CliffsNotes on Euripides’ Electra and Medea

CliffsNotes on Euripides’ Electra and Medea

CliffsNotes on Euripides’ Electra and Medea

CliffsNotes on Euripides’ Electra and Medea

Synopsis

Euripides was the last of the three great tragedians who lived and wrote in fifth-century B.C. Athens and whose works still survive today. He introduced many innovations into the drama of his time and experimented with new theatrical forms like tragicomedy and melodrama, all of which still have an important place in modern literature. Euripides approached his characters with a unique psychological insight and compassion that was rare in Greek literature before him and which is now one of the most valued elements of his work. In addition, there is a frankness and freshness about Euripides, the great iconoclast and rationalist, that make many readers compare him to George Bernard Shaw. Thousands of years after his death, the plays of Euripides are still read, studied, and performed, and have retained all their magic power of entrancing audiences.

Medea and Electra, the two plays included in this book, are typical examples of Euripidean drama. They are noted for their enlightening psychological examinations of characters under extreme stress and, despite their ancient settings and conventions, have many valuable rewards to offer the modern reader.

Excerpt

Euripides was the last of the three great tragedians who lived and wrote in fifth-century B.C. Athens and whose works still survive today. He introduced many innovations into the drama of his time and experimented with new theatrical forms like tragicomedy and melodrama, all of which still have an important place in modern literature. Euripides approached his characters with a unique psychological insight and compassion that was rare in Greek literature before him and which is now one of the most valued elements of his work. in addition, there is a frankness and freshness about Euripides, the great iconoclast and rationalist, that make many readers compare him to George Bernard Shaw. Thousands of years after his death, the plays of Euripides are still read, studied, and performed, and have retained all their magic power of entrancing audiences.

Medea and Electra, the two plays included in this book, are typical examples of Euripidean drama. They are noted for their enlightening psychological examinations of characters under extreme stress and, despite their ancient settings and conventions, have many valuable rewards to offer the modern reader.

Greek tragedy is the product of a world very different from ours, although contemporary western civilization has its roots in that world. the commentaries and other material in this book will enable you to understand these differences so that you can appreciate the plays more fully.

But remember—a summary is not—a substitute for the complete work and the ideas in a commentary are only intended to help you to evaluate the plays and develop your own ideas. If you neglect to read these plays in full or to give them the attention to which they are entitled, you fool no one and cheat only yourself.

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