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The Three Theban Plays [Paperback]

Sophocles , Robert Fagles , Bernard Knox
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 May 2003

Free when packaged with any Damrosch World Literature title.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Prentice-Hall; Reprint (Revised Edition) edition (21 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131846388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131846388
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About 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.

Product Description


"The translation is contemporary, the notes are helpful, and the glossary is a useful addition. My students liked the text, too."--Professor Robert W. Sawyer, Hiram College

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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In the sixth and fifth centuries before the birth of Christ an ancient civilization reached such heights of intellectual and artistic achievement that every succeeding period of Western culture, from the Roman Empire to the twentieth century, has been heavily in its debt, whether acknowledged or not. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, gripping . . . 29 Mar 2007
I had read - and dismissed - Antigone in high school. Like many of the books I dismissed in my adolescence, it's actually heartbreakingly brilliant. Fagles' translation is beautiful and moving, contemporizing the language without destroying meaning or stretching plausibility to cater for short-attention spans. I found myself circling passages and it's not even part of my University reading list this semester. Reading something like these plays really reminds you how absolutely desolate Hollywood and Theatreland have become these days - almost nothing compares with Sophocles, and even the best of modern literature owes so much to the ancient masters that reading them inevitably changes the way you read everything else. Who can blame Freud for feeling so inspired?

As for Bernard Knox's introductions, I found they ellucidated the subtle nuances of the plays and enriched my reading experience, all while being riveting reads on their own. Perhaps even worth the price of the book alone, particularly the one introducing Oedipus the King.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read Oedipus once in your life! 26 July 2006
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
A seminal work of both literature and theatre, Oedipus still haunts us. Academics argue still over the 'meaning' of Oedipus: is he guilty? is he simply blind? what's the truth of the relationship between him and his mother Jocasta? If we could ever answer all these questions the play would lose its power and drop out of the canon. Read it in this excellent translation and make up your own mind.

Antigone has been reinterpreted repeatedly: as a feminist play, as a play about political oppression, as a play about a dysfunctional family. Antigone may be a difficult character to sympathise with or understand, but the poetry of the drama excels even that of Oedipus (especially the eerie, haunting 'hymn to Dionysus').

More human than Aeschylus, more stately than Euripides, the greatest tragedy is that only seven of Sophocles plays have come donw to us, and these 2 are the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars College book 8 Oct 2013
By Grace
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am studying these three plays as part of my A2 college course. This translation is very clear and ticked all the boxes.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic and harrowing 23 Mar 2005
Many readers would dismiss classical literature as staid and impenetrable. They couldn't be more wrong and this translation of the Theban Plays proves it. The powerful story of the destruction of a family is told with incredible pace and verve: Oedipus lacks awareness but longs for it and faces the blistering consequences of his straight questions; he and his daughter Antigone are reduced to homelessness and poverty; Antigone, alone eventually, is criminalized for her refusal to compromise to state law. These dramas of individuals facing the often irreversible consequences of their uncompromising actions will always be relevant. This touching, powerful translation in contemporary English is the most accessible to new readers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good drama 21 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
However when book arrived was in very bad condition and everytime I read the book more of the pages fall apart from rot. Book is only fit for the bin once I have finished with it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a school book 11 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My son needed it for his classics at college and while it was not my cup of tea, hardly bedtime reading, he was happy with it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great for college 1 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
was purchased for my son for his college course and was a great buy and came in very many books are needed for college and uni and this a great way to afford them .
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5.0 out of 5 stars book 16 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
the correct version for my daughter's A level course it is in good condition and does the job required of it.
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