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. Philoctetes was an archer hero in Greek mythology who played a major part in helping the Greeks win the Trojan War. Odysseus coaxes Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, to use deception and get Philoctetes to agree to come with them. When Philoctetes awakens, Neoptolemus reveals to him that he came to take the warrior to fight against 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. Suddenly, Heracles appears from the sky, bearing a message from Zeus. 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. Imploring their pity, he tells them not to fear him, although he became a savage through solitude and great suffering. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his… En route to Troy he was Third stasimon, 1081-1217. Philoctetes agrees to do so. 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. 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. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”. 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. Neoptolemus is repulsed by the idea of treachery and initially refuses. ; Angst: Philoctetes goes through a lot of it. The island is deserted, and there are no houses or ships to be found. Word Count: 530. Neoptolemus gives in, even as he warns Philoctetes that they'd be facing the ire of the Greek army for this act. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Philoctetes is certain that Odysseus is alive, and this fact Neoptolemus confirms. He ultimately agrees when Odysseus tells him that this is the only way to bring an end to the war. The sailors advise Neoptolemus to leave with the bow while the exhausted man sleeps. The men can hear the sounds of crying, and Philoctetes approaches. About Sophocles: Philoctetes. Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now. He is cured. The play raises important points about ends justifying the means. After Neoptolemus agrees, Philoctetes praises the day that brings them together and declares himself bound in friendship to the young warrior for all time. The chorus of sailors reports that they hear the painful approach of Philoctetes. He asserts that he intends to sail for home. 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. To the ships, my friends; away! 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. Sophocles's play "Philoctetes" is an account of how Odysseus and Neoptolemus convince Philoctetes to return to the war. Philoctetes is a play written by Sophocles around 409 BCE. Neoptolemus asks permission to hold the mighty bow while Philoctetes prepares to leave the island. 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 denounces the foul play and demands back the bow. Directed by Katrin Kalketenidis. (including. Philoctetes, the Acheans greatest archer in the Trojan war is abandoned on an island for ten years because of a stinking snake bite. 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. Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. It results in a malodorous, festering wound, and he is left alone with his weapons on the uninhabited island of Lemnos. Philoctetes begs Neoptolemus not to leave him alone on the island, just as the sailor disguised as the merchant approaches. He informs Philoctetes that Zeus made a decision. 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. 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. CHORUS That we shall Most gladly. He begs for a sword to kill himself. The Iliad Context Important information about Homer's background, historical events that influenced The Iliad, and the main ideas within the work. He was a Greek hero, famed as an archer, and a participant in the Trojan War. Neoptolemus approaches Philoctetes and manages to win over his confidence by faking hatred for Odysseus. 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. Philoctetes involves the interrelation of three characters and, as such, presents an array of dilemmas and disagreements. 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. 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. After a standoff between Odysseus and the Greeks on one side and Philoctetes on the other, Odysseus leaves the scene. Odysseus arrives, and tries to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. When Philoctetes again refuses, Neoptolemus, in spite of the return of Odysseus, gives back the bow. He is told that Ajax is also dead. Philoctetes asks Neoptolemus to stay with him until his pain subsides. 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. Philoctetes refuses to go. Philoctetes should return to the Greek army where he will be healed. 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 tells Neoptolemus that he is mad and reminds him that the entire Greek army will come after him if he betrays them. Neoptolemus tries to convince Philoctetes to go to Troy anyway and tells him his wound will be healed there, but Philoctetes still refuses. Philoctetes Summary. He is an expert archer, and his poisoned arrows kill unfailingly. Neoptolemus can’t be swayed, however, and Odysseus places his hand on his sword. 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. 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. Odysseus arrives on the island of Lemnos with Neoptolemus, the son of the late hero Achilles. 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. Neoptolemus is disgusted by this deception, but wily Odysseus pleads necessity and promises him honor and glory. 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 answers Philoctetes, who asks Neoptolemus who he is and why he comes. Struggling with distance learning? Philoctetes refuses to go to Troy for Odysseus, and he convinces Neoptolemus to take him home to Greece instead. The chapter focuses on each character in turn. mean to a nation on the brink of war? He (or his father, Poeas) had been bequeathed the bow and arrows of the Greek hero Heracles in return for lighting his funeral pyre; Philoctetes thus became a notable archer. He tries to inspect the issue and Athena watches Odysseus looking for the truth. 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. 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. The background of the play is that Philoctetes is the owner of the fabled bow and arrows of Hercules. CHORUS We would advise thee to it. Philoctetes, however, with his invincible bow, once the property of Herakles, becomes indispensable to the Greeks in their war against Troy. 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 draw back the bow, but Neoptolemus begs him not to shoot. It was first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC, where it won first prize. The background of the play is that Philoctetes is the owner of the fabled bow and arrows of Hercules. “O strangers!” he exclaims, “Who can you be, and from what country, that you have put into this harborless and desolate land? Plot Summary Odysseus again runs away, and Philoctetes tells Neoptolemus that he is a good man. 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. With his painful wound, he wants Neoptolemus to stay nearby. Word Count: 1010. As Odysseus planned, a sailor disguised as a trader comes to help Neoptolemus in tricking Philoctetes. He hands the bow to Neoptolemus and writhes on the ground until the abscess bursts and the blood flows. Inside the cave, Philoctetes falls to the ground. Odysseus orders Neoptolemus to find Philoctetes and tell him that the Greeks had convinced him to go to Troy to fight, but he left angrily after Atreus’s sons gave Achilles’s arms to 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. 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. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. Odysseus departs with Neoptolemus, who has the bow. Philoctetes , or Philocthetes, according to Greek mythology, was the son of Poeas, king of Meliboea in Thessaly, and Demonassa. Going Obey your orders. What would I rightly say is your city or your ancestry?” Philoctetes is glad to learn that the strangers are, in fact, Greeks, and even gladder to find out that their leader is the son of a man he lov… Suddenly the wound in Philoctetes’ foot begins to pain him beyond endurance. Then Neoptolemus returns, followed by Odysseus; he decides to redress the wrong he did Philoctetes and to return the bow. Philoctetes contains examples of:. Like other classical Greek tragedies, Sophocles' Philoctetes is an extraordinarily timely and timeless play. Besides, Neoptolemus promised to take him home, and he asks again that Neoptolemus fulfill his promise. The war-weary Greeks send a contingent to get Philoctetes to Troy, but it's a difficult task. 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. Also, with Neoptolemus, he will kill Paris and take Troy. 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. He thanks him profusely, and Neoptolemus begins to cry. Neoptolemus cannot take Philoctetes home to Greece, as both men are needed to win the war in Troy. This study guide uses the translation of Sophocles’ play by Peter Meineck. Teachers and parents! 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. Neoptolemus must convince Philoctetes he is telling the truth, Odysseus says, or all of Greece will suffer. How to say Philoctetes in English? Philoctetes is a play written by Sophocles around 409 BCE. He kills Paris, the son of Priam, and many other Trojans. Philoctetes is thankful and claims he now considers Neoptolemus a friend, so he invites him into his cave. Odysseus, it is argued, is more a reflection of his Homeric prototype than a villainous sophist. When Philoctetes wakes later, he is shocked that Neoptolemus has really stayed by his side. 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). Philoctetes's situation is immensely pitiable, and Odysseus is certainly in his "pre-trials and tribulations humbling experience" stage. 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. Philoctetes is furious at the Greeks, particularly Odysseus, for marooning him on the uninhabited island. Refusal and abuse from Philoctetes. The gods have ordered Philoctetes’s suffering, Neoptolemus says. Neoptolemus refuses but asks Philoctetes what he can reasonably do to help him. There is debate over whether the play depicts virtue triumphant or, rather, portrays a young woman incurably twisted by years of hatred and resentment. Neoptolemus, however, is afraid that the Greeks will attack his country in retaliation. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Odysseus reveals himself, and as the truth dawns upon Philoctetes, he is enraged and points his deadly arrow at Odysseus. 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 swears that he will never go with his most hated enemy, and the disguised trader returns to his ship. 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. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! Next. He would rather take Philoctetes’s bow by force, but Odysseus claims that won’t be possible. 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. 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. Pronunciation of Philoctetes with 1 audio pronunciation, 1 meaning, 7 translations and more for Philoctetes. 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. When Neoptolemus insists on keeping the bow, Philoctetes, enraged and despairing, curses such treachery and declares that he will starve without his weapon. The decision took by Agamemnon and Menelaus – the two Greek commanders infuriates Ajax. 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. When he remains adamant, Odysseus and Neoptolemus leave, taking with them the bow. Philoctetes is a fantastic play by Sophocles that explores themes of trauma/suffering, and making the morally correct decisions. Odysseus and Diomedes have boarded another ship for Lemnos, because Helenus said the war can’t be won without Philoctetes either. 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. This chapter explores Sophocles' Philoctetes, the most morally complex of all of his extant tragedies. He claims to be a wine trader on his way back from Troy, and he has heard word concerning Neoptolemus. Philoctetes appears in Seamus Heaney's play The Cure at Troy, a "version" of Sophocles' Philoctetes. Philoctetes was a play by the Greek playwright Sophocles. Neoptolemus orders the chorus to stay with Philoctetes as he goes with Odysseus back to the ship—still holding Philoctetes’s bow and arrows. Meanwhile, Neoptolemus again tries to persuade Philoctetes to join them. Suddenly, Odysseus appears and tells Philoctetes that he is going to Troy, like it or not. Neoptolemus agrees, and Philoctetes hands him the bow and arrows. His incurable wound suppurates, bleeds, pains, and causes him great grief, and he holds the Greeks responsible for his misery. He curses the Atreidae and Odysseus, who abandoned him, and wishes that they might suffer his agony. 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