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Wikipedia Summary for Sophocles

Sophocles (Greek: Σοφοκλῆς, pronounced [so.pʰo.klɛ̂ːs]; c. 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC) is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than, or contemporary with, those of Aeschylus; and earlier than, or contemporary with, those of Euripides. Sophocles wrote over 120 plays, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, Women of Trachis, Oedipus Rex, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus.

For almost fifty years, Sophocles was the most celebrated playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens which took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. He competed in thirty competitions, won twenty-four, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won thirteen competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophocles; Euripides won four.

The most famous tragedies of Sophocles feature Oedipus and Antigone: they are generally known as the Theban plays, though each was part of a different tetralogy (the other members of which are now lost). Sophocles influenced the development of drama, most importantly by adding a third actor (attributed to Sophocles by Aristotle; to Aeschylus by Themistius), thereby reducing the importance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot. He also developed his characters to a greater extent than earlier playwrights.

For death is not the worst, but when one wants to die and is not able even to have that.

--Sophocles

Gentle time will heal our sorrows.

--Sophocles

It is always fair sailing, when you escape evil.

--Sophocles

If they are just, they are better than clever.

--Sophocles

The curse of ignorance is that man without being good or evil is nevertheless satisfied with himself.

--Sophocles

To me so deep a silence portends some dread event; a clamorous sorrow wastes itself in sound.

--Sophocles

How terrible is wisdom, when it brings no profit to the man that's wise.

--Sophocles

It is terrible to speak well and be wrong.

--Sophocles

For whoever knows how to return a kindness he has received must be a friend above all price.

--Sophocles

A man who deals in fairness with his own, he can make manifest justice in the state.

--Sophocles

Men of ill-judgment oft ignore the good that lies within their hands, til they have lost it.

--Sophocles

Nothing prospers without effort.

--Sophocles

Those who jump to conclusions may go wrong.

--Sophocles

How dreadful it is when the right judge judges wrong.

--Sophocles

Many the wonders but nothing walks stranger than man.

--Sophocles

Every wind is fare when we are flying from misfortune.

--Sophocles

One must learn by doing the thing. For though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try.

--Sophocles

Sons are the anchors of a mother's life.

--Sophocles

The rewards of virtue alone abide secure.

--Sophocles

False words do not bring forth fruit.

--Sophocles

I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.

--Sophocles

The wise form right judgment of the present from what is past.

--Sophocles

Time eases all things.

--Sophocles

The long unmeasured pulse of time moves everything. There is nothing hidden that it cannot bring to light, nothing once known that may not become unknown. Nothing is impossible.

--Sophocles

If you believe that stubbornness without reflection Is a virtue, you are thinking crookedly.

--Sophocles

Silence has many beauties.

--Sophocles

To women silence is the best ornament.

--Sophocles

Many are the things that man seeing must understand. Not seeing, how shall he know what lies in the hand of time to come?

--Sophocles

A man can get a reputation from very small things.

--Sophocles

I pity the poor wretch, though he's my enemy. He's yoked to an evil delusion, but the same fate could be mine. I see clearly: we who live are all phantoms, fleeing shadows.

--Sophocles

Piety dies not with man; live they or die they, it perishes not.

--Sophocles

Opportunity possessing the power over all things, acquires much in its course.

--Sophocles

For it is not right that a noble man should take pleasure when the pleasure is not right.

--Sophocles

Surely there never was so evil a thing as money, which maketh cities into ruinous heaps, and banisheth men from their houses, and turneth their thoughts from good unto evil.

--Sophocles

All men may err; but he that keepeth not his folly, but repenteth, doeth well; but stubbornness cometh to great trouble.

--Sophocles

It is better not to exist than to live in misery.

--Sophocles

Ah, race of mortal men,
How as a thing of nought
I count ye, though ye live;
For who is there of men
That more of blessing knows,
Than just a little while
To seem to prosper well,
And, having seemed, to fall?

--Sophocles

Each one of us must live the life God gives him; it cannot be shirked.

--Sophocles

The gifts of enemies are no gifts, and are fraught with mischief.

--Sophocles

I am the child of Fortune, the giver of good, and I shall not be shamed. She is my mother; my sisters are the Seasons; my rising and my falling match with theirs.

--Sophocles

Envy crawls toward the wealthy.

--Sophocles

All our mortal lives are set in danger and perplexity: one day to prosper, and the next -- who knows? When all is well, then look for rocks ahead.

--Sophocles

For chance is ever raising up the unhappy and casting down the happy, and none can say whether a man's destiny be the one or the other.

--Sophocles

For Chance may lift and Chance may dip the scale
Of fortune and misfortune any day.

--Sophocles

Chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown. Best live as we may, from day to day.

--Sophocles

My son, I pray
that chance will prove kinder to you
than she was to me.

--Sophocles

What, shall such traces of my birth appear,

And I not follow them! It may not be.

--Sophocles

A fool cannot be an actor, though an actor may act a fool's part.

--Sophocles

Give me a life wherever there is an opportunity to live, and better life than was my father's.

--Sophocles

For God hates utterly the bray of bragging tongues.

--Sophocles

I could not turn away from anyone
Like you, a stranger, or refuse to help him.
I know well, being mortal, that my claim
Upon the future is no more than yours.

--Sophocles

No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.

--Sophocles

For the gods, though slow to see, see well, whenever a man casting aside worship turns folly.

--Sophocles

Whoe'er imagines prudence all his own, Or deems that he hath powers to speak and judge Such as none other hath, when they are known, They are found shallow.

--Sophocles

What you cannot enforce, do not command!

--Sophocles

A cunning fellow is man, inventive beyond all expectation, he reaches sometimes evil and sometimes good.

--Sophocles

Whoever has a keen eye for profits, is blind in relation to his craft.

--Sophocles

Astronomy? Impossible to understand and madness to investigate.

--Sophocles

Money is the worst currency that ever grew among mankind. This sacks cities, this drives men from their homes, this teaches and corrupts the worthiest minds to turn base deeds.

--Sophocles

In darkness one may be ashamed of what one does, without the shame of disgrace.

--Sophocles

When people fall in deep distress, their native sense departs.

--Sophocles

Count no mortal fortunate till he has departed this life free from pain.

--Sophocles

To those who err in judgment, not in will, anger is gentle.

--Sophocles

And if you think my acts are foolishness the foolishness may be in a fool's eye.

--Sophocles

And if my present deeds are foolish in thy sight, it may be that a foolish judge arraigns my folly.

--Sophocles

Men's minds are given to change in hate and friendship.

--Sophocles

No man loves life like him that's growing old.

--Sophocles

Better to die, and sleep

The never-waking sleep, than linger on

And dare to live when the soul's life is gone.

--Sophocles

Nobody likes the man who brings bad news.

--Sophocles

Even from the first it is meek to seek the impossible.

--Sophocles

Love, you mock us for your sport.

--Sophocles

I write a woman's oaths in water.

--Sophocles

Let a man nobly live or nobly die.

--Sophocles

Sleep, thou patron of mankind, Great physician of the mind Who does nor pain nor sorrow know, Sweetest balm of every woe.

--Sophocles

More men come to doom through dirty profits than are kept by them.

--Sophocles

A prudent man should neglect no circumstances.

--Sophocles

I have no desire to suffer twice, in reality and then in retrospect.

--Sophocles

How dangerous can false reasoning prove!

--Sophocles

Success is the reward for toil.

--Sophocles

Not to be born surpasses all reckoning. The next best thing by far, when one has been born is to go back as swiftly as possible whence one came.

--Sophocles

Afterthought makes the first resolve a liar.

--Sophocles

To err from the right path is common to mankind.

--Sophocles

It is not righteousness to outrage.

--Sophocles

Longer Version:

It is not righteousness to outrage A brave man dead, not even though you hate him.


Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all.

--Sophocles

Time is the only test of honest men, one day is space enough to know a rogue.

--Sophocles

Shame brings no advantage in misfortunes, for silence (of the accused) is the ally of the speaker.

--Sophocles

Pardon, and keep silent, for what is shameful for women must be concealed among women.

--Sophocles

Truth is always straightforward.

--Sophocles

Alas! how terrible it is to know,
Where no good comes of knowing!

--Sophocles

For no one loves the bearer of bad tidings.

--Sophocles

A trifle is often pregnant with high importance; the prudent man neglects no circumstance.

--Sophocles

I am free! for I have in me the strength of truth.

--Sophocles

A city which belongs to just one man is no true city.

--Sophocles

Unwanted favours gain no gratitude.

--Sophocles

It becomes one, while exempt from woes, to look to the dangers.

--Sophocles

A mind at peace does not engender wars.

--Sophocles

Deem no man happy until he passes the end of his life without suffering grief.

--Sophocles

It can be no dishonor to learn from others when they speak good sense.

--Sophocles

Man's highest blessedness, In wisdom chiefly stands; And in the things that touch upon the Gods, 'Tis best in word or deed To shun unholy pride; Great words of boasting bring great punishments, And so to grey-haired age Teach wisdom at the last.

--Sophocles

To many men much-wandering hope comes as a boon, but to many others it is the deception of vain desires.

--Sophocles

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