'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.
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