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The Theban Plays (The Theban Plays #1–3)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  52,918 Ratings  ·  1,294 Reviews
‘O Light! May I never look on you again,
Revealed as I am, sinful in my begetting,
Sinful in marriage, sinful in shedding of blood!’

The legends surrounding the royal house of Thebes inspired Sophocles (496–406 BC) to create a powerful trilogy of mankind’s struggle against fate. King Oedipus tells of a man who brings pestilence to Thebes for crimes he does not realise he ha
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 26th 1973 by Penguin Classics (first published -450)
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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 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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Two years ago, I read the Theban plays in my ninth-grade class. I liked them. I promptly forgot every single thing I thought about them. [I have a terrible memory.] So when audible offered a free audio of the plays with a full-cast narration… I went for it. And of course loved it again.

The narration helped: this audio stars the excellent Jamie Glover as Oedipus and the always-talented Hayley Atwell as Antigone, but casting choices such as Samantha Bond as Jocasta, Michael Melone as Creon, and
'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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Oidipous epi Kolōnōi = Oedipus tyrannus coloneus and Antigone, Sophocles
Oedipus at Colonus (also Oedipus Coloneus, Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, Oidipous epi Kolōnōi) is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles' death in 406 BC and produced by his grandson (also called Sophocles) at the Festival of Dionysus in 401 BC.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و ششم آگوست سال 1974 میلادی
عنوان: سه نمایشنامه : اودیپوس شاه، اودیپوس در کولونوس، آن
Sep 30, 2012 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
Amin Dorosti
این کتاب را سالها پیش خواندم، زمانی که به روانکاوی فروید-لکانی بسیار علاقه داشتم و به خاطر نظریۀ «عقده اُدیپ» فروید سراغ این کتاب رفتم و از خواندن آن به شدت لذت بردم، به گونهای که در طول یکی دو هفته هر کدام از سه نمایشنامه را چندین بار خواندم! بعدها که با نیچه آشنا شدم و ستایش او از یونان باستان و فرهنگ تراژیک یونان باستان و به ویژه نمایشنامه نویسهای بزرگ آن دوران را دیدم و با تحلیلهای نیچه از تراژدی و فرهنگ تراژیک یونان بایتان آشنا شدم بیش از پیش به ارزش واقعی این نمایشنامهها پی بردم و دوست داش ...more
Aug 27, 2014 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.
Mana H
Apr 10, 2015 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
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ancients, drama
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
نمایشِ آنتیگون و بخشهای پراکندهای از دو نمایشِ دیگه رو از ترجمههای فارسی هم خوندم و باید بگم که بیشتر از متن انگلیسی،ازشون خوشم اومد
هم بهخاطر نثرِ تقریبا کهنی که داشت و هم متنِ انگلیسی یک جورهایی فاقدِ «لحن» بود. نثرش متعلق به قرن بیستم بود انگار

بریده :

تو را دوبار معذب ساختهاند. یکبار در تن و یکبار در جان، کاش اصلا به وجود نیامده بودی که این معما را بخوانی
تو را عقیده هرچه هست،باشد اما به گمان من، سعادت آدمی در آن است که اصلا در این جهان نباشد و چون به ناچار، زندگی انسان در این عالم آغاز میشود،
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
Oedipus the King was the first Greek tragedy I read in my life, when I was still of a single-digit school age and not exactly because it was compulsory reading for my class (who wants to inflict uninentional incest on young children, anyhow?). I don't recall how old I was, besides too young, nor the exact circumstances that led me to pick up an "adult" book, but I do recall the copy belonged to an older cousin of mine who was definitely reading it for school, and that I also read Homer's two epi ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ignorance of the Pa is No Defense

Mythical King Oedipus comes to the throne after unknowingly killing his pa. He later marries the woman who turns out to be his ma. In a brilliant and still-influential turn of irony, all the action in Oedipus the King occurs on the way he discovers that, in attempting to avoid his prophesied fate, he carries it out.

To atone, despite the fact that his appalling marriage to and bedding of his mother were acts committed in ignorance, he blinds himself with needles.

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
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
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 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/
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
Nutshell: dude screws his mother in order to give psychoanalysis a set of master narratives.

Not a true trilogy, and written out of the order of this presentation, these texts commence from the unlikely proposition that Oedipus is somehow guilty for having scum parents--for the fact that "before three days were out / after his birth King Laius pierced his ankles / and by the hands of others cast him forth / upon a pathless hillside" (Oedipus Rex ll. 717-20) and thereafter, not knowing his father,
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ma che colpa aveva Edipo?
Che famiglia disgraziata!

Colpevoli e innocenti al tempo stesso.
Gli dei, anzi i greci, si divertivano assai a infilarsi in questi tunnel senza via d'uscita, evidentemente trovavano rassicurante pensare che non ci si potesse sottrarre a un destino micidiale, e già segnato.
Poria Da
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب شامل سه نمایشنامه معروف از سوفوکلس است که به نام (نمایشنامههای تبای) معروف است، ادیپ شاه، ادیپ در کلونوس و آنتیکونه.
هر سه نمایشنامه و مخصوصاً ادیپ شاه و انتیگونه شهرتی جهانی دارند، در طی سالها اقتباسهای زیادی از آنها شده و حتی انگیزهای برای نویسندهها و داستانهای پس از خود.
تمام داستانها پیرامون سه مسئله میگذرد، اختیار و تقدیر، دانستن و رنج بردن، عشق و منطق که سوفوکسل به زیبایی فضایی پارادوکسیکال خلق کرده و در پایان از قضاوت خودداری کرده و فقط خواننده را با بار فشار داستان تنها گذاشته
ترجمه شا
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
Z Nayebi
Apr 29, 2016 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
Sofia T. (♥ Dimitri Belikov)
Read for University!
Daniel Chaikin
Jul 03, 2016 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
Akemi G.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dramas, read-fiction
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
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
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
These plays are world class literature. I originally read them a long time back (during an early "Classics" phase), and liked them well enough, though at the time I was sort of checking off boxes of Books-I-Must-Read. Reading these now, later in life, they have much more impact. I'm sure an additional boost came via Fagles' potent translations. An added plus are the outstanding introductions preceding each play, which create necessary historical and literary contexts to further enhance the plays ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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All About Books: Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles (Gill, Pink, Greg, Leslie, Beth, Portia, and others?) 136 47 Jun 14, 2016 05:24AM  
Carlson 2341.06 F...: * Prophecy in Oedipus the King 45 28 Sep 04, 2015 10:14PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please revise book description 3 17 Aug 04, 2015 08:39PM  
Greek Plays are very epic 3 16 Aug 31, 2014 12:37PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Editions - combining 3 11 Apr 10, 2014 01:48PM  
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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.” 44 likes
“All men make mistakes.” 26 likes
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