fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Fall Quarter

Fall Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Liberal Arts & Sciences

CLA 44 — Sophoclean Tragedy: Gods and Heroes

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Oct 21—Nov 18
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Nov 3
Unit: 1
Tuition: $320
Instructor(s): Marsh McCall
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Oct 21—Nov 18
5 weeks
Drop By
Nov 3
1 Unit
Marsh McCall
Aristotle considered Sophocles the ultimate tragedian, and one of his plays, Oedipus Rex, is probably the most famous play from antiquity, perhaps from any era. In this course, we will read and discuss, with passion, three Sophoclean tragedies: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, and Philoctetes. Issues of divine law versus human law, fate versus free will, oracular power versus heroic resolve, and friendship and honesty versus deception and manipulation will consume us with their profound complexities. We will explore the piercing beauty of Sophoclean poetry, and we will try to experience the action and staging of these unforgettable dramas as closely as possible to the ways in which they were experienced in the Athenian theater of Dionysus in the second half of the 5th century BCE.

Marsh McCall, Professor of Classics, Emeritus; Founder and Dean of Continuing Studies, Emeritus, Stanford

Marsh McCall has taught at Stanford since 1976. He has received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education, the annual Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Alumni Association’s Richard W. Lyman Award for exceptional volunteer service to Stanford, and the Dean’s Award for Lifetime Achievements in Teaching in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Edited and Translated by Griffith, Most, Grene and Lattimore, Sophocles I: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus (The Complete Greek Tragedies) (3rd Edition) (ISBN 978-0226311517 )
(Required) Edited and Translated by Griffith, Most, Grene and Lattimore, Sophocles II: Ajax, The Women of Trachis, Electra, Philoctetes, The Trackers (The Complete Greek Tragedies) (ISBN 978-0226311555)
(Required) Translated by Robert Fagles, with Introduction and notes by Bernard Knox, Sophocles: The Three Theban Plays (ISBN 978-0140444254)
(Required) Translated by Seth Schein, Sophocles: Philoktetes (ISBN 978-1585100866)