The Three Theban Plays

The Three Theban Plays : Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus

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Towering over the rest of Greek tragedy, Sophocles' The Three Theban Plays are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written. This Penguin Classics edition is translated by Robert Fagles with introductions and notes by Bernard Knox.

Collected here are Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, in a translation by Robert Fagles which retains all of Sophocles' lucidity and power: the cut and thrust of his dialogue, his ironic edge, the surge and majesty of his choruses and, above all, the agonies and triumphs of his characters. Oedipus in exile, searching for his identity, desperately trying to avoid his fate, seeking the truth of his origins and achieving immortality; his daughter, Antigone, defending her integrity and ideals to the death - these heroic, tragic figures have captivated theatregoers and readers since the fifth century BC. It is Sophocles' characterisation of Oedipus that would, in the nineteenth century, inspire Sigmund Freud to a revolutionary conception of the human mind, and the tragedies in this volume continue to move and inspire us to this day.

Sophocles (496-405 BC) was born at Colonus, just outside Athens. His long life spanned the rise and decline of the Athenian Empire; he was a friend of Pericles, and though not an active politician he held several public offices, both military and civil. The leader of a literary circle and friend of Herodotus, Sophocles wrote over a hundred plays, drawing on a wide and varied range of themes, and winning the City Dionysia eighteen times; though only seven of his tragedies have survived, among them Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Ajax and Oedipus at Colonus.

If you enjoyed The Three Theban Plays, you might like Aeschylus' The Oresteia, also available in Penguin Classics.

'I know of no better English version'
Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Oxford University

'The most impressive verse translations of Sophocles that have been made'
Stephen Spender
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 109.22 x 177.8 x 12.7mm | 22.68g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • illustrations, bibliography
  • 0140444254
  • 9780140444254
  • 11,128

About Sophocles

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.
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Back cover copy

Three Theban Plays entitled Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus.
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Table of contents

The Three Theban Plays - Sophocles Translated by Robert Fagles with Introductions and Notes by Bernard KnoxAcknowledgments
Translator's Preface
Greece and the Theater
Introduction to Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King
Introduction to Oedipus at Colonus
Oedipus at Colonus
A Note on the Text of Sophocles
Textual Variants
Notes on the Translation: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus
Select Bibliography
The Genealogy of Oedipus
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Rating details

51,751 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
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4 35% (18,146)
3 23% (12,141)
2 5% (2,838)
1 1% (719)
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