chapter  1
3 Pages

Introduction

One way out of the difficulty was to say as little as possible about the Antigone, to think. of special excuses for the Ajax, and to write off the Trachinlniae as a total loss. Such criticism fails in all respects; especially does it fail to explain why the dichotomy is so unnecessarily absolute in the Trachiniae. A modern method is to call unsatisfactory plots diptychs or triptychs (which makes them sound better at once), and to suppose that there was a period in Sophocles' artistic career in which he thought that this was a reasonable, apparently the only reasonable, way of making drama. Therefore the Trachiniae is assigned by some scholars to a date near that of the Ajax; but in his methods of composition Sophocles was no more obedient to the calendar than Aeschylus had been.