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Sophocles, one of the greatest playwrights of the Athenian Golden Age, was born in the village of Colonus,near Athens, in 496 B.C. He came from a wealthy family and studied mainly in the arts. In the beginning, there were only two actors who played all of the parts, Sophocles introduced the concept of having three actors.During the Classical Period (500-400 B.C.), the author wrote over 120 plays, but only seven have been found and published in their entirety.Not only being a writer, but he also was a diplomat, general,an actor,and an ordained priest.Sophocles passed away in 406-5 B.C.


List of plays:

Antigone 440 B.C.

Oedipus the King 430 B.C.

Oedipus at Colonus 401 B.C.

Ajax 445 B.C.

Electra 440 B.C.

The Trachinae 413 B.C.

Philocetetes 410 B.C.



Greek Tragedy

In Aristotle's Poetics:

Tragedy...is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and possessing magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament...; in the mode of action, not narrated; and through pity and fear effecting the proper purgaion of these emotions.

Elements of Tragedy:

serious action

unity of plot

poetic language

dramatic presentation

arousing pity and fear

catharsis
In this suspensful tragedy, the audience developes pity for Oedipus who tries to do good and be a responsible King while his fate unravles before him. When he does discover of the deeds he has committed, he blinds himself. This is an act of self sacrifice. He punished himself for his family and in order to save Thebes from the plague.