chapter  1
3 Pages

Introduction

If this book were being entirely rewritten, chapters VIII and X would probably change places. I had misunderstood the Trachiniae because I had not paid close enough attention to its form; therefore I ascribed it to a later period ofSophocles' activity, one in which his dramatic thinking was lessintense, in which he had begun to exploit the study of character and situation for their own sake. The Philo.. ctetes, which I joined with the Trachiniae, does indeed exploit these more than any other of the extant plays, but even so I would not now draw the distinction which I did between Sophocles' 'middle' and 'new' tragedy. However, it is perhaps no bad thing ifwe now consider some of Euripides' plays; the young reader, at least, will be reminded that Sophocles and Euripides did not exist end to end but were contemporaries. It is probable that most of the plays to be discussed in this chapter were produced before the Electra of Sophocles.