Three Plays of Euripides: Alcestis, Medea, The Bacchae

Three Plays of Euripides: Alcestis, Medea, The Bacchae


Language: English

Pages: 126

ISBN: 0393093123

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Paul Roche...must be ranked among the great translators of the Greek dramas in our century."―Robert W. Corrigan

Here are three of Euripides' finest tragedies offered in vivid, modern translations.












have died by now. CHORUS A: At least they have not carried her out to burial. CHORUS B: Why? I have little hope. What makes you sure? CHORUS A: It is not possible that Admetus Should bury his true and noble wife Privately, without calling friends to mourn her. [Antistrophe CHORUS A: When someone has died, it is customary To place a bowl of spring-water before the door; But I see none. CHORUS B: And there would be a curl of hair Cut for a sign of grief, and hung by the

ADMETUS: This match with Death you speak of – where was it fought out? HERACLES: I crouched beside the tomb, leaped up, and closed with him. ADMETUS: Tell me, why does she stand here speaking not a word? HERACLES: She is still consecrated to the gods below. Till she is duly purified, and the third dawn Has risen, it is not lawful for you to hear her voice. Come, take her in; and, as an honourable man, Henceforth show perfect piety towards your guests.19 Now I will go. Eurystheus

her? To interfere like that is always dangerous. VOICE: She’s dead, poor lady! Lay her straight, compose her limbs. Oh, what a bitter tale to have to tell my master! CHORUS: Did you hear that? Poor Phaedra, then, has breathed her last; They are already laying out her lifeless body. Enter THESEUS, attended. His head is crowned with the garland worn by those who have received a favourable answer from an oracle. THESEUS: Do you know, women, what was that distressful cry Inside the

He lives a wretched life, nowhere and everywhere. IPHIGENIA: He lives! So much for my false dreams – they mean nothing.19 ORESTES: You are right. The gods themselves, even those we call prophetic, Are no more trustworthy than fleeting dreams. The world Of gods is as chaotic as our mortal world. What galls one is that, while still of sound mind, he should, By heeding the words of prophets, plunge himself into A depth of ruin only experience can fathom. CHORUS: And what of us?20 Do

Aphrodite will come to a bad end, just as Pentheus in The Bacchae comes to a bad end because he rejects Dionysus. But such an account of the play is inadequate, and only partly true. To begin with, it is not easy to fit Artemis into this pattern. In the second place, though Hippolytus’ death may have been contrived at long range by Aphrodite, as she claims in the prologue, the subsequent action shows it as due to a series of four human errors: the Nurse’s foolishness, Hippolytus’ fanatical

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