Theban Trilogy

Last week I read Theban Trilogy by Sophocles, published by The University of Chicago press in 2013.

Sophocles writes about the struggle of man against fate. He tells that no matter how hard man tries, he can never avoid the will of the gods.

The main character of Sophocles’s first two plays is Oedipus. He is the unlucky victim of a prophecy that says he will kill his father and marry his mother. He and his parents do all they can to stop the prophecy from being fulfilled while all the while they are actually bringing it closer and closer to fulfillment.

The main character of Sophocles’s third play is Oedipus’s daughter Antigone. In the second play she was caring for her father but now that he is dead, she has moved back to Thebes. Her goal in this play is to give her brother Polyneices a proper burial.

A supporting character in the second and third plays is Istra, Oedipus’s other daughter. She is more timid than Antigone and she never strays from the laws. She comes out of her shell in the third play though and stands by Antigone.

The last character I will write about is Jocasta, Oedipus’s mother/wife. She weds Oedipus when he saves Thebes from the sphinx not knowing that he was her son. When she realizes the truth, she kills herself.

Both the first and third plays are set in Thebes. The first Thebes is under Oedipus’s rule , while the Thebes in the third play is ruled by Creon,  Jocasta’s brother. The second play is set on the outskirts of Athens on the holy ground of the Furies.

The climax of the first play is when Oedipus and Jocasta start putting two and two together. The second play climaxes when Antigone and Istra are kidnapped by Creon. The third play hits the climax when Antigone is about to be killed for trying to bury her brother.

These plays weren’t great but they weren’t bad either. They were a little too violent and messed up for my taste, but the story line was well thought out. If you were only going to read one of the three plays I would recommend reading “Antigone”, the third one.

Prince Caspian

After I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I decided to read Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis, published by Collier Books in 1970.

Lewis again writes about the conflict between good and evil but in a very different way from the last book. He shows that there is a very definite boundary between good and evil and that evil can not be used to achieve good and vice versa.In this book, the ends do not justify the means.

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy play a big part in this book, also, but I won’t go into too much detail about their characters since I did that in my last review. Instead, I’ll focus on the new characters.

Prince Caspian is the most important character in this book. He is the heir to the throne but has been stopped form claiming his rightful rile by his evil uncle Miraz. Caspian loved stories about old Narnia but Miraz has prevented people from talking about them. Caspian flees the palace in search of the last of the old Narnians.

Trumpkin is  a dwarf who plays a major role in this story. He helps Caspian regain his rightful crown. he refuses to work with any dark creatures like hags and he doesn’t believe that Aslan, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy existed.Even though he is skeptical about the old tales, he agrees to go to see if help has come when the magic horn is blown. This is the first time we see how loyal he is.

Doctor Cornelius was Caspian’s tutor when he lived at the castle. he was the one who helped Caspian escape. Later he rejoins Caspian in the Black Woods. Some of the Dwarfs are disgusted with him for being a half and halfer, meaning half man and half dwarf, but Trumpkin defends him saying, “He can’t help his ancestry.”

This story is again set in Narnia but it is a very different Narnia from the one we encounter in the first book. One thousand two hundred and eighty-eight years in Narnia have passed in the space of one Earth year. The Telamarines have taken over and they have forced all of the old Narnians into hiding. Caspian and the Penvesies aid the old Narnians in a revolution to put Caspian onto the throne.

The climax of this story is when Caspian’s uncle Miraz and Peter, who represents Caspian, engage in a sword fight. Whoever wins would gain control of Narnia.

I enjoyed this book because Lewis was able to bring back some characters for a new adventure in Narnia. What’s really great about that is the fact that the Penvensie’s weren’t the main characters of the story. Prince Caspian, or even Trumpkin, took the foreground. I would definitely reccomend this book.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

A few weeks ago  I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, published by Collier Books in 1970.

Lewis writes about the conflict between good and evil. He makes it clear that although evil can seem to be winning for long periods of time, in the end, it’s good that always comes out on top. The four Penvensie children learn this through the magical world of Narnia.

The Penvensie children are Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Peter is the eldest. He has read lots of books so he knows what to trust and what not to trust. He isn’t always nice to his brother, Edmund, though and that is part of the reason Edmund goes to the White Witch.

Susan is the eldest girl. She is very mature and responsible but she is sometimes a little too timid.

Edmund Penvensie is the next to youngest. He isn’t easy to get along with. he is always fighting with Peter or making fun of Lucy to make himself feel big.

Lucy is the very youngest Penvensie. She is the one who first discovers Narnia through the wardrobe. She makes friends with Mr. Tumnus and feels like it is all her fault when he is kidnapped. She is the most tenderhearted of the four.

The four children stumbled into Narnia while trying to avoid the housekeeper, Mrs. Macready. Narnia is a world of magical creatures and talking beasts. The White Witch rules and under her rule it is always winter and never Christmas. She is always on the lookout for Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, that is humans, because they are the rightful rulers of Narnia and she doesn’t want to have to give up her crown.

The climax of the story is when Aslan agrees to be killed by the White Witch. This is important because Aslan is basically the force behind the revolution. Without him, all of the animals and creatures in Narnia would be lost.

I like this book because though technically it is a children’s book, it has a very deep message. Lewis once and for all proves that good will always eventually triumph over evil.

Winter Schedule

December 3   Missed

10  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

17  Plutarch’s Lives

24  Prince Caspian

31  Theban Trilogy

January     7   Voyage of the Dawn Treader

14  Last Days of Socrates

21  The Silver Chair

28  The Last Battle

February   4    Best Things in Life

11   The Early History of Rome

18   Unaborted Socrates

25 The Horse and His Boy

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December 5

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February 6