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Euripides III: Hecuba / Andromache / The Trojan Women / Ion (Complete Greek Tragedies, #7)

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Contains: 1. Hecuba, translated and with an introduction by William Arrowsmith 2. Andromache, translated and with an introduction by John Frederick Nims 3. The Trojan Women, translated and with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore 4. Ion, translated and with an introduction by Ronald Frederick Willets 'Clear accurate reflections of the Greek in well-polished mirrors of contemp Contains: 1. Hecuba, translated and with an introduction by William Arrowsmith 2. Andromache, translated and with an introduction by John Frederick Nims 3. The Trojan Women, translated and with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore 4. Ion, translated and with an introduction by Ronald Frederick Willets 'Clear accurate reflections of the Greek in well-polished mirrors of contemporary American language and taste. Not just language and taste: although they are far from being playbook 'treatments, ' they are eminently actable'. . . . Kenneth Rexroth, The Nation


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Contains: 1. Hecuba, translated and with an introduction by William Arrowsmith 2. Andromache, translated and with an introduction by John Frederick Nims 3. The Trojan Women, translated and with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore 4. Ion, translated and with an introduction by Ronald Frederick Willets 'Clear accurate reflections of the Greek in well-polished mirrors of contemp Contains: 1. Hecuba, translated and with an introduction by William Arrowsmith 2. Andromache, translated and with an introduction by John Frederick Nims 3. The Trojan Women, translated and with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore 4. Ion, translated and with an introduction by Ronald Frederick Willets 'Clear accurate reflections of the Greek in well-polished mirrors of contemporary American language and taste. Not just language and taste: although they are far from being playbook 'treatments, ' they are eminently actable'. . . . Kenneth Rexroth, The Nation

30 review for Euripides III: Hecuba / Andromache / The Trojan Women / Ion (Complete Greek Tragedies, #7)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Teruel

    I have still to decipher the criterion underlying the order in which these plays appear in this volume. Three of the plays can be considered sequels to the Trojan War focusing on the surviving women: (Hecuba centered on King Priam's widow, Andromache on Hector's widow, and The Trojan Women is more loosely centered on Hecuba as she comes across her daughter and prophetess Cassandra, her daughter-in-law Andromache and Helen, her son Paris' mistress and the ostensible cause of the Trojan war. The f I have still to decipher the criterion underlying the order in which these plays appear in this volume. Three of the plays can be considered sequels to the Trojan War focusing on the surviving women: (Hecuba centered on King Priam's widow, Andromache on Hector's widow, and The Trojan Women is more loosely centered on Hecuba as she comes across her daughter and prophetess Cassandra, her daughter-in-law Andromache and Helen, her son Paris' mistress and the ostensible cause of the Trojan war. The fourth play is not related to the Trojan War at all but is about Ion, a Delphian priest's discovery that he is an offspring of a god and a woman and his mother's discovery that Ion did not die of exposure when she abandoned him as a baby. The plays are not, as far as the translators indicate, in chronological order of writing. Andromache is probably the oldest of the four plays (430-424 BC), Hecuba is dated at having been composed or presented between 424 and 425 BC, Ion dates from 420-410 BC and The Trojan Women was presented in competition in 415 BC. The Trojan Women depicts events happening after Troy has fallen, just after it has been sacked and set fire to and before the Greeks set sail home, Hecuba three days after the Greek fleet set sail and while they were becalmed on the shores of Thrace, and Andromache several years after Achilles' son returned home to Phtia with Andromache as his prize of war and slave concubine. So it could be tempting to read these three plays in this order, but the problem is that Hecuba is, in my opinion, by far the most powerful of the three plays, so reading Hecuba before Andromache casts far too great a shadow on the last play. If you want to read only one of the four plays in this volume, I would recommend reading Hecuba. If you want to read the three "Trojan" plays I would suggest reading The Trojan Women first, Andromache next and Hecuba last. And if you want to read the four plays, leave a very long interval of time between the first three and Ion. The three main plays are tragedies, not in the Aristotelian sense or structure, but in the subject matter and the strong emotions that are portrayed: pity, cruelty, hate, desire for revenge, ambition the sense of helplessness in the face of a relentless tragic destiny, and murders right, left and center. All three of the plays can be considered anti-war tragedies written in the midst of the Peloponnesian War and do not skimp on the horrors and atrocities of war and its aftermath. The Trojan War is perhaps the most difficult of the three plays for modern reader to get into. I would highly recommend watching the stark 1971 American-British-Greek drama film directed by Michael Cacoyannis and starring Katharine Hepburn (Hecuba), Vanessa Redgrave (Andromache) and Irene Papas (Helen) which can be seen at https://archive.org/details/TheTrojan... or on YouTube. In particular Irene Papas portrayal of Helen and her confrontation with Katherine Hepburn's Hecuba is not to be missed. If you are not used to older films you will need a little patience before you start appreciating the film and the play it is based on. Wikipedia helpfully points out that:The film was made with the minimum of changes to Edith Hamilton's translation of Euripides' original play, save for the omission of deities, as Cacoyannis said they were "hard to film and make realistic". (view spoiler)[In this harsh play, Hecuba who has seen her husband Priam killed before her eyes and suffered the loss of most of her children, learns that the surviving women have been reduced to slavery and allotted to the Greeks as prizes of war. She is also told that her remaining family is to be separated, her daughter Cassandra is allotted to Agamemnom, her daughter in law and Hector's widow Andromache to Achilles, Hector's killer's son, her grandson and Andromache's small child is to be hurled from the battlements of Troy to his death, while Helen, well Helen is being true to form and attempting to (re)seduce Menelaus, the husband she abandoned for Paris (hide spoiler)] . Andromache is an interesting play, if on a smaller, slightly more intimate level than the other two. (view spoiler)[Andromache has a child by Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles to whom she was allotted as a slave. Neoptolemus legimate wife, Hermione, Menelaus' daughter is childless and not only jealous of Andromache but alarmed by the possibility that Neoptolemus throne pass to Andromache's child (hide spoiler)] . The play opens when Andromache seeks sanctuary in order to escape Hermione's murderous plots. Andromache dominates the play, but the most hair-raising scene is the probably the description of Neoptolemus assasination at Delphi -masterly! As I mentioned earlier, Hecuba is by far the best play in the book, full of pathos, treason and gore, driven to unexpected extremes by thirst for revenge. It even has a ghost in it, hovering over most of the play ;-) One of the most barbaric and memorable murders and a blinding as shocking and as Gloucester's in King Lear is carried out hidden out of view of the spectators who only see furious battering on tent walls and can only guess, all too well, as to what is going on inside. The play ends with atrocious prophetic curses. Menelaus, ironically oblivious to his future states:May Heaven grant that our ordeal is over at last! May all be well at home in Argus!as the chorus hammers in the last nails in this excruciating tragedy:File to the tents, file to the harbor. There we embark on life as slaves. Necessity is harsh. Fate has no reprieve.There is not much I want to say about Ion. While the translator does take pains to try to explain that: ...Euripides is, in fact, dealing with an important theme in earnest.I do not agree and find the play shallow, uninspired and unconvincing. A great deal of the play is structured around a tiresome sing-song question and answer pattern as in:Ion: And have you come alone or with your husband? Creusa: With him. But he stayed at Trophonius' shrine. Ion: To see it or consult the oracle? Creusa: To ask the same as he will ask of Phoebus. Ion: Is it about your countr's crops -or children? Creusa: Though married long ago, we have no children. Ion: No children! You have never had a child? Creusa: Apollo knows my childlessness. Ion: Ah! That misfortune cancels all your blessings. Creusa: And who are you? Your mother must be happy! Ion: I am what I am called, Apollo's slave. Creusa: A city's votive gift or sold by someone? and so on and so forth. To my modern ears, ignorant of classical greek, this is not the stuff that could have led Plutarch to write in his life of Nicias:Several [of the athenian soldiers] were saved for the sake of Euripides, whose poetry, it appears, was in request among the Sicilians more than among any of the settlers out of Greece, And when any travellers arrived that could tell them some passage, or give them any specimen of his verses, they were delighted to be able to communicate them to one another. Many of the captives who got safe back to Athens are said, after they reached home, to have gone and made their acknowledgements to Euripides, relating how some of them had been released from their slavery by teaching what they could remember of his poems, and others, when straggling after the fight, been relieved with meat and drink for repeating some of his lyrics.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diem

    I didn't really mean to read this. I meant to read Plato. But I didn't have Plato. And I had two days to wait before it was to arrive. That meant I could read Euripides or Odyssey. Odyssey was clearly going to be a greater investment of time that I didn't really want to spend, but this was Euripides III and I suspected it might not be the best collection of plays for the Euripides noob. Still, I wasn't really prepared to take on Odyssey. I wanted to get to Plato. I liked these plays just fine. I I didn't really mean to read this. I meant to read Plato. But I didn't have Plato. And I had two days to wait before it was to arrive. That meant I could read Euripides or Odyssey. Odyssey was clearly going to be a greater investment of time that I didn't really want to spend, but this was Euripides III and I suspected it might not be the best collection of plays for the Euripides noob. Still, I wasn't really prepared to take on Odyssey. I wanted to get to Plato. I liked these plays just fine. I don't think they were particularly remarkable. The translations were easy and varied as each play had a different translator. The introductions were brief. The notes were non-existent. Someday I will revisit the more important extant works of Euripides but this was a very enjoyable placeholder until that time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I saw a contemporary play called "Trojan Barbie" that echoed themes of the Trojan Women and found it really interesting, in a depressing way. This inpsired me to go back to Euripides, who I remembered actually liking in high school when we read "Medea" in 10th grade. There's something about a woman's hurt and sorrow that he understands to the point that it transcends centuries, and that's the only way I can describe it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I enjoyed the Hecuba and Ion, but was less enthusiastic about "The Trojan Women". These plays become more interesting when placed in their historical context, and don't necessarily stand on their own. The Ion is simply interesting to hear Euripides have characters vent at the gods. Worth reading, but not the first plays of Euripides I would recommend to a new reader.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

    I'm beginning to think that women in Greek drama are either wailing for their misfortune or taking murderous revenge. I much prefer the latter. Hecuba is definitely the best play here, and goes through both of the above stages to poignant effect after all of her 19 children are killed. Chronologically Hecuba should come after Andromache and The Trojan Women - I would have much preferred this order not only for the plot, but so there was something to look forward to. Andromache does at least keep I'm beginning to think that women in Greek drama are either wailing for their misfortune or taking murderous revenge. I much prefer the latter. Hecuba is definitely the best play here, and goes through both of the above stages to poignant effect after all of her 19 children are killed. Chronologically Hecuba should come after Andromache and The Trojan Women - I would have much preferred this order not only for the plot, but so there was something to look forward to. Andromache does at least keep you guessing, but the plot is very mixed up, while The Trojan Women is just filler really. I didn't particularly enjoy Ion either, but perhaps I'm Greeked out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Yee

    Hecuba (tr. Arrowsmith) Andromache (tr. Nims) The Trojan Women (tr. Lattimore) Ion (tr. Willetts)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Taka

    Good-- This collection includes Hecuba, Andromache, The Trojan women, and Ion, the first three of which deal with, well, the Trojan women after the war, and it does get a bit repetitive to read The Trojan Women after the first two. I think Hecuba is the finest of the three. The figure of Hecuba is just fascinating as a subject for the psychological vivisection that Euripides performs so well, what with all the compound grief of losing her husband, palace, status, wealth, and all her 19 children i Good-- This collection includes Hecuba, Andromache, The Trojan women, and Ion, the first three of which deal with, well, the Trojan women after the war, and it does get a bit repetitive to read The Trojan Women after the first two. I think Hecuba is the finest of the three. The figure of Hecuba is just fascinating as a subject for the psychological vivisection that Euripides performs so well, what with all the compound grief of losing her husband, palace, status, wealth, and all her 19 children including Hector being killed and dragged around the palace for 9 unwholesome days and Polydorus being murdered like a dog by who she thought was a dear friend, Polymester, and Polyxena being sacrificed to the never-satisfied Achilles (who I think killed like a lot of her kids, e.g., Hector and Troilus) plus at least one grandchild. She loses, in a word, everything you can possibly imagine in a pretty horrible way. So how to present her grief on stage is more of a formidable challenge than anything else, and Euripides does a pretty good job of meeting it and handling it even by modern standards (I won't say it was amazing or excellent b/c if it were, I would've bawled my eyes out), and that mere accomplishment deserves praise. Andromache is a weaker play but still interesting enough to carry you through to the end without getting bored. It's just that Hermione and Menelaus are so evil that they represent awesome villains, and anything with awesome villains is interesting. So Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen, is wedded to the son of Achilles Neoptolemus, who took Andromache (the widowed wife of Hector) as a mistress and begets a child by her. If you think this is already fucked up enough (would you take the wife of a man your father killed in battle?), listen to this: Hermione, because she's not getting knocked up, blames everything on Andromache and accuses her of witchery and evil intentions, and tags up with her daddy and decides to kill her and her son (who is her husband's illegitimate son). So it's all pretty messed up and hence fun. The Trojan Women is a rather mediocre, haphazard play without much of a plot. It's just Hecuba cursing her fate and grieving the losses of Cassandra, Andromache, and Astyanax, and whimpering about her bleak future. Hecuba presented a much, much more compelling portrayal of this uber-schlimazel of a woman, and I also don't think it does anything different or better... Finally, Ion is a bit of a random play which can very well be classified as a romance play along with Iphigenia in Tauris and Helen. It's basically the same plot of the lost one found on the verge of being lost forever and some divinity wrapping it up at the end. So it was mildly interesting (definitely more so than The Trojan Women), and it's good to have a happy ending once in a while.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melora

    I gave this four stars, but Not because I really Liked it. It was well done and moving. Wrenching, actually. I didn't really read the whole book, only The Trojan Women. I thought I might read the others, but I peeked at Hecuba and realized that the subject matter, mothers facing the slaughter of their children, would be too tough for me to handle much of. Aescylus's Agamemnon is next on our roster, and I think that will be more my cup of tea.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Hecuba was interesting and inspiring. Andromache was a touch into the world of a similar woman in a different situation. The Trojan Women was a summary play of all that had occurred, from the women's enslavery to the generalised plot points of what happened in both Hecuba and Andromache. Ion was a completely separate story and was difficult to read du to this mental switch. I think they were definitely ordered from best to worst and would certainly return to Hecuba again.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Morton

    I might fill in more stuff later but: Hecuba - 4 Stars Andromache - 4 Stars The Trojan Women - 3 Stars Ion - 3 Stars Despite the couple of four stars above, I didn't really think anything in this volume was indispensable - so, unless you want to read everything, don't feel too bad giving this volume a pass.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark Woodland

    What can I say? All of the well-known Greek playwrights are important reading, both for their historical significance as well as the fact that they're excellent plays. They haven't remained famous for 2,400 years because they're not worthy of it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Noory

    I've only read the Trojan women and I don't fell like reading more

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nick Smith

    I especially liked "The Trojan Women" and consider it a classic.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Humphrey

    Read Hecuba and Trojan Women. All the tragedy of the genre with only a fraction of ambiguity that makes the great Greek tragedies great.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kels

    Encounters/Core

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    I only read Trojan Women and rated it thus.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ariadna73

    Liked the feeling of originality that is lost in newer works in the world.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andy Scott

    Fantastic plays, loved all of them-- I just wouldn't necessarily recommend these translations for semi-novice readers such as myself.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

  21. 5 out of 5

    Menestheos

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leishla Roman

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  24. 5 out of 5

    Charlse Newman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alberto

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Palombo

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Moss

  30. 5 out of 5

    James Bruce

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