Sophocles ( /ˈsɒfəkliːz/; Ancient Greek: Σοφοκλῆς, Sophoklēs, Greek pronunciation: ; c. 497/6 BC – winter 406/5 BC) is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides. According to the Suda, a 10th century encyclopedia, Sophocles wrote 123 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, The Women of Trachis, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus. For almost 50 years, Sophocles was the most-fêted playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens that took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. He competed in around 30 competitions, won perhaps 24, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won 14 competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophocles, while Euripides won only 4 competitions.
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“In particular I may mention Sophocles the poet, who was once asked in my presence, How do you feel about love, Sophocles? are you still capable of it? to which he replied, Hush! if you please: to my great delight I have escaped from it, and feel as if I had escaped from a frantic and savage master. I thought then, as I do now, that he spoke wisely. For unquestionably old age brings us profound repose and freedom from this and other passions.”
—Plato (c. 427347 B.C.)