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26
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Three Theban Plays (Penguin Classics)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 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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on 2 July 2015
I have the Kindle edition of this, and I'm amazed at the number of typos in the text. I chose the Penguin edition because of their reputation but I am disappointed in this.

That said, the translation and supporting text are excellent.
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on 11 April 2013
I'd never really got into Greek tragedy until A2 Level, but these three and great. The translation is very readable and the introduction very informative. Well worth a look.
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on 18 September 2014
Took quite some time to arrive but the book is in perfect condition, looks brand new, and is perfect for use at A2 level classical civilisations - very happy
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2001
These three plays are the best you'll come across. The finest tragedies ever written.They are also quite controversial for todays standards with some complex inbreeding.A must for anyone of any age. If you know nothing about the Ancient world you'll see it for the controversy, and if you know all about the ancient world you'll know that it surpasses any other work by any other author
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on 13 August 2013
Far better condition than I expected of a second-hand book. Delighted as we were studying it in our U3A class.KGM
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2001
I'm studying two of the plays from this book and I find them facinating. They've lost none of their impact over the centuries, and are very accessible to the casual reader. This is my prefered translation, and I can't wait to read the third play!
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on 13 October 2014
Extremely interesting and arresting stuff!
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