Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Feb 2002
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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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Top customer reviews
Euripedes holds a reputation as possibly the darkest of all the Greek playwrights (so dark that he was deeply unpopular in Athens, repeatedly mocked by Aristophanes in his plays, and forced into exile in the last years of his life). "Medea" is probably his most famous work, and indeed it is exceedingly dark stuff, dealing with child murder and revenge just for starters.
But what makes Euripedes' work endure is the extreme economy he employs in his works, along with the means of expressing this economy: "Medea" in this version runs to perhaps fifty pages, and he was the first playwright to use everyday, idiomatic language as the language of the gods and classical heroes. In so doing, "Medea" and the other works featured here are a reminder of the endureing power of sparse and direct language.
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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Most recent customer reviews
Clear print (a touch small for my eyes, but absolutely acceptable).
I'll not comment on Euripides for obvious reasons.
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