Through their sheer range, daring innovation, flawed but eloquent characters and intriguing plots, the plays of Euripides have shocked and stimulated audiences since the fifth century BC. Phoenician Women portrays the rival sons of King Oedipus and their mother's doomed attempts at reconciliation, while Orestes shows a son ravaged with guilt after the vengeful murder of his mother. In The Bacchae, a king mistreats a newcomer to his land, little knowing that he is the god Dionysus disguised as a mortal, while in Iphigenia at Aulis, the Greek leaders take the horrific decision to sacrifice a princess to gain favour from the gods in their mission to Troy. Finally, the Rhesus depicts a world of espionage between the warring Greek and Trojan camps.
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.
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 432
Published: 27th February 2006
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9 x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.32