Sophocles End of Trojan War Ancient Greece Iliad Four Plays Ajax Elektra Trachis

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller ancientgifts (4,530) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 123017399763 Sophocles: Elektra and Other Plays (Ajax/Elektra / Women of Trachis / Philoctetes), Translated by E.F. Watling. DESCRIPTION: Softcover: 217 pages. Publisher: Penguin Books; (1953).All three of the great tragic poets of ancient Greece produced plays about the Electra myth. But if Sophocles (496-406 BC) lacks the archaic grandeur of Aeschylus or the neurotic intensity or Euripides, his version is supreme for its power and humanity. Before Sophocles, only two speakers would appear on the stage at one time; by introducing the third actor he turned declamation into true drama, capable of exploring the complex motivations of flesh-and-blood human beings as well as discussing profound moral issues. Whether he exhibits for us the pathos of Heracles' deserted wife (in "Women of Trachis") the conflict of might and right ("Philoctetes") or the downfall of a great intransigent Homeric hero in a world of opportunism ("Ajax"), Sophocles remains for us, as he was for Aristotle, one of the supreme dramatists of the world. His unique flavor has been brilliantly recreated in E.F. Watling's fine translations. CONDITION: Light shelf wear, otherwise New, never read. PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR SAMPLE PAGES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEW: REVIEW: Sophocles (c. 497/6-406 B.C.), with Aeschylus and Euripides, was one of the three great tragic poets of Athens. The subjects of his plays were drawn from mythology and legend. Each play contains at least one heroic figure, a character whose strength, courage, or intelligence exceeds the human norm--but who also has more than ordinary pride and self-assurance. These qualities combine to lead to a tragic end. These exciting, agonizing plays about the nature of tragedy and the human capacity to endure emotional and physical suffering are presented in sharp, lucid translations. Electra, the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, anxiously awaits for the return of her brother Orestes. Together, they avenge the death of their father at the hands of their mother and her lover Aegisthus. The theme of Sophocles' Philoctetes is of lasting significance. It revolves round Neoptolemus' struggles with his conscience, and Philoctetes' strength in adversity and refusal to accept any compromise. Sophocles explores the relationship between the two central characters with powerful subtlety. En route to fight the Trojan War, the Greek army abandons Philoctetes after the smell of his festering wound, mysteriously received from a snakebite at a shrine on a small island off Lemnos, makes it unbearable to keep him on ship. Ten years later, an oracle makes it clear that the war cannot be won without the assistance of Philoctetes and his famous bow, inherited from Hercules himself. Philoctetes focuses on the attempt of Neoptolemus and the hero Odysseus to persuade the bowman to sail with them to Troy. First, though, they must assuage his bitterness over having been abandoned, and then win his trust. But how should they do this -- through trickery, or with the truth? To what extent do the ends justify the means? To what degree should personal integrity be compromised for the sake of public duty? These are among the questions that Sophocles puts forward in this, one of his most morally complex and penetrating plays. PROFESSIONAL REVIEW: REVIEW: [Electra]: Every era needs the classics on its own terms. Sophocles' Electra should prove very popular both among newcomers and seasoned readers of the sublime dramatist's brutal drama. Love and loyalty, hatred and revenge, fear, deprivation, and political ambition drive the characters portrayed in these masterpieces towards catastrophe. Recognized in his own day as perhaps the greatest Greek tragedian, Sophocles' reputation has remained undimmed for two and a half thousand years. His greatest innovation was his development of a central tragic figure, faced with a test of will and character, risking obloquy and death rather than compromise his or her principles: it is striking that "Antigone" and "Electra" both have a woman as their intransigent 'hero'. Antigone dies rather than neglect her family duty, Oedipus' determination to save his city results in the horrific discovery that he has committed both incest and patricide, and Electra's unremitting anger at her mother and her lover keeps her in servitude and despair. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: The four plays by Sophocles in this collection deal with Iliad spinoffs, events connected to that ancient epic with some of the Trojan War characters already known to the Greeks of the author's time, with legends of the gods (Hercules) or with both at once. Each play uses a chorus to reflect inner thinking or thinking by "other people", whoever they may be. The translation in this volume brings a modicum of modern English to the plays, rendering them very understandable. Purists might not appreciate that, but I, for one, found myself better able to follow the deeper meanings of the plays because I didn't have to wade through archaic English. (Remember how we struggled through Shakespeare?) "Ajax", "Electra", "Women of Trachis", and "Philoctetes" jolted me out of my neo-airhead tendencies and amazed me by their modernity. Their form may be ancient, stilted to modern eyes, and lacking much action, but the themes reveal human nature as if these plays all were written yesterday. The same dilemmas pose themselves, the same contrasts in human character: the straight and the crooked, the mean and the noble, the forgiving and the vengeful. Actions well meant turn out to have disastrous consequences. Greed and jealousy run rampant. Ajax, the earliest work here, is a little less dramatic than the other three, but does deal with "temporary insanity". I don't have the silver tongue and deconstruction abilities of a literary expert, but if these plays don't knock your socks off; just because of their relevance to life here and now, if for no other reason, then I don't know what will. REVIEW: This version of Sophocles' plays Electra, Ajax, Philoctetes and Women of Trachis is one of the best I've found. I was basically looking for acting versions, and Watling's verse is both telling, beautiful and flowing. It tells the story without plodding or stumbling. Very good. REVIEW: [Ajax] This is probably the earliest extant play of Sophocles. Sophocles is the earliest known playwright to use painted scenery. He also decreased the importance of the chorus, added a third actor, and abandoned the trilogy format (each play is complete by itself). Ajax is the classical Greek tragedy about the downfall of a man who is sinned against and has a tragic flaw; in this case, insolence and pride. Ajax becomes enraged when Achilles' armor is awarded to Odysseus instead of to him. Agamemnon and Menelaus also exhibit insolence when they refuse to bury Ajax after his suicide. But, Odysseus changes their minds. This play is probably the earliest known example of a play containing a scene of violence on the stage instead of offstage. The play should be required reading of all serious students and enthusiasts of ancient Greek history and/or drama. REVIEW: [Electra] In this edition of Sophocles' Electra, one of the greatest tragedies in Greek or any literature, the play is a study in revenge, but a subtle story whose meaning depends upon the continuous use of dramatic irony. He relates the confrontations of principle and character depicted to the social and political controversies of the period in which Sophocles was writing. The introduction describes the background to the play, explains some of the main features of Sophocles' style, and outlines an interpretation which is fully worked out in the detailed commentary. There are appendices on metre and the text. The edition is intended for use by senior school and undergraduate students, and all those concerned to read and appreciate the play in the original. REVIEW: [Women of Trachis] I would certainly agree that this is the "worst" of the seven plays of Sophocles that still exist, but "Women of Trachis" still has great merit, especially in terms of how it presents Heracles, the greatest of the Greek heroes. While he is running around doing his great labors, Heracles has neglected his family. Before his last departure he promised that if he was not back in fifteen months it probably meant he was dead. Well, those fifteen months are up and his wife Deianeira is starting to get worried. However, she soon learns that her husband has not only sacked Oechalia, but that he is in love with the Princess Iole, who has been sent home ahead of him as a captive; certainly there are echoes of the Agamemnon-Clytemnestra-Cassandra triangle following the Trojan War. Determined to save her marriage, Deianeira sends Heracles a garment treated with a special salve given to her long ago by the dying Centaur Nessus, who said it would prevent her husband's love from straying. However, she is but the victim of the Centaur's own plan for revenge, because the salve proves lethal. When she learns this from her son Hyllus, the remorseful Deianeira commits suicide. In Greek mythology it was well established that Heracles "died" on a funeral pyre: though as a demi-god he could not truly die, so the fire burned away only his mortal side. But in the hands of Sophocles the tale takes a certain twist. Heracles demands that Hyllus marry Iole. Sophocles presents this not as an act of repentance, but rather as a last attempt to keep Iole, using his son as a surrogate. Ultimately the question Sophocles poses is whether Heracles deserves transfiguration. In this regard it is similar to his play "Ajax," although I do not think the verdict is as clear or as positive in this play, which was performed sometime after 458 B.C. While the psychology of the characters is certainly what we expect from Sophocles, there is a touch of the cynicism we usually associated with Euripides. REVIEW: [Philoctetes] If you're just starting to read the Greek Tradgedies, Philoctetes is really a great choice, in that it is fairly simple to read and follow in comparison to more difficult plays by Aeschylus or Euripides. The tale takes place on an all but deserted island, where for the past 9 years Philoctetes, a famous war hero and friend of Achilles, lives in exile, isolated and alone. He was left here long ago by Odysseus and his shipmates because of a venomous snake bite, an extremely painful wound which festers, smells, and hasn't healed in all the time he has been away (the Gods probably put it there to keep him on the island until they needed him to fulfill the prophecy). All this time, he has been suffering, living off the scraps left by others and whatever he can catch with the only tool left to him, Hercules' magical bow. But, now, Philoctetes shall be needed. For, the oracles have proclaimed that only with his bow can the Trojans finally be defeated. Odysseus, Philoctetes' enemy, then comes to the island, and with him Achilles' son, Neoptolemus, to try and retrieve the bow. Odysseus' character is really intriguing, even if you haven't read any of the back-stories. It is interesting, the ways in which he uses trickery, cunning, and craft to get his way and how that clashes with Neoptolemus' views on idealistic heroism and morality. Odysseus likes to be in control and will twist anything and anyone he can to get everything to bend to his will. The entire time, you're wondering which player will wind up on top, Odysseus with his clever callousness, Philoctetes with his suffering, hardened heart, or Neopatalumus, young and trying to live up to his father's standard. Other things to think about while reading are of course the motives of each character, and also how this play elaborates on the whole duty to your state vs. duty to your self, etc. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). The shipment will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site and free insurance coverage). If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. 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After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Title: Sophocles: Elektra and Other Plays

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