Agamemnon, King of Argos, returns to Greece a victor in the Trojan War. He has brought with him the seer Cassandra as his war-prize and concubine. Awaiting him is his vengeful wife Clytemnestra, who is angry at Agamemnon's sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia to the gods, jealous of Cassandra, and guilty of taking a lover herself. The events that unfold catch everyone in a bloody net, including their absent son Orestes. Aeschylus (525-456 BC) was the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece, a forerunner of Sophocles and Euripides. His early tragedies were largely choral pageants with minimal plots. In Agamemnon, choral songs still predominate, but Aeschylus infuses them with such dramatic feeling that the spectator or reader is constantly spellbound. Translator David Mulroy brings this ancient tragedy to life for modern readers and audiences. Using end rhyme and strict metrics, he combines the buoyant lyricism of the Greek text with a faithful rendering of its meaning in lucid English.
Sophocles'Antigoneranks with hisOedipus Rexas one of world literature's most compelling dramas. The action is taut, and the characters embody universal tensions: the conflict of youth with age, male with female, the state with the family. Plot and character come wrapped in exquisite language. Antagonists trade polished speeches, sardonic jibes and epigrammatic truisms and break into song at the height of passion. David Mulroy's translation ofAntigonefaithfully reproduces the literal meaning of Sophocles' words while also reflecting his verbal pyrotechnics. Using fluid iambic pentameters for the spoken passages and rhyming stanzas for the songs, it is true to the letter and the spirit of the great Greek original.
Oedipus at Colonus is the third in Sophocles' trilogy of plays about the famous king of Thebes and his unhappy family. It dramatizes the mysterious death of Oedipus, by which he is transformed into an immortal hero protecting Athens. This was Sophocles' final play, written in his mid-eighties and produced posthumously. Translator David Mulroy's introduction and notes deepen the reader's understanding of Oedipus' character and the real political tumult that was shaking Athens at the time that Sophocles wrote the play. Oedipus at Colonus is at once a complex study of a tragic character, an indictment of Athenian democracy, and a subtle endorsement of hope for personal immortality. As in his previous translations of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Mulroy combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh poetic style. He uses iambic pentameter for spoken passages and short rhymed stanzas for choral songs, resulting in a text that is accessible and fun to read and perform.
Oedipus Rexis the greatest of the Greek tragedies, a profound meditation on the human condition. The story of the mythological king, who is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother, has resonated in world culture for almost 2,500 years. But Sophocles' drama as originally performed was much more than a great story--it was a superb poetic script and exciting theatrical experience. The actors spoke in pulsing rhythms with hypnotic forward momentum, making it hard for audiences to look away. Interspersed among the verbal rants and duels were energetic songs performed by the chorus. David Mulroy's brilliant verse translation ofOedipus Rexrecaptures the aesthetic power of Sophocles' masterpiece while also achieving a highly accurate translation in clear, contemporary English. Speeches are rendered with the same kind of regular iambic rhythm that gave the Sophoclean originals their drive. The choral parts are translated as fluid rhymed songs. Mulroy also supplies an introduction, notes, and appendixes to provide helpful context for general readers and students.
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