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Ten Plays Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton / Signet (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527004
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.3 x 17.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,571,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About 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.
Paul Roche, a distinguished English poet and translator, is the author of The Bible s Greatest Stories. His other translations include Euripides: Ten Plays (Signet), Oedipus Plays of Sophocles (Meridian) and The Orestes Plays of Aeschylus (Meridian)."

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read every translation of Medea I could find. This 1998 translation by Roche, after twenty years of ripening, is fresh, clear, and strong. He prioritized retaining the sound of the ancient greek, and his poet's ear captured its slippery almost-iambic trimeter perfectly. A powerful, haunting, contemporary translation. "Deep is her sobbing from depths of pain/ Shrill is the answer her suffering gives/ To the news of a woman betrayed/ A love gone wrong..." A mature poet's text, translated by an equally sensitive poet. It doesn't get any better than this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.2 out of 5 stars 36 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Euripides 26 Dec. 2015
By Christopher Greffin - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ten Plays Euripides, translated by Moses Hadas and John Mclean, gives a solidly satisfying experience of the works of the Greek playwright. Euripides is often considered the least significant of the three great tragedians of Athens in the 5th century BC, behind Aeschylus and Sophocles, and of the time that was undoubtedly true he did not win as much praise. However there happens to be more surviving plays from Euripides than there are from other two combined (17 compared to 14). This book has the translations of ten of the seventeen.

I have never read Euripides before this, so I can’t compare this to another translation. It is an interesting one, more concerned with accuracy to what was stated than of trying to emulate Greek poetic meter (as for Instance “Electra and other Plays”, which was my first foray into the ancient Greek theater, was more going for). The more notable tragedies include ‘Electra’, ‘Medea’, and the posthumous completed ‘Iphigenia at Aulis’. Among the standouts for me of the Euripides’ works are Ion, ‘Alcestis’, and ‘Electra’ (though I prefer the Sophocles version of the last).

My personal favorite of them all is ‘The Trojan Women’. It takes place the field of Troy just after the epic war’s conclusion, the city burnt down and many legends having been killed on both sides. Survivors of the conquered city, set to be slaves or concubines for the Greeks, are led off by the men to the ships to be taken away forever from their land. Among these captives are the widows of the late King Priam and Hector—Hecuba and Cassandra—and also Helen, wife of Menelaus, the woman whose going to Troy was the catalyst of the war. Though this was written by a Greek for Greeks, the sympathy is primarily with the Trojans who suffer, grieve, and in one notable case go mad from emotional hardship, while the Greeks sort of come off as pompous victors. But at its heart it is a set of entertaining and emotional interactions, occasionally grisly and disturbing as these tragedies tend to be (though this isn’t the most depressing story of the bunch) in the conflicts dealing with great moral issues about what a war’s aftermath, the relationship of conqueror and conquered, should be.

Overall if you want a first foray into Euripides this should be a good read. If you’re looking for something that tries to emulate the style of the original dramas, then you might be a little disappointed, but it’s an interesting read none-the-less. There were one or two of the tragedies that were a bit of a slog, but most of them quite engaged me for most of the duration.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, heartbreaking plays in a very useful collection 21 July 2014
By M.E.Anderson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Not being able to translate Attic Greek, I can't comment on the translation; but I must say that these versions are wonderfully readable (MUCH more so than the translation I had to read in college, back before the Civil War). The translators provide introductions to each play and a general introduction that is extremely useful.

The plays are warned. The Trojan Women and Medea have to be among the most shattering things ever written about war, love, faithlessness and despair, and I choose them only because the others are just slightly less monumental. These ten plays will bake themselves on your heart.

My ONLY criticism, and it is a small one, is that the glossary of names and places at the end of the book, which is 4 meagre pages long, leaves out most of the things I wanted to know. In a future edition I would recommend that several more pages be included that have names on them that most of us would have to look up. (Who is Achilles' son? Neoptolemus. What is Amyclae? An ancient town near Sparta.) By all means buy this edition, but if you are not intimately conversant with the myths and stories of ancient Greece, be prepared to look things up. I found myself referring many times to Edith Hamilton's wonderful Mythology.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most "modern" of the "Big Three" Greek dramatists 20 Oct. 2008
By C. E. Stevens - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I will preface this review by stating that I am usually loath to review "the classics". First, they tend to stand on their own merits; second, more qualified reviewers with greater expertise than I as a general reader tend to already do an excellent job reviewing the work long before I arrive on the scene. "Ten Plays by Euripides" is no exception: the works have survived to the present day due to their beauty and genius, and excellent reviews (most notably Mr. Lawrence Bernabo's) have already been posted. But a particularly knuckleheaded review currently stands as the most recent review, prompting me to add my own review in an attempt to add a counterweight to the negative review.

Euripides is in many ways the most "modern" of the ancient Greek dramatists in the way he plunges the psychological depths of his characters ... most of whom stood as "larger than life" figures in the works of his ancestors and contemporaries (e.g. Homer, Aeschylus, and Sophocles) until Euripides humanizes them. As Sophocles is reported to have said, where Sophocles portrayed these characters as "they ought to be", Euripides portrayed them as "they actually were". The full genius of Euripides' characterization cannot be appreciated except for in comparison with the often "larger than life" treatment given by Homer and Aeschylus. Euripides is particularly gifted in his work with female characters such as Clytemnestra, Medea, and Alcestis.

With his surprisingly "modern" treatments of these famous characters and scenes from Greek history and mythology, Euripides ushered in a new era of theater. Echos of Euripides' works can be heard in the great dramatic history of Europe, all the way to the present day. This particular volume contains many of Euripides' best works at a good price with good translations, making it an especially worthwhile purchase.
5.0 out of 5 stars Euripides - The Modern Man of Ancient Times 1 Jan. 2013
By Lee Paulsel - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Parthenon in Athens is a pale shadow of its former self, worn thin of former glory. Euripides remains fresh and vibrant as modern translations such as this keep alive the pathos common to all ages. We read of justice denied, justice taken and then ponder the definition of "justice" itself. The question remains unanswered today as it was in Euripides' time. We read of personal conscience versus laws of state and ponder the consequence of both action and inaction. How modern is this ancient dilemma? Euripides speaks to us all after some 2,400 years and causes us all to think just as he caused his fellow citizens of Athens to think. As Alexander Pope cautioned, "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring." So too, for those who contemplate buying "Ten Plays by Euripides," be prepared to think deeply or set this wonderful book aside for another day. The Kindle version is the way to go here with instant dictionary and encyclopedia access.
4.0 out of 5 stars Boring - But thats okay 22 May 2014
By b00kll0vr - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This isnt a bad book. I think most people who end up picking it up either are reading it for a class or read it in a class originally. I bought this for my reference library. The cover is okay - the text is okay - the price was great. Long review short - this is not a paperback novel - it is something you close read and study. If you think that it might have a spot on your shelf - this version is as good as any other I have seen. If you want to save a buck or you prefer using an ereader - check out the kindle version:
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