The Poet at Colonus: Nightingales in Sophocles
The presence of the nightingales in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus evokes
associations of a long mythico-poetic tradition in which the nightingale is
known not only for her sweet song, but also for her association with lament,
arising from the tragic myth of Procne and Tereus. These associations
make the nightingale an important symbol of tragic poetry and its transformative
function, and their presence at Colonus reminds us that Sophocles
himself was born there.