A STUDY ON OLD AND MODERN ENGLISH USED
IN THE PLAY OF DRAMA OEDIPUS REX SOPHOCLES
SOFIAN LASMARISI SIHOMBING
DIPLOMA-III ENGLISH STUDY PROGRAM
FACULTY OF CULTURE STUDIES
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH SUMATERA
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Drs. Chairul Husni, M.Ed.TESOL.
Submitted to Faculty of Cultural Studies, University of North Sumatera
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Head of Diploma III English Study Program
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Approved by the Diploma III English Study Program Faculty of Cultural Studies, University of Sumatera Utara
Accepted by the Board of Examiners in partial fulfiment of the requirements for the D-III Examination of the Diploma III English Study Program, Faculty of Cultural Studies, University of North Sumatera.
The examination is held on June 2014
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I am, SOFIAN LASMARISI SIHOMBING, declare that I am the sole author of this paper. Except wh ere the reference is ma de in the text of this paper, this paper contains no material published elsewhere or extracted in whole or in part from a paper by which i have qualified for or awarded another degree.
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Name : SOFIAN LASMARISI SIHOMBING
Title of Paper : A STUDY ON OLD AND MODERN ENGLISH
USED IN THE PLAY OF OEDIPUS REX BY
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First of all, I would like to thank and praise the Almighty God for blessing and giving me health, strength and ease to accomplish this paper as one of the requirements to get Diploma III from English Diploma Study Program, Faculty of Cultural Studies , University of North Sumatera.
Special thanks go to my beloved parents, dad: Hotman Sihombing and mom: Resdi Manik for supporting, loving, caring, praying and believing in me.
I‘m proud to be your daughter. I love you.
Thank you to Dr. Syahron Lubis, M.A., as The Dean of Faculty of Culture Studies.
Thank you to Dr. Matius C.A Sembiring, MA as The Head of English Diploma Study Program.
Thank you to Drs. Chairul Husni, M.E.d. TESOL as my supervisor, and
Drs. Umar Mono, Dipl. Tran., M. Hum. as my reader who gives me corrections and advices to finish this paper.
Thank you Mrs.Fauziah Putri S.H for your helps during me as Student of English Diploma.
Thank you my lovely sister: Lisna Hayani and my lovely brothers: Agus Manto, Rolas Miduk, Pardomuan and Edi Gunawan for all of motivation and advices.
Thanks for my lovely friends,Elviana Ambarita, Wilan Sitanggang, and
Zulvery Manik. Thanks for all of we‘re doing together, guys. And also thank for my friends, Shyti Hasanah, Rocky Simajuntak, and Riski Siregar for helping me to get the solusions about this paper. Thanks a lot.
Thank for my best friends, Wira Anastasya Purba and Rumada Pane , thank for this sweet friendship. To make me crazy and make me feel that our is happiness.
And finnaly, I do realize that this paper is still far from being perfect. Therefore, I welcome any constructive and suggestions towards this paper.
Medan, June 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2.4 How Old and Modern English are Related ... 12
2.5 Old English different from Modern English ... 15
1.1 Background of the Study
Language is a medium of communication. It is an important thing in human life, since without language, we cannot make interaction. By using language someone could make statements, explainor report something and keeping social relations among the other person.
Language is used for many purposes. It can information from one mind to another in the world especially English language. Language, human,beings, society, and culture cannot be separated one another. Without the present of language human beings can do nothing. Therefore of course a habit will not appear and so a society. A habit can be seen through the society, and the products of the habit can be said as the culture of the society. So it can be understood clearly the language will be used by a member of society and the habits of the
society‘s members are called the culture of the society. The habits or the culture of the a society usually in herit by the generation of the society.
Owen (2006:1) says that language can be defined as a socially shared combinations of those symbols. Language which is governed by the provisions in question as above is a cultural and also grammar, language has a very close relationship with grammar where language is a series of rules to learn grammar rules governing for forming a sentence.
interesting . Old and Modern English can be a part of literature discussions, when we read the sentences used in stories as drama.
Old English is prior the beginnings of English, the inhabitants of Great Britain spoke primarily Celtic languages. During the later part of the 5th century, three tribes invade England from Western Germany and Denmark. These tribes spoke a similar languge that, over says, develop into Old English.
Modern English began in the 15th century, the transition from Middle Eglish to Modern English began. Much of the transition was due to the expansion of the British Empire throughout the world and to the development of printing. The printing press and increase in publishing of books drove the standardization of the language. spelling grammar was formalized due to the publication of various literary works and pamphlets.
The drama which will be discussed in this paper was written by Sophocles (born c. 496 B.C.E. in Colonus near Athens, Greece.., died after 413) was one of the three major authors of Greek tragedy. Of his 123 plays, only seven survive in full. We are fortunate that one of these is Oedipus Rex (in Greek, Oidipous tyrannos), written soon after 430 B.C., which the accient Greeks themselves considered his best work. Oedipus rex is famous for its smooth and suspenseful plotting, its cosmic ironies and the philosophical questions its raises about the
limits of man‘s power and ambitions.
diction-lightly archaic in the blank verse dialogues, heightened and more involuted in the stanzaic choruses admirably reflects the hieratic nature of
Sophocles‘ drama. He concerned with problems of the Greek text and its
interpretation have been omited. Several new, very brief footnotes have been added, identifying some Greek and concepts for readers less familiar with classical mythology and lore.
Finally, the research of this paper focuses on the Old and Modern English in the drama written by Sophocles entitle Oedipus Rex. This is the background as well as the reason why this paper focus on the analyzing the Old and Modern English.
1.2 The Problem of the Study
Referring to the explanation of the background of the analysis above, problems that writer like to analyze of Old and Modern English used in the play of Oedipus Rex Sophocles. The writer wants
1) To find out the words Old English
2) To find equal the words Old English to Modern English
1.3 The Scope of the Study
Based on the problem of study, writer will find out the words used in the play of Oedipus Rex by Sopcholes.
1.4 The Purpose of the Study
1.5.1 Method of the Study
1) Research Method
The method used in this paper is a library research. The writer collects some data to support the analysis, finding the related data to the research then narrowing the collecting data of the library research to the related element which are about the Old and Modern English. Besides that, the writer also uses internet for search some imformation about Old and Modern English.
2) Data collecting Method
In process collecting of the data, the writer obtained the supporting data from several books as the sources of the data, the primary source of the datawhich is being discuss in this paper, is the drama written by sophocles entitle oedipus rex sophocles published by Dover Publication, Inc, New York in 1991.This drama as the primary source of the data that this paper used to obtain Old and Modern English in the drama to analyze. The secondary data is drawn from others books as the references which the books are the most concerned about the Old and Modern English in the play work especially drama. And then, the third data is based on internet with clearly website.
being analyzed are used as the source of the idea to support the analysis of this paper and also to give additional information and statement that can be drawn for this paper the important information from these books are marked and underlined so that it can be used to support the analysis of this paper, these books finally also used as the references for this paper.
3) Data Analyzing Method
2. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
We often hear people delivering opinions about different languages: French is romantic Italian musical. For the students of language, such impressionistic judgements are not very useful. Rather, to describe a language we need to explain how it goes about doing the work that all languages must do; and it is helpful to compare it with other languages especially members of the language groups it belongs to.
Language may be compared in a number of ways. Every language has its own repertory of sounds,as known by all students who have had so struggle to learn to pronounce a foreign language. Every language also has its own rules for accentuating words and its own patterns of intonation, the rising and falling pitch of our voices as we speak. Every language has its own vocabulary, of course,
though when we‘re lucky we find a good bit of overlap between the vocabulary
of our native language and that of the language we‘re learning. And every language has its own way of signalling how words function in utterances of expressing who performed an action, what the action was, when it took place, whether it is now finished or still going on, what or who was acted upon, for whose beneft the action was performed and so on.
2.1 Old English
Old English is prior the beginnings of English, the inhabitants of Great Britain spoke primarily Celtic languages. During the later part of the 5th century, three tribes invaded England from Western Germany and Denmark. These tribes spoke a similar language that, over says, develop into Old English.
There are three about Old English
1) The Indo-Eorupean languages
The Indo-Eorupean languages do certain things in much the same way. For
example, they share some basic vocabulary. Consider these words for ―father‖ :
Old English : foe
Latin : pater
Greek : pater
Sanskrit : pitr
We can easily see the resemblance among the latin, greek and sanskrit words. We may begin to understand why the Old English word looks different
from the others when we compare these words for ―foot‖:
Old English : fot
Latin : pedem
Greek : poda
Sanskrit : padam
good bit of vocabulary, through the changes that all languages go through often bring it about that the same word looks quite different in different languages.
2) The Germanic languages
Perhaps the most important development that distinguishes the Germanic languages from others in the Indo-European family is the one that produced the difference, illustrated above, between the ―p‖ of Latin and the ―f‖ of Old English faeder.
3) West Germanic and Low German
The West Germanic languages differ from North and East Germanic in number of features which are not very striking in themselves, but quite numerous. For example, the consonant [z] became [r] in North and West Germanic.
Low German is defined in part by something that did not happen to it. This non-event is the ‗high german consonan shift‘, which alterd the sounds of high
german dialects as radically as Grimm‘s Law had altered the sounds of Germanic.
Students of Modern German will recognize the effects of the High German consonant shift in such pairs as English eat and German essen, and English sleep and German schlafen. Another important difference between high German and Low German is that the Low languages did not distinguish person in plural verbs.
instrumental case besides. Present day English has only two case for nouns- common case and possessive case. Adjectives now have no case system at all. On the other hand, we now use a more rigid word order and more structure words ( prepostions, auxilieries, and the like) to express relationships than Old English did.
2.2 Middle English
The invaders from the northern regions of France brought a form of French with them. The new language became the official languabge of the government, trade and the rulling class. The division of the classes began to include linguistics, with the upper or noble classes speaking French, while the lower classes spoke Middle English. This contiuned until the 14th century when English once more became the common language. Middle English changed considerably over the centuries to include a number of French words in the vocabulary.
2.2.1 Early Middle English
including most of the roughly one dozen forms of the definite article ("the"). The dual grammatical number (expressing exactly two of a thing) also disappeared from English during the Early Middle English period (apart from personal pronouns), further simplifying the language.
British Latin (which may have lacked noun case, like most modern Romance languages).
2.3 Modern English
Modern English began in the 15th century, the transition from Middle Eglish to Modern English began. Much of the transition was authority to the expansion of the British Empire throughout the world and to the development of printing. The printing press and increasing in publishing of books drove the standardization of the languge. spelling grammar was formalized due to the publication of various literary works and pamphlets.
Barnet (1967 : 64) say that Modern English was also the period of the English Renaissance when people develoved, on the one hand, a keen interest in the past and, on the other, a more daring and imaginative view of the picture. Modern English has made many features of Modern English perfectly familiar to many people down to present times, even though we do not use these features in present day speech andwriting. It is not always realized, however, that considerable sounds changes have taken place between early Modern English and the english of the present day. Modern English did succeed in establishing certain
attiudes which, though they haven‘t had much effect on the development of the
language itself, have certainly changed the native speakers feeling about the language.
orthe Englishman to America confident that he will always understand and be understood.
2.4 How Old and Modern English are related
Old and Modern English are very related. Modern English are very related to Old English, though in different way, for old and Modern English are really different stages in the development of a single language. The changes that turned Old english into Middle English and Middle English into Modern English took places gradually, over the centuries and there never was a time when people perceived their language as having broken radically with the language spoken a generation before. It is worth mentioning in this connection that the terms Old English, and Modern English are themselves modern, speakers of these languages all would have said, if asked that the language they spoke was English.
sentences became more fixed, so that, it came to sound archaid and awkward to place and object before the verb, as Old English hadfrequently done.
The vocabulary of Old English was of course Germanic, more closely related to the vocabularyof such languages as Dutch and German than to Frenchor Latin. The viking age, which culminated in the reign of the Danish king Cnut in England, introduced a great many Danish words in to English but these were Germanic words as well.the conquest of England by a French speaking people in the year 1066 eventually brought about immense changes in the vocabulary of english. During the Middle English period, English borrowed some ten thousand words from French, and at the sme time it was friendly to borrowings from latin , dutch and flemish. Now relatively few Modern English words come form Old English; but the words that do survive are some of the most common in the
language, including almost all the grammar words‘ (articles, pronouns,
prepositions) and a great many words for everyday concepts. For example, the words in this paragraph that come to us from Old English
(bone), brieg (bridge), beorht (bright), byrnan (burn), ciese (cheese), breost (chest), betynan (close), heretoga (commander), bisgu (concern), belucan (contain), coc (cook), scieppan (create), cyrm (crry), cuckoo (geac), astandan (get up), acennan (give birth), alecgan (give up), abugan (give away), awedan (go mad), abugan (yield), wage (war), anbidian (wait ), abaedan (ward off ), ansund (whole), amyran (wound), awritan (write), ahebban (raise), awestan (ravage), alysan ( release), aferran (remove), areccean (render), ahreddan (rescue), anwealda (ruler), asecgan (say), ahreddan (save), asendan (send), andgit (sense), assettan (set), anfeald (simple), asingan (sing), anlepe (single), ansund (sound), arian (spare), afylan (stain), astandan (stand up), abrecan (storm), asteccan ( stretch out), atteon (ateon), awendan ( translate), asmeagan (understand).
2.5 Old English different from Modern English
First of all, Old English was spoken most recently almost a thousand years ago. Languages just do change, gradually and inevitably, over time, a phenomenon that linguistics has a fairly hard time explaining, and certainly predicting. But there are a couple of factors that affected the English language that tended to hasten linguistic change in English. (In contrast, Icelandic, a language quite similar to Old English in many ways, has undergone very little change, so that Icelandic children read the Viking sagas in school without need for much adaptation or special apparatus such as glossing.)
of another couple of hundred years of a bunch of people who spoke Old French. This wouldn't have made much of a difference if these people had simply assimilated to the English-speaking population, but they didn't, they maintained their own languages and probably even insisted on them. Moreover, the groups who spoke these languages had prestige, whether locally in the "Danelaw" in the case of the Viking settlers who spoke Old Norse, or nationally in the case of the Norman conquerors--which meant that there was some pressure for English-speaking people to learn and even to prefer the other languages. Under these conditions, various kinds of linguistic mixture occurred: phonological, lexical, syntactic, and so on. In other words, English took on sounds, words, and ways of constructing sentences from these other languages.
language in England, English had adopted hundreds of words from French and quite a few from Old Norse, and had undergone important simplifications in its system of inflections.
Whether as a result of language mixture, or for some other reasons (linguists disagree), there was later a lot of sound changes in the English vowel system. During a period perhaps from about 1450 to about 1750 c.e. the change called the Great Vowel Shift occurred. It accounts for the quite startling differences in pronunciation between Modern English "long" vowels and Old English long vowels--most of the consonants stayed pretty much the same, and so did the short vowels.
3. ANALYSIS OF OLD AND MODERN ENGLISH
3.1 Old English
There are some Old English which is find in the play of Drama Oedipus Rex. We can see Old English on bold words in the sentences
Do thou old man since ‗tisthy privilege to speak for these, say in what case ye stand if of alarm or statisfication with my readness. (Oedipus:1)
And that, without instruction or advice of our imparting; but of heaven it came
thouart named, and known, our life‘s establisher. ( Priest :2)
By the Ismenian hearth oracular and the twin shrines of Pallas.** Loe the city Labours-thyself art witness-over deep already, powerless to uprear her head out of the abysses of a surge of blood. (Priest:2)
With a fair augury didst thou shape for us our furtune then, like be thy prowess now! (Priest:3)
Even as thou didst adjure me, so my king, I will reply. I neither murdered him, nor can point out the murderer. (I senator: 10)
Well, I will have it all to light again. Right well did Phoebus, yea and well may you insist on this toward the dead. (oedipus:5)
Thou hast not spoken loyally, nor friendly toward the state that bred thee, cheating her of this response.(Oedipus:12)
Wherefore do thou not sparing augury, either through birds, or any other way thou
hast of divination-save thyself, and save the city, and me; save the whole mass by this dead corpse infected. (Oedipus: 12)
Ay, cast in my teeth matters in which you must allow my geratness! (Oedipus:16) All she may wish for she obtains of me, and make I not a third, equal with you?
Ay, there appears your friendships falsity.
Nay,‘twereall one to me to throw away a friend, a worthy one, and one‘s own life,
which most of all one values.(Creon:22)
Now, understand it well; seek this, you seek my death or exile! Nay, by the sun god, first of all Gods in heaven!
For even though the matter were not now by heaven enjoined you, ‘twas
unnatural for you to suffer it to pass uncleansed. (Oedipus:10)
Why ask who ‘twas he spoke of? Nay, never mind- never remember it- ‗twas idly spoken!
But I will never go, to meet my parents there! O son, ‘tis plain you know not what you do! (Messenger : 36)
My liege, we had a leader, once, over this land, called Laiu-ere you held the helm of state. (Oedipus:30)
Tomorrow‘s moon shall not pass over us, Ere O Cithaeron we shall magnify in thee the lap the womb of Oedipus. (Chorus: 39)
Next Artemisthy sister, of this nation keeper, high seated in the encircling shrine, filled with her praises, of our market place. (Chorus:7)
For Heaven‘s sake, if thou hast knowledge, do not turn away, when all of us
implorethee suppliant! (Senator:12)
And on the earth-thoucans’t not see the city, but knowest no less what pestilence visit it. (Oedipus:11)
I think he comes with cheer; he would not, else, thus be approaching us with crown on brow, all berries of the bay. (Priest:4)
Fellow, how cam’st thou hither? Dost thou boast so great a fronf of daring, as to come under my roof, the assassin clear of me. (Oedipus:20)
God of heaven! What woulds’tthou do unto me! (Oedipus:27)
But why should men be fearful, o’er whom fortune is mistress, and foreknowledge of nothing sure? (Jocasta:35)
Ife’er before, when mischieft rose upon the state, ye quenched the flames of evil, putting them away, come-come today! (Chorus:7)
Whoe’er he be, I order that of this land, whose power and throne are mine, not ertertain him, none accost him, none cause him to share in prayers or sacrife offered to heaven, or pour him lustral wave. (Oedipus:9)
3.2 Modern English
Based on Old English which can from in the play of Drama Oedipus Rex, we can see the equal this Old English on bold words. They are
Ah my poor children, what you come seek is known already-not unknown to me (Oedipus:3)
And for myself I pray, if with my knowledge he should become an inmate of my dwelling, that I may suffer all that I invoked on these just now. (Oedipus:10) From others, by the mouth of messengers, I have myself come hither, Oedipus, known far and wide by name.
Or do you think that children were a sight delectable for me to gaze at, born as they were born?
Do you uprouse me; rather deem of me as one that wept often, and often came by many ways through labyrinths of care.
This be the last time I shall gaze on thee, who am revealed to have been born of those. (Oedipus:42)
Do me this favour:; hear me say as much as you have said and then yourself decide.( Creon:20)
Yes if the truth has any force at all. (Tiresias:14)
Yes father, yes: that is what always scares me. (Oedipus:36)
No, not at all. Why, Loxias declared that I should one day marry my own mother.
I fear your frown for you possess no power to kill me; but I say to you the man you have been seeking, threatening him.
7) It was
It was not mine; another gave it me. (Old man:41)
He seeing her, with a groan Looses the halter; then when on the ground Lay the poor wretch, dreadful it was to see what followed. (2 Messenger:45)
Their former pristine happiness indeed was happiness before; butt in this hour shame. (2 Messenger:46)
I think he is no other than that peasant whom you were taking pains to find,
before but she could say as well as any one Jocasta (1 Senator:38)
A blessing ever be on hers and her, who is, in such a perfect sort, his wife! (Messenger:33)
So shall you see me, as of right, with you venging this country and the God together. (Oedipus:6)
So great a front of daring, as to come under my roof, the assassin clear of me, and manifest pirate of my royalty? ( Oedipus: 20)
Wherefore, Lycean Phoebus, unto thee-for thou art very near u-i am come.
When he who plots against me in the dark comes swiftly on, I must be swift in turn. (Oedipus:22)
That he willcast himself forth of the land, abide no more at home under the curse of his own cursing. (2 Messenger:46)
I will pay him the reward, and favour shall be his due beside it. (Oedipus:9)
My liege, we had a leader, once, over this land, called Laius-ere you held the helm of state.(Creon:4)
But mine I shall dispel this plague-spot; for the man whoever it may be, who murdered him, lightly might hanker to serve me the same. (Oedipus:6)
Measure the new by knowledge of the old, but is at mercy of whoever speaks, if he but speak the speak the language of despair.
How could your robber have dared so far-except there were some pratice with gold from hence?(Oedipus:5)
You cannot hurt me, nor any other who beholds the light, your life being all one nigtht. (Oedipus:14)
16) It is
Itsmother‘s most unnatural bearing-bed. (2 Messenger:45)
Pray you, fear nothing; for my mistery no mortal but myself can underbear.
But he lacks force, and guidance; for his sickness is more than man can bear. (2 Messenger:46)
There are some words Old English which is have a meaning in modern English but the meaning not used in the play of Oedipus Rex.
I will declare no fother. Storm at this, If’t please you, to the wildest height of anger! (Tiresias:13)
In modern English, the meaning ofIf’t is If it.
Your voice, not his, makes me compassionate, pleading for pity; he, where’er he be, shall have my hatred.
In modern English, the meaning of where’er is where ever.
Good my lords; in good time, I see her come to you from the palace; with her aid
‘twere meet to appease your present difference. (1 Senator:23) In modern English, the meaning of ‘twere is it were.
For I lament, even as from lips that sing pouring a dirge; yet early it was thou
4. Conclusion and Suggestion
In drama Oedipus Rex,Old and Modern English are very clearly different. Old and Modern English are really different stages in the development of a single language. The changes that turned Old English into Modern English took places gradually, over the centuries and there never was a time when people perceived their language as having broken radically with the language spoken a generation before. But Old English words still widely in Modern English.
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Jacobus, Henry E. 1995. Introduction to Reading and Writing.New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
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Kardimin, Akhmad. 2005. Smart English Grammar. Yogjakarta: Pustaka Pelajar. Kottler, Barnet & Marthin Light. 1967. The World Of Words. New York: Purdue
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Simon, & Schuster. 1989. English Grammar Princiiples and Facts. New Jersey: Prentice HallInc.
The Biography of Sophocles
Sophocles was born c. 496 B.C.E. in Colonus near Athens, Greece. He grew up during the most brilliant intellectual period of Athens. Sophocles won awards while in school for music and wrestling, and because of his constant activity he was known as the "Attic Bee." His music teacher was Lamprus, a famous composer. Tradition says that because of his beauty and talent, Sophocles was chosen to lead the male chorus at the celebration of the Greek victory over the Persians at Salamis.
arrows to help capture Troy. Neoptolemus has second thoughts and refuses to deceive the old man. Philoctetes clearly shows how man and society can come into conflict and how society can toss aside an individual when it does not need him.
Oedipus at Colonus (401 B.C.E. ), produced after Sophocles's death, is the longest of his dramas. It brings to a conclusion his concern with the Oedipus theme. Exiled by Creon, Oedipus becomes a wandering beggar accompanied by his daughter Antigone.
The Greek playwright Sophocles was responsible for several improvements in the presentation of drama. His tragedies (plays in which characters suffer because of their actions and usually die) rank him among the greatest Greek classical dramatists.
Sophocles, the son of Sophilus, was a wealthy member of the rural deme
to decide the victor of the contest. Plutarch further contends that following this loss Aeschylus soon left for Sicily. Although Plutarch says that this was Sophocles' first production, it is now thought that his first production was probably in 470 BC. Triptolemus was probably one of the plays that Sophocles presented at this festival.
In 480 BC Sophocles was chosen to lead the paean (a choral chant to a god), celebrating the Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. Early in his career, the politician Cimon might have been one of his patrons, although if he was, there was no ill will borne by Pericles, Cimon's rival, when Cimon was ostracized in 461 BC. In 443/2 he served as one of the
Hellenotamiai, or treasurers of Athena, helping to manage the finances of the city during the political ascendancy of Pericles. According to the Vita Sophoclis, in 441 BC he was elected one of ten strategoi, high executive officials that commanded the armed forces, as a junior colleague of Pericles, and he served in the Athenian campaign against Samos; he was supposed to have been elected to this position as the result of his production of Antigone
Sophocles died at the age of ninety or ninety-one in the winter of 406/5 BC, having seen within his lifetime both the Greek triumph in the Persian Wars and the bloodletting of the Peloponnesian War. As with many famous men in classical antiquity, his death inspired a number of apocryphal stories. The most famous is the suggestion that he died from the strain of trying to recite a long sentence from his Antigone without pausing to take a breath. Another account suggests he choked while eating grapes at the Anthesteria festival in Athens. A third holds that he died of happiness after winning his final victory at the City Dionysia. A few months later, a comic poet, in a play titled The Muses, wrote this eulogy: "Blessed is Sophocles, who had a long life, was a man both happy and talented, and the writer of many good tragedies; and he ended his life well without suffering any misfortune. According to some accounts, however, his own sons tried to have him declared incompetent near the end of his life; he is said to have refuted their charge in court by reading from his as yet unproduced Oedipus at Colonus. One of his sons, Iophon, and a grandson, also called Sophocles, also became playwrights.
Styles and contributions to the teater
Sophocles deal with how characters react under stress (mental pressure). Sophocles's heroes are usually subjected to a series of tests that they must overcome.
Sophocles is credited with increasing the number of actors with speaking parts in a play from two to three. He raised the number of chorus members from twelve to fifteen and developed the use of painted scenery. He also abandoned the practice of presenting tragedies as trilogies (series of three works) by instead presenting three plays with different subjects. This led to faster development of characters. Sophocles's songs are also considered to be beautifully structured.
powers to restore lost love. Her son, Hyllus, and her husband denounce her before dying, and she commits suicide. In this play Sophocles describes the difficult situation of the person who, without meaning to, hurts those whom he or she loves.
Oedipus Rex (429 B.C.E. ), which many have considered the greatest play of all time, is not about sex or murder, but man's ability to survive almost unbearable suffering. The worst of all things happens to Oedipus: unknowingly he kills his own father, Laius, and is given his own mother, Jocasta, in marriage after he slays the Sphinx. When a plague (a bacteria-caused disease that spreads quickly and can cause death) at Thebes forces him to consult an oracle (a person through whom a god is believed to speak), he finds that he himself is the cause of the plague. Sophocles brings up the question of justice—why is there evil in the world, and why does the man who is basically good suffer? The answer is found in the idea of dike —balance, order, justice. The world is orderly and follows natural laws. No matter how good or how well-meaning man may be, if he breaks a natural law, he will be punished and he will suffer.
arrows to help capture Troy. Neoptolemus has second thoughts and refuses to deceive the old man. Philoctetes clearly shows how man and society can come into conflict and how society can toss aside an individual when it does not need him.
Oedipus at Colonus (401 B.C.E. ), produced after Sophocles's death, is the longest of his dramas. It brings to a conclusion his concern with the Oedipus theme. Exiled by Creon, Oedipus becomes a wandering beggar accompanied by his daughter Antigone. He stumbles into a sacred grove at Colonus and asks that Theseus be summoned. Theseus arrives and promises him protection, but Creon tries to remove Oedipus. Theseus comes to the rescue and foils Creon. The arrival of his son Polyneices angers Oedipus, who curses him. Oedipus soon senses his impending death and allows only Theseus to witness the event by which he is changed into a hero and a saint.