Sophocles: Philoctetes

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 12, 2013 - History - 375 pages
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Sophocles' Philoctetes is one of the most widely read Greek tragedies today but is a complex and challenging play to interpret. Its representation of Philoctetes as a sufferer of physical and emotional pain gives it remarkable power and intensity. It juxtaposes Homeric and fifth-century institutions and values, explores honor, power and expediency as principles of personal and political life, and represents contrasts and conflicts between innocence and experience, ends and means, and the needs and demands of the individual and those of society. This edition with commentary makes the play accessible to students, teachers, and other readers of Greek literature at all levels. The introduction discusses the main problems of interpretation and gives an account of its reception from antiquity to the present day.

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Introduction OcwoaHHH
The Chorus and the characters
Key to metrical abbreviations terms and symbols
The transmission of the text

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About the author (2013)

Sophocles was born around 496 B.C. in Colonus (near Athens), Greece. In 480, he was selected to lead the paean (choral chant to a god) celebrating the decisive Greek sea victory over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. He served as a treasurer and general for Athens when it was expanding its empire and influence. He wrote approximately 123 plays including Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, Trachiniae, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus. His last recorded act was to lead a chorus in public mourning for Euripides. He died in 406 B. C.

Seth L. Schein is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis. His main areas of scholarly research and writing are Homeric epic and Attic tragedy.

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