Ironic Drama: A Study of Euripides' Method and Meaning

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9780521205900: Ironic Drama: A Study of Euripides' Method and Meaning
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The works of Euripides have been more variously judged than those of the other two great masters, Aeschylus and Sophocles. His art, it has been said, is tamer than theirs, and his genius rhetorical rather than poetical, while the morality that he teaches belongs to the school of Sophists. On the other hand, his admirers claim that he is the most tragic of the Greek tragedians, the most pathetic of the Attic poets, the most humane in his social philosophy and the most skillful in psychological insight. Doubtless he owed to Socrates the philosophy interwoven in his tragedies, causing him to be named the "stage philosopher," one haunted by the demon of Socrates. Though he did not live in the most stirring period of the nation's life, he was, both in spirit and in choice of themes, intensely patriotic, and to him is due the spread of dramatic literature more than to any other of the ancient bards. Tragedy followed in his footsteps in Greece and Rome; comedy owed him much, even in the style of Aristophanes, who ridiculed him, and in Menander, who borrowed his sentiments. When the modern drama grafted the classical element on its crude growth, the plays of Euripides were, directly or indirectly, the most powerful influence in the establishment of a living connection between them.

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Vellacott, Philip
Published by Cambridge University Press (1975)
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