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Sophocles was both a great dramatist and a significant figure in Athenian public life. As a public figure, he was elected to important offices by the Athenian demos, but he also had a hand in the abolition of democracy in 411 bc – and then won first prize in the first tragic contest held after democracy was restored. As a dramatist, he frequently gives the impression that the common people are helpless without strong and wise leadership; but he can also suggest that a leader is worth nothing if he neglects his people or ignores their opinions, and in Antigone he seems to go out of his way to highlight the importance of the opinion of the ordinary man as well as that of the elite.



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