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

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

Sophocles, Edith Hall, H. D. F. Kitto

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0199537178

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.
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bitter story; then she put A dagger to her heart and drove it home. CREON [sings]. The guilt falls on me alone; none but I Have slain her; no other shares in the sin. ’Twas I dealt the blow. This is the truth, my friends. 1320 Away, take me away, far from the sight of men! My life now is death. Lead me away from here. CHORUS. That would be well, if anything is well. Briefest is best when such disaster comes. Antistrophe 2 CREON [sings]. O come, best of all the days I can see, The last

fellow traveller Whose knowledge might have helped you in your search? CREON. All died, except one terror-stricken man, And he could tell us nothing—next to nothing. OEDIPUS. And what was that? One thing might lead to much, 120 If only we could find one ray of light. CREON. He said they met with brigands—not with one, But a whole company; they killed Laius. OEDIPUS. A brigand would not dare—unless perhaps Conspirators in Thebes had bribed the man. CREON. There was conjecture; but

mention then of me? CREON. He never spoke of you within my hearing. OEDIPUS. Touching the murder: did you make no search? CREON. No search? Of course we did; but we found nothing. OEDIPUS. And why did this wise prophet not speak then? CREON. Who knows? Where I know nothing I say nothing. OEDIPUS. This much you know—and you’ll do well to answer: 570 CREON. What is it? If I know, I’ll tell you freely. OEDIPUS. That if he had not joined with you, he’d not Have said that I was Laius’

must Call her a mother who dares sleep with him! She is so brazen that she lives with that Defiler; vengeance from the gods is not A thought that frightens her! As if exulting In what she did she noted carefully The day on which she treacherously killed My father, and each month, when that day comes, She holds high festival and sacrifices 280 Sheep to the Gods her Saviours.* I look on In misery, and weep with breaking heart. This cruel mockery, her Festival Of Agamemnon, is to me a

for his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia. She also articulates the principle of retributive killing, ’Blood in return for blood’ (p. 123); an attentive audience must realize that intra-familial murder, by this law, is bound to result in an endless cycle of violence down the generations. If Clytemnestra is killed, her blood too must ultimately be avenged. Sophocles even obliquely suggests candidates to take on this responsibility, by attributing children to her by Aegisthus; according to

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