The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone

Overview

Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her ...

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The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone

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Overview

Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her duty to bury all of her close kin. Enraged, Creon condemns her to death, and his soldiers wall her up in a tomb. While Creon eventually agrees to Antigone's release, it is too late: She takes her own life, initiating a tragic repetition of events in her family's history.

In this outstanding new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity in Sophocles' masterpiece, and inks it with his own modern and masterly touch.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374530075
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/3/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 88
  • Sales rank: 628,314
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He lives in Dublin and he regularly teaches at Harvard University. His most recent book is Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2000 (FSG, 2002).

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Amazing Translation of a Timeless Play

    Seamus Heaney's adaptation of Sophocles' Antigone is amazing. The spare, rhythmic verse is beautiful all on its own--and it's all the more pleasurable next to the clunky literal translations of Greek drama that are all too common. In Heaney's version, the stark grandeur of the simple words and images set off the stoic tragedy of the play. All the characters bring their fates upon themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, and this inevitability is what is tragic. In the end, there are no villains: only noble and well-meaning mortals with single fatal flaws. Heaney lets us feel both the pathos of Antigone's young brave stubbornness and the despair of Creon, alone and broken at the end of the play. Completely faithful? Certainly not. But this is a most moving play.

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