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Sophocles' Philoctetes and the Great Soul Robbery

by Norman Austin

Norman Austin brings both keen insight and a life-long engagement with his subject to this study of Sophocles' late tragedyPhiloctetes, a fifth-century BCE play adapted from an infamous incident during the Trojan War. InSophocles' "Philoctetes" and the Great Soul Robbery, Austin examines the rich layers of text as well as context, situating the play within the historical and political milieu of the eclipse of Athenian power. He presents a study at once of interest to the classical scholar and accessible to the general reader. Though the play, written near the end of Sophocles' career, is not as familiar to modern audiences as his Theban plays,Philoctetesgrapples with issues-social, psychological, and spiritual-that remain as much a part of our lives today as they were for their original Athenian audience.

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