The Theban Plays of SophoclesBook - 2007
Renowned as a poet and translator, Slavitt has translated Ovid, Virgil, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Ausonius, Prudentius, Valerius Flaccus, and Bacchylides as well as works in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew. In this volume he avoids personal intrusion on the texts and relies upon the theatrical machinery of the plays themselves. The result is a major contribution to the art of translation and a version of the Oedipus plays that will appeal enormously to readers, theater directors, and actors.
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Oedipus Rex starts with Oedipus on the throne trying to find out what is ailing his people. Tiresias is summoned who informs him of his incestous relationship with his mother , Oedipus cannot believe that he could be guilty of such a heinous crime and slowly pieces fall together that reveal that he is indeed his mother's husband . The thought overwhelms Jocasta and she commits suicide and Oedipus blinds himself . The story seems to be based on the singular belief that the gods have ordained everything that will come to pass and no matter what man conspires to do , for eg Laius trying to kill Oedipus fails miserably and he does die at his son's hand as was ordained.
Oedipus at Kolonus is the story of Oedipus who is now a beggar , thrown out by his sons. Shows a terribly bitter old man who ends up being the symbolical protector of the city of Athens in return for having protected him.
Antigone is the epilogue of the play "7 against Thebes" . Polynieces and Eteoclyes , the sons of Oedipus have killed each in battle . Creon the new king of Thebes declares that the body of Polyneices should be deprived of burial and anyone who dares to do otherwise will be put to death. Antigone , daughter of Oedipus argues that the ties of family are far stronger than that of state (thats an interesting argument) and buries the body but Creon's guards dig it up and when Antigone tries to bury it again , she is caught and bought before Creon. Here Sophocles depicts two dimensions to Creon and Antigone , not only is this a argument of state vs family but it is also a battle of wills .
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