Euripides Drama Analysis
Euripides wrote eighty-eight dramas, including sixty-six tragedies and twenty-two satyr plays. Nineteen plays survive in the manuscript tradition, but one of these, the tragedy Rhesus (written sometime between 455 and 441 b.c.e.), is generally considered to be spurious. Cyclops, the only complete extant satyr play, is not precisely datable. In addition to the pro-satyr play Alcestis, seven tragedies are securely dated: Medea, Hippolytus, The Trojan Women, Helen, Orestes, Iphigenia in Aulis, and The Bacchae, these last two produced posthumously. The other tragedies can be only approximately dated, based on metrical evidence and contemporary allusions. In addition, considerable fragments from lost plays survive on papyrus.
The large number of extant Euripidean plays (compared to only seven each for Aeschylus and Sophocles) is attributable to a combination of conscious selection and chance. When the Athenian orator Lycurgus established the texts of Aeschylus and Sophocles in the late fourth century b.c.e., he also made the first edition of Euripides, but not before numerous actors’ interpolations had crept into the text. The number of plays contained in the Lycurgan edition is unknown, but only seventy-eight dramas, including four considered apocryphal by the editor, were included in the definitive...
(The entire section is 3167 words.)
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