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Ten Plays (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics; Mass Paperback Edition edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527004
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 4.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By realrachel@aol.com on July 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a theatre director and playwright. 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 ( ( ( s o u n d ) ) ) 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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40 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Kelli M. Mcbride on November 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Roche's translations of Euripides' tragedies are intrusive. He adds stage directions and characterizations that influence how the reader views the people in the plays. Readers may believe that these stage directions are from Euripides, but most of them are not. I find it irksome having to differentiate between Roche's interpretation of character and Euripides' text.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John J. on February 8, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good classic but missing one key item. Many classics refer to line numbers from some standard edition, this copy lacks those which I have found handy when discussing with others or for references. Otherwise it is a reasonable edition of a very good work at a fair price.
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By john s lutch on May 5, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
beautiful translation which captured the spirit and depth of the plays. should be required reading for anyone who aspires to a sound humanities education
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Combining mythology with genius storytelling, Euripides writes plays that pull his readers into plots filled with suspense and drama while keeping the sense of impending tragedy ever present. When I read Medea, I was amazed, if not a little bit obsessed. By the first scene, I felt engaged; I imagined it happening as I read. And when the tragic heroine finally entered, I was in awe of Euripides' character development technique. He managed to put real emotion on paper. I understood what Medea was feeling; I knew what she was feeling. I didn't have to re-read her lines to try and understand if she was angry or if she was lamenting. The other characters in the play were equally well developed. I never felt lost trying to understand how the characters related to one another or how they felt during their monologues.

Nonetheless, what really made me fall in love with this play was the character Medea. The strength of her resolve is admirable, though it leads to horrible consequences; her independence and strong sense of self really shine through. Despite her need for vengeance, Medea glows with power and justice.

I liked Medea so much that I decided to read another of Euripides' plays in this volume, The Trojan Women. So, if you're looking for something engaging and gripping, Medea is a wise choice.
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