The Bacchae of Euripides

The Bacchae of Euripides

The Bacchae of Euripides

The Bacchae of Euripides


This new translation of The Bacchae- that strange blend of Aeschylean grandeur and Euripidean finesse- is an attempt to reproduce for the American stage the play as it most probably was when new and unmutilated in 406 B. C. The achievement of this aim involves a restoration of the "great lacuna" at the climax and the discovery of several primary stage effects very likely intended by Euripides. These effects and controversial questions of the composition and stylistics are discussed in the notes and the accompanying essay.


Since the Greek text contains no indications about staging and scenery except those one may infer from the speeches, all stage directions have been supplied by the translator. However, many details of the staging are highly problematical, and their discussion has been relegated to notes at the end of the play. The many interpolations, necessary to a stageable version, are indicated by brackets in the text of the translation, the longest and most important being discussed in the notes.

Not only the general interpretation of the play but the expression of individual speeches is controversial. The translator's interpretation inevitably colors the wording of the text to some degree, but rarely appears in the stage directions. An essay on that interpretation, involving stylistics and the "motivation" of lines, is appended, for the convenience of directors and actors and the curiosity of readers.

The numbers in parentheses in the margin of the play refer to notes beginning on page 82. The numbers at the top of the pages of play text correspond approximately to the line numbers of the original Greek text.


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