Easton Press Euripides books

Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, The Bacchae - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written - 1980
Euripides - Harvard Classics - 1993

Franklin Library Euripides books

Euripides Plays - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1976
The Great Greek Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides - Oxford Library of The World's Greatest Books - 1982
Plays of Euripides - Great Books of the Western World - 2 volumes 1983, 1984


Euripides biography

Euripides, one of the great ancient Greek playwrights, was born around 480 BCE in Salamis, a small island near Athens. He became a prominent figure in the world of classical Greek theater during the Golden Age of Athens, alongside fellow playwrights Aeschylus and Sophocles. Euripides' life unfolded against the backdrop of political, social, and cultural changes in ancient Greece. Little is known about Euripides' early life and education, but he emerged as a prolific dramatist, leaving behind a legacy that significantly impacted the art of tragedy. Euripides wrote around 92 plays, although only 19 have survived in complete form. Some of his most famous works include Medea, The Bacchae, and The Trojan Women.

Euripides' approach to tragedy was distinct from his contemporaries. He challenged traditional conventions, introducing more complex characters and exploring the psychological depths of his protagonists. His plays often delved into the darker aspects of human nature, portraying characters with conflicting motives and moral ambiguities. Euripides was known for his keen observation of society and his willingness to question traditional beliefs and norms. The playwright was awarded the prestigious honor of winning the Athenian drama competition multiple times, yet he faced criticism during his lifetime for deviating from conventional norms. He moved away from idealized heroes and explored the vulnerabilities of human nature, making his characters more relatable and, at times, sympathetic.

Euripides spent a considerable part of his life in Athens, but historical records suggest that he also traveled to the court of King Archelaus in Macedonia. His later years may have been marked by relative seclusion, and he is said to have died in Macedonia around 406 BCE. Despite initial controversies and criticisms, Euripides' works gained increasing popularity after his death. His plays continued to be performed, and his influence extended into later periods, inspiring playwrights and thinkers throughout the centuries. Euripides' legacy lies not only in his innovations within the realm of tragedy but also in his profound exploration of the human condition, making his contributions to ancient Greek theater timeless and enduring.



Euripides was one of the most popular and controversial of all the Greek tragedians, and his plays are marked by an independence of thought, ingenious dramatic devices, and a subtle variety of register and mood. Medea, is a story of betrayal and vengeance. Medea, incensed that her husband Jason would leave her for another after the many sacrifices she has made for him, murders both his new bride and their own children in revenge. It is an excellent example of the prominence and complexity that Euripides gave to female characters.

One of the most powerful and enduring of Greek tragedies, Medea centers on the myth of Jason, leader of the Argonauts, who has won the dragon-guarded treasure of the Golden Fleece with the help of the sorceress Medea. Having married Medea and fathered her two children, Jason abandons her for a more favorable match, never suspecting the terrible revenge she will take.

Euripides' masterly portrayal of the motives fiercely driving Medea's pursuit of vengeance for her husband's insult and betrayal has held theater audiences spellbound for more than twenty centuries.


Hippolytos or Hippolytus

No play of Euripides is more admired than Hippolytus. The tale of a married woman stirred to passion for a younger man was traditional, but Euripides modified this story and blended it with one of divine vengeance to create a masterpiece of tension, pathos, and dramatic power. In this play, Phaedra fights nobly but unsuccessfully against her desire for her stepson Hippolytus, while the young man risks his life to keep her passion secret. Both of them, constrained by the overwhelming force of divine power and human ignorance, choose to die in order to maintain their virtue and their good names.

In most versions of the Hippolytos myth, Phaidra is depicted as an utterly debauched character, a woman reduced to shamelessness by the power of Aphrodite. In Euripides' Hippolytos, however informed by the playwright's moral and religious fascination we find a Phaidra resisting the goddess of love with all her strength, though in the end unsuccessfully. Phaidra becomes a tragic foil for Hippolytos, making his superhuman virtue at once believable and understandable.

The Bacchae

Euripides' classic drama about the often mortifying consequences of the unbridled and frequently hysterical celebration of the feast of Dionysus, the God of wine.

Based on the Greek myth of the god Dionysus's punishment of King Pentheus and his mother Agave, Williams' The Bacchae of Euripides is a unique interpretation of one of the most celebrated plays in the history of dramatic theater.

When Dionysus (in disguise) attempts to spread his cult among the people (especially the women) of Thebes, their king, Pentheus, imprisons Dionysus and tries to suppress his cult. The king's misguided attempt to thwart the will of a god leads to catastrophe. Full of striking scenes, frenzied emotion, and choral songs of great power and beauty, the play is a fine example of Euripides' ability to exploit and manipulate traditional Greek myth to serve his own ends in probing man's psychological makeup and understanding of himself.

Bacchae is suitable for students of both Classical Civilisation and Drama.

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