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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Achilles action aeolic Aesch Aischylos anapaests antistrophe associated Athena Athenian Atreidai Atreus audience beginning caesura cave chor dim Chorus clause contrast crasis deﬁnite denote Diomedes disease divine emotional emphasis emphatic enjambment epic Euripides evil expresses éyo'o ﬁfth-century ﬁguratively ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁrst ﬁv force go to Troy gods Greek army Helenos Herakles Homeric iambic trimeter Iebb implies indic Introd island Kori language Lemnos light syllable Little Iliad lyric means metre metrical Moorhouse Neoptolemos noun Odysseus omitted pain participle perhaps Phil Phil.’s Philoktetes pity position Pucci refers reﬂects rhetorical sack sense sentence ship Smyth sons of Atreus Soph Soph.’s Sophoklean Sophokles speaks speciﬁc speech stichomythia strophe strophe and antistrophe subj subjunct suffering suggests surviving plays synizesis TéKvov Tﬁg things Trpog u‘ev u‘sv uév verb words yorp Zeus