“I finished this new volume of translations of the seven existing plays by Sophocles last night. I unhesitatingly recommend this new work of the translators, Robert Bagg and James Scully, as they really did an outstanding job of presenting these powerful dramas with lyricism and impact. For your...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I had a hard time really getting into this translation by Paul Roche. He maintained the original iambic meter throughout the translation but varied the line lengths to such a degree that I found it very difficult to get into the poetic flow of the plays.
My enjoyment of the tragic plays' content varied somewhat. In general they follow the formula of a character persisting in their thought/words/actions while others try to convince them to do otherwise with, well, tragic consequences for one or more of the characters. My favorite was Oedipus the King with its theme of the futility of trying to avert prophecies or alter fate. I also enjoyed how Philoctetes and Ajax filled in some of the missing plot pieces from the Trojan War stories of Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid.
I think I may try to find a different translation with closer adherence to the original line-lengths and see if that can raise my opinion of Sophocles from 3 stars to 4.”
“I finished this new volume of translations of the seven existing plays by Sophocles last night. I unhesitatingly recommend this new work of the translators, Robert Bagg and James Scully, as they really did an outstanding job of presenting these powerful dramas with lyricism and impact. For your information, I am providing a list of the plays in the collection and the primary translator--
Aias (James Scully)
Women of Trakhis (Robert Bagg)
Philoktetes (James Scully)
Elektra (Robert Bagg)
Oedipus the King (Robert Bagg)
Oedipus at Kolonos (Robert Bagg)
Antigone (Robert Bagg)
Interestingly enough, this was the first time that I had read Aias (Ajax) or the Women of Trakhis and I really, really enjoyed both of them. While I was familiar with the story of Ajax from The Iliad, I have to say that Sophocles and James Scully really made me realize the physical and psychological toll that warfare and combat has upon a soldier. One has to believe that what is described in Aias can only be classified as "post-traumatic stress disorder" (PTSD). We see the toll that this 'madness' takes upon the family and friends of Ajax, and it is truly heartbreaking. In the Introduction to the volume, Bagg and Scully indicate that excerpts from both Aias and Philoktetes have been performed for members of the American armed services and their families in the context of addressing and dealing with PTSD. Bravo!
Finally, I have to say that I consider myself somewhat a connoisseur associated with Sophocles' Antigone, and the version in this collection is simply superb. The dialog is spare, clipped, and drips with pathos--we emotionally respond not only to what Kreon and Antigone say in the play, but the overall intent of Sophocles in writing the play. As Antigone prepares to meet her fate she laments,
"Hades, who chills each one of us to sleep,
will guide me down to Acheron's shore.
I'll go hearing no wedding hymn
to carry me to my bridal chamber, or songs
girls sing when flowers crown a bride's hair;
I'm going to marry the River of Pain." (Lines 890-895)
That'll wrench your heart-strings. Bagg and Scully have given us a new version of Sophocles that is dramatic, poetic, and lyrical. The language incorporated in these translations is not in the slightest degree flowery or excessive. In my opinion, not one word is wasted, the emotion is right there--in your face--and it just feels right. Read these plays and see what you think.”
“Antigone, to be specific..... The play was pretty dramati cna dreally tragic. I feel bad for Creon, even if he kind of was the antagonist.”Elizabeth Ariza =] wrote this review Sunday, May 23, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“All of these plays are masterpieces. However, I would like to call attention to 'Oedipus at Colonus.' Not as widely celebrated or studied as the other Oedipus plays, it is, in my opinion, the greatest of all Greek tragedies, and the finest play in world literature not written by Shakespeare. The mood of this play is unusual, and strangely calm for a tragedy; it's almost like one of Shakespeare's comedies, or a Platonic dialogue. It's very haunting and profound.”Ry R wrote this review Saturday, November 21, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Greek Roman Theater still echoes!”Sawsana wrote this review Monday, February 11, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Sophocles provided the cornerstone for subsequent great tragic playwrights, including Shakespeare. I am utterly fascinated with how all of his plays illustrate the helplessness of men, whose fates lie wholly within the hands of the capricious and meddling Greek gods. Naturally, my favorite plays are those of the Oedipus series, especially _Antigone_; this strong-willed heroine is admirable in her defiance of Creon, but it is easy to see that she is also fond of martyrdom, so the motivation behind her actions is somewhat ambiguous. _Electra_ is another excellent play, but in truth they are all good. All in all, Sophocles has earned the mark of magnanimity. ”Jamie wrote this review Monday, January 28, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No