Alcestis and Other Plays (Penguin Classics)

Alcestis and Other Plays (Penguin Classics)


Language: English

Pages: 183

ISBN: 1355712017

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Included: Alcestis, Hippolytus, Iphigenia in Taurus

Euripides' tragedies proved highly controversial even in his own lifetime, presenting his audience with unexpected twists of plot and violently extreme emotions; for many of today's readers and spectators, he seems almost uncannily modern in his insights. Euripides was the key figure in transforming the familiar figures of Greek mythology from awe-inspiring but remote heroes into recognizable, fallible human beings. His characters, all superbly eloquent, draw on fierce contemporary debates about the nature of justice, politics and religion. His women are perhaps the most sympathetically and powerfully presented in ancient literature. Alcestis, the dramatist's first surviving work, is less harrowing than the others, almost a tragicomedy. The Children of Heracles examines the conflict between might and right, while Hippolytus and Medea, two of his greatest plays, reveal his profound understanding of destructive passion. This new translation into dignified English prose makes one of the greatest of Greek writers accessible once again to a wide public.

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have died by now. CHORUS A: At least they have not carried her out to burial. CHORUS B: Why? I have little hope. What makes you sure? CHORUS A: It is not possible that Admetus Should bury his true and noble wife Privately, without calling friends to mourn her. [Antistrophe CHORUS A: When someone has died, it is customary To place a bowl of spring-water before the door; But I see none. CHORUS B: And there would be a curl of hair Cut for a sign of grief, and hung by the

consistent and coherent outlook on the world and on human life giving to each play purpose, dramatic power, and relevance to the current experience of the author’s fellow-Athenians. The chief reason why some of Euripides’ plays have so often been described as self-contradictory, obscure, or careless, is also one reason why scholars have been reluctant to find a consistent moral outlook in his writing. It is his use of irony. To say that Euripides uses irony is a commonplace; but the kind of

horrible to hear. The horses upped their heads, pricked ears; a wild panic Seized on us all – where could the sound be coming from? We looked out to the breaking surf, and there we saw, Rearing to the sky, a wave of supernatural size; It hid from view not only the Scironian cliff But the whole Isthmus and Asclepius’ Rock. And then, Swelling still huger, spattering foam on every side, It rushed seething and hissing to the shore, and straight Towards the four-horse chariot. And in the very

you living, whom everyone thought dead. Your eyes are wet with tears – mine too; but they are tears Of happiness; our weeping and our joy are one. IPHIGENIA: He was a baby when I left him – So young, so young in his nurse’s arms at home. O my heart, happier than words can tell! What can I say? This day has come to us Beyond wonder, beyond thought! ORESTES: May we together find good fortune in time to come! IPHIGENIA: O friends, I hold a miracle of joy; I fear it will escape

before the temple, and Wrap their cloaks over their heads – THOAS: In reverence for the sun’s pure light. IPHIGENIA: Send some of your soldiers with me. THOAS: These men shall accompany you. IPHIGENIA: Send a herald through the city telling all the citizens To remain inside their houses – THOAS: To avoid all contact with Guilty blood? IPHIGENIA: Yes, all pollution must be shunned. THOAS [to a guard]: Go, command this. IPHIGENIA: No one must set eyes on them.

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