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The Bacchae and Other Plays : Penguin Classics - Euripides

The Bacchae and Other Plays

Penguin Classics

By: Euripides, Philip Vellacott (Translator)

Paperback

Published: 29th December 2000
For Ages: 18+ years old
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Presents translations of four plays by Euripides that revolve around the themes of religious scepticism, the injustices suffered by women, and the folly of war. The plays of Euripides have stimulated audiences since the fifth century BC. This volume, containing Ion, The Women of Troy, Helen, and The Bacchae completes the new editions of "Euripides in Penguin Classics".

Ion concerns the upheaval surrounding the conception of Ion through the rape of Creusa by Apollo, Ion's quest to find his parents and his mother's desire to have a child with her new husband. Unconventional in many ways compared to most Greek tragedies, Euripides wrote Ion as self-referential and innovative.

Helen is an alternate telling of the events surrounding the Trojan War. Rather than fleeing with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was taken to Egypt by the gods and remains loyal to her Spartan husband, Menelaus. An anti-war tract written in the aftermath of a major Athenian defeat, Helen encouraged the Greeks to re-evaluate their traditional philosophies and beliefs.

The Trojan Women tells of the immediate aftermath of the Trojan War from the point of view of the women who taken as prizes by the victorious Greeks. Cassandra, Andromache, Hecuba and Helen are mourning the loss of their homeland and families while the Greeks decide who will take which woman as a slave. Written as the Greek states fought the Peloponnesian War, it is Euripides' lament to the true victims of war.

The Bacchae tells of the god Dionysus' youth and his quest to be recognised as a deity by his family. After being rejected as such, he gathers a horde of followers and takes his revenge on the family that disrespected him. One of Euripides' most discussed works, The Bacchae ponders the divinity of the Greek gods and, particularly, the cult of Dionysus that was popular, and controversial, at the time.

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.

ISBN: 9780140440447
ISBN-10: 0140440445
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 29th December 2000
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.5  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.19
Edition Number: 1