READ: Sophocles and Oedipus Rex

1 Who is Sophocles?

Sophocles, another Greek playwright, was younger than Aeschylus by a generation. He was also greatly involved in the political, cultural and religious life of Athens. He first led a Chorus at the age of 16. In addition, he held the office of Treasurer, was a General, was on the Board of Governors of Athens, and was also a Priest.

Sophocles wrote 123 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, Trachinian Women, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus, though Oedipus the King is arguably his most famous.

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Sophocles is credited with influencing the development of drama by adding a third actor, and reducing the importance of the Chorus in the presentation of the plot. For Sophocles, the Chorus does not advance the plot, but instead takes the role of a minor character. He also developed his characters to a greater extent than did Aeschylus.

Brockett, O.G. (1999) History of the Theatre, (8th ed). MA: Allyn & Bacon.