Topic: Sophocles the Playwright
Jebb, Sir Richard C, editor. The Tragedies of Sophocles. Cambridge University, 1904, pp. 157-175.
Campbell reasons that Sophocles amalgamated both the structure and essence of theatrical tragedy, a concentration that differentiated his work from that of playwrights such as Aeschylus (157). This is argued through Campbell mentioning the insights as that of the rich psychic and spiritual ambiances seen in Oedipus and the profound psychology weaved throughout Philoctetes, which were not in any regard featured in other plays of the time (158-159). From his predecessors, Sophocles was said to have acknowledged that tragic theatre forms a "domestic purity" and "equity and mercy" (159). Campbell also indicates that…show more content… He argues this was likely the key reason he played Kolonos in Dithyrambic. Complementing this, he mentions that Sophocles performed in many roles in his own plays (67), yet retired from his performance career early in his life, from either “voice strain[,] the weakness of his voice [or because he was] too busy to devote much time to practice and performance” (67). Public service was a key aspect of the early life of the playwright, being remarked as “tirelessly devoted” (67) by McLeish. However, Sophocles’ reputation was set primarily on the play Oedipus Tyrannus, which Aristotle thought “[demonstrated] how [a] ‘well-made’ tragedy should be written for maximum moral and didactic effect.” (68). Through this theatrical performance (along with many others), McLeish states that Sophocles was able to become one of the leading members of the “Pantheon of writers, sculptors, philosophers and statesmen [by the late nineteenth century]” (69). McLeish mentions that this exceptional group signified the epitome and essence of “the glory that was Greece” (69). He argues this could be likened to an “embryonic Age of Reason” (69). McLeish also brings forth the idea that the plays written by Sophocles at this time were “nothing like” (69) those of his more well-known Antigone, Tyrannus and Oedipus. He references Elektra as being, in essence, a performance of sorrow and insanity (69), Philoctetes one of “philosophical adventure” (69) that unpacks tribute and responsibility, and Women of Trachis as a scrutiny of the morals behind purity and affection (69). McLeish also puts forth, what he labels “one of the most important components of Sophoclean dramatic art” (74): irony. Mentioning the example of the servant’s satirical account – in Elektra – of the chariot race, revealing that the tale can be