Tuesday, February 3, 2009

BC: Lysistrata to Electra by Euripides

10-second reviews

415 BC. Lysistrata. Aristophanes. Greek. Play. In the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War, Lysistrata persuades the wives of Athens to shut themselves away from their husbands until peace shall be concluded. She has the satisfaction of dictating the terms.

414 BC. The Birds. Aristophanes. Greek. Play. Fugitives from Athenian taxation and litigation persuade the birds to build a city in the clouds to block smoke from sacrifices of mortals from reaching the gods unless the gods comply with the birds’ demands. They do.

414 BC. Electra. Sophocles. Greek. Play. Emphasizes the qualities of heroism and tragic endurance. Orestes, Electra are reunited. Electra is the heroine. Orestes is a paragon of virtue, an avenger, with no real character. The murder of Clytemnestra for the murder of Agamemnon. A key scene is the recognition between Electra and Orestes. Clytemnestra is also a strong character.

414 BC. Iphigenia in Tauris. Euripides. Greek. Play. Pursued by the furies, Orestes can be cured only by rescuing the statue of Artemis from the savages of Tauris who hate Greeks and put them to death if they capture them. Captured, taken before the high priestess who is Iphigenia, supposedly killed by her father. She recognizes her brother. She arranges the escape of Orestes, a friend and herself. Intervention of Artemis, Athene.

413 BC. Electra. Euripides. Greek. Play. Electra is forced to marry a farmer. As a peasant, she cannot avenge the murder of her father, Agamemnon, by her mother Clytemnestra and her consort Aegisthus. Orestes appears. They arrange for the murder of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. Euripides emphasizes the horror of the act. He elicits pity for the victims. The play ends with Orestes’ madness.

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