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4.8 out of 5 stars
48
4.8 out of 5 stars


on 2 August 2017
First time I read this I was ambivalent towards it, but second time around I loved it. It's a little hard to comprehend but stick with it and do some research too. Should also mention that this is one translation and other translations may suit different people. I think this edition is more literal while others can be more poetic so it's worth checking other editions.
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on 20 May 2016
Excellent versions. Designed to
be used on stage. I really felt very close to the dramas
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on 11 September 2017
As described
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on 23 October 2017
Excellent
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on 29 July 2016
As usual with Greek literature, its important to get a good translation and Fagles is one of the best. It's also important to read at least some of the supporting text so that you have the background establised beforehand (Greek playwrights assumed their audience would already be familiar with this.
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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 July 2006
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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on 21 February 2014
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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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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on 4 May 2017
The Oedipus plays are split into three parts; Oedipus the king , Oedipus at the colonus and Antigone. Written by Sophocles in 450BC , this Greek classic still haunts and taunts any one who crosses its path . The basic story follows Oedipus the king, who's city is being struck with plague and famine. People are dying and rumours spread across the land of a curse . The oracle informs the king of his fate . It's a revelation that is horrifying and insidious ; Oedipus finds out he unknowingly killed his father and is married to his mother who he has child with . Without wanting to give away anymore of the story it's fair to say from here on his life de-rails from reality and is flung into madness.
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.
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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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