Biography of Sophocles Essay

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Biography of Sophocles

Sophocles was born near Athens, in the small town of Colonus, around 495 BC. His ninety-year life span coincided with the rise and fall of the Athenian Golden age. The son of Sophillus, a wealthy armor maker, Sophocles was provided with the best traditional aristocratic education available in Athens (Page 3). Very little is known about Sophocles as a youth, although one public record suggests his participation in “The Chorus of Youths,” chosen to celebrate the Athenian naval victory at Salamis, in 480 BC (Terrell 1). Much speculation exists around the life of Sophocles as a young man, but no definite record of his achievements can be found before 468 BC, the year he defeated Aeschylus in a dramatic competition.
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Of the complete works available, Antigone, Oedipus Tryannus (Oedipus Rex), and Oedipus at Colonus are widely considered to be masterpieces (Terrell 2).

2. Summary:
Antigone is a play which embodies many values held dear to the ancient Greeks: morality, pride, selfless love, the power of the Gods, and similar issues which are timelessly inherent within the human condition are pursued endlessly by Sophocles and his dramatic cast of characters, making the play as relevant to contemporary man as it once was to the ancient Athenian. The play initially appears to center around Antigone, focusing on her selfless love, and subsequent sacrifice to ensure her brothers burial. Although this is a main concept used by Sophocles to perpetuate the tragedy, the ensuing bulk of the play appears to deal more deeply with the fate of Creon. This leaves four very important issues within the play, dealing with (1) the opposition of Creon and Antigone (2) the internal struggle between Creon’s own authority and his overwhelming sense of pride or ego (3) the opposition between Creon and the Gods, and (4) the transcendental issue regarding personal morals and the laws of the state. These concepts are dealt with steadily throughout the play, although the Prologue, the Parodos, and part of scene one can be viewed as an introduction, mainly used to

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