Quotes from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus

Sophocles ·  430 pages

Rating: (52.3K votes)


“If through no fault of his own the hero is crushed by a bulldozer in Act II, we are not impressed. Even though life is often like this—the absconding cashier on his way to Nicaragua is killed in a collision at the airport, the prominent statesman dies of a stroke in the midst of the negotiations he has spent years to bring about, the young lovers are drowned in a boating accident the day before their marriage—such events, the warp and woof of everyday life, seem irrelevant, meaningless. They are crude, undigested, unpurged bits of reality—to draw a metaphor from the late J. Edgar Hoover, they are “raw files.” But it is the function of great art to purge and give meaning to human suffering, and so we expect that if the hero is indeed crushed by a bulldozer in Act II there will be some reason for it, and not just some reason but a good one, one which makes sense in terms of the hero’s personality and action. In fact, we expect to be shown that he is in some way responsible for what happens to him.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Of all vile things current on earth, none is so vile as money.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“How dreadful it is when the right judge judges wrong!”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“You are the king no doubt, but in one respect,
at least, I am your equal: the right to reply.
I claim that privilege too.
I am not your slave. I serve Apollo.
I don't need Creon to speak for me in public.

So,
you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this.
You with your precious eyes,
you're blind to the corruption in your life,
to the house you live in, those you live with-
who are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing
you are the scourge of your own flesh and blood,
the dead below the earth and the living here above,
and the double lash of your mother and your father's curse
will whip you from this land one day, their footfall
treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding
your eyes that now can see the light!

Soon, soon,
you'll scream aloud - what haven won't reverberate?
What rock of Cithaeron won't scream back in echo?
That day you learn the truth about your marriage,
the wedding-march that sang you into your halls,
the lusty voyage home to the fatal harbor!
And a crowd of other horrors you'd never dream
will level you with yourself and all your children.

There. Now smear us with insults - Creon, myself
and every word I've said. No man will ever
be rooted from the earth as brutally as you.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Sentry: King, may I speak?

Creon: Your very voice distresses me.

Sentry: Are you sure that it is my voice, and not your conscience?

Creon: By God, he wants to analyze me now!

Sentry: It is not what I say, but what has been done, that hurts you.

Creon: You talk too much.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus



“And if my present actions strike you as foolish, let's just say I've been accused of folly by a fool.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Reason is God's crowning gift to man, and you are right
To warn me against losing mine. I cannot say—
I hope that I shall never want to say!— that you
Have reasoned badly. Yet there are other men
Who can reason, too; and their opinions might be helpful.
You are not in a position to know everything
That people say or do, or what they feel:
Your temper terrifies them—everyone
Will tell you only what you like to hear.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“One soul is enough, I know, to pay the debt for thousands, if one will go to the gods in all good faith.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“The dead alone feel no pain.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Show me a man who longs to live a day beyond his time who turns his back on a decent length of life, I'll show the world a man who clings to folly.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus



“It's not through words but actions that I want to set the luster on my life.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“...Time, sweeping through its rounds, gives birth to infinite nights and days...”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Even in these straits our life is not as pitiful as you'd think, so long as we find joy in every hour.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“By God, I'll have more booty in a moment.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“It is not in words that I should wish my life to be distinguished, but rather in things done.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus



“Commit cruelty on a person long enough and the mind begins to go.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“It's little I ask, and get still less, but quite enough for me.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“You'll never find a man on Earth, if a god leads him on, who can escape his fate.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“To a terrible place which men’s ears             may not hear of, nor their eyes see it.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Time alone can bring the just man to light - the criminal you can spot in just one short day.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus



“Of evils current upon earth The worst is money. Money 'tis that sacks Cities, and drives men forth from hearth and home; Warps and seduces native innocence, And breeds a habit of dishonesty.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“In a just cause the weak will beat the strong!”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“Alas for the seed of man.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“And remember that the captor is now the captive; the hunter is in the snare. What was won by stealth will not be kept.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


“who seeks shall find; Who sits with folded hands or sleeps is blind.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus



“The wisest man will let himself be swayed By others' wisdom and relax in time.”
― Sophocles, quote from The Three Theban Plays: Antigone / Oedipus the King / Oedipus at Colonus


About the author

Sophocles
Born place: Colonus (Athens), Greece
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