Selected Plays of Euripides
As the two plays in this study will show, Euripides does not have a lot of love for the so-called heroes in Greek society. Indeed, in hisTrojan Women, the Greeks are made to appear barbaric, cruel, and brutish. Athens during Euripides’ lifetime was creating an empire, andThe Trojan Women reflects the playwright’s disgust with empire-builders. Indeed, The Trojan Womenquestions why the only result after ten years of war was a burned city, a group of miserable and destitute women, and a murdered baby. InHippolytus, Euripides is calling into question the inordinate denial of normal passions and temptations. Phaedra and Hippolytus overreact to their situations, and the result is only misery and death. The lesson to be learned in this play is reason should prevail above passions; but when passions exceed reason, then even lofty morality cannot stop, and indeed may help lead to, horrible conclusions.