The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus
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The heroic Greek dramas that have moved theatergoers and readers since the fifth century B.C.
Towering over the rest of Greek tragedy, the three plays that tell the story of the fated Theban royal family—Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus—are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written. Robert Fagles's authoritative and acclaimed translation conveys all of Sophocles's 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. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction and notes by the renowned classicist Bernard Knox.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
which Brecht’s political creed urgently demanded but which never came “out of the twilight.” Come out of the twilight and walk before us a while, friendly, with the light step of one whose mind is fully made up ... Of these two modern adaptations, Anouilh’s, which presents the conflict between the protagonists as a real dilemma, is closer to the spirit of the Sophoclean play than Brecht’s passionate advocacy of one side against the other. For in the opening scenes of the Sophoclean play
Anne Bass, Charles Verrill and Melissa Browne sped the production of the book, and many others—Juliet Annan, Nancy Gallt, Jean Griffin, Victoria Meyer and Constance Sayre—treated it with energy and warmth. As the book appears in Penguin Classics now, my thanks should go to several who are instrumental in the series. Betty Radice, the general editor, carefully read the plays in manuscript and sent me her valuable suggestions. Kathryn Court, my editor and mainstay for the new edition, Marcia
hardest; the toughest iron, tempered strong in the white-hot fire, you’ll see it crack and shatter first of all. And I’ve known spirited horses you can break with a light bit—proud, rebellious horses. There’s no room for pride, not in a slave, not with the lord and master standing by. This girl was an old hand at insolence when she overrode the edicts we made public. But once she had done it—the insolence, twice over—to glory in it, laughing, mocking us to our face with what she’d
hero’s will must be independent of those factors, not identified with them. As Macbeth, for example, is independent of the prophetic witches. Macbeth chooses to believe the witches and the vision of the dagger—and on this subject he says something very revealing:or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going ... (2.1.37-42) He was
their ruler, as well as confidence in his leadership. Since then, however, that belief and that confidence have been undermined. The chorus has seen Oedipus condemn Creon to death without any real evidence of wrongdoing on his part—an action more characteristic of a dictator, a “tyrant,” than of a king; they have heard of events which make it seem probable that Oedipus is indeed the killer of Laius, as he himself fears may be the case; they have just heard Jocasta dismiss with contempt a