Theban Plays / Edition 1

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Overview

The legends surrounding Oedipus of Thebes and his illstarred offspring provided a rich vein for the Greek tragic dramatists. Sophocles 496-406 BC returned to this source several times, and it inspired his three greatest plays, which are contained in this volume. Antigone 442-441 is the tragedy of a woman ruled by conscience, who obeys unwritten law when it clashes with human law. King Oedipus c. 425 is the story of a ruler brought down by his own oath, unknowingly in conflict with himself. Oedipus at Colonus, written late in Sophocles' life, is a fittinga and profound conclusion, telling of the passing of the aged and self-blinded king. All Sophocles' heroes and heroines are larger than life, so that they portray the human condition in panoramic and vivid fashion. These three plays are proof of the timeless greatness of Greek tragedy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872205857
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Series: HPC Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 405,796
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Sophocles was born at Colonus, just outside Athens, in 496 BC, and lived ninety years. His long life spanned the rise and decline of the Athenian Empire; he was a friend of Pericles, and though not an active politician he held several public offices, both military and civil. The leader of a literary circle and friend of Herodotus, he was interested in poetic theory as well as practice, and he wrote a prose treatise On the Chorus. He seems to have been content to spend all his life at Athens, and is said to have refused several invitations to royal courts.

Sophocles first won a prize for tragic drama in 468, defeating the veteran Aeschylus. He wrote over a hundred plays for the Athenian theater, and is said to have come first in twenty-four contests. Only seven of his tragedies are now extant, these being Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Women of Trachis, Electra, Philoctetes, and the posthumous Oedipus at Colonus. A substantial part of The Searches, a satyr play, was recovered from papyri in Egypt in modern times. Fragments of other plays remain, showing that he drew on a wide range of themes; he also introduced the innovation of a third actor in his tragedies. He died in 406 BC.
E.F. Watling was educated at Christ's Hospital and University College, Oxford. His translations of Greek and Roman plays for the Penguin Classics include the seven plays of Sophocles, nine plays of Plautus, and a selection of the tragedies of Seneca.
E.F. Watling was educated at Christ's Hospital and University College, Oxford. His translations of Greek and Roman plays for the Penguin Classics include the seven plays of Sophocles, nine plays of Plautus, and a selection of the tragedies of Seneca.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
Note on the Translations
Acknowledgments
Theban Royal Family Tree
Antigone 1
Oedipus Tyrannus 61
Oedipus at Colonus 125
Endnote: A. Antigone 208
Endnote: B. Oedipus Tyrannus 211
Endnote: C. Oedipus at Colonus 212
App Hegel on Antigone 214
Selected Bibliography 217
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2000

    Good book that presented Good plays

    This book presented good plays, especially the play, Antigone, which was my favorite. Even though it can be hard to read, it is worth it. Antigone is a play about a greek woman,who stands up for the laws of Heaven instead of the laws of man, including King Creon, who ends up basically killing her. Antigone is very bold and stands up for her beliefs. She does not fit the Greek image of a woman because she is so bold and is independent(in whom is running her life), and her boldness leads to her downfall. Although, she does weaken up at the end, she still goes down with her same opion. These plays were very good and taught lessons that happen in even modern life situations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2000

    The Three Best Plays of All Time

    The Theban Plays are some of the most exciting plays which i have ever read. They are always interesting and you shall never get bored. Through this trilogy, you will learn many things about Greek plays, especially from one of the greatest philosophers of all time. I Highly recommend this book to all.

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