Heracles and Other Plays: and Other Plays
Alcestis * Heracles * Children of Heracles * Cyclops Euripides wrote about timeless themes, of friendship and enmity, hope and despair, duty and betrayal. The first three plays in this volume are filled with violence or its threat, while the fourth, Cyclops, is our only surviving example of a genuine satyr play, with all the crude and slapstick humour that characterized the genre. There is death in Alcestis, which explores the marital relationship of Alcestis and Admetus with pathos and grim humour, but whose status as tragedy is subverted by a happy ending. The blood-soaked Heracles portrays deep emotional pain and undeserved suffering; its demand for a more humanistic ethics in the face of divine indifference and callousness makes it one of Euripides' more popular and profound plays. Children of Heracles is a rich and complex work, famous for its dialogues and monologues, in which the effects of war on refugees and the consequences of sheltering them are movingly explored. In Cyclops Euripides takes the familiar story of Odysseus' escape from the Cyclops Polyphemus and turns it to hilarious comic effect. Euripides' other plays are all available in Oxford World's Classics.