Citation Styles for "The Three Theban Plays ; Antigone ; Oedipus the king ; Oedipus at Colonus" Sophocles, Robert Fagles, and Bernard Knox. Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before BC. Of the three Theban plays .. verse; – Robert Fagles, verse with introduction and notes by Bernard Knox; – Don Taylor, prose (The Theban Plays, Methuen Drama;. Sophocles taught his Antigone to a chorus of fifteen young men for the contest in tragedy. Robert Fagles' "My own flesh and blood--dear sister, dear. Ismene".


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Hers antigone robert fagles a familiar madness — the madness of religious fundamentalism. Her system of values cannot be comprehended by Creon — she is adament in following the law of the gods regardless of the consequences, and wholly callously.

Modern translations antigone robert fagles often shown her as a freedom fighter and Creon as a tyrant — but it is equally valid to read Creon as the realist and Antigone as a suicide bomber.

Contrast antigone robert fagles passion and concern shown by Haemon and Ismene toward her with her own attitude toward them.

Find in a library : The Three Theban Plays ; Antigone ; Oedipus the king ; Oedipus at Colonus

In her implacable universalism, her religious fanaticism, she is the most selfish character in the play. Antigone robert fagles is these two factors — the irresoluble conflict between two different ideological perspectives, each of which both frightens and attracts us, and underneath that the fundamental insincerity of the advocates both both positions — that make Antigone a strikingly modern play, or at least a strikingly modern idea for a play.

In practice, all the long speeches and easily-roused tempers feel very distant and literary. Oedipus the King is probably the antigone robert fagles interesting of the three but the most readable. Again, the plot is an unusual one — the main character gradually discovers that he has murdered his father and had children with his mother.


But this is not that sort of tragedy — nobody punishes Oedipus. His downfall is not through his worst features, but through his best — his reason, his dedication antigone robert fagles the truth, his honesty. If he had been a worse man, his doom could have been avoided at any antigone robert fagles.

That is the basic strangeness of the play — Oedipus falls because he is so good a man.


His hubris antigone robert fagles no influence on things, and acts only to ironically highlight the tragedy that we know is coming. Nor does Oedipus even set in motion his own downfall, leaving the moral that human antigone robert fagles will be punished — no, everything has been set in place long ago.

It is only because Laius believes that if he has a son the son will kill him that he has Oedipus abandoned at birth — otherwise, there would have been no strife between them.

It is only because Laius is journeying in a small party to gain wisdom from an oracle that he meets, attacks, and is killed by Oedipus. It antigone robert fagles only because Oedipus sends to, and then listens to, the oracle at Delphi, that he embarks on his investigation, the investigation that will end antigone robert fagles his own exile and blinding.

The fates are implacable and merciless. There is a wonderful Athenian hubris in it all — a simultaneous lament over the inevitability of tragedy, its inescapability, its divine predestination, and yet at the same time the total denial of any divine role in it. Oedipus — and Athens — seem to revel in the self-caused nature of their downfall.

The Three Theban Plays

Every step of the tragedy is made by humans acting from free will. But at the same time, the penalty is far greater — in Homer, Oedipus is distraught but he remains king, while in Sophocles he rips out his own eyes and antigone robert fagles himself sent into exile unto death.


Oedipus is the criminal, the investigator, the prosecutor, the judge, and the executioner, and the punishment he inflicts on himself for failing to abide by his own laws, even accidentally, is less merciful than the gods would have been.

Antigone robert fagles is hard not to read the character of Athens into that heroic self-destruction. Oedipus the King is, as I say, less interesting, because it is more understandable.

It excells, however, in its construction — yes, there is still a degree of shouting and proclaiming, but it is much more under control than in Antigone.

Nothing is allowed to get in the way of antigone robert fagles action, which procedes mercilessly and breathlessly toward its foreknown conclusion. If that conclusion has a flaw, it is that the crimes related no longer seem so horrific as they did to Sophocles, and thus the punishment seems less merited.

This is even more the case at Oedipus at Colonus, where pages at a time are wasted in lamenting the unutterable abomination of incest.

OK, antigone robert fagles modern reader might say, get over it.

Citation Styles for "The Three Theban Plays ; Antigone ; Oedipus the king ; Oedipus at Colonus"

If Oedipus the King is the most understandable, Oedipus at Colonus is the least. The entire plot is mysterious to us — the mystical power that will be gained by the corpse of Oedipus once it is antigone robert fagles, and the importance of burying it in one place or another.

It is a striking reminder of the antigone robert fagles of sanity, that the same writer who could express antigone robert fagles humanitarianism of Antigone, the cold rationalism of Creon and the sensible, heroic, intellectual Oedipus could still treat in such matters as the magic powers of the corpses of heroes as though it were an everyday concept, beyond discussion.

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