Imploring their pity, he tells them not to fear him, although he became a savage through solitude and great suffering. Philoctetes involves the interrelation of three characters and, as such, presents an array of dilemmas and disagreements. Neoptolemus calls to Philoctetes and tells him to come out of his cave. Neoptolemus states that the fabled armor of Achilles is with Odysseus even though, by birthright, it should be with him—the son of Achilles. Suddenly, Heracles appears from the sky, bearing a message from Zeus. Odysseus departs with Neoptolemus, who has the bow. The Trojan War has dragged for ten years, and according to a prophecy by Helenus, a Trojan mystic, the war can be won by the Greeks only if they employ Philoctetes, who possesses the bow and poison-tipped arrows of Hercules. Odysseus heads back to the ship to keep hidden from Philoctetes, and the chorus, made up of a group of Greek sailors, asks Neoptolemus what they can do to help and lament the terrible pain Philoctetes is forced to live in. Odysseus, it is argued, is more a reflection of his Homeric prototype than a villainous sophist. Suddenly, Odysseus appears and tells Philoctetes that he is going to Troy, like it or not. He thanks him profusely, and Neoptolemus begins to cry. But there is no time now for long stories, Odysseus tells Neoptolemus, and he needs Neoptolemus’s help. When Philoctetes awakens, Neoptolemus reveals to him that he came to take the warrior to fight against Troy. Refusal and abuse from Philoctetes. Trojan War literature focuses on events related to the Trojan War, an epic battle between the Greeks and Trojans that ancient people believed was fought during the 12th or 13th century BCE but is now largely regarded as myth. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. He can no longer keep the pain of his wound hidden, and he begs Neoptolemus to cut off his foot with his sword. He then says good-bye to Philoctetes, who implores them not to abandon him and to suffer for one day the inconvenience of having him on board the ship on which Neoptolemus is sailing. PHILOCTETES Think you I'll e'er return To hateful Troy? They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Prior to the beginning of the play, there has been a struggle between Odysseus and Ajax over who should receive the armour of the Greek warrior-hero Achilles after his death. It was first performed at the City Dionysia in 409 BC, where it was awarded the first prize. Neoptolemus answers Philoctetes, who asks Neoptolemus who he is and why he comes. Then Neoptolemus returns, followed by Odysseus; he decides to redress the wrong he did Philoctetes and to return the bow. Philoctetes is a fantastic play by Sophocles that explores themes of trauma/suffering, and making the morally correct decisions. Neoptolemus agrees against his better judgement, and Odysseus tells him he will soon send a sailor disguised as a merchant to further their plot, but otherwise, Neoptolemus is on his own. (including. CHORUS That we shall Most gladly. Philoctetes’s arrows never miss their mark, and he will kill Neoptolemus instantly. Word Count: 530. Neoptolemus is disgusted by this deception, but wily Odysseus pleads necessity and promises him honor and glory. Neoptolemus can’t be swayed, however, and Odysseus places his hand on his sword. Besides, Neoptolemus promised to take him home, and he asks again that Neoptolemus fulfill his promise. Already a member? He asks who they are and whether they, too, are Greeks. Neoptolemus cannot take Philoctetes home to Greece, as both men are needed to win the war in Troy. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Philoctetes was a play by the Greek playwright Sophocles. Philoctetes agrees to do so. Philoctetes should return to the Greek army where he will be healed. The invulnerable armour had been made for Achilles by the god Hephaestus, and the recipient would thus receive recognition as the greatest after Achilles. Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now. Sophocles’s Philoctetes is considered a piece of Trojan War literature, a genre which was sparked by Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, written around the 8th century BCE. The background of the play is that Philoctetes is the owner of the fabled bow and arrows of Hercules. The Aloner: Philoctetes has been left alone on an island for ten years, having to fend for himself despite his injury and only surviving due to his bow. He claims to be a wine trader on his way back from Troy, and he has heard word concerning Neoptolemus. Landing for the second time on Lemnos, Odysseus describes the cave in which Philoctetes lives. Neoptolemus asks permission to hold the mighty bow while Philoctetes prepares to leave the island. Philoctetes’ sense of abandonment and his search for meaning in his suffering still speaks to us today, and the play poses tough questions regarding the doctor/patient relationship, questions about the subjectivity of pain and the difficulty of pain management, the long-term challenges of caring for the chronically ill and the ethical boundaries of medical practice. End of play Summary In the background story of the play, during the Trojan war between Troy and Greece, the Greeks capture a Trojan seer who tells them they will need Philoctetes … Third stasimon, 1081-1217. The Iliad Context Important information about Homer's background, historical events that influenced The Iliad, and the main ideas within the work. At this juncture, Hercules appears and tells them that if Philoctetes were to sail for Troy, then not only would he play an important role in a significant victory, he would also be cured. Background. After a standoff between Odysseus and the Greeks on one side and Philoctetes on the other, Odysseus leaves the scene. Neoptolemus takes the bow and arrows and promises not to let another soul touch them. To the ships, my friends; away! A river of “murky” blood flows from the wound on Philoctetes’s foot as he passes out. ; Angst: Philoctetes goes through a lot of it. Neoptolemus gives in, even as he warns Philoctetes that they'd be facing the ire of the Greek army for this act. Once in Troy, Philoctetes will be cured of his painful wound, and he will kill Paris with his bow and arrows, bringing an end to the Trojan War. Philoctetes, declaring Odysseus was faithless once and will be so again, implores Neoptolemus to take him home, as he first promised. Philoctetes swears that he will never go with his most hated enemy, and the disguised trader returns to his ship. He asserts that he intends to sail for home. The chorus of sailors reports that they hear the painful approach of Philoctetes. About Sophocles: Philoctetes. Odysseus arrives on the island of Lemnos with Neoptolemus, the son of the late hero Achilles. While Odysseus believes the ends do justify the means, especially when an individual's sense of honor is at stake, Neoptolemus would rather lose honorably than win through deceit. Philoctetes, however, with his invincible bow, once the property of Herakles, becomes indispensable to the Greeks in their war against Troy. Philoctetes angered the goddess Chryse when he trespassed on her shrine, and he will not agree to go to Troy with his bow and arrows until the gods decide it is time. When Neoptolemus insists on keeping the bow, Philoctetes, enraged and despairing, curses such treachery and declares that he will starve without his weapon. Neoptolemus’s loyalties are divided between duty and compassion, but before he decides on the course to pursue, Odysseus arrives and demands that Philoctetes accompany them. The Philoctetes does not open with its main character, because at the start of the play, no dialogue is possible for him. En route to Troy he was The chorus of sailors assures Philoctetes that it would be best to fight on the side of the Greeks, but, out of pride, he is determined not to fight alongside the men who made him an outcast. He would rather take Philoctetes’s bow by force, but Odysseus claims that won’t be possible. When Philoctetes again refuses, Neoptolemus, in spite of the return of Odysseus, gives back the bow. Without Philoctetes and his bow and arrows, given to him by the god Heracles, Neoptolemus will not be able to conquer Troy. He asks Neoptolemus to keep the bow and arrows safe until his acute attack of pain passes, but Neoptolemus must agree not to give them to Odysseus if he arrives while Philoctetes is delirious with pain. Sophocles' play recounts an episode from the Trojan War, in which the wily Odysseus and Achilles' son Neoptolemus travel to a remote island to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. According to Eugenia Tzitzilaki, the director of the New Workshop Theater's newest production, this particular Greek play is all about making the correct choice. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his… Neoptolemus identifies it by the stained bandages drying in the sun, the leaf-stuffed mattress, and the crude wooden cup he finds. Odysseus coaxes Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, to use deception and get Philoctetes to agree to come with them. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Philoctetes, the Acheans greatest archer in the Trojan war is abandoned on an island for ten years because of a stinking snake bite. When Philoctetes wakes later, he is shocked that Neoptolemus has really stayed by his side. Odysseus, unable to change the young warrior’s decision, goes to tell the other Greeks of this act of treachery. He ultimately agrees when Odysseus tells him that this is the only way to bring an end to the war. Philoctetes , or Philocthetes, according to Greek mythology, was the son of Poeas, king of Meliboea in Thessaly, and Demonassa. The Sophocles tragedy of abandonment and betrayal re-envisioned through the story of an African asylum seeker in Athens, Greece. Both Neoptolemus and Philoctetes agree to go to Troy, and Heracles disappears. Philoctetes is thankful and claims he now considers Neoptolemus a friend, so he invites him into his cave. It was first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC, where it won first prize. The play begins with the arrival of Odysseus, a Greek warrior, and Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, at the island of Lemnos where they are seeking out Philoctetes, the greatest of Greek archers. Our, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. He has gone against his “true nature,” Neoptolemus says, and Philoctetes begins to worry that he won’t really be going on Neoptolemus’s ship. The wound never heals, and the smell that comes from it and the groans of suffering of Philoctetes are the reasons Odysseus gives for making him an outcast. Philoctetes bids Lemnos goodbye, and the chorus prays for their safe passage to Troy. the soul of Philoctetes, when you speak with him, 55 and when he asks you who you are and whence you come, then tell him truthfully you are Achilles' son, but sailing home, deserting from the Argive naval force and nurturing a deep felt enmity in that the men, who prayed … Go, leave me! The play raises important points about ends justifying the means. When Heracles was near his death (the subject of another play by Sophocles - The Trachiniae), he wished to be burned on a funeral pyre while still alive.No one but Philoctetes would light the fire, and in return for this favor Heracles gives him his bow. Neoptolemus tries his best to convince Philoctetes to accompany him to Troy, but the latter agrees to sail with him only for a journey to Greece. Neoptolemus must convince Philoctetes he is telling the truth, Odysseus says, or all of Greece will suffer. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. Philoctetes Summary. He tries to inspect the issue and Athena watches Odysseus looking for the truth. Sophocles's play "Philoctetes" is an account of how Odysseus and Neoptolemus convince Philoctetes to return to the war. Struggling with distance learning? After Neoptolemus agrees, Philoctetes praises the day that brings them together and declares himself bound in friendship to the young warrior for all time. Neoptolemus says that the Greeks will kill him if he does, but Philoctetes promises to keep him safe with his unerring bow and arrows, so Neoptolemus agrees to sail Philoctetes home to Greece. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! Philoctetes is a play written by Sophocles around 409 BCE. Neoptolemus draws his own sword, but instead of fighting him, Odysseus goes back to tell the army of Neoptolemus’s traitorous decision. mean to a nation on the brink of war? “O strangers!” he exclaims, “Who can you be, and from what country, that you have put into this harborless and desolate land? ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. His wound grew worse and because he is alone on the island he has to use all his energy to remain alive. Odysseus again runs away, and Philoctetes tells Neoptolemus that he is a good man. In the play Electra is seen passing through the whole range of human emotions—from passionate love to cruel hatred, from numb despair to wild joy. Deception is the only way, Odysseus says, and he reminds Neoptolemus that all of Greece will regard him as a cunning hero if he manages to convince Philoctetes to come to Troy. Although the play is named for Philoctetes, Neoptolemus is truly the central character of this play, which is a study in evolving moral character (Hawkins, 1999). Only Neoptolemus can win Philoctetes’s trust, Odysseus says, because he was not part of the initial expedition to Troy that abandoned Philoctetes on the island. Neoptolemus refuses but asks Philoctetes what he can reasonably do to help him. Electra’s triumph is thus complete. Odysseus arrives, and tries to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. Philoctetes, Greek legendary hero who played a decisive part in the final stages of the Trojan War. They left him with little to keep him alive, Philoctetes says, and he is sure that their shared hatred for Odysseus means that he can trust Neoptolemus. Set amid Europe's migrant crisis, Philoctetes explores his 'homeless home', pondering along the way the characteristics and origin of the elusive Greek national identity he is denied. Neoptolemus reassures him that he will let Philoctetes on the ship, only Philoctetes won’t like where they are headed. Going Obey your orders. Philoctetes contains examples of:. Odysseus and Diomedes have boarded another ship for Lemnos, because Helenus said the war can’t be won without Philoctetes either. The island is deserted, and there are no houses or ships to be found. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. He shoots birds with his great bow, and, in order that he might drink in winter, he is forced to build a fire to melt the ice. Directed by Katrin Kalketenidis. When he remains adamant, Odysseus and Neoptolemus leave, taking with them the bow. Odysseus reveals himself, and as the truth dawns upon Philoctetes, he is enraged and points his deadly arrow at Odysseus. Neoptolemus, answering as he was instructed, says that he, too, curses Odysseus, who deprived him of his rights and robbed him of his father’s arms. No one comes to the island unless they are forced, Philoctetes says, and he begs the men not to be scared by his “wild appearance,” as he is but a “miserable wretch” with no one to look after him. The island is deserted, and there are no houses or ships to be found. Instructed by Odysseus, Neoptolemus is to lure Philoctetes on board with his bow by declaring that he, too, hates Odysseus because the king deprived him of the weapons of his father, Achilles. Scene 1 (Lines 1 – 134) Odysseus arrives on the island of Lemnos with Neoptolemus, the son of the late hero Achilles. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his death) in order to defeat the Trojans. This study guide uses the translation of Sophocles’ play by Peter Meineck. Philoctetes refuses (“it is not the past I fear but the future”), and it seems that Neoptolemos will take him back to Greece; at this point Herakles appears, promising healing for Philoctetes and success for the Greeks. Philoctetes swears that he will defend the country with his bow. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”. Instant downloads of all 1386 LitChart PDFs He says, hoping to persuade Philoctetes to go quickly on board, that Odysseus is pursuing him in order to compel him to rejoin the Greek army, for Helenus, Priam’s son, prophesied that Philoctetes is the one man who will defeat Troy. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Odysseus tells Neoptolemus that he is mad and reminds him that the entire Greek army will come after him if he betrays them. Philoctetes begs Neoptolemus not to leave him alone on the island, just as the sailor disguised as the merchant approaches. Sophocles' play recounts an episode from the Trojan War, in which the wily Odysseus and Achilles' son Neoptolemus travel to a remote island to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. Philoctetes Summary. Philoctetes, heeding the voice of the immortal, willingly leaves Lemnos to fulfill his destiny. With his painful wound, he wants Neoptolemus to stay nearby. Odysseus tells Neoptolemus that he must find a way to steal Philoctetes’s bow and arrows and convince him to come to Troy, but Neoptolemus’s moral compass won’t allow him to behave in deceitful ways. As Odysseus planned, a sailor disguised as a trader comes to help Neoptolemus in tricking Philoctetes. In the background story of the play, during the Trojan war between Troy and Greece, the Greeks capture a Trojan seer who tells them they will need Philoctetes and Heracles' bow to win the war. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. PHILOCTETES stops them By protecting Jove, Who hears the suppliant's prayer, do not forsake me! The gods have ordered Philoctetes’s suffering, Neoptolemus says. This chapter explores Sophocles' Philoctetes, the most morally complex of all of his extant tragedies. He is an expert archer, and his poisoned arrows kill unfailingly. Neoptolemus agrees, and Philoctetes hands him the bow and arrows. Neoptolemus tells Philoctetes why he hates Odysseus: Location: 1/4 of play: Summary. Neoptolemus stresses his determination never to return to Troy. I need help understanding what types of rhetoric are used in Philoctetes and how these are in conflict with one another. The background of the play is that Philoctetes is the owner of the fabled bow and arrows of Hercules. Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Also, with Neoptolemus, he will kill Paris and take Troy. Like other classical Greek tragedies, Sophocles' Philoctetes is an extraordinarily timely and timeless play. Plot Summary He begs for a sword to kill himself. Philoctetes is furious at the Greeks, particularly Odysseus, for marooning him on the uninhabited island. He curses the Atreidae and Odysseus, who abandoned him, and wishes that they might suffer his agony. Their goal is to convince him to return with them to Troy because a seer has prophesied that only his bow and poisoned arrows, weapons that belonged to Hercules, can end the Trojan War. He slaughters the cattle and this news goes to Odysseus. Inside the cave, Philoctetes falls to the ground. The young warrior says that he is the son of Achilles and that he does not know Philoctetes, who replies that he must indeed be vile if no word of him reached the Greeks. The story takes place during the Trojan War (after the events of the Iliad, and before the Trojan Horse). Philoctetes refuses to go to Troy for Odysseus, and he convinces Neoptolemus to take him home to Greece instead. CHORUS We would advise thee to it. Word Count: 1010. It results in a malodorous, festering wound, and he is left alone with his weapons on the uninhabited island of Lemnos. How to say Philoctetes in English? However, as Philoctetes swoons away from the pain in his foot, Neoptolemus revisits his own conduct with the man, and his inherent sense of honor prevails. He informs Philoctetes that Zeus made a decision. Neoptolemus tells Odysseus that he must “undo the wrongs” he committed in listening to Odysseus and the Greek army and says he must give the bow and arrows back to Philoctetes. He was a Greek hero, famed as an archer, and a participant in the Trojan War. He gives him back his bow and arrows, and Odysseus reappears and again tells Philoctetes he will be going to Troy. Neoptolemus, however, is afraid that the Greeks will attack his country in retaliation. Philoctetes draw back the bow, but Neoptolemus begs him not to shoot. Neoptolemus tries to convince Philoctetes to go to Troy anyway and tells him his wound will be healed there, but Philoctetes still refuses. There is debate over whether the play depicts virtue triumphant or, rather, portrays a young woman incurably twisted by years of hatred and resentment. Philoctetes is a play by Sophocles (Aeschylus and Euripides also each wrote a Philoctetes but theirs have not survived). When Odysseus again leaves them, Neoptolemus reveals the whole of Helenus’s prophecy, which foretold that the wound would be cured when Philoctetes returns and that, together with Neoptolemus, he will conquer Troy. Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. She mystifies the mind of the great warrior and he believes the camp cattle to be the Greek warriors.