Life And Works Of Sophocles Essay

1604 words - 7 pages

Sophocles (495-405 B.C.) was one the great playwrights of Greek Drama as well as a name associated with Athens at the height of its glory. Sophocles plays are symbols of Athenian greatness.Sources for the earlier life of Sophocles are hard to find to come by and sometimes unreliable. There is a surviving biography on Sophocles, but it is a mixture more of the inferences of his poetry than of genuine information on Sophocles himself. Even his date of birth had been disputed about, going from the years of 496 B.C. to 494 B.C., but most people have agreed on 495 B.C. His birthplace, what most has agreed on, was a place called Colonus, just outside of Athens. It is known that his family was ...view middle of the document...

In his first competition in 468 B.C. Sophocles took first place. More than 120 plays would follow with Sophocles winning eighteen first prizes all together.Of Sophocles playwriting the thing that he is most noted for is the introduction of a third actor. He was also known for changing the way that tragedies were traditionally written. Before Sophocles it was the norm to use three tragedies to tell a single story, which was referred to as trilogic form. Sophocles choose to make each tragedy a complete entity in itself. By doing this Sophocles had to pack all of his action into shorter form, which in the literary world offered greater dramatic possibilities.Out of the 120 plays Sophocles wrote only seven survived in their entirety. One of the seven was a play named Ajax. This play is considered to be a diptych, and the focal point is very similar to another play, called Trachinian Women, where a man of superhuman ability, a hero or demigod on whom the thinking and actions of others depend. In the tragic fate of Ajax, the bravest of all the Greeks, next only to Achilles, the poet teaches that men, though excelling in strength and riches, should never boast or utter impious words against the gods.Another surviving play was Trachinian Women, or Women of Trachis is a pretty simple drama that goes pretty much like this: a woman named Deianerira, learns that her husband, the great hero Hercules, loves another woman. She sends him a robe anointed with what she thinks is a love potion. It is poisonous, and causes his death, she in turn kills herself.A third play by Sophocles that has survived and is pretty well known is Antigone. This play deals with family ties in opposition to political demands, and assumes knowledge of a complex mythological history. Meaning that this stories picks up with four children whole are still suffering from the mythological curse of their parents who Oedipus and Jocasta, who were without knowing it before they were married mother and son. The central conflict of this story involves two characters and two principles: Creon embodies state and its authority, while Antigone embodies the family and its religious tradition.Another surviving play from Sophocles, also one of his best known plays is Oedipus the King. It is thought that Oedipus the King was written between 430 B.C. and 420 B.C. The plague that is spoken about in the book is similar to the plague that hit Athens at this time. The book has no villains, and all the characters are good men and women who are trying their best to help the city, Thebes, escape from the plague. Each of them acts naturally and truthfully, but because of their lack of integration of knowledge, their stories, and the book, become a tragedy. Several different kinds of background function in this play. On the one hand, the dramatic action consists of gradual reconstruction of a series of past events. The play starts in the middles but leads into it’s prehistory. At the same time the dramatic...

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