Sophocles Essay

881 words - 4 pages

In 495 B.C. there was a child born about a mile outside of Athens. This child was to be named Sophocles. He was a boy whose father was a wealthy merchant. He now had the opportunity to enjoy all of life's greatest expectations in the Greek empire. Being that he was from a wealthy family, he had the chance to study all of the arts. By the time Sophocles reached his late teens, he was already known for his charm and elegance and was honored by being chosen to lead a challenging group of young men at a celebration of the victory of Salamis. When Sophocles reached the late twenties, he was ready to compete in the City Dionysia, which is a celebration held every year at the theater of Dionysus in ...view middle of the document...

Being one of the great innovators of the theatre, Sophocles was the first playwright to add a third actor to his plot. In doing this, he annulled the trilogic form. For example, Aeschylus used three tragedies to explain a single story. Sophocles preferred to make each tragedy a complete entry in itself. As a result of this, Sophocles had to crowd all of his action into the shorter form clearly offering greater dramatic possibilities. He has also been credited with the invention of scene painting and painted prisms.Of all Sophocles's plays, only seven have really survived in their entirety. The seven plays are as follow: "Ajax" (451 to 444 B.C.), "Antigone" (after 441 B.C.), "Maidens of Trochis" (after 441 B.C.), "Oedipus the King" (430 to 415 B.C.), "Electra" (430 to 415 B.C.), "Philoctetes" (409 B.C.), and "Oedipus at Colonus" (produced posthumously in 401 B.C.). Also preserved is a large fragment of the "Investigators." Of these seven plays, there are three that are generally considered to be the greatest plays and they are, "Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus." These three were to be portrayed as masterpieces. Antigone, an outstanding lyrical drama, develops a main Sophoclean theme, dealing with the pain and suffering caused when an individual, persistently despises the dictates of godly will or temporal authority, or refusing to yield to destiny and circumstance, instead obeys some inner compulsion that leads to agonizing disclosure and, ultimately to a mysterious...

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