`the most tragic of the poets' Aristotle Euripides was one of the most popular and controversial of all Greek tragedians, and his plays are marked by an independence of thought, ingenious dramatic devices, and a subtle variety of register and mood. He is also remarkable for the prominence he gave to female characters, whether heroines of virtue or vice. In the ethically shocking Medea, the first known child-killing mother in Greek myth to perform the deed in cold blood manipulates her world in order to wreak vengeance on her treacherous husband. Hippolytus sees Phaedra's confession of her passion for her stepson herald disaster, while Electra's heroine helps her brother murder their mother in an act that mingles justice and sin. Lastly, lighter in tone, the satyr drama, Helen, is an exploration of the impossibility of certitude as brilliantly paradoxical as the three famous tragedies. This new translation does full justice to Euripides's range of tone and gift for narrative. A lucid introduction provides substantial analysis of each play, complete with vital explanations of the traditions and background to Euripides's world.
Alcestis * Heracles * Children of Heracles * CyclopsEuripides wrote about timeless themes, of friendship and enmity, hope and despair, duty and betrayal. The first three plays in this volume are filled with violence or its threat, while the fourth, Cyclops, is our only surviving example of a genuine satyr play, with all the crude and slapstickhumour that characterized the genre.There is death in Alcestis, which explores the marital relationship of Alcestis and Admetus with pathos and grim humour, but whose status as tragedy is subverted by a happy ending. The blood-soaked Heracles portrays deep emotional pain and undeserved suffering; its demand for a more humanisticethics in the face of divine indifference and callousness makes it one of Euripides' more popular and profound plays. Children of Heracles is a rich and complex work, famous for its dialogues and monologues, in which the effects of war on refugees and the consequences of sheltering them aremovingly explored. In Cyclops Euripides takes the familiar story of Odysseus' escape from the Cyclops Polyphemus and turns it to hilarious comic effect. Euripides' other plays are all available in Oxford World's Classics.
Orestes and Other Plays provides new translations of Ion, Orestes, The Phoenician Women and The Suppliant Women, plays that all explore ethical and political themes. Ion vividly portrays the role of chance in human life and the dynamics of family relationships. In Orestes, the most popular of the tragedian's plays about the ancient world, Euripides explores the emotional consequences of Orestes' murder of his mother on the individuals concerned, and makes the tale resonate with advice to Athens about the threat to democracy posed by political pressure groups. The Suppliant Women is a commentary on the politics of empire, as the Athenian king Theseus decides to use force of arms rather than persuasion against Thebes. The Phoenician Women transforms the terrible conflict between Oedipus' sons into one of the most savage indictments of civil war in Western literature by highlighting the personal tragedy it brings. About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Hecuba The Trojan Women Andromache In the three great war plays contained in this volume Euripides subjects the sufferings of Troy's survivors to a harrowing examination. The horrific brutality which both women and children undergo evokes a response of unparalleled intensity in the playwright whom Aristotle called the most tragic of the poets. Yet the new battleground of the aftermath of war is one in which the women of Troy evince an overwhelming greatness of spirit. We weep for the aged Hecuba in her name play and in The Trojan Women, yet we respond with an at times appalled admiration to her resilience amid unrelieved suffering. Andromache, the slave-concubine of her husband's killer, endures her existence in the victor's country with a Stoic nobility. Of their time yet timeless, these plays insist on the victory of the female spirit amid the horrors visited on them by the gods and men during war.
Actors of Dionysus (aod), formed in 1993 to tour Classical drama in translation and have established themselves as the leading exponents of Greek tragedy in contemporary theatre and education. With many national and international touring productions, two DVDs, a Penguin audio book of "Medea" and a whole series of pre-performance talks issued in their journal "Dionysus", they have brought Greek tragedy to new audiences worldwide. Scholars have been generous in their support for aod, and this selection of talks on five of Euripides' plays, "Bacchae", "Medea", "Hippolytus", "Electra" and "Trojan Women", represents but a fraction of their contribution to aod's success. Less formal than lectures, essays or articles, these talks offer sixth-form students and the general public a more accessible approach to the thoughts of some of our leading academics about this extraordinary playwright who can still capture the imagination of a twenty-first century audience. Contributors of this title include: Chris Carey, Kenneth Dover, Alex Garvie, Jasper Griffin, Richard Janko, Richard Jenkyns, Jenny March, Richard Rutherford, Richard Seaford, and Alan Sommerstein.
The Literary Agenda is a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities. The category of 'the literary' has always been contentious. What is clear, however, is how increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an arena for thought. It is sceptically challenged from within, for example, by the sometimes rival claims of cultural history, contextualized explanation, or media studies. It is shaken from without by even greater pressures: by economic exigency and the severe social attitudes that can follow from it; by technological change that may leave the traditional forms of serious human communication looking merely antiquated. For just these reasons this is the right time for renewal, to start reinvigorated work into the meaning and value of literary reading. This short but thought-provoking volume asks the question 'What is it that tragedy makes us know?'. The focus is on tragedy as a mode of representing the experience of radical suffering, pain, or loss, a mode of narrative through which we come to know certain things about ourselves and our world—about its fragility and ours. Through a mixture of historical discussion and close reading of a number of dramatic texts—from Sophocles to Sarah Kane—the book addresses a wide range of debates: how tragedy is defined, whether there is such a thing as 'absolute tragedy', various modern attempts to rework the classical heritage and the relation of comedy to tragedy. There is also a fresh discussion of whether religious—particularly Christian—discourse is inimical to the tragic, and of the necessary tension between tragic narrative and certain kinds of political as well as religious rhetoric. Rowan Williams argues that tragic drama both articulates failure and frailty and, in affirming the possibility of narrating the story of traumatic loss, refuses to settle for passivity, resignation, or despair. In this sense, it still shows the trace of its ritual and religious roots. And in challenging two-dimensional models of society, power, humanity and human knowing, it remains an intrinsic part of any fully humanist culture.
In this new translation of the most profound tragedies of Euripides, one of the trio of the supreme Greek tragedians of the fifth century BC, James Morwood brings harshly to life the pressure of the intolerable circumstances under which Euripides places his characters. His dark and cheerlessworld, one where the gods prove malevolent, importent, or simply absent, reveals men, to use his own words, `as they are'. His clear-eyed yet sympathetic analysis of characters such as Medea, Hippolytus and Phaedra, and Electra and Clytemnestra - and the supremacy of women is not accidental - isconducted with extraordinary psychological insight through the fearful symmetry of his plot construction. Medea, Hippolytus, and Electra give dramatic articulacy to their creator's howl of protest against the world in which we still live today. His Helen shows him working in a different vein. Thethemes remain deeply serious; the analysis is still proving and acute. Yet the happy ending, however equivocal, typifies a humour and warmth of spirit that offer, like Shakespeare's last plays, a fragile but genuine hope of redemption. There is a substantial general introduction and selectbibliography by Edith Hall, and full explanatory notes accompany the translation.
Phaedra * Oedipus * Medea * Trojan Women * Hercules Furens * Thyestes Seneca's plays are the product of a sensational, frightening, and oppressive period of history. Tutor to the emperor Nero, Seneca lived through uncertain and violent times, and his dramas depict the extremes of human behaviour. Rape, suicide, child-killing, incestuous love, madness and mutilation afflict the characters, who are obsessed and destroyed by their feelings. Passion is constantly set against reason, and passion wins out. Seneca forces us to think about the difference between compromise and hypocrisy, about what happens when emotions overwhelm judgement, and about how, if at all, a person can be good, calm, or happy in a corrupt society and under constant threat of death. Seneca was one of the most prolific, versatile, and influential of all classical Latin writers, and the only tragic playwright from ancient Rome whose work survives. This new edition of his six best plays captures Seneca's style in a verse translation that is both lively and accurate. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Early 20th century non-commercial theaters emerged as hubs of social transformation on both sides of the Atlantic. The 1904-1907 seasons at London's Royal Court Theatre were a particularly galvanizing force, with 11 plays by Bernard Shaw--along with works by Granville Barker, John Galsworthy and Elizabeth Robins--that challenged social conventions. Many of these plays were seen on American stages. Featuring more conversation than plot points, the new drama collectively urged audiences to recognize themselves in the characters. In 1908, four hundred actresses attended a London hotel luncheon, determined to effect change for women. The hot topics--chillingly pertinent today--were the mixing of public and private controversies over sexuality, income distribution and full citizenship across gender and class lines. A resolution emerged to form the Actresses Franchise League, which produced original suffrage plays, participated in mass demonstrations and collaborated with ordinary women.
'What exactly is knowledge?' The Theaetetus is a seminal text in the philosophy of knowledge, and is acknowledged as one of Plato's finest works. Cast as a conversation between Socrates and a clever but modest student, Theaetetus, it explores one of the key issues in philosophy: what is knowledge? Though no definite answer is reached, the discussion is penetrating and wide-ranging, covering the claims of perception to be knowledge, the theory that all is in motion, and the perennially tempting idea that knowledge and truth are relative to different individuals or states. The inquirers go on to explore the connection between knowledge and true judgement, and the famous threefold definition of knowledge as justified true belief. Packed with subtle arguments, the dialogue is also a work of literary genius, with an unforgettable portrait of Socrates as a midwife of wisdom. This new edition uses the acclaimed translation by John McDowell. It includes a valuable introduction that locates the work in Plato's oeuvre, and explains some of the competing interpretations of its overall meaning. The notes elucidate Plato's arguments and draw connections within the work and with other philosophical discussions. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.