Oedipus Cycle A New Translation

ISBN-10: 0062119990
ISBN-13: 9780062119995
Edition: 2012
Authors: Sophocles
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Description: Award-winning poet and playwright Robert Bagg offers a set of exciting and authentic new translations of Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone—together known as The Oedipus Cycle. One of the unquestionable acmes of world literature,  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.99
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 2/28/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 448
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

Award-winning poet and playwright Robert Bagg offers a set of exciting and authentic new translations of Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone—together known as The Oedipus Cycle. One of the unquestionable acmes of world literature, Sophocles’s immortal series of plays centers upon the royal family of Thebes, whose struggles for nobility and greatness lead paradoxically to their own tragic downfalls. Portraying humankind at its worst and most fallible even while exploring the heights of virtue and honor, the plays shine a searing light upon questions of fate and free will, destiny and responsibility, hubris and humility, honor and obligation, and more. Robert Bagg’s timely translations allow the power and depth of Sophocles’s masterpieces to shine through clearly to readers today.

The Greek dramatist Sophocles, born to a wealthy family at Colonus, near Athens, was admired as a boy for his personal beauty and musical skill. He served faithfully as a treasurer and general for Athens when it was expanding its empire and influence. In the dramatic contests, he defeated Aeschylus in 468 b.c. for first prize in tragedy, wrote a poem to Herodotus (see Vol. 3), and led his chorus and actors in mourning for Euripides just a few months before his own death. He wrote approximately 123 plays, of which 7 tragedies are extant, as well as a fragment of his satiric play, Ichneutae (Hunters). His plays were produced in the following order: Ajax (c.450 b.c.), Antigone (441 b.c.), Oedipus Tyrannus (c.430 b.c.), Trachiniae (c.430 b.c.), Electra (between 418 and 410 b.c.), Philoctetes (409 b.c.), and Oedipus at Colonus (posthumously in 401 b.c.). With Sophocles, Greek tragedy reached its most characteristic form. He added a third actor, made each play independent---that is, not dependent on others in a trilogy---increased the numbers of the chorus, introduced the use of scenery, shifted the focus from religious to more philosophical issues, and brought language and characters, though still majestic, nearer to everyday life. His finely delineated characters are responsible for the tragedy that befalls them, and they accept it heroically. Aristotle (see Vols. 3, 4, and 5) states that Sophocles said he portrayed people as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. His utter command of tragic speech in the simple grandeur of his choral odes, dialogues, and monologues encourages the English reader to compare him to Shakespeare (see Vol. 1).

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