Sophocles' Philoctetes Sophocles' Philoctetes is an extraordinarily timely and timeless play. After having cynically abandoned the hero Philoctetes on a deserted island some ten years earlier, the wily Odysseus strives to lure him to join the Greek forces in their war against Troy. The play dramatizes the suffering and rage of Philoctetes and the moral and emotional development of Odysseus' assistant, the young Neoptolemus. This is an introduction to the play for students and lay readers. The well-focused chapters on Greek theater and performance, the mythical background, and the literary, intellectual, and political context illuminate the issues with which the play grapples. Its persuasive analysis of the characters and plot shed light on the play's complexities and ambiguities, making Sophocles' great play accessible, enjoyable and meaningful to modern readers.