All of the translations mentioned here aim to make the plays accessible to a modern audience and were created with performance in mind. The books each include a set of sound files showing how names are pronounced and another giving commentary notes on the play, characters, plot and various literary effects. There is a glossary of names of places and people, which also features explanations of some of the main aspects of Greek theatre. These works will suit anyone wanting to enjoy new, carefully crafted translations of masterpieces, whilst also aiming to serve those who want to dig a little deeper. If you are looking to create a performance of a play, they should help inspire you with some ideas.
The Antigone of Sophocles is a landmark play in Greek theatre. First performed in 441 BC, it won instant recognition within the genre. In several ways, we can see it as a perfect Greek tragedy, in which the defects of the main characters lead on to their own destruction. More than 2,400 years later, the play still has a timeless quality. In today's world, there are countries where women are repressed, where citizens lose their most basic rights, and where the rule of Law is misunderstood. With no possible defence, Antigone may help us understand that we are not alone in the modern world.
The Bacchae of Euripides is perhaps the most powerful of all Greek tragedies, containing some wonderful passages where one actor takes control of another, or releases another from the control of an outside force. The conflict of Pentheus and Dionysus is a psychological struggle in which the overpowering force of a suppressed emotion will wreak its dreadful end, however much resistance is offered.
Medea is a masterpiece of psychological drama, in which Euripides shows us just how dangerous and evil a person can become when she is cheated. Dating from 431 BC, the play still has the power to provoke a modern audience.
Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King is probably the best known of all Greek tragedies. Its lead character has come to Thebes and taken over the throne after the death of Laius, the previous ruler. Little does he realise that Laius was actually his own father and that he is now married to his own mother. Themes of blindness and vision dominate the play as the hero embarks on a ruinous voyage of self-discovery.
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Sample pages from Antigone
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