Theban Plays

ISBN-10: 0140440038
ISBN-13: 9780140440034
Edition: 2003
List price: $14.00 Buy it from $0.01
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Description: The legends surrounding the royal house of Thebes inspired Sophocles (496 - 46 BC) to create a powerful trilogy about mankind's struggle against fate. King Oedipus tells of a man who brings pestilence to Thebes for crimes he does not realise he has  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.00
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/30/1950
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 176
Size: 4.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

The legends surrounding the royal house of Thebes inspired Sophocles (496 - 46 BC) to create a powerful trilogy about mankind's struggle against fate. King Oedipus tells of a man who brings pestilence to Thebes for crimes he does not realise he has committed and then inflicts a brutal punishment upon himself. With profound insights into the human condition, it is a devastating portrayal of a ruler brought down by his own oath. Oedipus at Colonus provides a fitting conclusion to the life of the aged and blinded king, while, Antigone depicts the fall of the next generation, through the conflict between a young woman ruled by her conscience and a king too confident in his own ability. E. F. Watling's masterful translation is accompanied by an introduction, which examines the central themes of the plays, the role of the Chorus, and the traditions and staging of Greek tragedy.

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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