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Sophocles lived from 495 to 406 BC. He was a Greek playwright from Athens. He was the son of a wealthy merchant, and enjoyed luxuries accordingly. By age sixteen, his attractive physical attributes helped him to be chosen to lead a choir at a celebration of victory at the Battle of Salamis. At age twenty-eight, he defeated Aeschylus at the City Dionysia, which was a yearly competition held at the Theatre of Dionysis, after which he never won less than second place and achieved first place eighteen times. He acted in many of his own plays, but his weak voice eventually led him to pursue other interests. He wrote over 120 plays, only seven of which have survived. Of these, Oedipus the King is generally considered his greatest work. He was known for his use of tragedy, and his works frequently won dramatic competitions. Some of his other famous works are Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus.[1]

Aside from his plays, Sophocles was a priest and served on the Board of Generals, which was a group that controlled the civil and military issues in Athens. For a time, he was the treasurer of the Delian Confederacy. Sophocles was the first playwright to have three actors in his plays, as well as being one of the first to abandon the trilogy form of writing and making each tragedy tell its own story. He died a natural death at the age of 90.[2][3]

Works by Sophocles



  1. Sophocles; The Literature Network
  2. The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989
  3. "Sophocles(c. 496-406 B.C.)." Moonstruck Drama Books. Moonstruck Drama Bookstore. 18 May 2008 <§ion=1>.
  4. Great Books, vol. 4, Sophocles plays edited by David Green and Richmond Lattimore, 1993, page 109.