Antigoneby Sophocles, Reginald Gibbons, Charles Segal
Oedipus, the former ruler of Thebes, has died. Now, when his young daughter Antigone defies her uncle, Kreon, the new ruler, because he has prohibited the burial of her dead brother, she and he enact a primal conflict between young and old, woman and man, individual and ruler, family and state, courageous and self-sacrificing reverence for the gods of the earth and… See more details below
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Oedipus, the former ruler of Thebes, has died. Now, when his young daughter Antigone defies her uncle, Kreon, the new ruler, because he has prohibited the burial of her dead brother, she and he enact a primal conflict between young and old, woman and man, individual and ruler, family and state, courageous and self-sacrificing reverence for the gods of the earth and perhaps self-serving allegiance to the gods of the sky.
Echoing through western culture for more than two millennia, Sophocles' Antigone has been a touchstone of thinking about human conflict and human tragedy, the role of the divine in human life, and the degree to which men and women are the creators of their own destiny. This exciting new translation of the play is extremely faithful to the Greek, eminently playable, and poetically powerful.
For readers, actors, students, teachers, and theatrical directors, this new translation of one of the greatest plays in the history of the western world provides the best combination of contemporary, powerful language, along with superb background and notes on meaning, interpretation, and ancient beliefs, attitudes, and contexts.
A lucid, well-paced translation, natural enough sounding in the dialogue to make a good acting version, and remarkably successful in making the choruses clear, lyrical, and yet part of the dramatic movement. Woodruff's rendering of the choruses especially impresses me by the way he manages to render complex syntax and imagery of the original--often tangled and occasionally obscure in its allusiveness--into clear and genuinely poetic English. --Joseph Russo, Haverford College
When a play has been translated as many times as the Antigone, a new version has to have some remarkable qualities in order to merit attention. Happily, Woodruff's Antigone has just that. Most notably, his text is performable: when read aloud it displays real pace and force. . . . Of course, performability is often gained at the expense of what we might call 'faithfulness' to the original text--and in practical terms, this means that a performance translation rarely serves well as a teaching text. Woodruff, then, has pulled off a remarkable feat in that this edition will serve the teacher and student of Sophocles as well as it would the actor. The original line numbers are preserved and the text is seldom distorted: Woodruff is aware that the words used by Sophocles matter, and employs footnotes to good effect to explain points of linguistic and cultural interest in a concise and accessible way. The flavour of Sophocles' play is also preserved by the stage directions, which are envisaged in terms of the ancient rather than the modern stage. The choral odes--which are translated with particular clarity--are also marked and divided into strophes and antistrophes. What also sets the translation apart is the quality of the introduction and appendices, which are both well informed and address the reader in a direct way. Woodruff succeeds in being straightforward but not patronizing and whilst his target audience is presumably a student of A-level or university level, this edition would be a good starting point for any intelligent adult who wished to read the play. Woodruff frames scholarly debates in such a way as to invite reaction from the reader and to encourage informed debate. Notable, too, is that he strives to keep the text 'open': as well as presenting different scholarly views on the play, he even provides 'Endnotes' where he provides information on readings of the manuscripts, thus providing access to debates from which the student is normally excluded. As part of this project--and refreshingly in my view--he makes his own presence felt: he informs us as to his own views on the play and spells out his objectives as a translator, thus opening up yet another aspect of investigation and debate. This is a provocative edition of the Antigone, which fulfills many of its high ambitions. For me, the vibrancy of Woodruff's approach to the play shines through, giving us a text just waiting to be read aloud, discussed and debated. --James Robson, The Joint Association of Classical Teachers Review
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