Yes, we can see now how it will all end, miserable Crete girl, born of your dark and bull-loving mother. How it plagues us! Shame is of two kinds: one, quite harmless I think so.
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Upon the receipt of an oracle saying that his son was fated to win "crowns of victory", Mnesarchus insisted that the boy should train for a career in athletics. In fact the boy was destined for a career on the stage, where however he was to win only five victories, one of which was after his death. He served for a short time as both dancer and torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius.
His education was not confined to athletics: he also studied painting and philosophy under the masters Prodicus and Anaxagoras. He had two disastrous marriages and both his wives—Melite and Choerine the latter bearing him three sons —were unfaithful. He became a recluse, making a home for himself in a cave on Salamis the Cave of Euripides , where a cult of the playwright developed after his death.
This biography is divided into three sections corresponding to the three kinds of sources. It is said that he died in Macedonia after being attacked by the Molossian hounds of King Archelaus and that his cenotaph near Piraeus was struck by lightning—signs of his unique powers, whether for good or ill according to one modern scholar, his death might have been caused instead by the harsh Macedonian winter.
Aristophanes scripted him as a character in at least three plays: The Acharnians , Thesmophoriazusae and The Frogs. After a debate between the two deceased bards, the god brings Aeschylus back to life as more useful to Athens on account of his wisdom, rejecting Euripides as merely clever.
His final competition in Athens was in BC. The Bacchae and Iphigenia in Aulis were performed after his death in BC and first prize was awarded posthumously. Altogether his plays won first prize only five times. His plays and those of Aeschylus and Sophocles indicate a difference in outlook between the three men—a generation gap probably due to the Sophistic enlightenment in the middle decades of the 5th century: Aeschylus still looked back to the archaic period , Sophocles was in transition between periods, and Euripides was fully imbued with the new spirit of the classical age.
This is what has happened to me. The state funded it and awarded prizes to the winners. With the introduction of the third actor an innovation attributed to Sophocles , acting also began to be regarded as a skill to be rewarded with prizes, requiring a long apprenticeship in the chorus.
Euripides and other playwrights accordingly composed more and more arias for accomplished actors to sing and this tendency becomes more marked in his later plays:  tragedy was a "living and ever-changing genre"  other changes in his work are touched on in the previous section and in Chronology ; a list of his plays is given in Extant plays below.
The comic poet, Aristophanes, is the earliest known critic to characterize Euripides as a spokesman for destructive, new ideas, associated with declining standards in both society and tragedy see Reception for more. However, 5th century tragedy was a social gathering for "carrying out quite publicly the maintenance and development of mental infrastructure" and it offered spectators a "platform for an utterly unique form of institutionalized discussion".
Thus, for example, Odysseus is represented in Hecuba lines —32 as "agile-minded, sweet-talking, demos-pleasing" i. This only, they say, stands the stress of life: a good and just spirit in a man. O Zeus, whether you are the Law of Necessity in nature, or the Law of Reason in man, hear my prayers. You are everywhere, pursuing your noiseless path, ordering the affairs of mortals according to justice. You are starting a new fashion in prayer. In Hippolytus , speeches appear verbose and ungainly as if to underscore the limitations of language.
His comic touches can be thought to intensify the overall tragic effect, and his realism, which often threatens to make his heroes look ridiculous, marks a world of debased heroism: "The loss of intellectual and moral substance becomes a central tragic statement".
For others, psychological inconsistency is not a stumbling block to good drama: "Euripides is in pursuit of a larger insight: he aims to set forth the two modes, emotional and rational, with which human beings confront their own mortality.
In his hands tragedy for the first time probed the inner recesses of the human soul and let passions spin the plot. And yet when the gods appear deus ex machina , as they do in eight of the extant plays, they appear "lifeless and mechanical". Unlike Sophocles, who established the setting and background of his plays in the introductory dialogue, Euripides used a monologue in which a divinity or human character directly and simply tells the audience all it needs to know in order to understand the subsequent action.
The few extant fragments of satyr-plays attributed to Aeschylus and Sophocles indicate that these were a loosely structured, simple and jovial form of entertainment. However, in Cyclops the only complete satyr-play that survives Euripides structured the entertainment more like a tragedy and introduced a note of critical irony typical of his other work. His genre-bending inventiveness is shown above all in Alcestis , a blend of tragic and satyric elements. This fourth play in his tetralogy for BC i.
Many Greek tragedians make use of dramatic irony to bring out the emotion and realism of their characters or plays, but Euripides uses irony to foreshadow events and occasionally amuse his audience.
For example, in his play Heracles, Heracles comments that all men love their children and wish to see them grow. The tragic irony and foreshadow here is that later, Heracles will be driven into a madness by Hera and will kill his own children, along with his wife Megara. Similarly, in Helen, Theoclymenus remarks how happy he is that his sister has the gift of prophecy and will warn him of any plots or tricks against him while the audience already knows that she has betrayed him to help Helen and Menelaus escape.
In this instance, not only is Euripides using irony for foreshadow, but for a comedic effect as well—something few tragedians did. While some of his irony can be interpreted as dark humor, Euripides makes use of irony in his works to foreshadow future events and occasionally include a comedic undertone. Euripides was also a great lyric poet. In Medea , for example, he composed for his city, Athens, "the noblest of her songs of praise".
Reception[ edit ] Euripides has aroused and continues to arouse strong opinions for and against his work: He was a problem to his contemporaries and he is one still; over the course of centuries since his plays were first produced he has been hailed or indicted under a bewildering variety of labels. He has been seen as a profound explorer of human psychology and also a rhetorical poet who subordinated consistency of character to verbal effect; as a misogynist and a feminist; as a realist who brought tragic action down to the level of everyday life and as a romantic poet who chose unusual myths and exotic settings.
And not one of these descriptions is entirely false. The only requirement is a serious treatment. Summaries of the transmission are often found in modern editions of the plays, three of which are used as sources for this summary [nb 3] The plays of Euripides, like those of Aeschylus and Sophocles, were circulated in written form in the 5th century among literary members of the audience and performers at minor festivals, as aide-memoirs.
However, literary conventions that we take for granted today had not yet been invented—there was no spacing between words, no consistency in punctuation nor in vowel elisions, no marks for breathings and accent guides to pronunciation and hence word recognition , no convention to denote change of speaker and no stage directions, and verse was written straight across the page like prose.
Possibly those who bought texts supplied their own interpretative markings. Papyri discoveries have indicated, for example, that a change in speakers was loosely denoted with a variety of signs, such as the equivalent of the modern dash, colon and full-stop.
The absence of modern literary conventions, which are an aid to comprehension, was an early and persistent source of errors affecting transmission of the text. Errors crept in also when Athens replaced its old Attic alphabet with the Ionian alphabet, a change sanctioned by law in — BC, adding a new complication to the task of copying. Many more errors came from the tendency of actors to interpolate words and sentences, producing so many corruptions and variations that a law was proposed by Lycurgus of Athens in BC " It was about then that Aristophanes of Byzantium compiled an edition of all the extant plays of Euripides, collated from pre-Alexandrian texts, furnished with introductions and accompanied by a commentary that was "published" separately.
Fragment of a vellum codex from the fourth or fifth centuries AD, showing choral anapaests from Medea , lines —91, tiny though it is, the fragment influences modern editions of the play [nb 4] After this creation of a standard edition, the text was fairly safe from errors, apart from the slight and gradual corruption produced by the tedium of frequent copying.
Around AD, ten of the plays of Euripides began to be circulated in a select edition, possibly for use in schools, with some commentaries or scholia recorded in the margins. Similar editions had appeared for Aeschylus and Sophocles—the only plays of theirs that survive today. This "Alphabetical" edition was combined with the "Select" edition by some unknown Byzantine scholar, bringing together all the nineteen plays that survive today.
The "Select" plays are found in many medieval manuscripts but only two manuscripts preserve the "Alphabetical" plays—often denoted L and P, after the Laurentian Library at Florence, and the Bibliotheca Palatina in the Vatican, where they are stored. It is believed that P derived its Alphabet plays and some Select plays from copies of an ancestor of L, but the remainder is derived from elsewhere.
In addition to L, P, and many other medieval manuscripts, there are also fragments of plays recorded on papyrus. The papyrus fragments are often recovered only through modern technology. In June , for example, classicists at Oxford University worked on a joint project with Brigham Young University , using multi-spectral imaging technology to retrieve previously illegible writing see References. Some of this work employed infrared technology—previously used for satellite imaging—to detect previously unknown material by Euripides in fragments of the Oxyrhynchus papyri , a collection of ancient manuscripts held by the university.
Sometimes the picture is almost lost. Both the playwright and his work were travestied by comic poets such as Aristophanes , the known dates of whose own plays thus serve as a terminus ad quem for those of Euripides, though sometimes the gap can be considerable e.
Greek tragedy comprised lyric and dialogue, the latter mostly in iambic trimeter three pairs of iambic feet per line. Associated with this increase in resolutions was an increasing vocabulary for tragic dialogue, often involving prefixes to refine meanings, allowing the language to assume a more natural rhythm while also becoming ever more capable of psychological and philosophical subtlety. Euripides however employs it here and there in his later plays.
At the same time, choral odes begin to take on something of the form of dithyrambs reminiscent of the poetry of Bacchylides , featuring elaborate treatment of myths. The Bacchae however shows a reversion to old forms,  possibly as a deliberate archaic effect or maybe because there were no virtuoso choristers in Macedonia, where it is said to have been written.
ISBN 13: 9780553213638
So five of the plays got 3 stars, three got 4 stars, and only two got 5 stars. More on that below. Same for Andromache. As for Helen The rebuke she gets from Hecuba and Menelaus is worth reading. When Agamemnon left for Troy, Electra was a little girl. So, there was no reason for Electra to think poorly of her father, and that idealised image of him from her childhood had to persist.
Ten Plays by Euripides
The scene represents the palace of Admetus at Pherae. Alcestis was acted in b. I came to this land and tended cattle for my host, and I preserved his house to this day. In the son of Pheres I found a pious man, as I myself am pious, and I rescued him from death by tricking the Fates.
Euripides: Ten Plays