This character is a Greek sailor and a member of Odysseus’s crew. The sailor disguises himself as a wine merchant on his way back from Troy, in order to further Odysseus’s deceptive plan to steal Philoctetes’s bow and arrows and convince him to come to Troy. Disguised as the merchant, the sailor tells Philoctetes and Neoptolemus that Odysseus is on his way to Lemnos to take Philoctetes to Troy, because the prophet Helenus has prophesized that the Trojan War will only be won by both Philoctetes and Neoptolemus. The sailor, or merchant, is another example of deception in Philoctetes, which Sophocles implies is immoral, even in instances of war.
Merchant/Sailor Character Timeline in Philoctetes
The timeline below shows where the character Merchant/Sailor appears in Philoctetes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1 (Lines 1 – 134)
...Odysseus will return to the ship, but he will send a sailor disguised as a merchant to tell Neoptolemus and Philoctetes an “elaborate tale.” After the merchant tells his story, Odysseus... (full context)
Scene 2 (Lines 219 – 675)