Phrynichus (frĭnˈĭkəs) [key], fl. c.510–476 B.C., Athenian dramatist, considered by some ancients (including Plato) to be the founder of tragedy. His historical play, The Taking of Miletus, which concerns the capture of Miletus by the Persians, had such a painful theme that it moved the Athenian audience to tears, and Phrynichus was fined. He is said to have been the first to use female characters and was famous for his choreography. Fragments of his dramas survive.