The Three Theban Plays – Sophocles Translated by Robert Fagles with Notes on the Translation: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus. Robert Fagles’ translation conveys all of Sophocles’ lucidity and power: the cut The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedip and millions of. In Meyer’s Bedford Introduction to Literature 8th editon, the Fagles translation, there are no marked or numbered scene breaks. See end of file for citing the play .

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I think that Antigone is meant to be seen as irrational; maybe too Oedipus, and through him the war, is meant to be seen a inexplicable. So much is lost in that translation — the rhythms and rules of Greek poetry, even if they are followed by the translator, do not carry their import with them. His voice is understandable — too amtigone in temper, yes, and too afraid, but still a reasonable man with understandable, and even admirable, objectives — even if, like Antigone, his antgone motivations do not live up to his pronouncements.

Her system of values cannot be comprehended by Creon — she is adament in following the law of the gods regardless of the consequences, and wholly callously. Every step of the tragedy is made by humans acting from free will. At the same time, it is in some ways the most interesting. Maybe it is simply because both children lie, and both attempt to use their father at the end.

It is an interesting type of misogyny where failure to follow gender roles brings untold tragedy, fqgles the blame is placed not on the women but on the men who failed to protect them. Are we meant to understand antigohe Oedipus curses his sons?

Oedipus is the criminal, the investigator, the prosecutor, the judge, and the executioner, and the punishment he inflicts on himself for failing to abide by faglee own laws, even accidentally, is less merciful than the gods would have been. The argument that they should not have exiled him from Thebes seems weak — he commanded them to do so, rbert in any case the gods had demanded his exile as the price of the end of the plague.

That is the basic strangeness of the play — Oedipus falls translatfd he is so good a man. It is only because Oedipus sends to, and then listens to, the oracle at Delphi, that he embarks on his investigation, the investigation that will end with his own exile and blinding. You are commenting using your Twitter account.


Slowed down by over-long speeches, but the choral structure ensures that there is never any break, and just enough pause to raise the heartbeat of impatience. It is very hard to know how to approach the Theban plays. It is hard not to read the character of Athens into that heroic self-destruction.

Sophocles’ Antigone

Most peculiar to us is the total absence of the war of the Seven Against Thebes — presaged in Colonus, all over before Antigone even begins. Hers is a familiar madness — the madness of religious fundamentalism. But this is not that sort of tragedy — nobody punishes Oedipus. But is that enough to justify one of the central curses of Greek mythology? It is these two factors — the irresoluble conflict between two different ideological perspectives, each of which both frightens and attracts us, and underneath that the fundamental insincerity of the advocates both both positions — that make Antigone a strikingly modern play, or at least a anttigone modern idea for a play.

They are not a translafed — they were written across a span of decades, with little attempt at continuity, and the earliest written is set the latest in the story. As Oedipus dies in the play, so too does the Athens of the audience — as it was being written when Sophocles, like Oedipus, could vy his own death approachingthe city was engaged in the final existential struggle against Sparta in which the Athenians, with Oedipal hubris, refused to accept the surrender of Sparta even at the verge of their own destructionand by the time the audience could see the play performed, Athens had surrendered, its walls, fleet, port and empire destroyed, and was entirely dependant on the continued mercy of the Spartans.

This is particularly true of Antigone, who justifies her actions many times over, but never the same way, and by the end seems almost to embrace their nihilistic motivelessness.

You are commenting using your WordPress. This makes them very difficult — not to understand or to enjoy, but to really assess, with the confidence of somebody who knows what they are looking for. Oedipus the King is, as I say, less interesting, because it is more understandable.

The Theban Plays, by Sophocles, tr. Robert Fagles

There are incredibly powerful emotions here, but they are very distant — made so by the language, the structure, the unreadable symbols of a dead culture, and simply by the fact that this is a play, and designed to be spoken and sung and not read, and at a different pace. The entire plot is mysterious to us — sntigone mystical power that will be gained by the corpse of Oedipus once it is buried, and the importance of burying it in one place or another. Modern translations have often shown her as a freedom fighter roert Creon as a tyrant — but it is equally valid to read Creon as the realist and Antigone as a suicide bomber.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Contrast the passion and concern shown by Haemon and Ismene toward her with her own attitude toward them. Oedipus the King is probably the least interesting of the three but the most readable.

Antigone meanwhile, whether we take her at her word or look for deeper and more consistent reasons, is by the standards of Creon simply mad. I found it the hardest to read by far. The argument that they should have followed him into exile is rather stronger, but still seems incongruous — this Oedipus, this Oedipus who spends the play forcefully asserting his innocence, the injustice of his punishment for actions that were not his fault, that were decided before his birth, seems a strange match to an Oedipus who curses his sons to death for not allowing that punishment to extend another generation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: The two central characters — Creon zntigone Antigone — both present compelling cases, yet both are also wholly inconsistent. It is confusing, and it is sophisticated. It is only because Laius is journeying in a small party to gain wisdom from an oracle that he meets, attacks, and is killed by Oedipus. The translation of a poetry form alien to me into modern verse for a play, read on the page?

If that conclusion has a flaw, it is that the crimes related no longer seem so horrific as they did to Sophocles, and thus the punishment seems less merited. Here, Sophocles is rather fonder of high melodrama, of literary allusions some now lost on usof people going around shouting a lot, and of long and flowery speeches.