Sophocles' innovative plays transformed Greek myths into dramas featuring complex human characters, through which he explored profound moral issues. Electra portrays the grief of a young woman for her father Agamemnon, who has been killed by her mother's lover.
Aeschylus and Euripides also dramatised this story, but the objectivity and humanity of Sophocles' version provides a new perspective. Depicting the fall of a great hero, Ajax examines the enigma of power and weakness combined in one being, while the Women of Trachis portrays the tragic love and error of Heracles' deserted wife Deianeira, and Philoctetes deals with the conflict between physical force and moral strength.
About The Author
Sophocles was born at Colonus, just outside Athens, in 496 BC, and lived ninety years. His long life spanned the rise and decline of the Athenian Empire; he was a friend of Pericles, and though not an active politician he held several public offices, both military and civil. The leader of a literary circle and friend of Herodotus, he was interested in poetic theory as well as practice, and he wrote a prose treatise On the Chorus. He seems to have been content to spend all his life at Athens, and is said to have refused several invitations to royal courts.
Sophocles first won a prize for tragic drama in 468, defeating the veteran Aeschylus. He wrote over a hundred plays for the Athenian theater, and is said to have come first in twenty-four contests. Only seven of his tragedies are now extant, these being Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Women of Trachis, Electra, Philoctetes, and the posthumous Oedipus at Colonus. A substantial part of The Searches, a satyr play, was recovered from papyri in Egypt in modern times. Fragments of other plays remain, showing that he drew on a wide range of themes; he also introduced the innovation of a third actor in his tragedies. He died in 406 BC.
|A Note on the Translation|
|Preface to Women of Trachis||p. 3|
|Women of Trachis||p. 14|
|Preface to Ajax||p. 63|
|Preface to Electra||p. 127|
|Preface to Philoctetes||p. 193|
|The Ancient Greek Theatre and the Tragic Poet's Task||p. 300|
|Glossary of Proper Names||p. 304|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: June 2008
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.8 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.26
Edition Number: 1