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Paperback Ten Plays Book

ISBN: 0131929593

ISBN13: 9780131929593

Ten Plays

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. A modern translation exclusive to signet From perhaps the greatest of the ancient Greek playwrights comes this collection of plays, including Alcestis, Hippolytus, Ion, Electra, Iphigenia at Aulis,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Reading Euripides

I found the introduction of the book very helpful and the translation makes the plays easy to read. The book was in excellent shape.

The most "modern" of the "Big Three" Greek dramatists

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.

The evolution of drama

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. Alcestis volunteers to die instead of her husband, Admetus (whose own parents refuse to sacrifice for him). Admetus has to be one of the most despicable characters in literature. In the end, a drunk Hercules saves the woman and all ends well (more or less). "Medea" is the terrifyingly cruel story of Jason's wife, who goes mad at his infidelities and punishes him by murdering their children. Chilly. "Hippolytus", which is more properly a tragedy in the old style. Here the gods do intervene decisively: Aphrodite inspires in Phaedra a lustful love for her stepson, Hippolytus. When the boy finds out about it, he sternly rejects the idea and Phaedra kills herself. She lefts behind a letter accusing Hippolytus of having tried to seduce her, which brings about the boy's death. "Andromache", a drama about jealousy in which Hector's widow is about to die at the hands of her raptor's wife (the raptor is Neoptolemus, Achilles's son). In the end, she is saved by the wisdom and mercy of Achilles's father. "Ion", apocryhphal son of Apollo, who is adopted by another man and made priest of his true father's temple (he ignores his true lineage). "The Trojan Women", where the cruel deaths of Priamus's children are told. "Electra", very differe

Excellent translations. The best Medea I've ever read.

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.

Best translation I've read!

I'm an acting teacher, and this is the best translation I've come across. It's very readable and actable. Most other translations focus more on formal equivalency but this one is more of a dynamic equivalency. For an acting student, the text is so immediate and realistic rather than awkward.
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