web site hit counter Medea and Other Plays: Medea / Alcestis / The Children of Heracles / Hippolytus - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Medea and Other Plays: Medea / Alcestis / The Children of Heracles / Hippolytus

Availability: Ready to download

That proud, impassioned soul, so ungovernable now that she has felt the sting of injustice’‘Medea’, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover by killing her children, is one of the most shocking and horrific of all the Greek tragedies. Dominating the play is Medea herself, a towering and powerful figure who demonstrates Euripides’ unusual willingness to give vo That proud, impassioned soul, so ungovernable now that she has felt the sting of injustice’‘Medea’, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover by killing her children, is one of the most shocking and horrific of all the Greek tragedies. Dominating the play is Medea herself, a towering and powerful figure who demonstrates Euripides’ unusual willingness to give voice to a woman’s case. ‘Alcestis’, a tragicomedy, is based on a magical myth in which Death is overcome, and ‘The Children of Heracles’ examines the conflict between might and right, while ‘Hippolytus’ deals with self-destructive integrity and moral dilemmas. These plays show Euripides transforming the awesome figures of Greek mythology into recognizable, fallible human beings.John Davie’s accessible prose translation is accompanied by a general introduction and individual prefaces to each play.Previously published as Alcestis and Other Plays


Compare

That proud, impassioned soul, so ungovernable now that she has felt the sting of injustice’‘Medea’, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover by killing her children, is one of the most shocking and horrific of all the Greek tragedies. Dominating the play is Medea herself, a towering and powerful figure who demonstrates Euripides’ unusual willingness to give vo That proud, impassioned soul, so ungovernable now that she has felt the sting of injustice’‘Medea’, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover by killing her children, is one of the most shocking and horrific of all the Greek tragedies. Dominating the play is Medea herself, a towering and powerful figure who demonstrates Euripides’ unusual willingness to give voice to a woman’s case. ‘Alcestis’, a tragicomedy, is based on a magical myth in which Death is overcome, and ‘The Children of Heracles’ examines the conflict between might and right, while ‘Hippolytus’ deals with self-destructive integrity and moral dilemmas. These plays show Euripides transforming the awesome figures of Greek mythology into recognizable, fallible human beings.John Davie’s accessible prose translation is accompanied by a general introduction and individual prefaces to each play.Previously published as Alcestis and Other Plays

30 review for Medea and Other Plays: Medea / Alcestis / The Children of Heracles / Hippolytus

  1. 4 out of 5

    E. G.

    General Introduction & Notes, by Richard Rutherford Note on the Text Further Reading Chronological Table Translator's Note Preface to Alcestis --Alcestis Preface to Medea --Medea Preface to The Children of Heracles --The Children of Heracles Preface to Hippolytus --Hippolytus Notes Bibliography Glossary of Mythological and Geographical Names General Introduction & Notes, by Richard Rutherford Note on the Text Further Reading Chronological Table Translator's Note Preface to Alcestis --Alcestis Preface to Medea --Medea Preface to The Children of Heracles --The Children of Heracles Preface to Hippolytus --Hippolytus Notes Bibliography Glossary of Mythological and Geographical Names

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    Medea is a QUEEN

  3. 5 out of 5

    Philipp

    It's always surprising how brutal and bloody Greek tragedies are (but: never nihilistic! The one who wrongs will be pursued by the Gods, and usually the entire bloodline is cursed) Medea: Medea is angry that her husband Jason is taking a new wife, he wants to ban her from the city as she's dangerous, she plans revenge and murders the new wife as well as her own children - since that will hurt her husband more. She survives and escapes the city with the bodies of the children. Hecabe: Ex-queen of T It's always surprising how brutal and bloody Greek tragedies are (but: never nihilistic! The one who wrongs will be pursued by the Gods, and usually the entire bloodline is cursed) Medea: Medea is angry that her husband Jason is taking a new wife, he wants to ban her from the city as she's dangerous, she plans revenge and murders the new wife as well as her own children - since that will hurt her husband more. She survives and escapes the city with the bodies of the children. Hecabe: Ex-queen of Troy, now slave, has to watch as her daughter is sacrificed by the Greeks looking for good omens to return; she also learns that her son was murdered earlier by a trusted friend, so she plots revenge on Polymestor, and traps him with her friends - they stab out his eyes and murder his children. Agamemnon sends the blind Polymestor away without more bloodshed: after all, he murdered his guest, it was his fault. O stately royal palace! O once happy home! O Priam, famed for boundless treasures; famed as father, And I as aged mother, of children without peer! How we have come to nothing, stripped of our old pride! And we – we paltry humans – swell with arrogance, One for the wealth and luxury of his house, another Because the citizens all call him a great man! Such things mean nothing; careful schemes, the eloquence Of boasters – all nothing! The man who day by day Lives on, escaping misery – he is happiest. Electra: Former princess, now married away to a commoner after an usurper conspired with her mother to kill the king Agamemnon and take over the throne (it's also revenge of the mother for the earlier sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon at the start of the Trojan War - the same Iphigenia who survived in Goethe's play Iphigenia in Tauris, a Tragedy). Electra waits for her brother Orestes (the one who later shows up in The Oresteia), who traps the king and murders him, and both murder their mother. They suffer from their great crime of matricide, Orestes is instructed to leave and purge his soul (in a few sentences the story of the Oresteia is foretold). Heracles: Yet another usurper, yet another family in peril while the man (here Heracles) is away on adventures. Before the new king can murder the family (after all, young kids are future usurpers!) Heracles appears and kills the king. Since this is a Greek tragedy happy endings are not a good thing - so Madness personified has to appear (some old bloodlines curse or whatevs), Heracles turns mad and kills his sons and wife in a frenzy. His mind returns, and Theseus leads the broken man away. I need to read more Greek tragedies!

  4. 5 out of 5

    molly ♡

    3.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    LunaBel

    Medea: Anything for Revenge. Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 206 pages.   Medea: You will regret what you did to me, Jason! Jason: I regretted it alright   How great can your anger be? To what extent are you ready to hurt those who hurt you? Would you kill your own children to appease a great offense? Medea is ready to do anything it takes to hurt Jason. She takes his wife, his children, and his happiness.   What I find fascinating in this play is that I am still sympathetic to Medea after Medea: Anything for Revenge. Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 206 pages.   Medea: You will regret what you did to me, Jason! Jason: I regretted it alright   How great can your anger be? To what extent are you ready to hurt those who hurt you? Would you kill your own children to appease a great offense? Medea is ready to do anything it takes to hurt Jason. She takes his wife, his children, and his happiness.   What I find fascinating in this play is that I am still sympathetic to Medea after all she did. It feels wrong to be on her side as much as Jason’s side, but she advances reasons to her actions that makes one wonder if she is right (except of course for killing her children since that is unforgivable). She is clever with words, and she manipulates the others the way she pleases. One is tempted to think that she went through a lot and that she was not thinking right, and even that she was in the verge of insanity. But the truth is she was not. She knew what she was doing, and she carried her plan from A to Z for one reason and one only: Revenge. So is revenge a valid reason to go to extremes to hurt Jason? She argues that letting these children live would doom them. She believes that nothing was right anymore the moment Jason decided to share the bed of another woman. At some point, she was about to cancel her plan, but she realized it was too late. It’s like if fate was working against her, but she managed to have it her own way at the end. She got what she wanted: Revenge.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Hippolytus - the story felt rushed, to the point I kept thinking, "Does Euripides have a hot date after the show and he wants to wrap things up early?" Anyway, as was the custom, this is only one part of what would have been a four-play work of related themes... I don't know the accompanying plays, so perhaps this one is exactly the right speed and length for his purposes. Hippolytus - the story felt rushed, to the point I kept thinking, "Does Euripides have a hot date after the show and he wants to wrap things up early?" Anyway, as was the custom, this is only one part of what would have been a four-play work of related themes... I don't know the accompanying plays, so perhaps this one is exactly the right speed and length for his purposes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Chaikin

    43. Euripides I : Alcestis, The Medea, The Heracleidae, Hippolytus (The Complete Greek Tragedies) published: 1955 (my copy is a 26th printing from 1993) format: 224 page Paperback acquired: May 30 from a Half-Price Books read: July 5-9 rating: 4 stars Each play had a different translator Alcestis (481 bce) - translated by Lattimore, Richard c1955 The Medea (431 bce) - translated by David Grene c1944 The Heracleidae (circa 430 bce) - translated by Rex Warner c1955 Hippolytus (by 428 bce) - translated by Ra 43. Euripides I : Alcestis, The Medea, The Heracleidae, Hippolytus (The Complete Greek Tragedies) published: 1955 (my copy is a 26th printing from 1993) format: 224 page Paperback acquired: May 30 from a Half-Price Books read: July 5-9 rating: 4 stars Each play had a different translator Alcestis (481 bce) - translated by Lattimore, Richard c1955 The Medea (431 bce) - translated by David Grene c1944 The Heracleidae (circa 430 bce) - translated by Rex Warner c1955 Hippolytus (by 428 bce) - translated by Ralph Gladstone c1942 “Perhaps the most significant remark about Euripides and Sophocles is that supposed to have been made by Sophocles, that he himself showed men as they ought to be (or as one ought to show them) but Euripides showed them as they actually were.” - from Lattimore's introduction. That is a bit of silly comment because no one stands and delivers long, uninterrupted dialogues about private thoughts which they don't actually want anyone to know about. But the statement does have some logic. Sophocles characters are higher, more heroic in statement and action. Euripides characters aren't. Even his heroes and gods speak very regularly. In translation, the works come in long inexorable monologues that don't appear to translate well to poetry, and that don't really strike the reader, or at least didn't strike this reader, until later on when you realize how terrible everything turned out and how terrible it was what they thought, said and did. They create what I like to think of as the build up of a quiet hidden energy, of a very dark sort. They also end almost suddenly, and certainly not in any satisfying manner. These are the four oldest of Euripides plays. Each seems interesting in taking a very dark happening in the mythology, and dragging it out, putting words to these terrible things. Alcestis Before the opening of the play: Apollo was sentenced to serve Admetus, a king in Thessaly, for a year. Treated well, he rewards Admetus. He helps Admetus to do some impossible tasks to win the hand of Acestis as his wife. But, in the process, Admetus forget a critical sacrifice to Artemus, who plans to have him killed by snakes. Apollo miraculously negotiates with the Fates and gets Admetus's life an extension - but someone must volunteer to die in his place. No one would agree to this, not even his aging parents. Finally Alcestus agrees (making her, apparently, an ideal Ancient Greek wife.) That all happens off the stage, and is never explained within the play. The play opens with Alcestic about to die, and Apollo negotiating for her life with death himself, Thanatos. Apollo, fails, but promises to send Heracles to make things right. Meanwhile, Alcestis has to die, and her husband, and children and servants must witness it. This tragedy is the heart of the play. Heracles shows up, unaware of anything. The mourning is hid from Heracles, who proceeds to get drunk and happy and then get confused about why no one will join him. But, what is strange to me, is that even though Heracles does create a happy ending, the tragedy is what hangs around. This was not Euripides first play. He had been writing for years. But this is the oldest we still have. Medea This seems to be Euripides most important play(??). Medea, a conflicted hero from Jason and the Argonauts, is, here, a fascinating character. She is the barbarian from the east (from the Black Sea), unstable, uncivilized, a ruthless personality and a sorceress. When she falls for Jason, part of how she saves him is till kill her own brother in a boat chase, cut him up into pieces and scatter the pieces, forcing her own kingdom's boats to stall and pick up the pieces. That was not her most brutal action. And her story is long. Here in the play, Jason has spurned her and their children and become engaged to a princess of Corinth. He does this for political advantage (he's in a bad spot because of Medea's latest crimes). Medea explodes in a spectrum of emotions of anger, jealously, etc. And then she plots, and she acts, concealing her true emotions from the other actors, but not from the audience. She will manipulate a safe haven for herself in Athens, gift the princess with a poisoned dress, kill her own children to thoroughly ruin Jason, and then flee in her magic chariot of sorts. As Jason, who is thoroughly ruined, tries to confront her. But she, still fresh from killing her own children, rails at him with a prolonged bitter speech that has not even the slightest hint of remorse. Medea will carry on. Heracleidae This is apparently something of a rushed drama with a political point. In the real world context, Athens recently caught five foreign diplomats on a mission dangerous to Athens. They were summarily executed, without even being given a promised chance to make a public statement. Here Heracles has died, and his sons are on the run under a protector. Their king, Eurystheus, treated Heracles so badly, that he feels he must kill the children to prevent their vengeance. The city of Athens agrees to protect the children and a war ensues. Later, Eurystheus is captured, and confronted with the mother of Heracles, Alcmene. She demands his death, immediately. But, in the process, loses her dignity in her rage, while the bad Eurystheus oddly establishes a dignity we didn't know he had. Another key oddity here is the voluntary sacrifice of Macaria, a daughter of Heracles. For battle success, human sacrifice was considered essential, and she volunteers for the sake of her brothers. Much to be uncomfortable with here. But, really, that is also true of the previous two plays too. Hippolytus This was my favorite because it didn't leave me so uncomfortable. But, still, it's tragic. Phaedra, wife of Theseus, king of Athens, has fallen in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. She collapses into a self-destructive depression. Her not-so-bright maid tries to help her, and finally pulls out of her this very private and terrible thing that is bothering her. Then the maid tells Hippolytus(!!)...and the tragedies ensues (in far excess of reason). Phaedra is the main interest here, making a psychological study that is really interesting. But I also found it interesting to read an Ancient Greek playwright's description of an earthquake and consequence Tsunami. overall Euripides so far strives at making the viewer/reader uncomfortable. He is interesting, but he's not fun like Sophocles was. The reward is, well, unclear. The art is in the complexity of our response, one that seems fully molded, intentionally, by the playwright. I'll read more, but I won't anticipate them so much as brace myself for them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tommi

    Euripides’ tight focus on just a handful of characters – part and parcel of Greek tragedies – and the way he jumps right into action and pathos is refreshing for someone like me whose reading of drama revolves mainly around the English Renaissance with its customary abundance of, well, everything, including mandatory comic subplots. None of that is present in these four plays. However, the first play, Alcestis, resonates interestingly with The Winter’s Tale. Medea deserves its titular role in th Euripides’ tight focus on just a handful of characters – part and parcel of Greek tragedies – and the way he jumps right into action and pathos is refreshing for someone like me whose reading of drama revolves mainly around the English Renaissance with its customary abundance of, well, everything, including mandatory comic subplots. None of that is present in these four plays. However, the first play, Alcestis, resonates interestingly with The Winter’s Tale. Medea deserves its titular role in the collection, a devastating account of a woman taking revenge on a man, which in some part resembles a 21st-century feminist literary trend in its moral ambiguity and shockingness. The Children of Heracles and Hippolytus were not quite as strong, but this is chiefly due to reading four plays back-to back, i.e. over-exposure.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I've reviewed the individual plays from this volume of Euripides' plays (the first of five volumes, all of which I have and will read in order) separately; they are the earliest surviving plays and include the well-known Medea as well as Hyppolytus, which aside from Medea stood out to me in this collection. I've reviewed the individual plays from this volume of Euripides' plays (the first of five volumes, all of which I have and will read in order) separately; they are the earliest surviving plays and include the well-known Medea as well as Hyppolytus, which aside from Medea stood out to me in this collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    sassafrass

    medea did nothing wrong

  11. 4 out of 5

    El

    I picked this book of plays by Euripides primarily for Medea, so that will earn the brunt of my review. Medea is one kick-ass, crazy bitch. Period. Having read Jason and the Golden Fleece and thoroughly enjoyed it I was excited to read more about Medea, particularly her story after helping Jason find the Golden Fleece. Talk about one spurned lover! After Jason leaves Medea for a Greek princess, Medea goes a little bye-bye and decides the best way for her to express her distaste is to kill off he I picked this book of plays by Euripides primarily for Medea, so that will earn the brunt of my review. Medea is one kick-ass, crazy bitch. Period. Having read Jason and the Golden Fleece and thoroughly enjoyed it I was excited to read more about Medea, particularly her story after helping Jason find the Golden Fleece. Talk about one spurned lover! After Jason leaves Medea for a Greek princess, Medea goes a little bye-bye and decides the best way for her to express her distaste is to kill off her children. Someone get that lady a diary or a canvas or something! Girl, there are better ways of creatively expressing your feelings than going straight for the spawn. I'm just sayin'. Really though, she's not a woman to be trifled with and while I love her story I'm a little peeved with Euripides for portraying yet another woman on the crazy side of things. The Big E had a habit of being somewhat misogynistic and that's obvious here, even in his attempt to be a big boy and tell the story from the woman's point of view. In contemporary stories Medea might be referred to as Emily Valentine from the early seasons of Beverly Hills, 90210. She had no children, so she went all firebug instead. But the premise is the same. Mostly. The other plays in this small collection were pretty okay. The second best is Aclestis where the title character spends a great deal of time dying, her husband mourning, and Death being duped. All in all, good times. The other plays did not hold up in my opinion, but really it's hard to compete with Medea, both the woman and the play. I'm digging this girl. Though not someone I wish to aspire to become, her psychosis is incredibly fascinating. (And if during this fascination I cut my hair short, dye it blond so my roots are always showing and start driving a motorcycle and getting all cow-eyed for Brandon Walsh after slipping drugs into his drink, please intervene. Thanks.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I have mixed reactions to these plays. Medea was superb - I was astonished at how modern the themes were. But Electra was such a disappointment in contrast - the characters never really leapt off the page. Here are my reviews of the two I have read so far: http://allthingsbooker.wordpress.com/... http://allthingsbooker.wordpress.com/... I have mixed reactions to these plays. Medea was superb - I was astonished at how modern the themes were. But Electra was such a disappointment in contrast - the characters never really leapt off the page. Here are my reviews of the two I have read so far: http://allthingsbooker.wordpress.com/... http://allthingsbooker.wordpress.com/...

  13. 5 out of 5

    A.D. Crystal

    MEDEA! Daughter of a King. Niece of nymph. Granddaughter of a god. Wife of a hero. How many women have you known in any literary piece ever written, in all history of humanity, who incarnate all of these blessings together in one? A fistful, maybe? Killer of her own children! ( Ok. Now you are definitely left with ONE only.) MEDEA! A symbol. A metaphor. A precedent. A uniqueness. ONE and only in millennia. What else can one say.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lija

    Great but a bit depressing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Layla Abbas

    Each story has its own charm and uniqueness but, Alcestis is definitely my favorite

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    I only read the intro and 'Medea' and not the 'Other Plays.' This Penguin Classics edition is neat because there are detailed notes throughout the play (noted at the back) explaining all sorts of stuff: how the tragedy would've been presented on stage back then, the backstory of the mythology behind it all, the critical reactions to certain passages throughout history, etc. There is ALSO a glossary at the back that explains the whos, whats and wheres of all proper nouns listed throughout the pla I only read the intro and 'Medea' and not the 'Other Plays.' This Penguin Classics edition is neat because there are detailed notes throughout the play (noted at the back) explaining all sorts of stuff: how the tragedy would've been presented on stage back then, the backstory of the mythology behind it all, the critical reactions to certain passages throughout history, etc. There is ALSO a glossary at the back that explains the whos, whats and wheres of all proper nouns listed throughout the plays. This all makes for a very easy and informative/enriching reading experience compared to just reading the play dry and going, "Huh? Who is AEGEUS?" Did you know that the word 'panic' comes from Pan - one of the Greek deities attributed to causing madness? So Euripides, along with Sophocles and Aeschylus, are the 3 main tragedians of Ancient/Classical Greece (all 3 in Athens mostly) as my "Western Humanities" text book points out. They all wrote tons of plays but not many survived. They'd present their tragedies at the Festival of Dionysus. At each festival they'd present 4 plays- the first 3 were tragedies (sometimes a related trilogy, other times not) and the 4th play was a 'satyr play' which was comic and oftentimes raunchy and grotesque - it was like a little dessert for the audience at festival's end. The people of Athens declared Aeschylus and Sophocles winners of the festivals more times than Euripides but it sounds like they maybe just weren't ready yet for Euripides. I don't know - I've already forgotten what I read about him 3 days ago. The story of 'Medea' is pretty awesome - I guess it's about as tragic as tragedy can get. There are some enjoyable passages about a woman's place in the world of men - a lot of stuff that is still relevant and funny and scathing. The basic plot is that Medea is the wife of Jason (the guy with the Argonauts) and he really dicks her over - I won't say how. And she then spends the whole play seeking revenge. There are some brutal elements here that reminded me of "Oldboy" - the Korean film from a couple of years ago - the one that churned my innards in ways like no movie has before. It was one of 3 films in the director's Vengeance Trilogy. Medea reminds me of a character in the movie - I won't say who - but it's got one of the best movie endings ever- TRULY turning things up to 11!!!!!!!!! Here's my favorite passage from 'Medea.' It's towards the beginning, after we've learned about what Jason the A-hole has done. The nurse is one of the caretakers of Medea and Jason's children. NURSE: "Inside with you, children, it will be all right, into the house! And you do all you can to keep them out of the way; don't let them near their mother while she's in this depression! I've already seen her glaring at them like a bull, as if she wanted to do something awful. I'm sure of one thing, that anger of hers won't die down until someone's felt the force of her thunderbolt. I pray her victims are enemies, not those who love her!" This reminded me of a woman I know!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Canoeist

    This is Euripides I, from the University of Chicago Press, which published "The Complete Greek Tragedies." I have a soft spot in my heart for these, regardless of how well or ill one judges the translations -- and you'd have to be a better scholar than I to have a serious opinion on that score. My soft spot owes to recollections of my undergraduate days, when I read this same edition as a freshman. What a great awakening -- no, that's a bit too pat; what an intriguing alternative to the Ozzie & This is Euripides I, from the University of Chicago Press, which published "The Complete Greek Tragedies." I have a soft spot in my heart for these, regardless of how well or ill one judges the translations -- and you'd have to be a better scholar than I to have a serious opinion on that score. My soft spot owes to recollections of my undergraduate days, when I read this same edition as a freshman. What a great awakening -- no, that's a bit too pat; what an intriguing alternative to the Ozzie & Harriet/Abbie-and-Jerry-and-Allen Americas that were warring at that time. "Alcestis" is the story of a wife who volunteers to the gods to die instead of her husband. "The Medea" is the original for "Fatal Attraction," and, like so much Greek thought which we inevitably return to, does it all on a bigger stage. A vindictive King of Argos gets his comeuppance in "The Heracleidae." And "Hippolytus" is a gender-reversed mirror image of Butterfield 8, 2,400 years earlier. Phaedra is obsessed with her handsome young stepson, but knows the scandal her passion would engender. What happens? Trouble -- what else? "With Euripides.... his faults are obvious. Equally obvious is his genius. He is the father of the romantic comedy, the problem play. He has given us a series of unforgettable characters [women]. There has never been anyone else like him." The summary of editor and Bryn Mawr professor Richmond Lattimore. P.S., a subsequent thought: "Hippolytus" ends with Hippolytus and his father Theseus having it out. When they've vented their anger, resentments, and contrary views of the world, father and son try to make a little nice with each other. They blame the behaviors on the gods; it was Aphrodite who drove Phaedra into her craziness; it was Artemis who made Hippolytus so contrary. It must have been a relief to be able to shift some of the responsibility for one's actions onto the perversities of the gods. "Alas, I know the goddess who destroyed me!" exclaims Hippolytus. And his father, Theseus, laments how terrible his losses have been and how much he contributed to them -- but it was (partly) Poseidon's fault. "A god tripped up my judgment." Rejoins Hippolytus, in agreement: "O, if only men might be a curse to Gods!" It's a strange mechanism to our ears today, but a good one -- it gives the characters a way to get past their own sins and destructiveness.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Duy

    Euripides is one of the three greatest tragedy writers of classical Greek, a genre full of drama and suffering by the tragic hero. With Medea being one of his best works, Euripides rewrote the myth of Jason, Medea and the Golden Fleece by providing a few new twists, especially near the end of the story. The story takes place in ancient Greece in Corinth, where Jason, perhaps, for his future, married the princess. Medea later found out about the affair, became uncontrollable, and began her wild Euripides is one of the three greatest tragedy writers of classical Greek, a genre full of drama and suffering by the tragic hero. With Medea being one of his best works, Euripides rewrote the myth of Jason, Medea and the Golden Fleece by providing a few new twists, especially near the end of the story. The story takes place in ancient Greece in Corinth, where Jason, perhaps, for his future, married the princess. Medea later found out about the affair, became uncontrollable, and began her wild venture. Medea's described to be psychological unstable, which led to the appearance of Medea's dark side as a murderer. This book relates to the chaotic world we live in, with protests going on everywhere around the world, whether about the unemployment, government or war. The chaos can affect the people as in the case of Medea, made her to rid herself of moral and filled her mind with hatred and rage. A relationship can be made between Medea and Lady MacBeth, made apparent by their struggles with emotions, doubting themselves before committing the unthinkable. The story resembles some of the reality television shows that depict people in the worst of times such as Maury, etc, which ironically, make them so popular. Nothing in this story evokes a personal memory for me, I can gladly say. After reading this book, I definitely have a stronger attitude against the many "sins" the characters commit, there are no reason one should even think of these in-humanistic ideas. This book ties perfectly with the theme of duality of good and evil in human nature. Human nature can be unpredictable, unstable at times, which can alter one's character for better or worse. Euripides portrayed the characters in a way to compare and contrast the theme of good and evil in human nature, represented by the personality change in Medea. Medea took a turn for the worse as her hatred and thirst for revenge took over. I personally loved this book and I would recommend this to anyone who likes short tragedy with crazy twists all throughout the story. I feel the author accomplished his goals, providing with clear, descriptive details that make the theme more clearly. I was not convinced about the short sentences in the book, but as I got into it, they actually made the book easier to understand and made apparent the important themes embedded in the words.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Francisco

    A Greek tragedy is a Greek tragedy, helpful tautology to describe these reads. What always fascinates me while reading such ancient writings is that they are incredible time machines; one can really experience the 'feel' of bygone ages. It is also very rewarding to take a look at the origins of literary devices that would become prominent cliches to western arts, such as the Deus ex Machina for Euripedes. The plots are lovely, so shocking and outrageous for today standards, specially taboo regard A Greek tragedy is a Greek tragedy, helpful tautology to describe these reads. What always fascinates me while reading such ancient writings is that they are incredible time machines; one can really experience the 'feel' of bygone ages. It is also very rewarding to take a look at the origins of literary devices that would become prominent cliches to western arts, such as the Deus ex Machina for Euripedes. The plots are lovely, so shocking and outrageous for today standards, specially taboo regarding filial relationships. Our psychological troubles were several layers less complex, I would guess purer in a sense. The stories serve an educational purpose; there is always a moral lessons underlining them that represent what ideals were highly regarded in classical Greek societies. Loyalty, hospitality and letting go trying to control relentless Nature are the most important for Euripedes. He was also very keen to explore the nature and role of women in society, it seems he was never really able to put a finger on them, but he tried.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessiclees

    Gosh, don't cross Medea. Gosh, don't cross Medea.

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Henderson

    This is great drama with passion, gods, plot complications, and difficult family relationships. But what else would you expect from Euripides, whose dramas have lasted for thousands of years and have inspired great dramatists well into our current times. This classic volume of four plays, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, includes Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, and The Children of Heracles. There are few dramas that demonstrate passion in the way that Medea does. When her husband Jason This is great drama with passion, gods, plot complications, and difficult family relationships. But what else would you expect from Euripides, whose dramas have lasted for thousands of years and have inspired great dramatists well into our current times. This classic volume of four plays, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, includes Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, and The Children of Heracles. There are few dramas that demonstrate passion in the way that Medea does. When her husband Jason leaves her for adventure and other women Medea plots to exact a revenge that raises the question whether she is exacting justice or merely mad. In Hippolytus it is the relationships among the characters that stood out for me amidst a complicated plot influenced by rivalry among the gods (Aphrodite and Artemis). The drama highlights the relationship between Hippolytus and his father Theseus, but also brings in to play the importance of the Nurse and her relationship with Phaedra. This is notable because Euripides, unlike his predecessor Aeschylus, included characters that were lower-class working people. Throughout these plays the influence of the gods is important in determining the fate of the characters leading to questions about the nature of fate and destiny. Just as important are large questions about justice and honor as when Athens protects the children of Heracles when they seek asylum. This example also demonstrates how relevant these plays are to our life today and explains, in part, why they have been so influential over the centuries. We are indebted to Euripides for his examination of the nature of humanity with both its flaws and greatness. I would recommend these plays to all who want to understand what it means to be human.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Timotei

    Well worth reading, in particular 'Medea' and 'Hippolytus', Euripides explores universal themes of vengance/savagery, patience/anger, and familial relations using excessive but poignant examples. He manages (especially in 'Medea') to draw out deep characterisation, philosophical and religious questions, plot and beuatiful language in a concise and well-paced manner. Note: the introductions to the text are useful, but often better read after the text itself. Well worth reading, in particular 'Medea' and 'Hippolytus', Euripides explores universal themes of vengance/savagery, patience/anger, and familial relations using excessive but poignant examples. He manages (especially in 'Medea') to draw out deep characterisation, philosophical and religious questions, plot and beuatiful language in a concise and well-paced manner. Note: the introductions to the text are useful, but often better read after the text itself.

  23. 4 out of 5

    sonya m

    probably the best greek tragedy i’ll ever read. this translation retains the richness, depth and complexity of euripides’ medea and allows for some exceptional monologues. jason is presented as an insufferable misogynist and great sympathy is evoked for medea — different to her typical villification henceforth. i loved! this tragedy. even the word love is an understatement; i am immediately propelled to read more euripidean plays!!!! genuinely masterful, genuinely brilliant, well worth a read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darcey O'Shea

    Medea is a brilliant feminist the only mistake she made was to become psychotic and kill her little boys. THEY WERE CHILDREN YOU B*TCH HOW COULD YOU... anyway Jason is an ass and complete misogynist. Let's just say I was invested in the revenge plan. Good on ya babe. Medea is a brilliant feminist the only mistake she made was to become psychotic and kill her little boys. THEY WERE CHILDREN YOU B*TCH HOW COULD YOU... anyway Jason is an ass and complete misogynist. Let's just say I was invested in the revenge plan. Good on ya babe.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bree T

    Medea is the story of Medea, wife to Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason and the Golden Fleece) etc. Medea aided Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece, falling passionately in love with him and even killing her brother and (reputedly) dismembering his body so that they could flee her father who, being a good and just father, stopped to pick up the pieces of his son. Medea is generally regarded as a very intense, passionate woman. She’s the granddaughter of the Sun God Helios and therefor Medea is the story of Medea, wife to Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason and the Golden Fleece) etc. Medea aided Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece, falling passionately in love with him and even killing her brother and (reputedly) dismembering his body so that they could flee her father who, being a good and just father, stopped to pick up the pieces of his son. Medea is generally regarded as a very intense, passionate woman. She’s the granddaughter of the Sun God Helios and therefore, not entirely human. Her love for Jason is all consuming and eventually, destructive. In this play, Medea and Jason have fled to Corinth after the happenings of the Golden Fleece, where the King of Corinth, Creon, has given his daughter, Princess Glauce, to Jason to be his wife. Jason sets aside Medea to marry Glauce, rendering Medea so unstable that Creon correctly fears for his daughters life and orders Medea and her two children by Jason into exile. Medea, a rather master manipulator, asks for, and is granted by Creon, a day before she has to go into exile and this is all she needs to put her plan of vengeance into action. Jason then enters to try and reason with Medea, explaining his motives for setting her aside and choosing to marry Glauce. They amount to basically the political gain but he swears that he would’ve made everyone ‘one big happy family’ and that if Medea hadn’t been so unreasonable, she could’ve stayed in Corinth (I think the inference is, as his mistress) and that her and the children would be well looked after and taken care of and that there would be no hostilities. Medea, as the spurned woman, rejects him and orders him leave but as her plan forms in her mind, she summons him back and asks him if her children might remain behind, be raised by him and not suffer for her sins. Jason agrees and Medea sends the two children to the Princess bearing gifts, golden robes and a crown, which are poisoned. She correctly guesses that Glauce will accept the gifts, being swayed by the beauty of the gold, which the Princess does. The gifts immediately poison her, stripping her flesh from her bones, melting her and as her distraught father rushes in and gathers her up, he is poisoned too. Medea then decides that her two children must die, to make her revenge on Jason complete. Rather than leave them behind to either offer him some comfort in his grief, or possibly killed by the Corinthians for their innocent part in her plot, Medea murders them both with her own hands and then denies Jason the chance to bury them, taking their bodies with her as she flees to Athens in a chariot gifted to her by her grandfather the Sun God. Medea was first performed in 431BC. It’s a short play, only about 30 pages in length and surprisingly easy to read. The hardest part for me was forgetting about it being 2011 and trying to read it in the way people watching it at the time would’ve taken it. Medea herself is portrayed as a sympathetic, albeit unstable character, who has married for love (unusual in this time) and given up everything for him. She killed her brother, she fled her homeland, has gone into exile, will never see her family again, all for Jason, only to be cast aside by him. In the time men could do this and women had very little say in these types of matters. Medea is considered a feminist play as the sympathetic portrayal of Medea relates to her helplessness in the male-dominated society. All her choices are taken away from her – her husband abandons her and then she is forced to go into exile. As she sees it, she has only one option left open to her now. That of revenge. Still it’s hard as a mother (and as a rational human being) to excuse her actions reading it in this day and age. Her revenge is so complete, murdering Jason’s new wife, who presumably is just going along with her father’s wishes and marrying the man he has given to her, and also the King (possibly inadvertently there). Medea then goes one step further and murders her own children, which is where any sympathy for her ended. She had already secured an asylum earlier in the play, in exchange for helping the King of Athens with an infertility issue, and could’ve easily escaped with her children. Instead she chooses to murder them, and although she does claim so that they do not come to harm from others, I believe the majority of her reasoning is to further injure Jason. He loses not only his new young Princess wife, but also his two sons. Jason himself is portrayed in the play as smug and kind of over-confident. Clearly although Medea proved her capacity for devotion (and also the lengths she will go to in order to get what she wants) in killing her own brother to assist him, he didn’t seem particularly worried that she would turn that vicious streak towards him, so he obviously wasn’t too bright either. Even the King was more wary of what she could do, but he erred gravely in granting her the day’s grace before her exile.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    HELEN In every other Greek play, Helen is portrayed as a slut, a hussy, a mindless bimbo who uses her feminine wiles to get what she wants from men. The particularly amusing scene from the Trojan Women comes to mind when Menelaos is warned by Hecabe not to see Helen. Hecabe tells him once he lays eyes on her breasts all sense will leave him and he will take her back. This exactly happens within the next moments of the play. But in this play Helen is a virtuous woman, innocent of all the insults s HELEN In every other Greek play, Helen is portrayed as a slut, a hussy, a mindless bimbo who uses her feminine wiles to get what she wants from men. The particularly amusing scene from the Trojan Women comes to mind when Menelaos is warned by Hecabe not to see Helen. Hecabe tells him once he lays eyes on her breasts all sense will leave him and he will take her back. This exactly happens within the next moments of the play. But in this play Helen is a virtuous woman, innocent of all the insults spoken of her by the Greeks. The reason she is innocent is explained in the following lines by Helen at the beginning of the play: HELEN: “Then Hera, taking it amiss that she had not won the divine beauty contest, turned my marriage to thin air for Alexandros and gave to the son of King Priam not my real self but a breathing phantom which she had moulded in my likeness from heavenly ether; and he believes he possesses me – but it is a vain belief, for he does not…. For he [Zeus] brought war upon the land of the Greeks and the wretched Trojans so that he could lighten mother earth of the superflux of human population and bestow fame upon the strongest man of Greece.” The real Helen was taken by Hermes to the king of Egypt, Proteus, because Zeus believed he was the most honest of men. There Helen stayed for the 10 year duration of the Trojan war plus 7 more years until Menelaos was shipwrecked upon the shores of Egypt. I am torn with this turn of events regarding Helen in Greek mythology. On the one hand, it is grand and romantic that her husband launched a thousand ships to get her back, even when her loyalty to him is questionable. On the other, I like that even though a God promised her to Paris, her agency was not impaired and was able to remain virtuous. In addition to Helen remaining chaste for her husband, she is also portrayed with good sense and clever disposition. When Helen pleads her case to Theonoe, sister to the new king of Egypt, she uses the following wise words: HELEN: (falling supplicant to Theonoe) “If you, a prophetess, who believes in the gods, are to pervert your father’s justice, you will keep intact your brother’s injustice. It is shameful that you should know all the will of the gods, all that is and all that shall be, yet not know what is just.” Helen’s cleverness comes to light as she and Menelaos are devising a plan of escape. After 3 or 4 stupid suggestions by Menelaos, Helen approaches her husband with her plan with these words: HELEN: “Listen to me – if a woman can make a good suggestion.” Helen is patient when her husband doesn’t understand the complexity of her plan. Eventually it is all laid out and Menelaos agrees. Three more passages were of interest to me in the play. The first is the following lines by Helen to Aphrodite (Cypris): HELEN: “Why is your appetite for evil never slaked as you traffic in loves, betrayals, tricks, intrigues, and love charms that stain bodies with blood? If only you knew moderation! – in all other respects you are the sweetest of gods, I cannot deny it.” She expresses frustration at the Goddess of love, but in the end cannot deny the great powers of love. The next passage is between the current king of Egypt, Theoclymenos, and his slave. The slave is bold and tries to check the king in his intent to kill Theonoe: THEOCLYMENOS: “As things stand, however, I shall take vengeance on my sister who has betrayed me. She saw Menelaos at my palace ad did not tell me. For this she will never live to trick another with her prophecies. SERVANT: O, you there, my master, where are you rushing? What act of murder will you commit? THEOCLYMENOS: I go where justice bids me. Out of my way! SERVANT: I shall not let go of your robes. For what you are so eager to do is terribly wrong. THEOCLYMENOS: You are a slave. Will you seek to rule your master? SERVANT: Yes, for I have your interests at heart. …. THEOCLYMENOS: I am a subject then, not a king. SERVANT: Your royal power should be used for right, not wrong.” This scene is endearing and powerful. The servant is risking death by defying the king, but is acting only in the king's best interest. The servant is used as a means to insert the idea that the powerful should only wield that power with justice. The third and final passage of interest is not actually in the play, but a note by the translator about the end of the play. I find the following lines amusing – the Greeks certainly did have a sense of national pride: “Theoclymenos happily accepts the will of the gods. He embraces the value of piety, and thus one conspicuous aspect of the drama is the schooling of a barbarian to Greek virtue.” MEDEA - See my review in ‘Euripides: Ten Plays’ HIPPOLYTUS - See my review in ‘Euripides: Ten Plays’ ELECTRA - See my review in ‘Electra and Other Plays’

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Williams

    IMO the ending of Alcestis would have been better had it not been resolved with such a bow. The discussions of duty, guilt, and recrimination were quite great, then boom! Deus ex machina. I was also intrigued by how sympathetically Medea is portrayed for 90% of her play.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    It took me a ridiculous time to read this relatively brief collection. I picked it up on a whim after seeing it in a local bookstore, lost it while on holiday, went back home without it, discovered I had left it halfway across the country, had it mailed back, and neglected it for over a month (citing school as a mental excuse) before deigning to finish it. There was something almost calming about this collection, despite their often tragic nature, something about ancient Greek drama in general, It took me a ridiculous time to read this relatively brief collection. I picked it up on a whim after seeing it in a local bookstore, lost it while on holiday, went back home without it, discovered I had left it halfway across the country, had it mailed back, and neglected it for over a month (citing school as a mental excuse) before deigning to finish it. There was something almost calming about this collection, despite their often tragic nature, something about ancient Greek drama in general, or maybe just Euripides. The eloquence, the passion that too often is remarked upon as an afterthought; it's the havoc it wreaks afterward that matters. This was published by University of Chicago, and each play was translated by a different person, something which I think makes it rather hard to review as a whole. Taplin's rendering of Medea was so-so, but for the most part the others were satisfying. Grene's Hippolytus actually left me breathless at a few moments, actually, as I wasn't expecting to enjoy that play as much as I did: Look, see this roof here- these overarching beams that span your house- could builders will all their skill lay them dead straight? You've fallen in the sea of love and with your puny swimming would escape! Anyway, individual micro-reviews for each play. Alcestis - 3/5 Beautifully written, this play is one of devotion. To prevent her husband's passing, Alcestis instead offers herself instead, since his parents and friends all refused to give up their life for him. If I were Admetus, I would never have the nerve to beg others to sacrifice themselves for me. Really. I know this was written long ago, but unless you're about to save the world from imminent desolation, I think it selfish to the extreme to quite literally beg others to give up their life for yours, including your wife, even if they are blood relatives. Somewhat inane and predictable (not that Euripides is particularly renowned for his plot twists), but enjoyable all the same. Medea - 4/5 Did not disappoint. Medea is the portrait of everything the ideal ancient Greek woman should not be: clever, vengeful, ruthless. Her story of revenge may or may not be a sympathetic one, but her monologue when confronting Jason still has contemporary significance. The Children of Heracles - 2/5 The plot was a bit convoluted and hard to follow, and the characters weren't as lifelike. Terribly boring, to depart from my anodyne language. Hippolytus - 4/5 A moving tragedy, surprisingly; the nature of love and its implications transposed on conventional morality were evoked here wonderfully. Interesting how the "pure" characters' (Hippolytus, Artemis) golden hair was given emphasis. At first glance, this is a simple story of a god's vengeance (there is probably a Trope Name for this that I do not know) but interpreted slightly differently, if you take out the gods (a rather vital part of the story for piety's sake, I know) it's a tale of a woman who's intensely self-destructive. Overall rating: 3.5 Read Hippolytus and Medea if you like to stay engaged with a story. Alcestis and Children of Heracles were not terrible, but far more subtle.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MPG2016

    Crazy, nutty, bizarre. Themes of blood lust, revenge and murder abound, Euripides sheds light on the hysterical, blood thirsty, ravenous, gluttonous, emotionally unhinged world that is 400 BC Grecian society. The dialogue is incredibly camp, outrageous and grandiose. There are wickedly conniving matriarchs, comically obtuse patriarchs, pitiable child pawns, and nameless faceless members of the social underclass (the slaves, peasants etc). All this exposes the politics, culture, family units, and Crazy, nutty, bizarre. Themes of blood lust, revenge and murder abound, Euripides sheds light on the hysterical, blood thirsty, ravenous, gluttonous, emotionally unhinged world that is 400 BC Grecian society. The dialogue is incredibly camp, outrageous and grandiose. There are wickedly conniving matriarchs, comically obtuse patriarchs, pitiable child pawns, and nameless faceless members of the social underclass (the slaves, peasants etc). All this exposes the politics, culture, family units, and gender roles of a society long past. At the heart of it all, an eye for an eye, is the primary root cause and motivation for anything and everything in these four plays, and presumably, wider ancient Grecian society as a whole. This collection is educational; a valuable source of literary history. But it was mostly a tedious read because of how camp, repetitive and predictable it is; and how cheesy and one-dimensional the characters are.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    Alcestis, the oldest preserved piece of Euripides, is not such a high flyer: weak action and no psychological deepness, though beautiful father-son dialogue. In Medea the psychological deepness, of course, goes much further. A real tragedy, Medea is a woman who is driven by evil (not the gods), she is a helpless victim of it, and she knows that, but in spite of this, she goes on with it. Jason is a lamentable man, but in fact he is responsible for his fate.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.