Getting Serious with Sophocles

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hello everyone, 

I hope you are all enjoying your week so far. It’s been a while since I've done a book review, revision plays havoc with my free time for reading, but needs must when the devil drives! I know I am not the first and nor will I be the last to review one of the great masters, however, I still wanted to share my thoughts with you on The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles. 

Narcissus flowers (Daffodils) were the flower of the underworld!

Ancient Greek literature is not exactly a common place genre, but I think it is highly underrated. A lot of people get forced into it at school and it completely puts them off. It’s a real shame, because this genre is amazing. The fact that it has survived this long is testament to that.  

The Three Theban Plays are Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. They all centre around Oedipus. The prince, fated to murder his father and marry his mother, is cast out at birth to die in the hills, but he is rescued and raised unaware of the prophecy. Unable to avoid fate’s design all that was foretold comes to pass, driving Oedipus mad in the process. He is exiled and wanders the earth, searching for his final resting place. He finds it at Colonus and curses Thebes and all who live there. Antigone, his daughter, mourns his passing and seeks to reconcile her brothers, but they kill each other. Antigone is fearful of the Gods and more than a little enamoured with death, she repeatedly calls on the Gods for mercy and justice, always linking it to death and the underworld. Defying the law of the King, Antigone buries her brother and is punished. She hangs herself during her punishment, finally going down to the death she was obsessed with. These tragic events lead to the suicide of the King’s son, her betrothed, and the King’s wife thus ending the cursed line of Oedipus. 

These stories are old classics and Sophocles writes them beautifully. Although I have summarised them in order, he actually wrote the plays with Antigone first, followed by Oedipus the King and finally Oedipus at Colonus. I found them a joy to read and loved the introductions by Robert Fagles, the translator of this edition. It wasn’t as hard going as I expected and although they are all three tragedies I found them more insightful into human nature and the desire to self-destruct than purely sad. As an introduction to this genre I couldn’t recommend them more, they make for quick reading and the asides from the chorus are quite amusing! I can’t wait to explore Ancient Greek plays more. 

Have you read this? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


xoxo

8 comments :

  1. Love it! I had fun reading this.


    ** I'm inviting you to join Love, Beauty Bloggers on facebook. A place for beauty and fashion bloggers from all over the world to promote their latest posts!


    BEAUTYEDITER.COM
    Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :-) I'm glad you enjoyed it, I had a lot of fun reading this book! I would love to join your group, thank you for inviting me.
      xoxo

      Delete
  2. I have not read this book, but I loved Greek Mythology when I was in school. This sounds like a great book. I will definitely be putting this on my list of books to read. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Kathy
    http://www.glamsimplified.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really glad you feel inspired by the review :-) I also loved mythology at school, but we did more latin texts than Greek so I wanted to go further into this genre.
      xoxo

      Delete
  3. I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology, so I'll have to check this book out, thanks for the recommendation!
    xo
    Siffat
    http://icingandglitter.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! :-) I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
      xoxo

      Delete

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs