By Ian C. Storey
Euripides' Suppliant girls is an unfairly ignored grasp paintings through the main debatable of the 3 nice tragedians. It dramatises the tale of 1 of the proudest moments in Athenian legendary background: the intervention of Theseus in help of overseas legislations to strength the burial of the Argive useless at Thebes. yet Euripides provides new characters to the tale and offers the parable in a distinct and infrequently ambiguous mild. a feeling of uncertainty and undercutting pervades this play, which dramatises the sufferings of the blameless in struggle after which on the finish foretells extra struggle. in addition to proposing a scene-by-scene research, this publication will talk about the date and historical past of the play, no matter if humans and occasions from modern Athens may be glimpsed within the drama; the issues of staging, and eventually the tale in later culture.
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Extra info for Euripides: Suppliant Women
An antagonist, the Theban herald, will arrive in the second scene, , I; 32 2. Adrastos' Supplication (1-364) who is moderately hostile to Adrastos, but whose major concern is the possibility that Theseus will intervene at Thebes. This is not a drama in which the suppliants face any real danger or external threat, or one in which Athens must defend a suppliant on her own territory. Rather this drama will compel Theseus and Athens to intervene with force in another's territory, defending the Panhellenic nomos that the dead deserve burial.
Much attention focuses on the first agon, the discourse on monarchy versus democracy (399-466). Does it have anything to do with the larger plot of the tragedy, or is it an example of Euripides' (and the Athenians') fondness for political debate, especially one that will make their democracy come off better? Who 'wins' the debate? Or does anyone, since the arguments of neither side are countered? At the end the herald will shrug his shoulders and comment, 'you have your opinion on the matter, I have mine' (465-6).
70. The herald's last word to Theseus 52 l 3. Confrontation with Thebes (365-777) (580) restates a key theme for the play, 'you are a neanias' ('young man'), and in the drama we have seen the folly of young men, both in war and in politics, but this neanias will be the exception. While the first part of the scene may have settled nothing, the second half moves the drama along on the new course that Euripides is creating. Theseus declares at 581-4 that words are accomplishing nothing, whereas in Aeschylus' Men of Eleusis words and persuasion accomplished everything.
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