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Sophocles is known for influencing the development of the drama, most importantly by adding a third actor, thereby decreasing the significance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot.

He also developed his characters to a greater extent than the playwrights before him such as Aeschylus.

Sophocles, the son of Sophilus, was a wealthy member of the rural deme of Hippeios Kolonos in Attica, which was to become a setting for one of his plays. Sophocles is assumed to have been born there.

Sophocles was born a few years before the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE. The exact year is unclear and a matter of dispute, although 497/6 is the most likely.

Sophocles was born into a wealthy family. His father was an armor manufacturer. Sophocles' first artistic triumph was in 468 BCE, when he won the first prize in the Dionysia theatre competition for the reigning master of Athenian drama, Aeschylus.