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The Three Theban Plays (Anglais) Broché – 7 février 1984

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Description du produit

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Free when packaged with any Damrosch World Literature title.

Biographie de l'auteur

Sophocles was born in 496 BC. His long life spanned the rise and decline of the Athenian Empire. He wrote over a hundred plays, many of which are published as Penguin Classics, drawing on a wide and varied range of themes. E.F. Watling translated a range of Greek and Roman plays for Penguin, including the seven plays of Sophocles and the tragedies of Seneca.

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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Whether a mere man can know the truth" 9 juin 2013
Par R. M. Peterson - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
These plays are part of the warp and woof of Western civilization. Two of them - "Oedipus the King" and "Antigone" - should be read by anyone who considers herself an educated citizen of the Western world. And once she has read those two, why not go ahead and read the third, "Oedipus at Colonus"?

Actually, one of the issues concerning the presentation, or reading, of these three plays is their order. In terms of the chronology of the Oedipus story, "Oedipus the King" is the earliest, followed by "Oedipus at Colonus" and then, lastly, "Antigone" (the events of which take place after the death of Oedipus). But Sophocles did not write the plays in that order. Rather, he wrote "Antigone" first, around 441 B.C.; "Oedipus the King" about twelve years later; and "Oedipus at Colonus", shortly before he died in 406 B.C. Those responsible for this edition chose to place them in the order in which they were written.

The plays are popularly called the "Theban plays", because they all concern the city-state of Thebes during and after the reign of Oedipus. In them, Sophocles wrestles with some of the core concerns of human existence - especially, fate versus free will - in as dramatic and wrenching a fashion as any playwright, even Shakespeare. In addition, "Antigone" poses questions concerning the limits (if any) of a citizen's obedience or subservience to the state. "Oedipus the King" is saturated with irony, more so than any other play I can think of. It also presents, compellingly, the question "whether a mere man can know the truth". And "Oedipus at Colonus" deals with matters of death and the possibility of influencing life after death.

This translation of THE THREE THEBAN PLAYS is by Robert Fagles, who also is the translator of the most popular renditions of Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey". Fagles favors comprehension and flow over rigorous fidelity to the original ancient Greek. The text is sprinkled with modern English colloquialisms such as "rumor has it", "no napping on the job", and "far be it from me". The result is a more accessible translation, one that certainly has much to commend it to those who are reading these classic plays for the first and in all likelihood only time in their lives. For myself, having refreshed my knowledge of the plays after having first read them about forty years ago, I want to read them yet again in a translation that is closer to the original Greek.

What most distinguishes this particular Penguin Classics edition, even more so than the Fagles translation, are the four essays by Bernard Knox. First, there is an eighteen-page essay on "Greece and the Theater", which provides an excellent, not-overly-academic introduction to Sophocles, the Oedipus story, and Greek drama generally. Then, for each of the specific plays, Knox contributes a separate twenty-plus page introduction. These are somewhat more detailed and remind me more of a college text. Nevertheless, they too are worthwhile - EXCEPT, in my opinion, they would be more rewarding if read AFTER reading the play in question rather than BEFORE.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One soul is enough, I know, to pay the debt for thousands, if one will go to the gods in all good faith. 11 août 2015
Par Phillip McCollum - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
There’s a pattern with many of these Greek tragedies. Through the sad tales of cursed families, they illustrate the evolution of Western civilization. Fifth-century Athens was a light in the dark, a young democracy, and the Athenians used tragedy as a tool to preserve history, learn from it, and document their growth. With The Oresteia, we saw Aeschylus tackle the ideas of law and respect for the state, and Sophocles continues along those lines, but places the focus on another great philosophical problem–free will vs. fate.

Though heady, the plays also had an entertainment value. The Spring festival celebrating Dionysus provided an opportunity for playwrights such as Sophocles to compete and put on a performance for thousands of spectators. Tragedies usually ran in the morning and the more lighthearted comedies toward the end of the day.

Being tragedies, lighthearted these three Theban plays are not. They adhere to the Greek tradition of dramatizing the lives of a cursed family, but instead of the House of Atreus, we gain a jagged view of humanity’s affliction through the House of Oedipus.

The first play, Antigone, is actually the last chronologically. Oedipus is dead, yet the curse continues. Thebes has defeated an onslaught of Argosian warriors, led by Polynices, the exiled son of Oedipus. He was killed, along with his brother, Eteocles. Antigone, daughter of Oedipus and sister of both Polynices and Eteocles, wants to bury the body of Polynices, but her uncle and Theban King, Creon, threatens anyone who does so with death. I think you can see where things are headed…

Next comes Oedipus the King, the shining star of the three plays–the painting within the frame. Each piece has its own beauty, but we move back in time to that dreadful moment of discovery. It’s through Oedipus’ actions that we see an evolution in Greek theater. The plot builds perfectly according to Aristotle’s Poetics and is the cornerstone of many a modern story. Oedipus represents the everyman, marching forward, thinking destiny is within his control, only to discover that he is a mere puppet to fate.

A plague has struck Thebes and the only solution is to bring the killer of Thebes’ last king, Laius, to justice. Through plot twists and turns, Oedipus dedicates himself to finding the killer, only to discover that he is the killer, and that he has fulfilled a prophecy which he has tried to avoid all of his life. The truth is too much. His wife and mother, Jocasta, kills herself, and Oedipus gouges out his eyes, his one act of defiant free will.

Finally, we are presented with Oedipus at Colonus. Many years have passed and Oedipus has become a wanderer, guided by the loyal Antigone. He finds himself in the town of Colonus, just outside of Athens. The oracular prophecy makes its next move: Oedipus has arrived in the place where he must be buried. This play is an ode to Athens, and by being buried just outside the city, it will be protected for all time.

Thus ends the Theban trilogy. Similar to my Aeschylus readings, I picked up the Robert Fagles translation. Sophocles’ writing flows easier and is less dense than that of Aeschylus, so if you had a tough time with The Oresteia, you may find Sophocles to be more in your wheelhouse. From Freud to soap operas, you’ll certainly begin to understand the many references to this bit of dramatic history.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best translation AND Bernard Knox 5 septembre 2015
Par Angela L. Lazarus - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Fagles' is the best translation for my money, both for culturally authenticity and for readability, whether you are in tenth grade or graduate school or no school; the reader who comes to Sophocles for pleasure will most certainly find it here. In selecting Greek texts and in the translation itself, Fagles collaborated with the great Bernard Knox, who prepared the introductions and notes--indispensable reading for anyone serious about understanding these great plays.

The Kindle edition is problem-free.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Absolute Best 17 août 2011
Par David K. - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I have read 4 different translations of the Theban plays and the Fagles translation is by far the best available. It reads flowingly. It has extensive notation. It has a fantastic introduction to Greek theatre and the evolution of the plays. The University of Chicago's Grene & Lattimore series is often cited as "the standard". But that series has only very cursory introductions and not to each play...there are no notes whatsoever and no glossary.
Fagles also translated the very best Homer of all time, IMO. His The Odyssey and The Iliad are excellent reading with wonderful introductions by Bernard Knox. I believe it is a truism that any work by Fagles will be top drawer.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sophocles 4 avril 2014
Par Anthony M. Obiedzinski - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone are classic plays, essential in any serious reader's library. Sophocles' Oedipus lays the foundation for the titular theory of one of the most famous persons in psychology, Sigmund Freud. One may have heard the term Oedipus complex in passing, or have an idea of what it is, but by reading the plays, one develops forays into existential crises, fate and free will. If a cursory reading gives the reader the "what," then a close reading will provide the "how" and perhaps the "why."
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