Monday, February 28, 2005

Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone by Seamus Heaney

Heaney won many awards for his recent translation of Beowulf. His latest work translates the ancient Greek play Antigone by Sophocles. There is a tradition in Ireland of translating Greek drama, and Heaney honors the tradition with this plain spoken work. Here is an example of very readable verse. Haemon, the son of Creon, the king, advises his father

Nobody can be sure they’re always right.
The ones who are fullest of themselves that way
Are the emptiest vessels. There’s no shame
In taking good advice.

Of course, Creon does not take the advice and the tragedy unfolds. While the story seems simple and reading the play takes only an hour or two, it is thought provoking. It makes you think of current affairs.

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