Friday, February 02, 2007

Oedipus at Colonus

by Sophocles

I confess, I haven't been reading anything on my list these past few days. Instead, I've been reacquainting myself with some classical literature. A friend of mine is taking a course in Greek literature and his comments on the Oedipus trilogy ("Oedipus the King", "Oedipus at Colonus", and "Antigone") inspired me to pull out my classic plays (I have a degree in Classical Civilization, so I have many) and revisit some old friends. "Oedipus at Colonus" is the second installation of the trilogy.

It was good to say hello to the old, dying Oedipus and his long-suffering daughters but since it's late, I'm tired, and I've already written more than one analytical paper on the Oedipus trilogy I don't really feel like going into right now. Sorry.

I will say one thing that I found a little disappointing, though I should have known better. That friend of mine - let's call him Paul - remarked that he liked "Oedipus at Colonus" the best, the play which is easily the most ignored of the trilogy. Paul also stated that his favorite line of the play was, "It is I, the accursed." So, I admit, because I couldn't remember the details of "Oedipus at Colonus" as well as I'd liked and because I wanted to go searching for this line, I pulled my copy from the shelf and started reading.

I was disappointed to learn that the line Pual loves so much can be found nowhere in my copy of the play. I should have known better and at least have entertained the possibility that the line Paul quoted wouldn't be in my copy if we had read a publication of the play by different translators. Apparently we did. Reading different translators can be a lot like reading different books altogether. I remember that I disliked Virgil's Aenied until I read the translation by Allen Mandelbaum. In his hands, the epic poem was, well, sheer poetry.

Oh well, the play was still worthy the two days I spent reading it. After I read "Antigone" maybe I search through my books to see if I have copy of "Oedipus at Colonus" that proves to be a bit more poetic than the one I've just finished.