Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra by Sophocles
(Oxford World's Classics)

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Synopsis

Love and loyalty, hatred and revenge, fear, deprivation, and political ambition: these are the motives which thrust the characters portrayed in these three Sophoclean masterpieces on to their collision course with catastrophe.

Recognized in his own day as perhaps the greatest of the Greek tragedians, Sophocles's reputation has remained undimmed for two and a half thousand years. His greatest innovation in the tragic medium was his development of a central tragic figure, faced with a test of will and character, risking obloquy and death rather than compromise his or her principles: it is striking that Antigone and Electra both have a woman as their intransigent `hero'. Antigone dies rather than
neglect her duty to her family, Oedipus's determination to save his city results in the horrific discovery that he has committed both incest and parricide, and Electra's unremitting anger at her mother and her lover keeps her in servitude and despair.

These vivid translations combine elegance and modernity, and are equally suitable for reading or theatrical performance. - ;Love and loyalty, hatred and revenge, fear, deprivation, and political ambition: these are the motives which thrust the characters portrayed in these three Sophoclean masterpieces on to their collision course with catastrophe.

Recognized in his own day as perhaps the greatest of the Greek tragedians, Sophocles' reputation has remained undimmed for two and a half thousand years. His greatest innovation in the tragic medium was his development of a central tragic figure, faced with a test of will and character, risking obloquy and death rather than compromise his or her principles: it is striking that Antigone and Electra both have a woman as their intransigent 'hero'.
Antigone dies rather neglect her duty to her family, Oedipus' determination to save his city results in the horrific discovery that he has committed both incest and parricide, and Electra's unremitting anger at her mother and her lover keeps her in servitude and despair.

These vivid translations combine elegance and modernity, and are remarkable for their lucidity and accuracy. Their sonorous diction, economy, and sensitivity to the varied metres and modes of the original musical delivery make them equally suitable for reading or theatrical peformance. -
 

About Sophocles

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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).
 
Published March 3, 1994 by Oxford University Press, UK. 222 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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