How to begin is not the least of the dramatist's problems. It is essential, in the construction of any play, not only to establish at the start a suitable mood, but to make clear, without undue delay, the place, personalities, and general antecedents of the plot. Of the two methods of doing the latter that offer themselves—that by which such information is contained in a ‘prologue’ or set speech, and that by which it is introduced in the course of the action—the former is simpler for the author, and, for the spectator too, it may be more convenient to have these details given once and for all. But it tends to artificiality, and the impression is often created that here is something outside the plot, a mere introduction to the play rather than a part of the play itself. In Greek tragedy the method was of course much used by Euripides, and he has perhaps been over-criticized for it, both in his own time and since. But later writers have not shunned it, and its final development is found in the splitting-off of the initial ‘address’ and its assignment to an extraneous speaker dubbed ‘Prologue’ or ‘Narrator’. This has at least the merit of logical clarity. But, while a definite line cannot be drawn between them, the more informal method must be accounted artistically superior. This was especially that of Sophocles, and his opening scenes (or ‘prologues’ in the technical sense), in both their informational and other aspects, are worth attention in themselves, as well as being indicative of his general approach to his art.