Euripides (in Greek Ευριπίδης) (Salamis, 480 BC – Pella, 406 BC). He was one of the three great Greek tragic poets of antiquity, along with Aeschylus and Sophocles .


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  • 1 Euripides
  • 2 The Tragedy
  • 3 Features
  • 4 Artwork
  • 5 Thought
  • 6 Sources


His play, enormously popular in its day, had a notable influence on Roman theater . Later its influence is noticed in the theater of the Renaissance. Euripides’ works were criticized for their unconventional character, for their natural dialogues (his heroes and princes spoke an everyday language), and for their independence from traditional moral and religious values. Despite everything, his works became famous throughout Greece. He is known primarily for having reshaped the formal structure of traditional Attic tragedy, depicting characters such as strong women and clever slaves, and for satirizing many heroes from Greek mythology.. His works appear modern compared to those of his contemporaries, focusing on the inner life and motivations of his characters in a way previously unknown to Greek audiences.

The tragedy

The tragedy , whose etymology derives from the Greek word τράγος / “tragos” /, that is, male goat, an appellation given to the god Dionysus, is a dramatic form whose main characters are faced in a mysterious, impregnable and inevitable way against the universe or the gods, always moving towards a fatal outcome by a blind force, doom, fate, fate or fatum; tragedies must necessarily end in the death or madness of the main character, who is thus sacrificed to that force imposed on him and against which he rebels with insolent pride or hubris. The tragedy was born as such in Greece with the works of Thespis and Phrynicus , and was consolidated with the triad of great tragedians of Greek classicism: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides.


Euripides does not miss the opportunity to criticize the religious, moral and social values ​​of his time. Sometimes he underlines the injustice and evil of the gods: it is that he sought to present, in parallel to the forces of divinity, those of will and reason, collaborating in the outcome of the tragedy. It restricts choral singing more and reduces it to the role of a musical interlude; in its place appears an isolated air, with accents of modern music, which according to historians was hummed through the streets of Athena. Another of its characteristics is that it frequently exhibits the bodily pain of its characters. As for its style, it is simple and elegant, full of sentences related to the practical philosophy of life. The later influence of the “most tragic of poets” according to Aristotle, has been very great, especially in the theater of the sixteenth century and especially in the French Racine


It is believed that he wrote 92 tragedies, known by titles or fragments, but only 19 of them are preserved, of which one of them, Reso, is considered apocryphal. His tragic conception is very far from that of Aeschylus and Sophocles. His works deal with legends and events of mythology from a distant time, long before the 5th century BC. Of Athens, but applicable to the time in which he wrote, especially to the cruelties of war. The list of his preserved works is:

  • Alcestis (438 BC) (second place)
  • Medea (431 BC) (third place)
  • The Heraclids (c. 430 BC)
  • Hippolytus (428 BC) (first place)
  • Andromache (c. 425 BC)
  • Hecuba (c. 424 BC)
  • Supplicants (c. 423 BC)
  • Electra (c. 420 BC)
  • Heracles (c. 416 BC)
  • Trojans (415 BC) (second place)
  • Iphigenia among the Taurus (c. 414 BC)
  • Ion (c. 414 BC)
  • Helena (412 BC)
  • Phoenicians (c. 410 BC)
  • Orestes (408 BC)
  • Las Bacchantes (406 BC, posthumous.)
  • Iphigenia at Aulide (406 BC, posthumous, first place.)
  • The Cyclops, undated. It is his only satirical drama preserved


Athenian society at the time was torn between two options: the stability of conservative values, represented by Aeschylus and Aristophanes, and rationalist revisionism, represented by Euripides, Socrates and the sophists. The long Peloponnesian War contributed to the defeat of the first option, seeing that the old recipes of yesteryear were no longer useful for the future.


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