Philocetes Neoptolemus Character Analysis

Through analysis of major characters in Sophocles’ Philocetes, one can see that an individual’s needs, feelings, or behaviors do not always align with the values of society. The values upheld by society are often times contradictory to those of a certain individual. Our society is flawed and unfortunately, faulty values exist. It is also important to keep in mind whether the individual acts for good or evil. This often times non existing reflection between individual and societal values ultimately leads to conflict. This is evident through analysis of Neoptolemus, Philocetes, and Odysseus. Neoptolemus, one of the major individuals introduced in Sophocles’ Philocetes, is the son of Achilles. Achilles is a highly renowned and praised hero …show more content…
The Greeks need Philocetes to return to Troy in order to help them win the Trojan War. Although Philocetes is disabled and sick, he will not heal by remaining isolated on Lemnos. One can consider Philocetes’ return to Troy his civil duty because without him the war simply cannot be won in their favor. However, his deeply stemmed anger and resentment towards Odysseus prolongs the completion of his duty. This is but another example of one’s needs conflicting with those of society. As I said earlier, it appears to be common that one’s needs does not align with those of society. Philocetes is angered by Odysseus’ choice to leave him on Lemnos but society expects him to immediately return to Troy and fight side by side with Odysseus. Philocetes is experiencing feelings of betrayal and is uncertain as to why he should want to help them win the war. Similarities between this and one of the more harsh realities of life exist. For example; one can relate this to the struggle of forgiveness. We waste time deeply resenting others for hurting us when in most cases, it is easier to forgive and to move on. However, we are owed our time of grief and despair which is similar to the one Philocetes may have faced in his initial stages. As I mentioned earlier, loyalty is an important value to Greeks. Odysseus did not abide by this value that society upholds when he abandons Philocetes on …show more content…
He is selfish for having no consideration of Neoptolemus’ morals and values when asking him to behave so deceitfully. Odysseus simply uses Neoptolemus to get what he wants without having to do any of the ‘dirty work’ or face any potential consequences. Odysseus’ devious ploy to Neoptolemus states “Ensnare the soul of Philocetes with your words. When he asks who you are and whence you came- you need not lie (54-57). This is the line in which Odysseus begins to convince Neoptolemus to trick Philocetes into fighting in the Trojan War. However, one can argue that Odysseus is looking out for the good of the Greeks and his city. Although his possible intentions do not justify his immoral actions. There are several examples within the play in which Odysseus does not act in ways that would be upheld by Greek society. Specifically, his treatment towards Philocetes and Neoptolemus. Selfish behavior is certainly not something that is upheld in any society but it does exist. Some people are known to act in the intention of their own benefit in mind and choose to walk all over others. They do this to get what they want. But their society also hoped for the victory of the Trojan War which may have caused Odysseus to act in the way he did. The needs of society triggered his immoral

Related Documents