Euripides was a brilliant and powerful innovator within the traditional framework of Attic drama.
The last of the three great Athenian dramatists, and during his lifetime perhaps the most controversial, Euripides was the first playwright to use the chorus as a commentator; the first to put contemporary language into the mouths of heroes; and the first to interpret human suffering without reference to the wisdom of gods.
The four plays in this volume all show Euripides to have been a man defiant of established beliefs, and preoccupied with the dichotomy between instinctive and civilized behaviour. And his daring interpretations of ancient myths are enhanced by his brilliance as a lyricist, for Euripides’ choral odes are among the most beautiful ever written. Reading plays such as these, it is not difficult to appreciate Aristotle’s admiration of him as the most ‘tragic’ of the Greek poets.