Euripides

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Euripides (Ancient Greek: Εὐριπίδης) (ca. 480 BC – 406 BC) was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles). Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays, although four of those were probably written by Critias. Eighteen or nineteen of Euripides' plays have survived complete. There has been debate about his authorship of Rhesus, largely on stylistic grounds and ignoring classical evidence that the play was his.[1] Fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays also survive. More of his plays have survived than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, because of the unique nature of the Euripidean manuscript tradition.

Euripides is known primarily for having reshaped the formal structure of Athenian tragedy[citation needed] by portraying strong female characters[citation needed] and intelligent slaves and by satirizing many heroes of Greek mythology. His plays seem modern by comparison with those of his contemporaries, focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown to Greek audiences.

Contents

Life

Little is known about Euripides, and most recorded sources are based on legend and hearsay. According to one legend, Euripides was born in Salamís on 23 September 480 BC, the day of the Persian War's greatest naval battle. Other sources estimate that he was born as early as 485 BC.

His father's name was either Mnesarchus or Mnesarchides and his mother's name was Cleito.[2] Evidence suggests that the family was wealthy and influential. It is recorded that he served as a cup-bearer for Apollo's dancers, but he grew to question the religion he grew up with, exposed as he was to thinkers such as Protagoras, Socrates, and Anaxagoras.

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