The Philoctetes Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and quizzes written by community members like you. To the ships, my friends; away! 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. Philoctetes’s wound had been “oozing with pus,” Odysseus says, and his cries of pain disrupted the crew’s prayers and sacrifices to the gods, so they left him on the island. How to say Philoctetes in English? Philoctetes is a play by Sophocles (Aeschylus and Euripides also each wrote a Philoctetes but theirs have not survived). Philoctetes, heeding the voice of the immortal, willingly leaves Lemnos to fulfill his destiny. Then Neoptolemus returns, followed by Odysseus; he decides to redress the wrong he did Philoctetes and to return the bow. Odysseus and Diomedes have boarded another ship for Lemnos, because Helenus said the war can’t be won without Philoctetes either. 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. Neoptolemus recounts the story Odysseus has ordered him to tell, and Philoctetes in turn tells Neoptolemus that he was marooned on Lemnos by Odysseus and his men after he was bitten by a snake on the island of Chryse. Also, with Neoptolemus, he will kill Paris and take Troy. Pronunciation of Philoctetes with 1 audio pronunciation, 1 meaning, 7 translations and more for Philoctetes. It is time for Neoptolemus to “prove his worth” and assist the Greeks by tricking Philoctetes. 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. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. Suddenly, Odysseus appears and tells Philoctetes that he is going to Troy, like it or not. ; Because Destiny Says So: Philoctetes has to go back to Troy, and Neoptolemus has to go there to begin with because a prophecy says that's the only way to take Troy. PHILOCTETES Think you I'll e'er return To hateful Troy? Philoctetes Summary. The island is deserted, and there are no houses or ships to be found. A river of “murky” blood flows from the wound on Philoctetes’s foot as he passes out. Odysseus again runs away, and Philoctetes tells Neoptolemus that he is a good man. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. “O strangers!” he exclaims, “Who can you be, and from what country, that you have put into this harborless and desolate land? 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. Electra’s triumph is thus complete. John Jesurun wrote the Philoktetes-variations in 1993 on Ron Vawter 's request, it was the actor's last piece of work, considered his artistic testament, being performed while the actor was dying of AIDS . He asks who they are and whether they, too, are Greeks. Philoctetes denounces the foul play and demands back the bow. Philoctetes is certain that Odysseus is alive, and this fact Neoptolemus confirms. The Sophocles tragedy of abandonment and betrayal re-envisioned through the story of an African asylum seeker in Athens, Greece. Philoctetes's situation is immensely pitiable, and Odysseus is certainly in his "pre-trials and tribulations humbling experience" stage. She mystifies the mind of the great warrior and he believes the camp cattle to be the Greek warriors. Neoptolemus reassures him that he will let Philoctetes on the ship, only Philoctetes won’t like where they are headed. When Philoctetes again refuses, Neoptolemus, in spite of the return of Odysseus, gives back the bow. Neoptolemus tells Philoctetes why he hates Odysseus: Location: 1/4 of play: Summary. The decision took by Agamemnon and Menelaus – the two Greek commanders infuriates Ajax. Philoctetes draw back the bow, but Neoptolemus begs him not to shoot. After a standoff between Odysseus and the Greeks on one side and Philoctetes on the other, Odysseus leaves the scene. 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. When Neoptolemus agrees to obey, Odysseus leaves him. 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. When he begs on his knees not to be left alone again, the chorus expresses their willingness to take him with them. Besides, Neoptolemus promised to take him home, and he asks again that Neoptolemus fulfill his promise. 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. 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. Odysseus, unable to change the young warrior’s decision, goes to tell the other Greeks of this act of treachery. Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Odysseus reveals himself, and as the truth dawns upon Philoctetes, he is enraged and points his deadly arrow at Odysseus. After hearing of the death of other friends, Philoctetes agrees with Neoptolemus that war inevitably kills the good men but only occasionally and by chance kills the bad. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his… We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. After the death of Achilles, his armour was decided to be handed over to Odysseus rather than Ajax the higher. Neoptolemus approaches Philoctetes and manages to win over his confidence by faking hatred for Odysseus. Refusal and abuse from Philoctetes. Philoctetes is a fantastic play by Sophocles that explores themes of trauma/suffering, and making the morally correct decisions. Odysseus has ordered a ship to retrieve Neoptolemus and bring him back to Troy, because the prophet Helenus has claimed that the war cannot be won without him. Scene 1 (Lines 1 – 134) Odysseus arrives on the island of Lemnos with Neoptolemus, the son of the late hero Achilles. Meanwhile, Neoptolemus again tries to persuade Philoctetes to join them. 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. CHORUS That we shall Most gladly. He ultimately agrees when Odysseus tells him that this is the only way to bring an end to the war. Instant downloads of all 1386 LitChart PDFs When Philoctetes wakes later, he is shocked that Neoptolemus has really stayed by his side. Neoptolemus answers Philoctetes, who asks Neoptolemus who he is and why he comes. Odysseus arrives, and tries to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. The Philoctetes does not open with its main character, because at the start of the play, no dialogue is possible for him. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. Neoptolemus asks permission to hold the mighty bow while Philoctetes prepares to leave the island. He informs Philoctetes that Zeus made a decision. Philoctetes refuses to go. The Chorus are left by Neoptolemus to look after Philoctetes until they sail. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The background of the play is that Philoctetes is the owner of the fabled bow and arrows of Hercules. Odysseus tells Neoptolemus that he is mad and reminds him that the entire Greek army will come after him if he betrays them. Therefore, he decides to kill the three and Goddess Athena intervenes. Without Philoctetes and his bow and arrows, given to him by the god Heracles, Neoptolemus will not be able to conquer Troy. Directed by Katrin Kalketenidis. CHORUS We would advise thee to it. He would rather take Philoctetes’s bow by force, but Odysseus claims that won’t be possible. Plot Summary Neoptolemus can’t be swayed, however, and Odysseus places his hand on his sword. Sophocles's play "Philoctetes" is an account of how Odysseus and Neoptolemus convince Philoctetes to return to the war. 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. Neoptolemus stresses his determination never to return to Troy. Philoctetes was a play by the Greek playwright Sophocles. 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. 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. Odysseus, it is argued, is more a reflection of his Homeric prototype than a villainous sophist. He kills Paris, the son of Priam, and many other Trojans. Philoctetes, Greek legendary hero who played a decisive part in the final stages of the Trojan War. Neoptolemus refuses, for the bow is useless without Philoctetes. He tries to inspect the issue and Athena watches Odysseus looking for the truth. Neoptolemus states that the fabled armor of Achilles is with Odysseus even though, by birthright, it should be with him—the son of Achilles. Philoctetes involves the interrelation of three characters and, as such, presents an array of dilemmas and disagreements. His wound grew worse and because he is alone on the island he has to use all his energy to remain alive. Philoctetes, however, with his invincible bow, once the property of Herakles, becomes indispensable to the Greeks in their war against Troy. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Philoctetes swears that he will never go with his most hated enemy, and the disguised trader returns to his ship. Philoctetes begs Neoptolemus not to leave him alone on the island, just as the sailor disguised as the merchant approaches. 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. When he sets out along with the Greek army to fight in the Trojan War, he suffers a snakebite at the temple of the goddess Chryse. 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. The sailors advise Neoptolemus to leave with the bow while the exhausted man sleeps. This study guide uses the translation of Sophocles’ play by Peter Meineck. This is the same island where Odysseus and a fleet of Greek sailors abandoned Philoctetes, the famous Greek archer and son of Poeas, nine years earlier on their way to Troy to fight the Trojan War. He is then forced to keep Philoctetes from killing Odysseus. 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. Moreover, he's had ten years to let the hatred against Greeks take deep root in his heart. 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. 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. Philoctetes takes place during the final year of the Trojan War and explores themes of friendship, trauma, deception versus morality, fate, and the individual versus the collective. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. Philoctetes asks Neoptolemus to stay with him until his pain subsides. Philoctetes, a Play About Doing the Right Thing During a War, at the New Workshop Theatre, March 13–17 What can a Greek drama written in 409 B.C. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. 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. The gods have ordered Philoctetes’s suffering, Neoptolemus says. He claims to be a wine trader on his way back from Troy, and he has heard word concerning Neoptolemus. When Philoctetes awakens, Neoptolemus reveals to him that he came to take the warrior to fight against Troy. 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 Summary. 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. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. 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. He hands the bow to Neoptolemus and writhes on the ground until the abscess bursts and the blood flows. With his painful wound, he wants Neoptolemus to stay nearby. It results in a malodorous, festering wound, and he is left alone with his weapons on the uninhabited island of Lemnos. Before they can leave, Herakles, from whom Philoctetes inherited the bow, appears on the rocks above the cave. His incurable wound suppurates, bleeds, pains, and causes him great grief, and he holds the Greeks responsible for his misery. Our, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. Inside the cave, Philoctetes falls to the ground. The background of the play is that Philoctetes is the owner of the fabled bow and arrows of Hercules. 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. Odysseus abandons Philoctetes on the barren island of Lemnos after the warrior is bitten on the foot by a snake while preparing to make a sacrifice at the shrine on the island of Chrysa. Neoptolemus identifies it by the stained bandages drying in the sun, the leaf-stuffed mattress, and the crude wooden cup he finds. Having thus won over Philoctetes with his words and the offer of sailing back to Greece, Neoptolemus manages to hold the bow of Hercules in his hands. Neoptolemus calls to Philoctetes and tells him to come out of his cave. 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. Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now. Philoctetes, the Acheans greatest archer in the Trojan war is abandoned on an island for ten years because of a stinking snake bite. 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. I need help understanding what types of rhetoric are used in Philoctetes and how these are in conflict with one another. Philoctetes is a play written by Sophocles around 409 BCE. Philoctetes was an archer hero in Greek mythology who played a major part in helping the Greeks win the Trojan War. Philoctetes The invulnerable armour had been made for Achilles by the god Hephaestus, and the recipient would thus receive recognition as the greatest after Achilles. Neoptolemus cannot take Philoctetes home to Greece, as both men are needed to win the war in Troy. ANALYSIS: In no other Greek play does character count for so much. Suddenly, Heracles appears from the sky, bearing a message from Zeus. Philoctetes, declaring that their grief is equal, wonders also why Ajax allows these injustices. 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. He is told that Ajax is also dead. Neoptolemus orders the chorus to stay with Philoctetes as he goes with Odysseus back to the ship—still holding Philoctetes’s bow and arrows. 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. 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 … Philoctetes , or Philocthetes, according to Greek mythology, was the son of Poeas, king of Meliboea in Thessaly, and Demonassa. ; Angst: Philoctetes goes through a lot of it. Already a member? 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. 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