Medea and Other Plays by Euripides, Edith Hall, William Whitehead |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Medea and Other Plays

Medea and Other Plays

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by Euripides

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Four plays by the Greek dramatist who started to interpret human behavior without reference to the wisdom of gods.


Four plays by the Greek dramatist who started to interpret human behavior without reference to the wisdom of gods.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Penguin Classics Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet 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.

John Davie is head of classics at St. Paul's School in London.

Richard Rutherford is tutor in Greek and Latin literature at Christ Church, Oxford.

Richard Rutherford is tutor in Greek and Latin literature at Christ Church, Oxford.

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Medea and Other Plays 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Medea, for those who have not read it, is the living embodiment of a classic. This near-epic play by Euripedes captures the very essence of a Greek tragedy, including such classic elements as royalty, love lost, and murder. In this play, the mythical figure of Medea, an underdeveloped expatriate sorceress, is finally given an opportunity to be a central character. The actual text of the play, making only perfunctory reference to her history as a Colchan priestess, centers around her disillusionment with her husband, Jason. Jason, unfaithful to Medea, has sparked a fury within the woman that will not cease until retribution has been paid. There are several interesting elements about he book. First, the plot is revealed, more or less, through the eyes of a woman, a rarety in ancient Greek culture. This provides a unique opportunity to view the manner in whihc Greeks viewed females, even vastly powerful mythical females. Secondly, the author, Euripedes, makes Medea the heroine of the play, something seldom done to a conniving, murdering, trecherous character. Despite the obvious flaws that exist in Medea's character, the author saw fit to play down these traits, focusing instead on Medea's justification: her rage, her feelings of insecurity, her rightous anger. And somehow, Medea, for all her crimes, comes off without entirely being cast as the villan. I would highly recommend this play to anybody interested in classical works or Greek mythology. The play is not a long read; rather, the action (and there is a lot) is compressed into tightly charged bundles of literary insight, infusing readers with the tension and weighty drama of the piece. This play is too good of a read to pass up.