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Three Greek Tragedies by Euripides, Sophocles and Aeschylus (5th Century BC) 📜🎧

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Published on 26 Feb 2022 / In Audiobooks

⁣Aeschylus (UK: /ˈiːskɪləs/, US: /ˈɛskɪləs/; Greek: Αἰσχύλος Aischylos; c. 525/524 – c. 456/455 BC) was an ancient Greek tragedian, and is often described as the father of tragedy. Academic knowledge of the genre begins with his work,[5] and understanding of earlier Greek tragedy is largely based on inferences made from reading his surviving plays.[6] According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in the theatre and allowed conflict among them. Formerly, characters interacted only with the chorus. Only seven of his estimated seventy to ninety plays have survived.

There is a long-standing debate regarding the authorship of one of them, Prometheus Bound, with some scholars arguing that it may be the work of his son Euphorion. Fragments from other plays have survived in quotations, and more continue to be discovered on Egyptian papyri. These fragments often give further insights into Aeschylus' work. He was probably the first dramatist to present plays as a trilogy.

His Oresteia is the only extant ancient example. At least one of his plays was influenced by the Persians' second invasion of Greece (480–479 BC). This work, The Persians, is one of very few classical Greek tragedies concerned with contemporary events, and the only one extant. The significance of the war with Persia was so great to Aeschylus and the Greeks that his epitaph commemorates his participation in the Greek victory at Marathon while making no mention of his success as a playwright.


Euripides
Euripides Pio-Clementino Inv302 n2.jpg
Bust of Euripides:
Roman marble copy of a fourth-century BC Greek original (Museo Pio-Clementino, Rome)
Bornc. 480 BC
Salamis
Diedc. 406 BC (aged approximately 74)
Macedonia
OccupationPlaywright
Notable work

Medea, 431 BC
Hippolytus, 428 BC
Electra, c. 420 BC
The Trojan Women, c. 415 BC
Bacchae, 405 BC
Spouse(s)Melite
ChoerineParent(s)Mnesarchus
Cleito

Euripides (/jʊəˈrɪpɪdiːz/;[1] Ancient Greek: Εὐριπίδης Eurīpídēs, pronounced [eu̯.riː.pí.dɛːs]; c. 480 – c. 406 BC) was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom any plays have survived in full. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him, but the Suda says it was ninety-two at most. Of these, eighteen or nineteen have survived more or less complete (Rhesus is suspect). There are many fragments (some substantial) of most of his other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined[3][4]—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer, Demosthenes, and Menander.

Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, especially in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This new approach led him to pioneer developments that later writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. He also became "the most tragic of poets",[nb 1] focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown. He was "the creator of ... that cage which is the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates".[8] But he was also the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw.
His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism. Both were frequently lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Socrates was eventually put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence. Ancient biographies hold that Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia, but recent scholarship casts doubt on these sources.

⁣Sophocles (/ˈsɒfəkliːz/; Ancient Greek: Σοφοκλῆς, pronounced [so.pʰo.klɛ̂ːs]; c. 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC) is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than, or contemporary with, those of Aeschylus; and earlier than, or contemporary with, those of Euripides. Sophocles wrote over 120 plays, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, Women of Trachis, Oedipus Rex, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus. For almost fifty years, Sophocles was the most celebrated playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens which took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. He competed in thirty competitions, won twenty-four, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won thirteen competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophocles; Euripides won four.

The most famous tragedies of Sophocles feature Oedipus and Antigone: they are generally known as the Theban plays, though each was part of a different tetralogy (the other members of which are now lost). Sophocles influenced the development of drama, most importantly by adding a third actor (attributed to Sophocles by Aristotle; to Aeschylus by Themistius),[6] thereby reducing the importance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot.[citation needed] He also developed his characters to a greater extent than earlier playwrights.

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