Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
See studies by G. Murray (1918, 2d ed. repr. 1965), T. B. L. Webster (1967), and A. P. Burnett (1972).
Born circa 480 B.C., in Athens; died 406 B.C., in Macedonia. Classical Greek dramatist.
Euripides wrote 92 tragedies, of which 17 have survived, along with one satyr play (Cyclops). He wrote during a period of crisis for the Athenian city-state, years that saw the decay of traditional ethical standards. In Heraclidae he extols Athens for protecting the progeny of Heracles, and in the tragedy Iphigenia in Aulis the heroine is to die for the sake of a Greek victory; however, in The Trojan Women he protests the Athenian policy of conquest; he is disturbed in The Suppliants by the social stratification of democratic Athens, and in Orestes, by the vigorous activity of the demagogues. The disintegration of city-state ties spawned in Euripides an interest in man’s inner world, and he portrayed people “as they really are” (in the words of Sophocles) rather than in standardized, exalted form. Medea’s emotional state is occasioned by the struggle between her hatred for Jason, who has forsaken her, and her maternal feelings (Medea). In the character of Phaedra, Euripides elaborated the psychology of a woman’s love for the first time in Greek tragedy (Hippolytus). His mastery in conveying suffering justified calling him, even in antiquity, “the most tragic of the poets.” Religious doubts, too, emerge in Euripides, as seen in the critical remarks about the gods by characters in Electra, Ion, and other tragedies. Occasionally he voices thoughts on the injustice of slavery and the trammeled status of woman in the family. Elements of everyday life invade his dramas, represented not only by servants, wet nurses, and tutors, but by mythological protagonists as well. The role of the chorus is curtailed in Euripides’ works; not infrequently, he dissociates the choral parts from the matter of the play. In his last plays, Euripides is prone to employ the device of deus ex machina.
WORKSTexte établi et trad, par L. Méridier, L. Parmentier et H. Grégoire, vols. 1–6. Paris, 1942–59.
In Russian translation:
Tragedii, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1969.
REFERENCESBeliaev, D. F. K voprosu o mirovozzrenii Evripida. Kazan, 1878.
Istoriia grecheskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Chapter 24.
Tronskii, I. M. Istoriia antichnoi literatury, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1957, Chapter 2, § 5.
Murray, G. Euripides and His Age, 2nd ed. London, 1947.
Euripides: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N. J. . (Bibliography, pp. 175–77.)
V. N. IARKHO