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Born in 495 B.C. about a mile northwest of Athens, Sophocles was to become one of the great playwrights of the golden age. The son of a wealthy merchant, he would enjoy all the comforts of a thriving Greek empire. He studied all of the arts. By the age of sixteen, he was already known for his beauty and grace and was chosen to lead a choir of boys at a celebration of the victory of Salamis. Twelve years later, his studies complete, he was ready to compete in the City Dionysia--a festival held every year at the Theatre of Dionysus in which new plays were presented. In his first competition, Sophocles took first prize--defeating none other than Aeschylus himself. More than 120 plays were to follow. He would go on to win eighteen first prizes, and he would never fail to take at least second. An accomplished actor, Sophocles performed in many of his own plays. In the Nausicaa or The Women Washing Clothes, he performed a juggling act that so fascinated his audience it was the talk of Athens for many years. However, the young athenian's voice was comparatively weak, and eventually he would give up his acting career to pursue other ventures. Of Sophocles' more than 120 plays, only seven have survived in their entirety. Of these, Oedipus the King is generally considered his greatest work. Another masterpiece is Antigone. His greatest character drama, however, is probably Electra.

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Born in 495 B.C. about a mile northwest of Athens, Sophocles was to become one of the great playwrights of the golden age. The son of a wealthy merchant, he would enjoy all the comforts of a thriving Greek empire. He studied all of the arts. By the age of sixteen, he was already known for his beauty and grace and was chosen to lead a choir of boys at a celebration of the victory of Salamis. Twelve years later, his studies complete, he was ready to compete in the City Dionysia--a festival held every year at the Theatre of Dionysus in which new plays were presented. In his first competition, Sophocles took first prize--defeating none other than Aeschylus himself. More than 120 plays were to follow. He would go on to win eighteen first prizes, and he would never fail to take at least second. An accomplished actor, Sophocles performed in many of his own plays. In the Nausicaa or The Women Washing Clothes, he performed a juggling act that so fascinated his audience it was the talk of Athens for many years. However, the young athenian's voice was comparatively weak, and eventually he would give up his acting career to pursue other ventures. Of Sophocles' more than 120 plays, only seven have survived in their entirety. Of these, Oedipus the King is generally considered his greatest work. Another masterpiece is Antigone. His greatest character drama, however, is probably Electra. More...

 
    Aeschylus, Father of Tragedy
  Aeschylus, Father of Tragedy
The "Father of Tragedy", Aeschylus was born in the city of Eleusis. Immersed early in the mystic rites of the city and in the worship of the Mother and Earth goddess Demeter, he was once sent as a child to watch grapes ripening in the countryside. Ac...
 
    Euripides, Greek Tragedian
  Euripides, Greek Tragedian
Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived. Some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according t...
 
    Antigone, Sophocles
  Antigone, Sophocles
Along with Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone forms part of the Oedipus cycle in which Sophocles dramatizes the tragic downfall of the house of Oedipus. The final chapter in the saga, this play follows Oedipus' daughter Antigone who at...
 
    Oedipus the King, Sophocles
  Oedipus the King, Sophocles
"Oedipus the King" (or, "Oedipus Rex") is probably Sophocles' most famous work, first performed about 429 B. C. It should be required reading for every college Freshman. As had been prophesied, Oedipus unknowingly kills his father, Laius, and marries...
 
       
 
         
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