translated by David Grene, Elizabeth Wyckoff, Robert Fitzgerald
"Oedipus the King": Fascinating, and amazingly human, amazingly visual.
I could practically picture the emotions flitting over Oedipus' face
when Jocasta was telling the story of his birth without realizing what
it meant to him. Oedipus blamed himself & everyone else, but took
control of his life only when he gouged out his eyes. Creon, meanwhile,
started out innocent & obeisant but was eager to give orders at the
end. A thrilling psychological drama. One subtle part that really
shows Sophocles' talent was how it just hinted that Jocasta knew (or
more than suspected) the truth long ago, and just hoped quietly that
things would stay the way they were. Now that's brilliant psychological
"Oedipus At Colonus": Another wonderfully modern
play. This edition had stage notes (Fitzgerald's?) that were
irritatingly superfluous due to the superb and already explicit
dialogue. But the play itself was wonderful: not quite as
psychologically intense as the first, but as dramatic as the plot (the
exile suddenly becomes crucial to his homeland) allowed.
Very good. The conflict arises from hubris (Creon not wanting to obey
Antigone, "a girl", or Haemon, "a young boy", or even Teiresias – "to
yield is dreadful") opposed to humble piety (Antigone's unlawful but
just burial of her brother). Although last in series, Sophocles wrote
this one first, & the drama does not have as tense & terribly
inevitable a build-up as Oedipus the King.