an Athenian politician and dramatist, was born in 496 B.C. and died in
406 B.C. His lifetime almost perfectly paralleled the "Golden Age"
of Athens. Unlike other dramatists and thinkers of his time, Sophocles
did not abstain from politics. Indeed Sophocles was completely
immersed in it, serving as an elected official for several years, most
notably as a Strategoi-an elected general. Fortunately for Sophocles,
he died just before Athens surrendered to Sparta in 404 B.C., marking
Athens' loss in the Peloponnesian War.
speaking, Sophocles is best known for his adoption of the third actor
in his Greek tragedies. This made it possible to include complex
dialogues and character interactions in Antigone and other
plays. Before this idea emerged to dominate drama, only two actors
were included in each scene.
Sophocles wrote Antigone
before Oedipus the King, and it is here that he establishes the
connection of tragedy between generations of his characters. Indeed
Antigone's fate is shaped not only through her own actions, but
through Oedipus' sin as well. Though Oedipus the King,
Sophocles' masterpiece, most critically reveals Athens' problems, Antigone
also suggests a disturbing picture of its future.