Later Tragedy: Euripides and the Medea

  • Peter D. Arnott


Every generation produces its ‘angry young men’, writers and thinkers sensitive to the flaws in existing institutions and making it their duty to expose them. They are the self-appointed critics of the times, declared enemies of complacency, woolly thinking and narrow-mindedness. Such a one was Euripides. If we may call Aeschylus the Marlowe of the Greek theatre — at least the Marlowe of Faustus and Tamburlaine — then Euripides was its Galsworthy or Shaw, though with more humour than the former and lacking the latter’s impish delight in argument for its own sake. Like his modern counterparts, he was fond of revealing the hollowness of current beliefs, of paradox, of demonstrating the logical conclusions of popular theories. All was grist to his mill. He took institutions regarded by the Greeks as sacrosanct, examined them with a merciless eye and presented them on the stage in strange and unpleasant aspects.


Moral Problem Greek Tragedy Tragic Hero Dead Father Unpleasant Aspect 
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© Peter D. Arnott 1959

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  • Peter D. Arnott

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