Greek Tragedy

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Nick Hern, 2005 - Drama - 134 pages
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Three of the most famous tragedies from Ancient Greece, all featuring female protagonists - in modern, much-performed translations by Marianne McDonald, Kenneth McLeish & Frederic Raphael.

Antigone by Sophocles
Bacchae by Euripides
Medea by Euripides

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About the author (2005)

Marianne McDonald is Professor of Theatre and Classics at the University of California, San Diego.

Euripides (484-406 BC) was a Greek dramatist. The last major tragic playwright of the classical world, he has also been called "the first modern." Euripides was not highly successful in his lifetime, winning the first of only five victories at the Dionysia at the age of 43. By the end of the 19th century, however, Euripides was the most acclaimed Greek playwright. And, when the Royal Shakespeare Company presented a ten-play cycle The Greeks in 1980, seven of the works were by Euripides. Only 17 of his 92 plays survive. These include "Medea", "The Bacchae" and "Electra". Euripides's innovations included the "deus ex machin"a and the formal prologue. He used simple everyday language, bringing a new realism to the stage. Although contemporaries accused him of killing tragedy, he humanized drama by adding elements of sentiment, romance, and even comedy. He was the first to argue against the social inferiority of women, and the first to show women in love. He was also the first to explore such subjects as madness and repression. A recluse, he shunned Athenian civil and social affairs, and in later life would sit all day in a cave on Salamis overlooking the sea as he contemplated and wrote "something great and high." In 408 BC Euripides was exiled for his unorthodox views to Macedonia, where he died less than two years later. According to tradition, when the Spartans arrived to burn Athens, they desisted after a reminder that this was Euripides's city.

Frederic Raphael was born on August 14th 1931 in Chicago, and emigrated to England with his parents in 1938. He was educated at independent schools in Sussex and Surrey, before studying at St John's College, Cambridge. His career spans work as a screenwriter and a prolific novelist and journalist.In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the 1965 movie "Darling", and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for "Two for the Road". He collaborated on the screenplay of Stanley Kubrick's last film "Eyes Wide Shut", and wrote a controversial memoir of their time together, "Eyes Wide Open "in 1999.

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