Antigone, written by Sophocles is a story of romantic tragedy that mirrors the idealism of the Greek culture and how it identifies well with the existence of gods and deities. Presenting a more refined incidence by which Greek men are shown alongside the characters of chivalry and honor, this written work by Sophocles has long been given attention to as a particular gem in the face of Greek literature that identifies well with the creativity of the said race. Played in theaters, this story makes a great impact on how theatrical, visual and poetic entertainment has developed in Greece. Relatively though, as times pass, the desire to pass on the beauty of what Sophocles has written has become eminent thus requiring particular translators to give attention to the said need. Among the intuitive writers who fearlessly accepted the challenge was that of Robert Fagles. Released in 1984, his translation of the Antigone has become an institution among the other versions that followed it. How well does Fagles relate the thoughts and the message of Sophocles in the story? This question has long been the reason for continuous research on the accuracy of translation that has been presented by Fagles.
Critics of Sophocles’ original work identify the fact that his use of words were directly reflective of the Greek language and how it entails to represent several characteristics that most often than not set the Greeks from the other races in the world. The direct connection or the personal command that Sophocles had with the language he used in presenting his thoughts made it possible for him to reach out to the hearts of his readers and his audiences hence making it easier for them to relate to the message he wants to imply. How does this particular antiquity on Sophocles’ writing translated by Fagles?
Of course, it could be understood and accepted that to translate the Antigone, Fagles tried to learn the Greek language to the best extent that he could. Considering all the possible venues he might need to explore just to be accurate with his presentation of the words and phrases that define the work of Sophocles, Fagles put a lot of effort in making sure that his work passes well in sending out the same message that the original text gives out. Sadly though, because of the fact that Greek was not Fagles’ native language, there are of course some particular noticeable conditions of imbalance and inaccuracy in relation to the translated piece.
One specific problem that caused the distortion of translation is the focus of word use. It is a very distinct character of the Greek grammar set that several words are changed according to tone and their positioning in a sentence just so to give out a deeper and more imperative meaning on the scene being described in the work. Relatively though, it could be analyzed that in the English language, such intricacy is not so much given attention to. Instead, the words used usually say what they mean. The representation of inner meaning is often given way through idiomatic expressions and other forms of speech such as irony and metaphor. The command of Fagles on the Greek language was deemed rather weak by several critics of his work. They seem to have seen the impact of word-for-word translation pattern that he used in the process. Notably, this directly affects the entire message of the story in relation t to the themes it hopes to represent.
Nevertheless, given that Fagles’ translation is among the oldest ones to attempt to bring the work of Sophocles alive in another language, his work could be considered a part of the institutional foundation of the other translations that came after it. Having seen the effect of word-for-word translation on the overall value of the written piece, other translators became more careful in identifying what could be changed and were more careful in seeing deeper into the context of the phrases than on the words themselves alone. Immersing within the Greek culture is one specific matter that helped several other translators to become more specific and accurate in rendering the words of Sophocles into another language such as English.