Book #: 1
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Electra by Sophocles endures as one of the most studied and performed classical dramas. Its central character is a towering figure in Greek tragedy whose quest for revenge stirs a tidal wave of powerful emotion, and as Freud observed, resonates deeply in the human psyche.
Sophocles c.496-406 B.C.
A Greek tragic poet, Sophocles was a younger contemporary of Aeschylus and an older contemporary of Euripides. A respected public figure, a general and a priest, he won many dramatic prizes from 468 on, composing in all about 123 dramas. An innovator for the stage he added a third actor, increased the size of the Chorus, abandoned the trilogy for the self-contained tragedy, and introduced scene painting.
Seven complete plays and over 1,000 fragments of his works survive. His best-known works include Antigone (c.441); Oedipus Rex or Oedipus Tyrannus (c.429), Electra; Trachiniae; Philoctetes (409); and Oedipus at Colonus (401).
Sophocles characters are dramatically interesting in that their fates are determined more by their own faults than by the Aeschylean gods; as such they have profoundly influenced western tragedy.