Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Sophocles's Philoctetes. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Philoctetes: Plot Summary
Philoctetes: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Philoctetes: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Sophocles
Historical Context of Philoctetes
Other Books Related to Philoctetes
- Full Title: Philoctetes
- When Written: 409 BCE
- Where Written: Athens, Greece
- When Published: 409 BCE
- Literary Period: Classical Greek
- Genre: Greek tragedy
- Setting: The island of Lemnos
- Climax: When Heracles suddenly appears and orders Philoctetes and Neoptolemus to go to Troy.
- Antagonist: Odysseus
Extra Credit for Philoctetes
Cause of Death? Despite the fact that Sophocles lived well into his 90s, he is not said to have died of natural causes. Some accounts of Sophocles’s death claim he choked on a grape, while others claim he died from exhaustion after reciting all of Antigone from memory. Other sources report that Sophocles died of happiness and delight after winning first place in the festival Dionysia for the 24th time.
In Honor of Asclepius. Sophocles constructed an altar to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing, in his home in 420 BCE. The cult of Asclepius was very popular during the 5th century BCE, and Sophocles indeed mentions Asclepius in Philoctetes, as he is the only one who can heal Philoctetes’s wound.