The Greek Theatre Selections from: The Book of the Ancient Greeks:
He is the author of one of the most famous plays of all time, Oedipus the King, and a monumental figure from the so-called golden age of drama in classical Athens.
Of the small fraction of his works that have survived the ages, however, not all are focused exclusively on male tragic heroes. Women of Trachis is one of these plays, focusing for the first two-thirds of its action not on the epic hero Heracles but on the suffering of his wife Deianira.
The work has long startled audiences because of its unsympathetic portrayal of the mighty son of Zeus, Heracles, known as Hercules in ancient Rome and often called by that name in modern times.
It has also puzzled critics who assume that Greek tragedy should have a single tragic hero because it places Deianira in this role only to kill her off with much of the play left to run.
Women of Trachis has been widely published in various editions, but an able rendering of the drama in verse is available in Sophocles, 1, translated by Brendan Galvin and published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in Because ancient biographies are often unreliable, there is little surety about the details of his life, but scholars believe that his father Sophillus was a businessman and a slaveholder.
Sophocles was likely trained as a musician, since he led the paean, or choral ode, in celebration of a military victory over the Persians in b. He was active in the Athenian political and social world throughout his life; he served as a treasurer in orand inhe was elected a general.
While in the military, Sophocles may have helped to crush a revolt in Samos, and there is evidence that he was appointed a commissioner to impose order in Athens after the disastrous failure of the Sicilian expedition of There is also some indication that he was a priest of a god of healing.
Highly acclaimed as a preeminent dramatist in his time, Sophocles wrote some one hundred and twenty-three plays.
Sources suggest that he won the principal Athenian dramatic festival, called the Greater Dionysia, at least eighteen times, and never achieved less than second place. Of his prodigious output, only seven full plays and some fragments survive, and of those only two can be dated with accuracy. Nevertheless, scholars have surmised that Women of Trachis was an early play because its style does not seem mature.
According to this supposition, Sophocles would have written the play between and b. This play is available in Sophocles, 1: Ajax kills himself because he regrets having tried and failed to kill the Greek military leaders Menelaus and Agamemnon.
In Antigone and Electra, Sophocles conjures deep sympathy for women caught in a murderous and tyrannical world. Oedipus at Colunus, staged in b. She tells of Heracles rescuing her from the river god Achelous and marrying her, only to subject her to further suffering because Heracles is frequently away from home.
Deianira tells her son of a prophecy proclaiming that Heracles would either die on the island of Euboea or enjoy happiness for the rest of his days, and Hyllus vows to find his father. The Chorus intercedes to lament that Heracles is gone and advice Deianira to have hope for the future.
Deianira tells the Chorus that Heracles left her a will, as though he had foreseen his death, and that this has left her deeply fearful. Immediately afterwards, the messenger arrives bringing word that Heracles is in fact alive and on his way home.
Deianira disbelieves him at first, then she and the Chorus express their joy, and Lichas arrives to confirm the news. Lichas proclaims that Heracles is making sacrifices to Zeus as he vowed he would while conquering Oechalia.
Deianira says that she has reason to be joyful but feels pity for the female slaves and worries that her own fortunes will decline. She asks Iole who she is, but Iole refuses to speak, and Lichas suggests that they leave her alone.
The messenger then approaches Deianira to tell her that Lichas is lying and that Heracles destroyed Oechalia and abducted Iole because he is in love with her. The Chorus advises Deianira to confront Lichas with the truth.
Lichas confirms that Heracles destroyed Oechalia because he desired Iole, and Deianira tells Lichas to come inside. Her plan to win her husband back is to follow the instructions of the centaur Nessus, whom Heracles killed with an arrow because he tried to rape Deianira.
Deianira gives the robe to Lichas, who agrees to follow her specific instructions about how to handle it.Sophocles (Sophokles) was the second of the three great ancient Greek tragedians (after Aeschylus and before Euripides) whose work has survived.
Only seven of his plays have survived in a complete form but, for almost fifty years, he was the most-awarded playwright in the Dionysia dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens. He was the second of the three greatest tragedians of ancient Greece (Aeschylus and Euripides being the other two).
He wrote over hundred plays, only seven of which have survived. Born in or BC, Sophocles grew up in a wealthy family. Sophocles was an ancient Greek playwright, born in Colonus near Athens, Greece in B.C.E. His father, Sophilus, was a rich member of a small community, the .
Links and information on ancient Greece people. Sophocles was born about BC in Colonus Hippius (now part of Athens), he was to become one of the great playwrights of the golden age. One of the greatest tragedians of ancient Greece, Sophocles has remained the standard by which other playwrights are judged since his works were rediscovered during the western European Renaissance.
He is the author of one of the most famous plays of all time, Oedipus the King, and a monumental figure from the so-called golden age of drama in.
Euripides was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Greece (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles).Largely due to an accident of history, eighteen of Euripides' ninety-five plays have survived in a complete form, along with fragments (some substantial) of many of his other plays.