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Medea and Other Plays
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Medea and Other Plays
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Previously published as Alcestis and Other Plays, the Penguin Classics edition of Euripides’ Medea and Other Plays is translated by John Davie with introductions and notes by Richard Rutherford.
Medea, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover by killing her children, is one of the most shocking of all the Greek tragedies. Medea is a towering figure who demonstrates Euripides’ unusual willingness to give voice to a woman’s case. Alcestis is based on a magical myth in which Death is overcome, and the Children of Heracles examines conflict between might and right, while Hippolytus deals with self-destructive integrity. These plays show Euripides transforming awesome figures of Greek myths into recognisable, fallible human beings.
John Davie’s accessible prose translation is accompanied by a general introduction and individual prefaces to each play.
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 Medea and Other Plays, you might like Aeschylus’ The Oresteia, also available in Penguin Classics.
’One of the best prose translations of Euripides I have seen’Robert Fagles
’John Davie’s translations are outstanding. The tone throughout is refreshingly modern yet dignified’ William Allan, Classical Review
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