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Sophocles Essay, Research Paper

Sophocles was born in Colonus, near Athens, c.497 B.C. Sophocles father was a wealthy armorer named Sophillus. When he reached adulthood he was already established as a great tragic playwright, and the citizens of Athens loved him. He was nicknamed Attic-bee by the Athenians because he could take pure honey from words. Sophocles was born in Colonus, near Athens, c. 497 B.C. Sophocles father was a wealthy armorer named Sophillus. Sophocles had a good childhood.

Sophocles, at age sixteen, led a boy’s chorus for the victory celebration over defeat of the Persians at Salamis. When he was twenty-eight, he beat Aeschylus in a dramatic contest. Already Sophocles was showing true talent in play writing. At this time he also wrote poetry, none of which has been recovered. As a young man Sophocles was popular, handsome, a good athlete, and a great writer.

When he reached adulthood he was already established as a great tragic playwright, and the citizens of Athens loved him. He was nicknamed Attic-bee by the Athenians because he could take pure honey from words. Sophocles had many friends, one of which was the historian Herodotus. This friendship may be a reason that we know so much about Sophocles. After a long and prosperous career, he died of old age in Athens at the age of ninety.

Sophocles wrote 123 plays, and won 24 dramatic victories for Athens. Of his 123 plays, only seven are preserved in entirety. However, there still remains a large portion of his satyr Ichbeutae that remains intact. His seven plays are Ajax, Antigone, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus, and Oedipus Rex.

Sophocles went through three artistic periods. The first, his earliest years, were influenced greatly by Aeschylus. Ajax was produced in this period. The second was in a “harsh, contrived” style. Antigone was produced during this period. He produced all his other plays in his mature years, or his third period. In this period, he worked on developing his characters.

Sophocles contributed more to theatre than just his work. He also changes the technical side to theatre in three important ways. First, he added three more singers to the chorus, so that there were fifteen instead of the usual twelve singers. He also added a third actor, which gave more depth to the play. Lastly, he was the first playwright to use lots of painted scenery. These changes helped improve theatre.


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