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About the book
  • Published: 16 July 1998
  • ISBN: 9780140446685
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $23.00

Electra And Other Plays


Formats & editions


Of all the ancient Greek tragedians, Euripides was the most sensitive to the lives of women and other outcasts in Athenian society, and Electra and Other Plays collects five plays demonstrating his talent for bringing to life their plight. This Penguin Classics edition is translated by John Davie with an introduction and notes by Richard Rutherford.
Written during a period overshadowed by the fierce struggle for supremacy between Sparta and Euripides' native Athens, these five plays are haunted by the shadow of war - and in particular its impact on women. In Electra the children of Agamemnon take bloody revenge on their mother for murdering their father after his return from Troy, and Suppliant Women depicts the grieving mothers of those killed in battle. The other plays deal with the aftermath of the Trojan War for the defeated survivors, as Andromache shows Hector's widow as a trophy of war in the house of her Greek captor, and Hecabe portrays a defeated queen avenging the murder of her last-remaining son, while Trojan Women tells of the plight of the city's women in the hands of their victors.
John Davie's compelling translations are accompanied by an introduction by Richard Rutherford describing the tragic genre and Euripides innovations, along with a chronology, prefaces to each play, notes, a bibliography and a glossary of names.
Euripides (c.485-07 BC) was an Athenian born into a family of considerable rank. Disdaining the public duties expected of him, Euripides spent a life of quiet introspection, spending much of his life in a cave on Salamis. Late in life he voluntarily exiled himself to the court of Archelaus, King of Macedon, where he wrote The Bacchae, regarded by many as his greatest work. Euripides is thought to have written 92 plays, only 18 of which survive.
If you enjoyed Electra and Other Plays, you might like Euripides' Medea and Other Plays, also available in Penguin Classics.
'The most intensely tragic of all the poets'
Aristotle

  • Pub date: 16 July 1998
  • ISBN: 9780140446685
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $23.00

About the Authors

Euripides Euripides

Euripides is thought to have lived between 485 and 406 BC. He is considered to be one of the three great dramatists of Ancient Greece, alongside Aeschylus and Sophocles. He is particularly admired by modern audiences and readers for his characterization and astute and balanced depiction of human behaviour. Medea is his most famous work.

Date: 2013-08-06
Euripides is thought to have lived between 485 and 406 BC. He is considered to be one of the three great dramatists of Ancient Greece, alongside Aeschylus and Sophocles. He is particularly admired by modern audiences and readers for his characterization and astute and balanced depiction of human behaviour. Medea is his most famous work.

Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. He is the author of three collections of poetry: A Painted Field (1997), winner of the 1997 Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection), the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize and the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award; Slow Air (2002); and Swithering (2006). He is also the editor of Mortification: Writers' Stories of their Public Shame (2003). In 2004, he was named by the Poetry Book Society as one of the 'Next Generation' poets, and received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Robin Robertson's third poetry collection, Swithering (2006), was shortlisted for the 2005 T. S. Eliot Prize and won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year). In 2013 Robin Robertson was awarded the Petrarca-Preis. He lives and works in London.

Euripides, the youngest of the three great Athenian playwrights, was born around 485 BC of a family of good standing. He first competed in the dramatic festivals in 455 BC, coming only third; his record of success in the tragic competitions is lower than that of either Aeschylus or Sophocles. There is a tradition that he was unpopular, even a recluse; we are told that he composed poetry in a cave by the sea, near Salamis. What is clear from contemporary evidence, however, is that audiences were fascinated by his innovative and often disturbing dramas. His work was controversial already in his lifetime, and he himself was regarded as a 'clever' poet, associated with philosophers and other intellectuals.

Towards the end of his life he went to live at the court of Archelaus, king of Macedon. It was during his time there that he wrote what many consider his greates work, the Bacchae. When news of his death reached Athens in early 406 BC, Sophocles appeared publicly in mourning for him. Euripides is thought to have written about ninety-two plays, of which seventeen tragedies and one satyr-play known to be his survive; the other play which is attributed to him, the Rhesus, may in fact be by a later hand.


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