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Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Feb 2002

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Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) + The Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides) Classics S. + The Three Theban Plays: 'Antigone', 'Oedipus the King', 'Oedipus at Colonus' (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st Edition edition (27 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441291
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Euripides was an Athenian born in 484BC. A member of a family of considerable rank, he disliked performing the public duties expected of him, preferring a life of introspection. He was not a popular figure, and at some point (and for a reason unknown) he went into voluntary exile at the court of Archelaus, King of Macedon. He died c.407BC and is thought to have written around ninety-two plays, of which seventeen survive.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 4 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Vellacott's translations of Euripides' tragedies are not new and neither are they, strictly speaking, true to the letter of the Greek originals - by that I mean they don't work well as cribs and so are no replacement for the Loeb editions for anyone needing help with reading Greek. Where they come into their own, however, is in turning these plays into accessible and sometimes powerful English.

As the last of the great Athenian tragedians whose work has come down to us, Euripides is, inevitably, responding to the tragic visions of Aeschylus and Sophocles. His plays can be quite difficult as they are unexpected, shifting and complicated: Medea is a fine example where we are, rather shockingly, made to feel at least some measure of sympathy for Medea herself despite her rather wonderful killing spree and her controvertial murder of her children. The chorus, too, whose response we, to some extent, mimic, show an empathy with Medea's situation and guide our moral response to the play to its still unexpected ending.

So I like these translations which are dynamic and vigorous: they may not be literally tied to the Greek originals but they convey well the spirit and essence of the texts.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By mims@barclays.net on 29 May 2001
Format: Paperback
Carefully translated, this informative copy allows for both first time readers and experts to enjoy Medea, Heracles and Electra. The sordid tales of tragedy are poetically woven into spoken form by Euripedes, and footnotes help the reader understand such oddities such as Medea's magical powers, or the murder of Electra's father. A highly enjoyable read, the Penguin Classics have again created a compilation useful in study and enjoyable in leisure.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Farz_B on 22 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I had to read both Medea and Hecabe as part of background reading to some courses on Greek Mythology and Shakespeare during my degree. 'Medea' came as a surprise offshoot mythological tale to the aftermath of Jason (from the Argonauts) and Medea's union towards the end of Apollonius' 'Jason and the Golden Fleece'. The romantic, flowery love affair we see at the end of the tale turns out a sordid, tragic affair some 10 years later in Euripides' version after they're married with children. Betrayal, jealousy, self-doubt and eventual infanticide and suicide makes it one of the most horrific tales of human tragedy.

What makes Euripides so brilliant is his very human portrayal of the characters. You feel for them, you empathize with them, and you can anticipate their every emotional decision and thoughts of self-reflection. 'Hecabe', similarly deals with the immediate aftermath of the Trojan War and the death of the Trojans at the hands of the Achaens. Hecuba is the wife of Priam and mother of all the major Trojan warriors: Hector, Paris, Aeneus. She is grieving for the death of her husband and all her sons, except one and her daughter. She witness their deaths too, and her agony at the merciless hands of the Greeks (including Odysseus, whom we see here as very severe and inhumane, in contrast to his central heroic role in The Odyssey) make her suffering tragic beyond words. It was recently played in the West End by two productions in 2005.

I would suggest this book simply for the mastery of Euripides and his psychological dimension in human tragedy. Just because it is 'ancient' literature and a translation of the old Greek, does not in any way detract it from being so relevant and significant to the modern world. Raw human emotions, and you don't get that in today's literature much.
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By xostar on 6 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I only read the Medea so the review is only for this play. Medea is a very good play and although what happens is horrific, it shows the pain that she went through and how to make Jason feel the same pain. Medea is left as a foreigner and has no rights and speaks with great logos and pathos about the vows he had made to her and he made those vows in front of the gods which is why the gods stay on her side. She becomes a strong female unlike some Greek women although with the comptemorary Greek audience they would see Medea as sneaky and full of tricks which is what they believed most women to be like. I really enjoyed reading this play and if you take it as an entertaining piece it really is great and many have complained about the ending but I think for it to end any other way would have ruined it because she did everything for Jason and was left with nothing and in the end jason was left that way.
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By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Euripides wasn't exactly known for his light hearted approach to drama, but these are exciting plays. Short, pithy and to the point, violent, grim human dramas, the gut wrenching positions in which the characters find themselves evoke empathy even after all these centuries. Because of their humanity it saves the plays from some of the ridiculous situations and conventions that Greek drama of the day demanded, the Deus Ex Machina, the sometimes stilted chorus, the random tragic acts that just happen. It's still great drama, and that's what matters after all.
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By Beckyboo on 21 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This copy was only one pence!! It was in excellent condition with all the pages intact and the cover was undamaged too. There was some highlighting in part of the book and some notes in the margin, but the description had indicated this before I bought it. Super value as I needed it for a course I am doing and it has saved me a lot of money out of my book budget.Also it is a great read! Try it and see. Highly recommended.
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