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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True to the spirit of the Greek originals
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...
Published on 4 Oct 2012 by Roman Clodia

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OU dom
Plays required for Open University A330, passed on to fellow student
Published 15 days ago by Cicero


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True to the spirit of the Greek originals, 4 Oct 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic tales of the past intelligently related, 29 May 2001
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This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of tragedy, 22 April 2006
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Farz_B (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly Cheery!, 27 Oct 2007
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Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic plays presented nicely, 16 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a fine collection of some of the most recognisable classic literature. The presentation in the book is good and easy to follow, and the plays themselves are extraordinary, touching on timeless human themes, the ideas in these plays have been recycled countless times through the ages in our culture. I would thoroughly recommend this book to all literature lovers
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5.0 out of 5 stars Medea and Other Plays, 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Excellent translation with very helpful notes in the Introduction and most necessary for any Classics students. I thoroughly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting, heartbreaking, hilarious, 5 May 2014
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These plays will make you go through various emotions while reading each play. Alcetis is hilarious for the interaction between the son and father, 'vex your ears with the truth !' but Medea of course is the star of these plays. Some of the greatest writing of all time and definitely along with Dido, the best story of love in its deepest and rawest form i've read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars NOT the set text for OU A330, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Warning! This is NOT the set text for A330, although the amazon search engine will bring this up if you put the ISBN in from the set book list. Dozens of students landed up with the incorrect version. And it has happened year in, year out.
Brilliant read though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the money!, 21 Aug 2012
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Love this play, 6 Feb 2012
This review is from: Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) (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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