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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Translations
Researching translations is never an easy task, and in this case, where you'll have to search on Amazon for the title and the translator to find what you want, it's particularly difficult.

Here's what I've found by comparing several editions:

1. David Grene translation: Seems to be accurate, yet not unwieldy as such. My pick. Language is used...
Published on March 19, 2006 by S. Allen

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For those of you considering using Dover's Antigone in class
Although the Dover Edition of Antigone is inexpensive, the translation is very archiac. I used this book last semester in the hopes of saving my students a few dollars, but we found the translation to be so difficult that the time spent in class "translating the translation" made the book less of a value than I had hoped. I recommend a more modern...
Published on October 10, 1998


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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Translations, March 19, 2006
This review is from: Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Researching translations is never an easy task, and in this case, where you'll have to search on Amazon for the title and the translator to find what you want, it's particularly difficult.

Here's what I've found by comparing several editions:

1. David Grene translation: Seems to be accurate, yet not unwieldy as such. My pick. Language is used precisely, but not to the point where it's barely in English.

2. Fitts/Fitzgerald translation: Excellent as well, though a little less smooth than the Grene one. Certainly not a bad pick.

3. Fagles translation: Beautiful. Not accurate. If you are looking for the smoothest English version, there's no doubt that this is it. That said, because he is looser with the translation, some ideas might be lost. For instance, in Antigone, in the beginning, Antigone discusses how law compels her to bury her brother despite Creon's edict. In Fagles, the "law" concept is lost in "military honors" when discussing the burial of Eteocles. This whole notion of obeying positive law or natural law is very important, but you wouldn't know it from Fagles. In Grene, for example, it is translated to "lawful rites."

4. Gibbons and Segal: Looks great, but right now the book has only Antigone (and not the rest of the trilogy) and costs almost 3x as much. I'll pass. But, from a cursory review, I'm impressed with their work.

5. MacDonald: This edition received some good write-ups, but I wasn't able to do a direct passage-to-passage comparison.

6. Woodruff: NO, NO, NO. Just NO. It's so colloquial it makes me gag. Very accessible, but the modernization of the language is just so extreme as to make it almost laughable. You don't get any sense of the power of language in the play. You just get the story. If you want this to be an easy read, then get Fagles, not this.

7. Kitto: Looks good, though not particularly compelling over either Grene or Fitzgerald (or Gibbons if I wanted to pay so much more).

8. Roche: Practically unreadable the English is so convoluted. Might be the most literal translation, but what's the point unless you are learning Greek and want such a direct translation.

9. Taylor: Way too wordy. Might be more literal, but again, why?

Hope this all helps. Translations can make or break the accessibility of literature. Pick wisely.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still very powerful., March 7, 2001
This review is from: Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
"Antigone" is that kind of literary work that invites opposing views. The state and the individual, the duties to family and country, the boundaries of legitimate government and the extent of personal choice, are all elements that find a voice in this play, an extraordinary gift of Western culture to the world. The young and stubborn Antigone finds herself breaking the law that her uncle, the old and stubborn Kreon, has enacted. This is Oedipus' family, so there must be bloodshed. The conflict develops out of the vengeful and, ultimately foolish law that Kreon has come up with, which denies burial rituals to one of Antigone's brothers (Polyneices) because he had sided with foreigners and made war against his city. Antigone claims that Justice (diké) tells her to care for her brother's body in spite of his treason. This is what Kreon, blind with hatred, cannot see. Just as Oedipus, and even worse, Kreon imagines conspiracies where there are none, and is convinced that the entire city is seething with traitors waiting for a signal to bring him down. With such a state of mind, he charges against Antigone, and she is very much her father's daughter: she will not bow before her uncle although the consequences are grave. Kreon represents the state, but a state whose laws are capricious at best, and simply bad and hurtful at worst. Antigone is not easy to love or like: she is bent on following a path that will lead to her death, welcoming such a release from the terrible burden of being who she is: daughter of her brother Oedipus and granddaughter of her mother Jocasta. But Antigone's own prickly character makes her struggle all the more admirable, since it is so dificcult to like her. It would have been relatively easy to create a soft, misunderstood heroine who dies for her convictions. Antigone is a strong woman who knows perfectly well what she is doing, but feels she has a duty to do it. She is harsh toward the timid Ismene, and unsparing of Kreon, the ruler who seems to be a far better warrior than a governor. I know there are readings of this play that see Kreon as representing "democracy" (he asks the chorus to lead him when they go after Antigone, attempting to prevent her death), while Antigone would represent the corrupt values of the reactionary aristocracy that puts family before civic duty. I think this is a serious misreading of a very important play: Kreon is no more democratic than Antigone; they are both immersed in a power play: she from an apparent position of weakness, although she is strong, and he from an apparent position of strength which he tries to reinforce with harsh measures and words toward those who dare violate his laws. Antigone is no "reactionary." Her father had been Tyranos (ruler without the negative connotations of tyrant) in Thebes, which is exactly the same position that Kreon holds now. If Antigone is an aristocrat, so is Kreon, Jocasta's brother. If Antigone only sees duty toward her family (she actually sees duty "mostly" towards her family), Kreon is deranged in power, believing that vast conspiracies are at work and that only he stands between order and utter chaos, a common feature of dictators great and petty. His law regarding the body of Polyneices violates the sphere of female duty (women were in charge of the rituals for the dead), and spills into the netherworld, ruling against a dead man who has paid with his life for his acts. This law also punishes Antigone and Ismene just for being family: they cannot even mourn Polyneices. Clearly this is not the working of "democracy" in our modern sense of the word, but neither it is the faulty, deeply troubled democracy of the Greek city-states. The chorus tells Kreon that he can enact such laws and condemn people to death because he is the ruler, but it does not tell him that he is right. To see Kreon as defender of democracy and Antigone as a reactionary woman who has no civic duty is to find obscure meanings where there are none. Sophocles is quite clear at the play's end regarding what was right and who was wrong. This is a political play, written and produced in a highly sophisticated and political society 2500 years ago. It is obvoius that "Antigone" has lost none of its power and ability to make us debate, ponder, and discuss laws, government, individuals, and those who rule over them.
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51 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Americanizing of Greek Tradgedy, May 18, 2000
By 
C. Colt "It Just Doesn't Matter" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
American educators frequently treat "Antigone" as one of the more accessable classics that can be easily digested and understood by their students. Usually this is because those pedagogues reduce Antigone to a simple matter of conflict between the individual and the state. Debates are arranged between students, and most of them sympathize with the individual, while a few justify the exigencies of the state. Although the individual (represented by Antigone) is at odds with the state (personified by Creon), to focus on that specific conflict is to fundamentally misunderstand the play.
Sophocles was not interested in who was in conflict with whom as much as he was interested in the nature of conflict itself. The showdown between Antigone and Creon is unavoidable because each is justified--even required--to perform the actions that ensue. In Ancient Greek society almost every facet of life fell under the domain of one or more of the gods. The gods of the family require Anigone to remove the body of her brother from its humiliating public exposure on the city walls. On the other hand, the gods of the state require Creon to punish traitors and to rigorously uphold the law. Each party is invested with a compelling moral duty and each is acting on behalf of a culturally sanctioned institution (family, state). In this sense, the conflict between Antigone and Creon isn't one between individual and state but between justifiable moral imperitives.
I can understand why educators, particularly in the U.S., focus on issues of individual and state in "Antigone". It's easy to grasp and it's as contemporary as arguments about abortion or the NRA. But I think students would gain a deeper understanding of the play and of their own lives if educators took it one step further and talked about the play's depiction of inevitable, mutually justifiable conflict. This is especially crucial in today's world where conflicts of the worse sort are perpetuated by each party's fundamental sense of legitimacy and justification.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critiquing The Antigone, May 18, 2001
In preparing to read Antigone, I looked at several translations before making my decision. By far, the Greek Tragedy in New Translations' version of Sophocles' Antigone was the supreme. By offering an introduction, mythical background, appendix, and author's note, the reader is able to easily become aquainted with the background surrounding the play's storyline. The version captures the original spirit of the play in the spelling of the Greek names, and in the whole body of the translation itself. The perfect edition for those studying The Antigone!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For those of you considering using Dover's Antigone in class, October 10, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Although the Dover Edition of Antigone is inexpensive, the translation is very archiac. I used this book last semester in the hopes of saving my students a few dollars, but we found the translation to be so difficult that the time spent in class "translating the translation" made the book less of a value than I had hoped. I recommend a more modern translation for those of you who are considering using this text in class.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Greek family values, October 23, 2002
This review is from: Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
"Antigone," the drama by Sophocles, has been published as part of the Dover Thrift Edition series. The Dover version is translated into English by George Young. An introductory note states that the play was first performed in the 440s BCE.
The introductory note also includes a brief summary of events leading up to the events of this play. "Antigone" concerns the family of Oedipus, former ruler of the city-state of Thebes. As "Antigone" opens, Thebes is ruled by Creon, the brother-in-law of Oedipus. Creon is at odds with his niece, Antigone, because he denies a proper burial to Antigone's brother Polynices. Antigone's intention to defy her uncle sets this tragedy in motion.
This is a powerful story about familial duty, social customs, gender roles, and the relationship between the individual and governmental authority. The issues in this play remain relevant today, and are powerfully argued by Sophocles' characters. At the heart of the play is this question: Is it right to disobey a law or edict that one feels is unjust?
But "Antigone" is not just a philosophical meditation; it's also the story of a very personal clash between two strong-willed members of a very troubled extended family. A bonus in the play is the appearance of the seer Tiresias: it is a small but potent role. Overall, this play is a solid example of why ancient Greek drama has stood the test of time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irreconcilable moral imperatives, April 10, 2001
By 
Guillermo Maynez (Mexico, Distrito Federal Mexico) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Antigone is perhaps the first tragedy to elaborate directly on the subjects of personal, family moral imperatives, against the collective moral imperatives of the State. Although from a sentimental point of view it is easy to root for Antigone, we have to understand Creon's position: Polyninces has been a traitor to the State and deserves to be punished.
The plot: After Oedipus's death, his twin sons fight in different factions. Etheocles defends Thebes while Polynices attacks it at the siege. Eventually they kill each other simultaneously. After the battle is over, Thebes's king Creon orders that Polynices must remain unsepulted (as was the custom in Greece) and that whoever tries to bury him must also die. This is a terrible order for Antigone, the younger sister of the clashing twins, who feels that it is her duty as a sister to bury both of her brothers and not just one. The personal, family morality requires her to do her duty; political responsibility requires Creon to impose an exemplary punishment on the one who betrayed his city (for whatever reason). Although the plot is very well known, I'll conclude by saying that the dramatic tension is extreme, and that the ending is terribly violent. This play's subtitle could be "Political order vs. human dignity", or even better "Sometimes, moral dilemmas just can't be resolved". Of course, it is one great source for Western literature and philosophy and it is a Classic all around.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Braun's Translation is good, but not as literal as others, April 30, 1999
By A Customer
Braun's translation does a good job of capturing the dramatic intensity of Sophocles' play, but his translation isn't as close to the original language as other translations available
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great play; dreadful translation, March 11, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Having taught "Antigone" for years in various translations, I thought I'd try the Dover Thrift Edition. It's a disaster; it's unteachable. It's a Victorian translation that renders the play into contorted, archaic, unreadable fake Shakespeare. The Dover Thrift Editions have in many ways been a real boon for college students, but don't bother with this one. It makes me suspicious of the rest of Dover's Greek drama translations.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Creon relent before it's too late?, June 12, 1999
"Antigone" (probably first performed about 442 B. C.) is another tragedy centered on the flaw of stubborn pride. It also presents the conflict between secular law and divine law. A stubborn King Creon of Thebes refuses to allow the equally stubborn Antigone to bury the body of her brother Polynices despite the entreaties of Creon's wife and son. Creon orders her death but she commits suicide, as does Creon's wife and son. The play has excellent characterizations. It has a very tragic tone and the suspense is exceptionally effective. But, make sure you get a good translation!
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Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions)
Antigone (Dover Thrift Editions) by Sophocles (Paperback - October 12, 1993)
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