Philoctetes, the bowman, is a most haunting and ambiguous character of Sophocles. He represents the pain which the world subjects all creative people to. Keeping his simplicity and innocence in a world of confusion and lies ends up being his greatest challenge. Through intense character portrayal, Sophocles presents the story of Philoctetes in a way so that the reader can empathizes and truly understand the pain of Philoctetes.
The story begins when Odysseus and Neoptolemus are on a beach on the island of Lemnos. They are looking for Philoctetes. Odysseus tells Neoptolemus to find Philoctetes, and tell him that he is the son of Achilles. Odysseus wants him to become friendly with Philoctetes and gain his trust. When he has accomplished that, he is to obtain Philoctetes= bow, so that they can take it back with them. After he receives his instructions from Odysseus, Neoptolemus sets off to find Philoctetes.
He meets up with him, and they start to talk. Philoctetes is overjoyed to find out that eh is talking to the son of Achilles. He tells him the story of how he was left on the island, crippled and dying. He then asks Neoptolemus to take him back with him, and to just not leave him on the island all alone. Neoptolemus agrees to take Philoctetes back with him, and he is overjoyed once again.
A sailor disguised as a trader then enters the scene and tells a tale to Neoptolemus of how he is in great danger and must be very careful. Philoctetes believes that Neoptolemus is actually in great danger so he suggests that they leave as soon as possible. He tells them the few things that he owns, including the bow. Philoctetes is greatly impressed by the bow, and when he admires it, Philoctetes tells him that anything of his is also to be considered Neoptolemus=. He then discloses that he is close to dying and decides to give Neoptolemus the bow for good.
Neoptolemus is then stricken with...