Sophocles was born around 496 B.C. in Colonus (near Athens), Greece. In 480, he was selected to lead the paean (choral chant to a god) celebrating the decisive Greek sea victory over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. He served as a treasurer and general for Athens when it was expanding its empire and influence. He wrote approximately 123 plays including Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, Trachiniae, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus. His last recorded act was to lead a chorus in public mourning for Euripides. He died in 406 B. C.
“This is it. No qualifications. Go out and buy it everybody.”—Kenneth Rexroth, Nation
“The translations deliberately avoid the highly wrought and affectedly poetic; their idiom is contemporary. . . . They have life and speed and suppleness of phrase.”—Times Education Supplement
Now, Penelope and her chorus of wronged maids tell their side of the story in a new stage version by Margaret Atwood, adapted from her own wry, witty and wise novel.
The Penelopiad premiered with the Royal Shakespeare Company in association with Canada's National Arts Centre at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in July 2007.
In this outstanding new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity in Sophocles' masterpiece, and inks it with his own modern and masterly touch.