Wait, shouldn t Philoctetes be counted as a comedy At least according to Frye s standard Also refreshing to see the Machiavellian means of Ulysses didn t work in the text at all Aw the good o days.
For a long time, I have been interested in Edmund Wilson s essay The Wound and the Bow and finally brought myself around to reading Philoctetes, Sophocles treatment of the story.
Ensiled, weakened by his suppurating wound, Philoctetes fears Odysseus and his sly tricks as he does not want to return to Troy it was foretold, however, that only Philoctetes s bow, a weapon of Heracles, would conquer the towers of Troy Thus, Odysseus tries to hide his identity his voice gives him away Philoctetes had been set off by his abandonment Entrusted with keeping tabs on Philoctetes, the young Neoptolemus, Achilles s son, softens to his story and reacts negatively to Odysseus and his lies Philoctetes wants only to return home, and so the possibility of luring him on board ship presents itself But Neoptolemus even attempts to return Philostetes s bow, stopped only by Odysseus Then, the whole of Helenus s prophecy is revealed, including Philostetes s healing by the sons of Asclepius, great heroism in the winning of Troy Finally, Heracles, a true deus ex machina, appears to resolve the issue, reinforce Helenus s prophesy, and send Philoctetes on his way to Troy I enjoyed the play, watching Odysseus work at his best lowest and seeing the acting out of Neoptolemus s naive crisis the ugliness of Philoctetes s wound from the man slaying snake and the agonies it puts him through give a set of contrasts conflicts that keep up one s interest I did really enjoy the play and its revelation of Odysseus in action.
Greek Tragedies Volume I Though staged at religious festivals, Athenian tragedy was foremost a political event Nowhere is this purpose apparent than in Sophocles, who writes propaganda with a wink and sharp elbow in his audience s side.
Philocetes was a surprise favourite
In the Phenomenology , Antigone in particular receives the largest share of attention The way in which the title character and Creon regard the burial of Antigone s brother, Polynices, as contrary to divine or natural law reveals the adherence to their position as Will, thus puncturing the illusion of Sittlichkeit , or the ethical order which Hegel and many Germans felt the Greeks regarded as Natural For me, these tragic contradictions are most interesting in Women of Trachis , where murder is committed through misunderstanding, resulting in wives murdering husbands, and of course, patricide the son Hyllus must commit patricide to remain faithful to the wishes of his father Heracles Lift him, companions, showing great sympathy with me in what has happened, and knowing of the great unkindness of the gods displayed in these events, gods who beget us and are called our fathers but who look on such sufferings as these The future none can see, and the present is pitiful for us and shameful for them, and harder than on any other man upon him who is enduring this calamity The theme of wit and cunning as personified by Odysseus being effective than strength, honor, and merit as had been the case in Ajax is once again seen in Philoctetes , a play with a whole lot of whining, complaining, and a stinky rotten foot just read it Philoctetes must be deprived of his boy if the Greeks are to be victorious at Troy rather than defeat him in a contest or persuade him as an equal rational agent, Odysseus shall trick him to win his prize Odysseus says to Neoptolemus, in trying to convince Neoptolemus son of Achilles to abduct Philoctetes bow Son of a noble father, I too when I was young had a tongue that was inactive but an arm that was active but when I come to put it to the proof I see that it is the tongue, not actions, that rules in all things for mortals Finally, we have Oedipus at Colonus which gives us action that precedes the story of Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes and Antigone itself Here we once again have the Theban world turned on its head as fathers receive dishonor, women labor, and men spin yarn as they do in Egypt haha, that was a strange passage I have no context to make sense of In his defense made towards the Chorus and Creon, Oedipus makes a plea which lays out the tragic contradictions of the play If here and now a man stood near you, the righteous one, and tried to kill you, would you ask if the would be killer was your father, or would you strike back at once I think that if you value life you would strike back at the guilty one, and would not consider whether it was just or no But these were the sorrows into which I entered, led by the gods, so that I do not think that even my father s spirit, if it came to life, could contradict me So, Oedipus murder of Laius, his father, both was and wasn t a patricide His ungrateful eldest son who banished him, Polynices whose burial Antigone seeks in Antigone makes a rather pathetic attempt to win his father s approval for making a move against his younger brother Eteocles after hearing from an oracle that he must get his father s blessing to come out victorious In an irony of ironies, Polynices says to Oedipus Eteocles, who is younger, expelled me from the land he did not vanquish me in argument or come to the test of strength and action, but persuaded the city Are we surprised that Oedipus has no sympathy for that little shit A great collection It s been fun rereading these plays, and reading some I never got to.