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Ten Plays by Euripides Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0553213638 ISBN-10: 0553213636

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (August 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553213636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213638
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The first playwright of democracy, Euripides wrote with enduring insight and biting satire about social and political problems of Athenian life. In contrast to his contemporaries, he brought an exciting--and, to the Greeks, a stunning--realism to the "pure and noble form" of tragedy. For the first time in history, heroes and heroines on the stage were not idealized: as Sophocles himself said, Euripides shows people not as they ought to be, but as they actually are.

From the Inside Flap

The first playwright of democracy, Euripides wrote with enduring insight and biting satire about social and political problems of Athenian life.  In contrast to his contemporaries, he brought an exciting--and, to the Greeks, a stunning--realism to the "pure and noble form" of tragedy.  For the first time in history, heroes and heroines on the stage were not idealized:  as Sophocles himself said, Euripides shows people not as they ought to be, but as they actually are.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I read this story at a very young age, but knew a wrong had been done.
Geraldine C. Walker
We read of personal conscience versus laws of state and ponder the consequence of both action and inaction.
Lee Paulsel
The translators provide introductions to each play and a general introduction that is extremely useful.
M.E.Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Euripides was the youngest and the least successful of the great triad of Greek tragic poets. Criticized by the conservatives of his time for introducing shabby heroes and immoral women into his plays, his plays were ridiculed by Aristophanes in "The Frogs." His plays exhibited his iconoclastic, rationalizing attitude toward the ancient myths that were the subject matter for Greek drama. For Euripides the gods were irrational and petulant, while heroes had flawed natures and uncontrolled passions that made them ultimately responsible for their tragic fates. Ultimately, your standard Euripides tragedy offers meaningless suffering upon which the gods look with complete indifference (until they show up at the end as the deux ex machina). However, today Euripides is considered the most popular of the Greek playwrights and is considered by many to be the father of modern European drama.
This volume does not include all of the extant plays of Euripides (we believe he authored 92 plays, 19 of which have survived), but what are arguably the ten most important: "Alcestis," "Medea," "Hippolytus," "Andromache," "Ion," "Trojan Women," "Electra," "Iphigenia Among the Taurians," "The Bacchants," and "Iphigenia at Aulis." The translations by Moses Hadas and John McLean are not as literate as you will find elsewhere, but they are eminently functional and make this volume one of the most cost-effective ways of providing students an opportunity to study the work of a great dramatist.
After reading several Euripides tragedies several things emerge in our understanding of his work. First, he has a unique structure for his plays decidedly different from those of Aeschylus and Sophocles.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By K Priest on October 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm an acting teacher, and this is the best translation I've come across. It's very readable and actable. Most other translations take a formal equivalency approach but this one is more dynamic equivalency. For an acting student, the text is immediate and realistic rather than awkward.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on May 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Euripides is not a definitive tragedian (in the Aristotelian notion) like his contemporary Sophocles; although he mines the same subject matter, he exhibits a number of stylistic differences and peculiarities. His plays tend to begin with a single character delivering a soliloquy that introduces the background of the story, and he makes frequent use of a "deus ex machina" at the end in order to set things right, or as right as they can be.
The biggest difference between Sophocles and Euripides is their approach to tragedy. Sophocles uses tragedy as an enhancement of nobility, an illumination of heroic dignity and grandeur; to Euripides it is just ugly, crude, and awkward, like a ketchup stain on your shirt. Tragedy elevates the Sophoclean hero to a state of fearsome awe, but it merely reduces the Euripidean hero to an object of pity and even derision. In this sense Euripides is more of a realist and a humanist, and therefore more modern.
Euripides's plays transform classical mythology not into morality lessons but into drama in a very basic, empathic mode. He makes the most of every dramatic situation: Medea, who kills her children to punish her unfaithful husband Jason; Hector's widow Andromache, who is enslaved by Achilles's son Neoptolemus and is accused by his wife Hermione of seducing him; Ion, son of Apollo by the rape of Creusa and attendant at his temple, in a classic plot of mistaken identity; Pentheus, king of Thebes, who is murdered by frenzied Bacchantes, one of whom is his own mother; Iphigenia, who is sacrificed by her father Agamemnon to ensure Greek victory in the Trojan War. There is a very clear path that connects Euripides with the conventions of two and a half millenia of Western literature. He might not have been as famous or as respected as Sophocles, but he is no less important a dramatist.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the playwrights from the triad of great dramatists that comprised Greek tragedy,Euripides is considered to be the most modern of all of them in the depiction of his subject matter,& it is here that one can clearly see true humanity abound:immoral women,devious & cunning people,gods with human frailties,etc.Euripides touches on themes common of his time,which claims an ineffaceable hold on humanity even up to now;the helplessness of man in the face of fate,the attitude & relationships of people towards one another & with their gods.The language at times(especially with its oratorical phrases)is dated,but the compelling & convincing dialogues are truly moving,& the playwright handles with effortless ease the conveyance of the heightened sense of drama.But the real delight is in the awareness that reading works almost 2,500 years old & finding still a lot of common traits among the people of this time & of that is a marvel in the realization of the unity of man's soul through the centuries.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on December 19, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some reviewers say that Euripides is not strictly a tragedian in the Greek sense, but a playwright who took Greek drama to a next level of development. I agree, and this can be seen both in structural and styilistic innovations, as well as in the way of treating his subjects, remarkably the Gods, myths, religion and the situation of women. Maybe that's why he was the least successful of the three known Greek "tragedians", the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Structural and styilistic innovations include the opening monologue in which one of the characters explains the situation such as it is at the beginning of the action. Other ones are: a lesser use of the Chorus and the treatment of the final deus-ex-machina. But in my view, the most important aspect of his dramas is the controversial stance he takes against traditions and myths. If Aschylus lives in a world of gods, heroes and titans, and if Sophocles is the great tragedian of Fate, glory, downfall and grandilocuent suffering, for Euripides humans are just humans and the gods are, in the best case, distant, cruel and frivolous entities. With Euripides, it is not so much Fate but every individual's decisions which decide their fortune. He also exposes crudely the disadvantaged situation of women, hand-tied by laws and traditions which preclude their human development. Finally, for him war is not an opportunity for glory, but only destruction, misery and disgrace. War does not purify or ennoble, it just destroys and saddens. In spite of this vision, his plays do not entirely lack a sense of humor, even if it's black humor. Some of the plays included in this volume are:

"Alcestis", a good example of Euripides's anti-tragedy which begins sad and ends joyful.
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