The dramas Euripides wrote towards the end of his life are remarkable for their stylistic innovation and their adventurous plots.
Of these plays, Heracles stands apart in its stark portrayal of undeserved human suffering and the malignant power of the gods. In contrast, the Cyclops (Euripides' sole surviving satyr play) celebrates drink, sex and self-indulgent hedonism. In Iphigenia among the Tuarians, Ion and Helen, Euripides exploits the comic potential to be found in traditional myth, weaving plots full of startling shifts of tone, deception and illusion. Alongside the comedy, however, Euripides always reminds us how quickly fortunes are reversed and invites us to view the world with scepticism and compassion.
About The Author
Euripides, the youngest of the three great Athenian playwrights, was born around 485 BC of a family of good standing. He first competed in the dramatic festivals in 455 BC, coming only third; his record of success in the tragic competitions is lower than that of either Aeschylus or Sophocles. There is a tradition that he was unpopular, even a recluse; we are told that he composed poetry in a cave by the sea, near Salamis. What is clear from contemporary evidence, however, is that audiences were fascinated by his innovative and often disturbing dramas. His work was controversial already in his lifetime, and he himself was regarded as a ‘clever’ poet, associated with philosophers and other intellectuals.
Towards the end of his life he went to live at the court of Archelaus, king of Macedon. It was during his time there that he wrote what many consider his greates work, the Bacchae. When news of his death reached Athens in early 406 BC, Sophocles appeared publicly in mourning for him. Euripides is thought to have written about ninety-two plays, of which seventeen tragedies and one satyr-play known to be his survive; the other play which is attributed to him, the Rhesus, may in fact be by a later hand.
|Note on the Translation||p. xlii|
|Select Bibliography||p. xliii|
|A Chronology of Euripides' Work and Times||p. liii|
|Map of the Greek World||p. liv|
|Children of Heracles||p. 74|
|Explanatory Notes||p. 125|
|Textual Notes||p. 157|
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Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 27th August 2002
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.0 x 1.6
Weight (kg): 19.9