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Medea : passion or politics? poetry or current events?

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

Greek tragedy developed in the fifth century Athens and was not a business enterprise like our theater but was financed by the Athenian state as an integral part of the annual spring festival of Dionysus , god of wine and of inspiration , festival called The Great Dionysia Classical Greek drama was a community art with an audience that consisted also of the mass of Athenian citizens . The function of the dramatists in Athenian society was of highest importance . They were regarded as teachers of the people who presented their plays for the ethical [banner_entry_middle]

, moral , and political improvement of their fellow citizens therefore , the Greek tragedy must resonate with its contemporary socio-political context

Euripides lived during the Golden Age of Athens , the city where he was born and lived most of his years . Born in 484 BC , his infancy saw the repulsion of the Persian invasion , a military victory that secured Athens ‘ political independence and eventual dominance over the Mediterranean world . His death in 406 came as Athens was surrendering its supremacy as a result of its protracted defeat to Sparta , its main rival , in the Peloponnesian War . Sandwiched between these two wars lies a creative period of political , economic , and cultural activity that spawned many of Western civilization ‘s distinctive traits , including the flourishing of tragic drama . The art was mastered by Euripides ‘ older contemporaries , Aeschylus and Sophocles , playwrights who created the dramatic tradition that he would amplify significantly

Although he is reputed to have written 92 plays , of which 17 (more than any other Classical playwright ) survive , Euripides ‘ standing as a dramatist has often been disputed , especially during his lifetime Euripides ‘ role as a dramatic innovator , however , is unquestionable : the simplicity of his dialogue and its closeness to natural human speech patterns paved the way for dramatic realism , while the emotional vacillations in many of his works created our understanding of melodrama . Admired by Socrates and other philosophers , Euripides also distinguished himself as a free thinker criticisms of traditional religion and defenses of oppressed groups (especially women and slaves enter his plays with explicitness unheard of before him

As with most of the myths recounted in ancient Greek tragedy , the story-line of Euripides ‘ Medea , originally produced in 431 BC , is derived from a collection of tales that circulated informally around him , the myth of Jason and Medea in particular . His audience would have been familiar with its general parameters and many of its specifics . The play ‘s merit consequently lies in its manner of exposition and its emotional focus , which Euripides places squarely in the flights of amoral passion that afflict the protagonist , Medea . Her infamous murders of her own children challenged the Athenian moral universe that continually hovers in the background of the play

Euripedes ‘ Medea opens in a state of conflict . HYPERLINK “javascript :ScrollingPopup ‘http /www .sparknotes .com /lit /medea /terms /ch ar_2 .html 20 ‘2f79a01d64 20 ‘500 20 ‘500 ” Jason has abandoned his wife , HYPERLINK “javascript :ScrollingPopup ‘http /www .sparknotes .com /lit /medea /terms /ch ar_1 .html… [banner_entry_footer]

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