Sophocles: Ajax
Sophocles: Electra

Sophocles: Philoctetes

Philoctetus on the Island of Lemnos (1788), by Jean Germain Drouais. Wikimedia.Philoctetes (Ancient Greek: Φιλοκτήτης) is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles, originally produced in 409 BC. The title character was abandoned  by Ulysses on the island of Lemnos at the outset of the Trojan War. Many years later, a prophecy makes clear that the war cannot be brought to a successful conclusion without Philoctetes' presence.

The action of the play centres on Odysseus attempts to employ Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, to deceive Philoctetes into giving up his bow, and the dilemmas in which this involves Neoptolemus. A resolution is provided through the appearance of Philoctetes' divine patron, Hercules, who compels him to go to Troy.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Philoktetes, translated by Gregory McNamee. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Seven Plays in English Verse, translated by Lewis Campbell. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Philoctetes, Greek text edited by Philipp Buttmann (1822). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Philoctetes, Greek text edited with notes by William Haig Brown (1847). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Philoctetes, Greek text with English notes, translated from the German of F.W. Schneidewin by R.B Paul, edited by T.K Arnold (1851). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Philoctetes, Greek text edited with notes by Frederick Blaydes (1870). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Philoctetes, Greek text edited by I. Holub (1889). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Philoctetes, translation by Francis Gifford Plaistowe (1892). Multiple formats (Microform).

Internet Archive: Sophocles Vol. II; Ajax, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes. Greek text with facing translation by F. Storr (Loeb edition, 1916). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles Vol II; Trachinae, Ajax, Philoctetes, Electra, verse translation by Thomas Dale (1824). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles, translated by Thomas Franklin (1848). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles, Vol II; Ajax, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes, Fragments, translated by Lewis Campbell (1879). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Tragedies of Sophocles, translated by Richard C. Jebb (1904). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Philoctetes, translated by Thomas Francklin. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L021 - Sophocles II: Ajax. Electra. Trachiniae. Philoctetes. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text (edited by Francis Storr, 1913). Translation (1898) and notes by Richard Jebb. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Philoktetes, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Philoctetes, translated by Thomas Francklin. Multiple formats.

Vancouver Island University: Philoctetes, translated by Ian Johnston. HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple translations. Multiple formats.

Performances and Reviews

BBC Schools 1961-62

Screen Plays: Greek plays: Philoctetes (BBC Schools, 1961-62), by Amanda Wrigley.

Philoctetes Center for the Multidiscplinary study of the Imagination

Youtube: Play Reading: Sophocles' Philoctetes - adapted by Bryan Doerries. Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg (Philoctetes), Jesse Eisenberg (Neoptolomus), Adam Ludwig (Odysseus), John Schmerling (Chorus).

 Theater of War

New York TimesThe Anguish of War for Today’s Soldiers, Explored by Sophocles, by Patrick Healy, 11 November 2009.

Aquila Theatre, New York

Aquila Theatre: Sophocles' Philoctetes. 2016.

Didaskalia: Sophocles' Philoctetes, reviewed by Tony Tambosco, 2016.

 Other Resources

Ancient-Literature.com: Philoctetes, synopsis and analysis.

Brigham Young University: Speaking for Himself: Odysseus and Rhetoric in Sophocles' Philoctetes, by Christian Wiggo Axelgard (2013).

Bryn Mawr Classical Review: Seth L. Schein, Sophocles: Philoctetes. Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. Review of scholarly edition and commentary by P.J. Finglass. November 2013.

Duke University: Philoctetes, notes by William A. Johnson.

Greek Myth Index: Philoctetes.

Greek Mythology Link: Philoctetes.

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Internet Archive: The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' Philoctetes, an adaptation by Seamus Heaney. DAISY/EPUB/KINDLE/JSON formats (Login required to borrow for 14 days).

Librivox: Philoctetes, public domain audiobook. Alternate version: Philoctetes, translated by Lewis Campbell.

Open University: Enter Odysseus: Greek Theatrical Conventions and Sophocles' Philoctetes, by Eleanor O'Kell, University of Exeter.

Ordinary Times: Sophocles - Philoctetes and Wounded Warriors, by Rufus F. October 2010.

Persee: Sophocles' Philoctetes and the homeric epics - An anthropological approach, by Ioannis Perysinakis. Mètis. Anthropologie des mondes grecs anciens, 1994, Volume 9, No 1, pp.377-389.

Stephnotes: Philoctetes, Johnston translation with analysis and other resources by Stephanie Drace.

Theatre Database: Philoctetes, analysis  originally published in The Tragic Drama of the Greeks. A.E. Haigh. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896. pp. 194-8.

University of Arkansas: Some Thoughts on Ancient Greek Religion in Sophocles' Philoctetes, by
Daniel B. Levine, 2002.

US Naval Academy: Focusing on the “Margins” of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes, by Associate Professor Christy Stanlake.

Vassar College: Sophocles' Philoctetes: A Director's Notebook, by Matthew Bock (2012).

Wikipedia: Sophocles - Philoctetes (Sophocles play)

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Sophocles: Ajax - another play with Odysseus as a central character.

Homer: Iliad - describes Philoctetes' exile on Lemonos in Book II.

Little Iliad - lost epic described Philoctetes return.

Aeschylus and Euripides wrote lost plays on Philoctetes.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Philoctetes is listed.

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