A summary of philoctetes by sophocles

Neoptolemus identifies it by the stained bandages drying in the sun, the leaf-stuffed mattress, and the crude wooden cup he finds. The earliest presentation of the play was in City Dionysia in BC where it was awarded first prize. This is something that many disabled people, especially those who have become disabled during there life, have to face day in and day out.

As we are told, the Greeks were so putrefied by the ulcer that developed on his ankle that they dumped him on an island and snuck off in the middle of the night. Unlock This Study Guide Now Start your hour free trial to unlock this page Philoctetes study guide and get instant access to the following: The play is set during the Trojan War, prior to the Trojan Horse and just after most of the events related in the Iliad have taken place.

Another account suggests he choked while eating grapes at the Anthesteria festival in Athens. However, no-one but the young Philoctetes was willing to light the fire, and in return for this favour Heracles gave Philoctetes his magical bow whose arrows infallibly kill.

Philoctetes left with the Greeks to participate in the Trojan Warbut was bitten on the foot by a snake while walking on Chryse, a sacred ground. There, Odysseus abandons Philoctetes after the Greek warrior is bitten on the foot by a snake while preparing to make a sacrifice at the shrine on the island of Chrysa.

It raises the question to a broader level as well as it becomes important to consider how trying to achieve what is right for the individual fits in with the greater good. It was not until after the death of the old master Aeschylus in BC that Sophocles became the pre-eminent playwright in Athens.

Themes and ideas[ edit ] The concept of having a moral high ground is a key aspect in this play. While this seems to be the end of the play, while they are leaving, Heracles who is now a god appears to them and tells Philoctetes that he will be cured and the Greeks will win the war if he goes to Troy.

Perhaps due to his years of solitude and seclusion, Philoctetes is a very stubborn character who is very set in his ways.

Philoctetes Summary

Furthermore, the play makes one question the struggle between what is right for the individual versus what is right for the group. People who love these types of plays Recommended to David by: To be notified when we launch a full study guide, please contact us.

The tragedy tells the story of the second siege of Thebes. In addition to being in a clearly more powerful position in Oedipus at Colonus, Eteocles and Polynices are also culpable: As I have previously mentioned, this play is about the plight of those who have been disabled in war and have been forgotten.

Heracles concludes by warning everyone to respect the gods or face the consequences. As a sign of gratitude for this, Heracles gives Philoctetes his bow. At the end of the play, order is restored. Philoctetes suffers wounds that do not heal.

In Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles attempts to work these inconsistencies into a coherent whole: This restoration is seen when Creon, brother of Jocasta, becomes king, and also when Oedipus, before going off to exile, asks Creon to take care of his children.

Despite its somewhat peripheral position at the edges of the main Trojan War story, it was clearly a popular tale, and both Aeschylus and Euripides had already written plays on the subject before Sophocles although neither of their plays have survived.

Toward the end of his life, Athens became entangled in a war with other city-states jealous of its prosperity and power, a war that would end the glorious century during which Sophocles lived.


Odysseus desires victory above all else Tessitore, and is willing to use whatever kind of deceit is necessary to achieve it. Neoptolemus makes an effort to convince Philoctetes to go to Troy of his own accord, but is unsuccessful in convincing him.

This is not something new, and we can be assured that in the audience when the play was first performed there were many people in the same situation as Philoctetes.

Philoctetes Analysis

Neoptolemus gains the trust of Philoctetes by convincing him that he, Neoptolemus, also hates Odysseus. Antigone decides to bury his body and face the consequences of her actions.

He tells him he needs to take Philoctetes by tricking him while Odysseus hides. After ten years of war, the Greeks seemed unable to finish off Troy. For this, he was given the posthumous epithet Dexion receiver by the Athenians.Philoctetes is known to have been written in BC, and Oedipus at Colonus is known to have only been performed in BC, posthumously, at the initiation of Sophocles' grandson.

The convention on writing plays for the Greek festivals was to submit them in tetralogies of three tragedies along with one satyr play. He asks forgiveness, and invites Philoctetes to come back with him to be healed and then on to Troy to contribute to the battle. The only thing that ends Philoctetes’s refusal is the sudden appearance of Heracles, who announces that Philoctetes and Neoptolemus must join together to take Troy.

Philoctetes is a suffering man deserving of compassion (Hawkins, ), but his refusal of engagement is an unusual characteristic for the Greeks of which Sophocles did not approve (Harsh, ).

Sophocles lived a long life, but not long enough to witness the downfall of Athens. Toward the end of his life, Athens became entangled in a war with other city-states jealous of its prosperity and power, a war that would end the glorious century during which Sophocles lived. Neoptolemus answers Philoctetes, who asks Neoptolemus who he is and why he comes.

The young warrior says that he is the son of Achilles and that he does not know Philoctetes, who replies that he must indeed be vile if no word of him reached the Greeks. London: Methuen, An excellent study of Sophocles’ innovations such as his emphasis on character development, especially of Neoptolemus in Philoctetes, which Kitto claims has a wider range than any other character in Greek tragedy.

Segal, Charles. Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,

A summary of philoctetes by sophocles
Rated 0/5 based on 73 review