Evaluation of Euripides

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Evaluation of Euripides Euripides has met the conventions of Attic Tragedy up to a particular

extent. Although he was often criticised for his work, he followed the

structure and cycles of the traditional tragedy. However, his stance

on the themes and ideas set him apart from the other writers.

It is unreasonable to compare Euripides with the traditional writers

of Attic tragedy without understanding his attitude and the reason for

this attitude. Although he was only fifteen years older than

Sophocles, he belonged to a whole different generation. Between them

lay the chasm of the Sophists moment. The Sophists were professional

teachers who applied new methods of criticism to all aspects of life.

Euripides was a child of this time. It made him a septic and a critic.

It affected his whole attitude towards life and made it impossible for

him to accept the presuppositions of tragic art as his predecessors

had done.

As well as this, there were several ideas which set apart Euripides

from others. To modern audiences, other tragic heroes often seem

removed from flesh-and-blood men and women. But Euripides' characters

are always immediately recognisable. He approached tragedy from the

point of view of man, and was interested in human beings.

Today, Euripides plays are read by far more than those written by

Aeschylus and Sophocles. His brilliant portrayal of human nature has

enticed readers for countless generations.

One of the most prominent surviving plays of Euripides in the present

day era is Medea. In it, he depicted the struggle between a mothers

... middle of paper ...

...om the play we must assume that women were viewed as

sex crazed, overly emotional, and persuasive beings. However this was

the view of Euripides. It is impossible to say what others,

particularly women's; views were on women from just this source.

The universe in which Euripides existed was not benevolent, or just.

Hardship fell on all, the wicked and the good. The gods were not only

powerful, but often impulsive, cruel and blind to justice. Needless to

say, these positions made Euripides unpopular. He was the unwanted

voice of conscience in his age, a man unafraid to point out the lies

with which a civilization comforts itself. Sophocles gives us heroes,

and Aeschylus gives us a vision of history and teleology; Euripides

gives us real men and women with all-too human weaknesses, and his

visions are often nightmares.
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