Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 9 (2) 

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 11 (2) 

GREECE AND THE THEATER 13 (20) 

SOPHOCLES: THE THREE THEBAN PLAYS 

INTRODUCTION TO ANTIGONE 33 (22) 

ANTIGONE 55 (74) 

INTRODUCTION TO OEDIPUS THE KING 129(26) 

OEDIPUS THE KING 155(98) 

INTRODUCTION TO OEDIPUS AT COLONUS 253(26) 

OEDIPUS AT COLONUS 279(10) 

A NOTE ON THE TEXT OF SOPHOCLES 389(4) 

TEXTUAL VARIANTS 393(2) 

NOTES ON THE TRANSLATION 395(26) 

ANTIGONE 395(10) 

OEDIPUS THE KING 405(9) 

OEDIPUS AT COLONUS 414(7) 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 421(4) 

THE GENEALOGY OF OEDIPUS 425(2) 

GLOSSARY 427





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GREECE AND THE THEATER

But Greece was split up into separate small worlds: the plains, each with its own customs, laws, political institutions and traditions. They were such separate worlds that an ancient Greek joke book tells the story of a fool who saw the moon and asked his father: “Do they have a moon like that in other cities?”


These city-states were, so often as not, at war with their neighbors ? over grazing land, borderlines or cattle raids. The Greeks, who gave us history, philosophy and political science, never managed to solve the problems posed by their political disunity; even the ideal states of their philosophers ? the Republic of Plato, the perfect city of Aristotle ? make provision for universal military training and active defense against external threats. This permanent insecurity in interstate relations reinforced the bond between citizen and citizen and at the same time directed their energies inward, to feed the competitive spirit that was so marked a feature of Greek life: competition in sports, in art, in politics.


Robert Fagles, “Greece and the theater”, in: Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Penguin Books, 1984.



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