Sophocles Oedipus Rex As A Classical Tragedy

The scope of the dramatic conflict was thereby extended, plots could be more fluid, and situations could be more complex.The typical Sophoclean drama presents a few characters, impressive in their determination and power and possessing a few strongly drawn qualities or faults that combine with a particular set of circumstances to lead them inevitably to a tragic fate.

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Sophocles’ major innovation was his introduction of a third actor into the dramatic performance.

It had previously been permissible for two actors to “double” (i.e., assume other roles during a play), but the addition of a third actor onstage enabled the dramatist both to increase the number of his characters and widen the variety of their interactions.

Sophocles was the younger contemporary of Aeschylus and the older contemporary of Euripides.

He was born at Colonus, a village outside the walls of Athens, where his father, Sophillus, was a wealthy manufacturer of armour. Because of his beauty of physique, his athletic prowess, and his skill in music, he was chosen in 480, when he was 16, to lead the paean (choral chant to a god) celebrating the decisive Greek sea victory over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis.

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He is credited with diverging from the typical format of a tragedy: he increased the number of speaking actors, increased the number of chorus members, and used painted scenery., a satyr play, exists only as a 400-line fragment.

Sophoclean dramas typically focus on a few characters and highlight their determined natures and strong qualities which, eventually, lead them to tragedy.

Many scenes dramatize flaws or failure in thinking (deceptive reports and rumours, false optimism, hasty judgment, madness).

The chief character does something involving grave error; this affects others, each of whom reacts in his own way, thereby causing the chief agent to take another step toward ruin—his own and that of others as well.


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