Upon the receipt of an oracle saying that his son was fated to win "crowns of victory", Mnesarchus insisted that the boy should train for a career in athletics. In fact the boy was destined for a career on the stage, where however he was to win only five victories, one of which was after his death. He served for a short time as both dancer and torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius. His education was not confined to athletics: he also studied painting and philosophy under the masters Prodicus and Anaxagoras. He had two disastrous marriages and both his wives—Melite and Choerine the latter bearing him three sons —were unfaithful.

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So five of the plays got 3 stars, three got 4 stars, and only two got 5 stars. More on that below. Same for Andromache. As for Helen The rebuke she gets from Hecuba and Menelaus is worth reading. When Agamemnon left for Troy, Electra was a little girl.

So, there was no reason for Electra to think poorly of her father, and that idealised image of him from her childhood had to persist. The legend is in other works, and has two outcomes, one in which the girl effectively dies on the altar, and another that has her surviving. After the murder, Clytemnestra allowed her lover, Aegisthus, to usurp the throne.

In other words, her mother allowed her children to be robbed of their possessions and allowed her daughter to be enslaved. Similarly, Clytemnestra allowed her lover to persecute and try to kill her son, Orestes.

Why else would there be a need for the baby to be snatched from the palace and sent abroad to save his life? So, if Clytemnestra allows her children to be dispossessed, allows a murder attempt on her son, and allows the mistreatment, enslavement and humiliating marriage of her daughter, all that gives the lie to her supposed maternal love and her vaunted maternal love for Iphigenia being the reason to kill her husband. Her mother was the Devil she knew, up close and personal, doing harm to her at home.

Similarly, King Agamemnon foolishly promised the goddess Artemis his most precious and most loved possession, and then is told by a seer it has to be his favourite daughter. He balks at the suggestion, calling it monstrous, but his brother and the troops strong-arm him into accepting the sacrifice. Finally, Agamemnon is saved from carrying out this sacrifice by Artemis whisking the girl off and leaving a hind in her stead. I have a problem with this version. A big problem: inconsistency.

If Euripides chose this version instead of the one that has Iphigenia dying like Aeschylus and Sophocles did, how in the name of Hades is he going to make sense with the argument of his Electra play, where he has Clytemnestra saying explicitly that she hates her husband for what he did to Iphigenia?

Hint: Artemis. Another hint: human sacrifice. Sweet Iphigenia, who cried, begged, and eventually gave a grand oh-so-noble speech about sacrificing herself for the good of Hellas and living forever in legend, is a priestess for Artemis and performs human sacrifices.

But the moment a couple of shipwrecked Greeks arrive to Tauris, she goes from I hate all Greeks, hate them so much, my dad especially to Hooray!

Take me back home to Hellas, brother, I wanna go home. Problem is, Hyppolytus must be the first asexual male in Western literature, because he has absolutely zero interest in coupling with women. Her nurse tries to "cure" her by suggesting to Hippolytus that he reciprocate. Talk about stupid ideas. Hippolytus chews her out, not only because he has no sexual interest but because the woman is suggesting he betray his father by shagging his wife.

Phaedra learns of the betrayal of his confidante, and hangs herself in fear that Theseus will find out. But not before she writes a suicide note in which she lies that her stepson tried to rape her. False accusations of rape are as old as time. Euripides has "softened" it by making her more a weak and rather foolish girl than a vindictive harpy, and it works well enough, for the outcome is the same. Medea is another play that shows how to weave a great story with horrible people in the leading role.

For a start, Medea is no simple downtrodden girl married off against her will to some old dodderer, and has no choice but to obey him, keep the house, and pop out babies. Nobody forced her to elope with him. Nobody married her to him because of an arrangement by her parents. She chose, regardless of the excuse that it was Hera who told Aphrodite to make her fall in love with Jason an excuse Euripides himself mocked in another play.

And Jason is no innocent, either, because he used her for getting the Golden Fleece, promised her marriage, and went on with the promise even after witnessing with his own eyes the revolting crimes Medea was capable of for "love" of him. I mean, "the things I do for love" sounds nice and all. You should own up to making a bad choice of mate, and not victimise yourself because the liar and cheater you slept with fully knowing he was a liar and cheater left you pregnant and washed his hands of you.

Killing her sons is just more of the same. And a bigger injustice. Euripides chooses to make her not pay for her crimes but conveniently flee for refuge to Athens. But not in this play.


ISBN 13: 9780553213638

The scene represents the palace of Admetus at Pherae. Alcestis was acted in b. I came to this land and tended cattle for my host, and I preserved his house to this day. In the son of Pheres I found a pious man, as I myself am pious, and I rescued him from death by tricking the Fates. These deities agreed that Admetus could escape Hades for the present by offering in exchange another body to the spirits below. He canvassed and solicited all his friends, his aged father and the mother who bore him, but he found no one except his wife willing for his sake to die and to forgo the light of day. His wife is now moving about the house supported in his arms and is gasping her last, for upon this day it is fated for her to die and quit this life.


Euripides: Ten Plays

So five of the plays got 3 stars, three got 4 stars, and only two got 5 stars. More on that below. Same for Andromache. As for Helen The rebuke she gets from Hecuba and Menelaus is worth reading.


Ten Plays by Euripides


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