Sophocles Facts

Sophocles Facts
Sophocles was an ancient Greek tragedian who wrote more than 120 plays during his life. He was born in a rural community of Attica in roughly 497/496 BC to a wealthy family. His father manufactured armour and Sophocles was very well educated growing up. In 468 BC Sophocles won first prize in a theatre competition. It is believed that he presented the play Triptolemus at this particular festival. In 480 BC Sophocles was given the honor of leading the choral chant to a God to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Salamis. He went on to write more than 120 plays but only seven of them have survived in their entirety.
Interesting Sophocles Facts:
Only the plays of three ancient Greek tragedians, including Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides have survived.
The seven plays of Sophocles that have survived in their entirety include Ajax, Antigone, The Women of Trachis, Electra, Philoctetes, Oedipus Rex, and Philoctetes and Oediups At Colonus.
During his career Sophocles competed in 30 dramatic competitions. He won 24 of them and never placed lower than second place. In comparison Euripides won 4 competitions and Aeschylus won 13, and was defeated by Sophocles on occasion.
Sophocles was the most famous and most celebrated dramatic playwright for almost 50 years in Athens during the Dionysia and the Lanaea, which were religious festivals.
Sophocles most famous tragedies featured Antigone and Oedipus.
Sophocles was known for developing his characters much more than earlier playwrights.
Sophocles featured the rural community where he was born in one of his plays - Hippeiois Colonus in Attica.
Sophocles served as a treasurer of Athens in 443 BC during Pericles political ascendancy.
Sophocles was elected as one of 10 generals in 441 BC, and served in the campaign against Samos.
Sophocles set up an alter for the image of Asclepius and welcomed it when it was introduced to Athens as a deity.
Sophocles was elected as a commissioner in 413 BC during the Peloponnesian War to respond to the destruction in Sicily of the Athenian expeditionary force.
It is believed that Sophocles quit acting because of his weak voice.
Sophocles had two sons from two separate marriages. Both boys grew up to become tragedians. One son sued him when Sophocles reached his 90s to force him to hand over his estate.
Sophocles died at the age of 90 or 91, in 406 BC. He had lived to experience both the Persian War triumphs and the bloodbath of the Peloponnesian War.
There were many stories about how Sophocles died. One story suggested that he strained while trying to recite a long sentence from Antigone and didn't pause to breathe and died as a result.
Some of the titles of plays that have survived only in parts include Aletes, Meleagros, Niobe, Pelias, Phoenix, Eris, Troilus, and Tyndareos.
Sophocles was considered to be an innovative playwright and introduced the third actor which enabled the development of more conflict between characters and more character development.
Sophocles has been credited with introducing scenery painting to plays.


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