Euripides Dies

Tragedies:

1. Alcestis (438 BCE, second prize)
2. Medea (431 BCE, third prize)
3. Heracleidae (c. 430 BCE)
4. Hippolytus (428 BCE, first prize)
5. Andromache (c. 425 BCE)
6. Hecuba (c. 424 BCE)
7. The Suppliants (c. 423 BCE)
8. Electra (c. 420 BCE)
9. Heracles (c. 416 BCE)
10. The Trojan Women (415 BCE, second prize)
11. Iphigenia in Tauris (c. 414 BCE)
12. Ion (c. 414 BCE)
13. Helen (412 BCE)
14. Phoenician Women (c. 410 BCE)
15. Orestes (408 BCE)
16. Bacchae and Iphigenia at Aulis (405 BCE, posthumous, first prize)
17. Rhesus (uncertain date)

Euripides focused on the realism of his characters; for example, Euripides’ Medea is a realistic woman with recognizable emotions and is not simply a villain. In Hippolytus, Euripides writes in a particularly modern style, demonstrating how neither language nor sight aids in understanding in a civilization on its last leg. Euripides makes his point about vision both through the plot (Phaedra makes repeated references to her inability to see clearly and her wish to have her eyes covered), and through the sparseness of his staging, which lacked the dazzling elements that other plays often had. The same was true of his commentary on the use of language. The misuse of words played an important role in the storyline (Phaedra's letter, the nurse's betrayal of Phaedra's secret, Hippolytus' refusal to break his oath to save his own life, and his refusal to pay lip-service to Aphrodite), but in addition, the actual language of the play was often purposefully verbose and ungainly, again to show the ineffectual nature of language in comprehension in Euripides' age. According to Aristotle, Euripides's contemporary Sophocles said that he portrayed men as they ought to be, and Euripides portrayed them as they were.