A marble relief of a poet, perhaps Sophocles
(The heroic Greek dramas that have moved theatergoers and ...)
The heroic Greek dramas that have moved theatergoers and readers since the fifth century B.C. Towering over the rest of Greek tragedy, the three plays that tell the story of the fated Theban royal family—Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus—are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written. Robert Fagles's authoritative and acclaimed translation conveys all of Sophocles's lucidity and power: the cut and thrust of his dialogue, his ironic edge, the surge and majesty of his choruses and, above all, the agonies and triumphs of his characters. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction and notes by the renowned classicist Bernard Knox. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
(With new translations and a new afterword The full texts ...)
With new translations and a new afterword The full texts of the seven extant plays of Sophocles with Paul Roche's revised and updated translations of the Oedipus cycle, and all-new translations of the remaining plays.
Nothing concrete is known about his education, though it is known that he had a reputation for learning and esthetic taste. He was well versed in Homer and the Greek lyric poets. His music teacher was a great man of the old school, Lamprus.
Sophocles was known as the "Attic Bee", because of his industriousness. Tradition says that because of his beauty and talent Sophocles was chosen to lead the male chorus at the celebration of the Greek victory at Salamis. In 468 B.C., at age 28, Sophocles defeated Aeschylus in one of the drama contests that were then fashionable. During the remainder of his career he never won less than second prize and gained first prize more than any other Greek tragedian. In 443-442 he held the post of Hellenotamias, or imperial treasurer, and was elected general at least twice.
Of approximately 125 tragedies that Sophocles is said to have written, only 7 have survived. Since there is but a fraction of the plays he wrote, general comments on Sophoclean drama are based on the extant plays.
In his work the Ajax, Sophocles is pointing up the tragedy that may result from an insult to a man's arete (Homeric recognition of a man's excellence). The Antigone is one of three plays on the Oedipus theme written over a period of some 40 years.
Sophocles died in 406 or 405 B.C. at the age of ninety or ninety-one. As with many famous men in classical antiquity, his death inspired a number of apocryphal stories. The most famous is the suggestion that he died from the strain of trying to recite a long sentence from his Antigone without pausing to take a breath. Another account suggests he choked while eating grapes at the Anthesteria festival in Athens. A third holds that he died of happiness after winning his final victory at the City Dionysia.
(With new translations and a new afterword The full texts ...)2010
(The heroic Greek dramas that have moved theatergoers and ...)1984
His religious activities included service as priest of the healing divinity, and he turned over his house for the worship of Asclepius until a proper temple could be built. For this he was honored with the title Dexion as a hero after his death. He is reported to have written a paean in honor of Asclepius.
There were three periods in Sophocles's literary development: imitation of the grand style of Aeschylus, use of artificial and incisive style, and use of the best style and that which is most expressive of character. It is only from the third period that we have examples. It is often asserted that Sophocles found tragedy up in the clouds and brought it down to earth. For Aeschylus, myth was an important vehicle for ideas, for highlighting man's relation to the gods. Sophocles dealt with men and showed how a character reacts under stress. The tragedy of Sophocles has been described as a tragedy of character as contrasted to Aeschylus's tragedy of situation. Sophocles's principal subject is man, and his hero is suffering man.
In his work Oedipus Rex Sophocles brings up the question of justice. Why is there irrational evil in the world? Why does the very man who is basically good suffer intolerably? The answer is found in the concept of dike-balance, order, justice. The world is orderly and follows natural laws. No matter how good or how well intentioned man may be, if he violates a natural law, he will be punished and he will suffer. Human knowledge is limited, but there is nobility in human suffering.
“Children are the anchors of a mother's life.”
“One word Frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”
“Who seeks shall find.”
“Kindness gives birth to kindness.”
“What greater wound is there than a false friend?”
“Go then if you must, but remember, no matter how foolish your deeds, those who love you will love you still.”
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
“What people believe prevails over the truth.”
“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.”
“No man loves life like him that's growing old.”
“A word does not frighten the man who, in acting feels no fear.”
“Time, which sees all things, has found you out.”
“Always desire to learn something useful”
“In a just cause the weak will beat the strong.”
“I recommend...bread, meat, vegetables, and beer.”
“A man though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.”
“Let men be wise by instinct if they can, but when this fails be wise by good advice.”
“Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted.”
Sophocles was known for his amiability and sociability which epitomized the ideal Athenian gentleman (kaloskagathos). In public life he distinguished himself as a man of affairs.
Several ancient sources mention Sophocles' homosexuality or bisexuality. Athenaios reported that Sophocles loved boys like Euripides loved women. The poet Ion of Chios relates an anecdote involving Sophocles seducing a serving boy at a symposium, and Athenaios one in which Sophocles is tricked by a hustler.
Quotes from others about the person
“"Blessed is Sophocles, who had a long life, was a man both happy and talented, and the writer of many good tragedies; and he ended his life well without suffering any misfortune."”
Sophocles had two sons, lophon and Sophocles, by his first wife, Nicostrata, and he had a third son, Ariston, by his second wife, Theoris.