Sophocles was a great Greek writer of tragedy. His themes dealt mostly with a specific struggle of a strong individual against fate. They depict a powerful figure who chooses a course which the chorus and lesser characters may not approve. This course costs him suffering or death, but it makes him more noble and somehow benefits mankind. Sophocles lived during
greatest period. He won many prizes for his tragedies, and was universally loved. Onr of his greatest play, "Oedipus at Colonus", was written when he was nearly 90. He was born near Athens, and remained there all his life. He was the son of a wealthy merchant and was able to study all of the arts. By the age of sixteen, he was already known for his beauty and grace and was chosen to lead a choir of boys at a celebration of the victory of Salamis. Twelve years later, after completing his studies, he was ready to compete in the City Dionysia - a festival held every year at the Theater of Dionysus in which new plays were presented. In his first competition, Sophocles took first prize. An accomplished actor, Sophocles performed in many of his own plays. In addition to his theatrical endeavors, Sophocles served for many years as an ordained priest in the service of Alcon and Asclepius, the god of medicine. He also served on the Board of Generals, a committee that administered civil and military affairs in Athens and as director of the Treasury, controlling the funds of the association of states known as the Delian Confederacy. He was a great innovator of the theater and was the fist o add a third character. He also abolished the trilogy form and chose to make each tragedy a complete entity in itself.