Phaedra and Other Plays

Phaedra and Other Plays

Written by:
Introduction by: R. Scott Smith
Translated by: R. Scott Smith
Notes by: R. Scott Smith

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140455519
  • 320 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Living in Rome under Caligula and later a tutor to Nero, Seneca witnessed the extremes of human behaviour. His shocking and bloodthirsty plays not only reflect a brutal period of history but also show how guilt, sorrow, anger and desire lead individuals to violence. The hero of Hercules Insane saves his own family from slaughter, only to commit further atrocities when he goes mad. The horrifying death of Astyanax is recounted in Trojan Women, and Phaedra deals with forbidden love. In Oedipus a nervous man discovers himself, while Thyestes recounts the bitter family struggle for a crown. Of uncertain authorship, Octavia dramatizes Nero’s divorce from his wife and her deportation. The only Latin tragedies to have survived complete, these plays are masterpieces of vibrant, muscular language and psychological insight.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Phaedra and Other Plays

Phaedra and Other Plays

Written by: Seneca, Introduction by: R. Scott Smith, Translated by: R. Scott Smith, Notes by: R. Scott Smith