha bisogno di presentazioni, credo. Bellissimo, e mi ha fatto morire il discorso finale di Edipo che, per consolare le figlie, predice loro una vita di sfighe e condisce il tutto con qualche metafora sessuale decisamente poco azzeccata -e nemmeno tanto metafora.
Edipo a Colono, la pi�� lunga della triade, conclude le avventure di Edipo che cerca protezione sotto le ali di Teseo. I toni sono un po' meno tragici, visto che -sotto sotto- a Edipo non succede poi niente di cos�� tremendo.
...more
Tristan
I just read this book for English class and it was very good. The poetry was powerful and elegant, just what a translation of Sophocles should be. My favorite of the three plays is Antigone, followed by Oedipus at Colonus. I've read Antigone twice, once the Robert Fagles translation, twice in this one, and Oedipus Rex twice, this and the J.E. Thomas translation. I have to say, this was a better Oedipus Rex (still feels like the weakest of the plays, but I think I know why I feel like that), but ...more
Sherrie
Antigone is probably my favorite ancient play. While the plot is almost incomprehensible in our modern society, Antigone as a character is the opposite. The other plays in this cycle are also great. I wish the translator had not written an introduction to each play telling me what to think. They always do that with the classics and it is beyond annoying.
Katie
Worth reading due to literary merit, though Fitzgerald is a good translator [or so it seems] too. Not uninteresting, and goes pretty quickly.

[Also: if Antigone == Romeo and Juliet, why can't we read this, which is so much better... Read Macbeth or Hamlet or King Lear for Shakespeare!]
Jennifer
This collection focuses on three of Sophocles' plays: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. Each of these plays takes place in the city of Thebes and in some way are related to one another (Antigone through a more distant connection than the others). These are some of the few surviving works of literature from this era and they portray the beginnings of theater as entertainment. Here the chorus acts as an intermediary between the actors and the audience; they tell the audience essential ...more
Essayed Taha
2400-years-old work .. and still shine as if it was written two weeks ago, brilliant, strong, and clear. he who never came across this piece once at least is no reader. what could have happened to the world if the Greek civilization never thrived?!
Armando Zarate
I really did no tlike this book. honestly it was boring, but i have to admit that it did have a good story line. it had a little action and the plot was full of regret, and guilt. basically, it was a good story, but boring and not of my taste.
Zoe Mark
I had to read this book for school. I have been dreading reading it for a long time, when I finally got the nerve to start it, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. In the book there are three plays that are all centered around Oedipus. The first play is about Oedipus and a prophecy he was told, the second play is about the aftermath of the prophecy and the third play his is about his daughter and what happens to her after everything has happened. I found the first play to be easy and fast ...more
Ali
به صورت صوتی؛ نمایشنامه‌ی صوتی شنیدم، حس می‌کنم بعضی ترک‌ها پس‌ و پیش بودند و شاید یک ترک هم کم داشت! نادانم! در حال دانلود مجدد هستم! که البته دانلود هم نمیشه!
بالتبع نظر خاصی هم ندارم
و من الله توفیق
Andy Kovats
Jamey Hecht's superb translation of the Sophocles trilogy is by far the best one available. I read it with the greatest enjoyment. I highly recommend it.
Jacob Aitken
This is the story of Uncle-Daddy and Sister-Mommy. There is no point summarizing the message as it is universally known. I'll call attention to several themes, instead.

1. One and the Many. Oedipus's search for knowledge of his whereabouts(oida pou)reveals a place where three roads meet, which also hearkens back to the Sphinx's riddle of a man who is one and three.

2. The Horrible Inevitability of Fate. If oracles are unreliable, then so are the gods. But this isn't the kind providence of predest
...more
Katie Coulter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
Fitts was my English teacher. He was an excellent teacher, and quite ruthless.

The plays are a joy.
Maci
The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles by Sophocles are about a man named Oedipus and the curse that is on his family. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus learns about the curse, in Oedipus at Colonus it is the aftermath of him discovering the curse, and Anitgone is about what happens to Oedipus's daughters Antigone and Ismene. I personally like the second two plays better than the first play. The plays were written in a way that it would have been better to read them aloud then read them silently. I read this ...more
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Mrs. Jernigan's C...: Oedipus the King: Reading Schedule, Period F 2 9 Jan 12, 2015 08:18AM  
Greek Plays are very epic 3 12 Aug 31, 2014 12:37PM  
conflict 5 40 Jun 13, 2012 07:58PM  
  • Euripides 1: Alcestis/The Medea/The Heracleidae/Hippolytus
  • Prometheus Bound and Other Plays
  • Four Plays: The Clouds/The Birds/Lysistrata/The Frogs
  • Greek Tragedies, Vol. 1: Aeschylus: Agamemnon, Prometheus Bound; Sophocles: Oedipus the King, Antigone; Euripides: Hippolytus
  • The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives
  • The Comedies
  • Theogony/Works and Days (World's Classics)
1002
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...

Other Books in the Series

The Theban Plays (3 books)
  • Oedipus Rex
  • Oedipus at Colonus
  • Antigone
Oedipus Rex Antigone Antigone / Oedipus the King / Electra Oedipus at Colonus Electra

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“All men make mistakes.” 22 likes
“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.” 20 likes
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