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The Three Theban Plays: 'Antigone', 'Oedipus the King', 'Oedipus at Colonus' (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 26 Apr 1984
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From the Back Cover
Three Theban Plays entitled Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus.
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.
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Top customer reviews
I found myself laughing at times by the sheer magnitude of misfortune of this poor man ,a incomprehensible scenario that is revolting and alien . He falls further and further down the rabbit hole prophicised by the gods and for what ? It's not that straight forward to see why.
Finding meaning in this story isn't clear cut or obvious . Froid ultimately found a meaning and created the Oedipus complex which needs no introduction . Experts contradict one another on the actual point of the story and thus , are undecided on a definitive meaning Sophocles was trying to get across . Ultimately , you have to read it for yourself and see what it makes you feel . I personally think it is completely tragic and sad . But at the same time relevant , bizarre and eerie . Perhaps Oedipus's descent is Trying to worn people of too much ambition , and the evils one might have to knowing or unknowingly commit to reach the top . Or is it a warning of blasphemy to the gods and not taken them seriously enough. My other inkling is it was an attempt to warn kings of his time of the dangers of pure bloodlines or what may happen if by refusing to listen to the people .
Maybe it means some of these points or maybe not. One thing is for sure you could probably talk all day about its meaning or hidden meanings and still talk some more on another day. There is no doubt this is a classic and I would highly recommend.
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.
By today's standards the plot is simple and the cast pared down with little by way of scenic backdrop. However, the characters are fantastic and the themes so modern that the plays are very easy to read (as well as being quite short) as well as having a metaphysical quality all of their own.
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.