The Theban Plays

The Theban Plays

Paperback Penguin Classics

By (author) Sophocles, Introduction by E.F. Watling, Translated by E.F. Watling

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  • Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 14mm | 141g
  • Publication date: 26 April 1973
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140440038
  • ISBN 13: 9780140440034
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: notes
  • Sales rank: 14,876

Product description

The legends surrounding the royal house of Thebes inspired Sophocles to create a powerful trilogy of mankind's struggle against fate. "King Oedipus" tells of a man who brings pestilence to Thebes for crimes he doesn't realise he has committed, and then inflicts a brutal punishment on himself. 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 authority.

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Author information

Sophocles was born in 496 BC. His long life spanned the rise and decline of the Athenian Empire. He wrote over a hundred plays, many of which are published as Penguin Classics, drawing on a wide and varied range of themes. E.F. Watling translated a range of Greek and Roman plays for Penguin, including the seven plays of Sophocles and the tragedies of Seneca.

Review quote

"[Oedipus the King] is Sophocles' most famous play and the most celebrated play of Greek drama . . . Aristotle cites it as the best model for a tragic plot . . . Freud recognized the play's power to dramatize the process by which we uncover hidden truths about ourselves . . . Sophocles is more interested in how Oedipus pieces together the isolated fragments of his past to discover who and what he is and in tracing the hero's response to this new vision of himself."--from the Introduction by Charles Segal

Table of contents

The Theban legend; "King Oedipus"; the legend continued; "Oedipus at Colonus"; the legend continued; "Antigone"; notes to "King Oedipus"; notes to "Oedipus at Colonus"; notes to "Antigone".