Theban Plays Oedipus the Tyrant; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone

ISBN-10: 0801478715
ISBN-13: 9780801478710
Edition: 2013
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Description: The timeless Theban tragedies of Sophocles-Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone-have fascinated and moved audiences and readers across the ages with their haunting plots and their unforgettable heroes and heroines. Now, following the  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/19/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 216
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

The timeless Theban tragedies of Sophocles-Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone-have fascinated and moved audiences and readers across the ages with their haunting plots and their unforgettable heroes and heroines. Now, following the best texts faithfully, and translating the key moral, religious, and political terminology of the plays accurately and consistently, Peter J. Ahrensdorf and Thomas L. Pangle allow contemporary readers to study the most literally exact reproductions of precisely what Sophocles wrote, rendered in readily comprehensible English. These translations enable readers to engage the Theban plays of Sophocles in their full, authentic complexity, and to study with precision the plays' profound and enduring human questions. In the preface, notes to the plays, and introductions, Ahrensdorf and Pangle supply critical historical, mythic, and linguistic background information, and highlight the moral, religious, political, philosophic, and psychological questions at the heart of each of the plays. Even readers unfamiliar with Greek drama will find what they need to experience, reflect on, and enjoy these towering works of classical literature.

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).

Peter J. Ahrensdorf is James Sprunt Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Professor of Classics at Davidson College. He is the author of Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays and The Death of Socrates and the Life of Philosophy: An Interpretation of Plato's Phaedo.

Thomas L. Pangle is the Joe R. Long Chair in Democratic Studies in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author or editor of numerous books.

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