Life of Euripides

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Life of Euripides

Euripides, the last of the great tragedians, lived a life filled with controversy and moral issues that influenced, as well as appalled, many people of his time. Throughout the centuries he has gained more acceptance in the literary circles as well as in the eyes of the public. It is difficult to write about his life only because he lived so long ago and there are many different opinions and theories as to what is factual and what is not. What is known about his life, and how he lived it, has remained an interesting topic. What his work influenced and who followed his ideas have contributed to his lasting popularity. His life was filled with triumphs and controversies that contributed to his greatness. It is this greatness that people have followed for over the last two thousand years.

Euripides was born on the island of Salamis around 480 B.C. However, a Parian marble states that his birth was in 485 B.C (Bates 5). He was born into a somewhat rich family and was educated in the arts (as in painting) and trained in athletics. He began to write around the age of eighteen and became interested in philosophy soon after. Many people considered his ideas and thoughts as being too controversial for the time period. Euripides wrote on subjects such as religion, injustice, the gods and women. Being the free thinker that he was, these topics were considered socially abnormal.

Euripides often wrote of socially insignificant people like women and slaves while giving them god-like powers. He often made his women characters evil by making them violent Medea. The more taboo subject of incest was brought into his plays also. Euripides wrote many great plays during his lifetime, yet he was constantly beaten in the State competitions. The official judges of the competitions were against him because he did not cater to the views and opinions of the Athenian crowds. Throughout his life he only won five awards, and the fifth one was not awarded until after his death ( He was under constant criticism from others about his tragedies. One well-known critic was Aristophanes, who constantly spoke negatively about Euripides ( Bates 7). He wrote Women at the Thesmophoria, which was about the murder of Euripides, and Frogs, in which Euripides was parodied again.

The plays of Euripides had influenced many other authors over the years.
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