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Ancient Greek Drama: A Comparison Of The Euripides And Sophocles

1152 words - 5 pages

Theater was an important part of Ancient Greek Civilization. History of Greek theatre began with religious festivals which aim to honor Dionysus, a god. During the festivals some citizens sing songs and perform improvisation plays and other participants of festivals judges this performances to decide which one of them was the best. These plays form the foundation of the Greek Theatre. Because of the competition between performers to create best performances, plays gained an aesthetic perspective and became a form of art. So, theatre as a part of religious rituals took attention of people and gained an importance in Ancient Greek Society.
This paper aims to study two significant playwrights, Sophocles and Euripides, and compare their respective attitudes by examining their plays in respect to plot and character structures. To achieve this goal, the paper is organized into two main sections. In the first section, we provide a brief biography of both Sophocles and Euripides. The second and last section includes summaries of Sophocles’ Electra and Euripides’ Electra which were based on same essentials and give an opportunity to observe the differences of the playwrights. This section also includes the comparisons that are made by our observations about the plays.
Information about lifes of Sophocles and Euripides are very limited and hard to verify. However, many sources match about following information about their biographies. Sophocles was born at 497 or 496 BCE in Colonus Hippius, now a part of Athens. His father was a wealthy merchant and weapon producer and an important figure in their society. So, Sophocles had the opportunity of taking the traditional aristocratic education and studying art in his early age which was a privilege for a not-aristocrat person. Just like the most educated citizens of his age, Sophocles served in several government businesses. In 443 or 442 BCE, he became treasurer at Athens. After holding this post for a few years he was also elected as general in the suppression of the revolt in Samos. During this role, he served under Pericles who was the leader of Athens during the Golden Age of Athens. He also served in military as a general during the war against Syracuse. His successes and personality put him in position that he gained respect of the Athenian people and he was selected even in a commission which had a duty of dealing with the problems that arisen after the defeat in the war against Syracuse. Besides the political roles, he also interested in religion. He participated in priesthood of Amynos, a healing cult and let them to serve in his own house until the temple of Asclepius was completed. His religious service is one of the reasons for the love and respect of society for him.
Other than his many civil services he was a very successful playwright. According to Suma, he wrote 123 plays but only 7 of them survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, The Women of Trachis, Oedipus the King, Electra,...

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