Classical Greek Mythology

Euripides, Medea, and Dionysus

How did Euripides use mythology?

Euripides (c.480–406 B.C.E.) was a more skeptical playwright than Aeschylus or Sophocles. It is fair to say that he was more “modern” than his two great competitors over the years at the City Dionysia, less directed by traditional religious positions, more by an interest in the inner lives of his mythological subjects. These subjects are treated in a large number of plays. Alcestis tells the story of a brave wife willing to be taken to the Underworld in order to save her husband from that fate. Hecuba is about the unhappy wife of King Priam of Troy, who tries to dissuade her son Hector from going into battle. Elektra takes up the popular theme of the daughter of Agamemnon who was so strident in her desire for revenge against her mother, Clytemnestra. Euripides also wrote plays about Helen of Troy, Orestes, Iphigenia, and Hippolytus. His plays most often studied today are Medea and Bacchae.


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