Oedipus the King * Aias * Philoctetes * Oedipus at Colonus
Sophocles stands as one of the greatest dramatists of all time, and one of the most influential on artists and thinkers over the centuries. In these four tragedies he portrays the extremes of human suffering and emotion, turning the heroic myths into supreme works of poetry and dramatic action. Oedipus the King follows Oedipus, the 'man of sorrow', who has unwittingly chosen to enact his prophesied course by murdering his father and marrying his mother. In Aias, the great
warrior confronts the harrowing humiliation inflicted upon him, while Philoctetes sees a once-noble hero nursing his resentment after ten years of marooned isolation. In Oedipus at Colonus the blind Oedipus, who has wandered far and wide as a beggar, finally meets his mysterious death.
These original and distinctive verse translations convey the vitality of Sophocles' poetry and the vigour of the plays in performance. Each play is accompanied by an introduction and substantial notes on topographical and mythical references and interpretation.
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Oliver Taplin retired in 2008 from being a Professor of Classics at the University of Oxford and, for thirty-five years, Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. The leading recurrent theme of his work has been the reception of poetry and drama through performance and material culture, in both ancient and modern times. As well as his academic work, he has been involved in broadcasting and theatre, both within and beyond the UK. Productions on which he has collaborated include the Oresteia (1981-2, dir. Peter Hall), The Thebans (1992, dir. Adrian Noble), the Oresteia (1999-2000, dir. Katie Mitchell), and Swallow Song (2004 and 2006 dir. Lydia Koniordou). Sophocles, born in the 490s BC, was a leading ancient Greek dramatist who composed as many as 120 plays in his long lifetime, although only seven survive. He entered and won many of the dramatic competitions held in honour of Dionysus, and was also a prominent public figure in the Athens of his day.
OEDIPUS THE KING; AIAS; PHILOCTETES; OEDIPUS AT COLONUS