Only seven of Sophocles’ tragedies survive in your entirety, in addition to 400 currently of a satyr play, many fragments the plays now lost, and also 90 titles. All seven of the complete plays space works of Sophocles’ maturity, but only two of them, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus, have reasonably certain dates. Ajax is generally regarded together the faster of the extant plays. Some evidence argues that Antigone was an initial performed in 442 or 441 bce. Philoctetes was an initial performed in 409, when Sophocles to be 90 years old, and also Oedipus at Colonus was said to have actually been created after Sophocles’ fatality by his grandson.

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The whole plot of Ajax (Greek: Aias mastigophoros) is constructed around Ajax, the mighty hero the the Trojan battle whose pride drives him to treachery and finally come his own ruin and also suicide part two-thirds of the means through the play. Ajax is deeply offended at the award of the prize of valour (the dead Achilles’ armour) no to himself but to Odysseus. Ajax thereupon attempts come assassinate Odysseus and the contest’s judges, the Greek leaders Agamemnon and also Menelaus, however is frustrated by the treatment of the goddess Athena. He can not bear his humiliation and also throws himself on his own sword. Agamemnon and Menelaus order the Ajax’s corpse be left unburied as punishment. However the wise Odysseus persuades the leaders to relent and grant Ajax one honourable burial. In the finish Odysseus is the only human who seems truly aware of the changeability of human fortune.


Antigone is the daughter the Oedipus, the previous king of Thebes. She is ready to challenge the resources punishment that has actually been decreed by her uncle Creon, the new king, as the penalty because that anyone burying her brothers Polyneices. (Polyneices has just been killed attacking Thebes, and also it is together posthumous punishment for this strike that Creon has actually forbidden the interment of his corpse.) Obeying every her instincts that love, loyalty, and humanity, Antigone defies Creon and dutifully buries she brother’s corpse. Creon, indigenous conviction that factors of state outweigh household ties, refuses to commute Antigone’s fatality sentence. By the time Creon is finally encouraged by the prophet Tiresias come relent and totally free Antigone, she has actually killed it s her in her prison cell. Creon’s son, Haemon, death himself the end of love and also sympathy because that the dead Antigone, and also Creon’s wife, Eurydice, climate kills herself out of grief end these catastrophic events. At the play’s end Creon is left desolate and broken in spirit. In his narrow and unduly rigid follow to his public duties, Creon has defied the gods through his rejection of humanity’s typical obligations toward the dead. The beat thus involves the conflicting duties of public versus personal loyalties and spiritual mores.

Trachinian Women

This play centres on the efforts of Deianeira come win back the hike affections of her husband, Heracles, who is away on among his heroic missions and also who has actually sent ago his latest concubine, Iole, come live with his wife at their home in Trachis. The love charm Deianeira uses on Heracles transforms out to it is in poisonous, and she death herself upon finding out of the agony she has actually caused she husband. Thus, in Trachinian Women (Greek: Trachiniai) Heracles’ insensitivity (in sending out his mistress to share his wife’s home) and Deianeira’s ignorance result in domestic tragedy.

Oedipus the King

The plot the Oedipus the King (Greek: Oidipous Tyrannos; Latin: Oedipus Rex) is a structure marvel the marks the summit of classic Greek drama’s official achievements. The play’s key character, Oedipus, is the wise, happy, and beloved ruler of Thebes. Though hot-tempered, impatient, and arrogant at times of crisis, the otherwise seems to enjoy every an excellent fortune. Yet Oedipus incorrectly believes the he is the son of King Polybus of Corinth and also his queen. He came to be the ruler of Thebes due to the fact that he rescued the city native the Sphinx by comment its riddle correctly, and so to be awarded the city’s widowed queen, Jocasta. Before overcoming the Sphinx, Oedipus left Corinth forever due to the fact that the Delphic oracle had actually prophesied come him the he would certainly kill his father and also marry his mother. While journeying to Thebes indigenous Corinth, Oedipus encountered in ~ a crossroads one old guy accompanied by five servants. Oedipus acquired into an debate with him and also in a fit of arrogance and also bad temper killed the old man and four of his servants.


The play opens with the city the Thebes stricken by a plague and its citizens begging Oedipus to find a remedy. That consults the Delphic oracle, i m sorry declares that the pester will cease only once the murderer of Jocasta’s first husband, King Laius, has actually been found and also punished because that his deed. Oedipus resolves to uncover Laius’s killer, and much the the rest of the pat centres ~ above the examination he conducts in this regard. In a collection of tense, gripping, and also ominous scenes, Oedipus’s examination turns into an obsessive repair of his own surprise past as he starts to doubt that the old man he eliminated at the crossroads to be none various other than Laius. Finally, Oedipus learns that he self was abandoned to dice as a infant by Laius and Jocasta because they fear a prophecy the their infant son would kill his father; that he survived and also was embraced by the ruler of Corinth (see video), yet in his maturity he has actually unwittingly fulfilled the Delphic oracle’s prophecy the him; that he has actually indeed eliminated his true father, married his very own mother, and begot children who are also his very own siblings.


Jocasta hangs herself once she watch this shameful web of incest, parricide, and also attempted child murder, and the guilt-stricken Oedipus then sticks needles right into his eyes, blinding himself. Sightless and also alone, the is now blind come the world about him however finally cognizant of the damaging truth that his own life (see video).


As in Aeschylus’s Libation Bearers, the activity in Electra (Greek: Ēlektra) adheres to the return of Orestes to death his mother, Clytemnestra, and also her lover Aegisthus in retribution for your murder that Orestes’ father, Agamemnon. In this play, however, the main emphasis is top top Orestes’ sister Electra and her anguished authorized in her brother’s plans. To obtain admittance to the palace and also thus have the ability to execute his revenge, Orestes spreads false news the his very own death. Believing this report, the despairing Electra unsuccessfully tries come enlist her sister Chrysothemis in an attempt to murder their mother. In a dramatic scene, Orestes climate enters in disguise and hands Electra the urn the is claimed to save on computer his very own ashes. Relocated by his sister’s display screen of grief, Orestes expose his true identity to her and then strikes under his mother and her lover. Electra’s triumph is therefore complete. In the pat Electra is checked out passing v the whole variety of human being emotions—from passionate love to devilish hatred, native numb despair come wild joy. There is conflict over even if it is the beat depicts virtue triumphant or, rather, portrays a young mrs incurably twisted by year of hatred and resentment.


In Philoctetes (Greek: Philoktētēs) the Greeks top top their method to troy have actors away the play’s main character, Philoctetes, on the desert island the Lemnos because he has actually a loathsome and also incurable ulcer ~ above his foot. But the Greeks have uncovered that lock cannot win victory over trojan without Philoctetes and his wonderful bow, which formerly belonged to Heracles. The crafty Odysseus is given the task of fetching Philoctetes by any way possible. Odysseus knows the the resentful Philoctetes will certainly kill the if he can, therefore he offers the young and impressionable soldier Neoptolemus, child of the dead Achilles, together his agent. Neoptolemus is hence caught in between the devious manipulations the Odysseus and the unsuspecting verity of Philoctetes, that is ready to perform anything rather than assist the Greeks who abandoned him. For lot of the beat Neoptolemus sticks come Odysseus’s policy of deceit, regardless of his better nature, but eventually the renounces replicate to join in friendship v Philoctetes. A superordinary appearance by Heracles climate convinces Philoctetes to walk to troy to both win victory and be cure of his disease.

Oedipus at Colonus

In Oedipus at Colonus (Greek: Oidipous epi Kolōnō) the old, blind Oedipus has spent many years hike in exile after gift rejected by his sons and also the city of Thebes. Oedipus has been cared for just by his daughters Antigone and Ismene. He come at a spiritual grove in ~ Colonus, a village close through Athens (and the house of Sophocles himself). There Oedipus is guaranteed defense by Theseus, the noble king that Athens. Theseus does indeed protect Oedipus from the importunate pleadings of his brother-in-law, Creon, for Oedipus to safeguard Thebes. Oedipus himself rejects the entreaties that his kid Polyneices, that is bend on attacking Thebes and whom Oedipus solemnly curses. Ultimately Oedipus departs to a secret death; he is apparently swallowed into the earth of Colonus, where he will become a benevolent power and a mysterious resource of defense to the land that has offered him final refuge. The beat is remarkable for the melancholy, beauty, and also power of its lyric odes and for the spiritual and moral authority v which that invests the number of Oedipus.

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Four hundreds lines that this satyr beat survive. The plot the Trackers (Greek: Ichneutai) is based on two stories about the miraculous early deeds the the god Hermes: the the infant, cultivation to maturity in a few days, stole livestock from Apollo, baffling exploration by reversing the animals’ hoof marks, and that he developed the lyre by fitting strings to a turtle shell. In this beat the trackers room the chorus the satyrs, who are looking for the cattle; they space amusingly dumbfounded at the sound the the new instrument Hermes has invented. Sufficient of the play survives to provide an impression of its style; that is a genial, uncomplicated travesty the the disastrous manner, and also the antics the the chorus were supposedly the chief source of amusement.