The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata

Lysistrata is the only surviving Aristophanean play whose title designates the name of the main character. Most other plays convey the collective name of the Chorus or another chief theme of the play. Lysistrata means something like "releaser of war" or "army disbander" and we are invited by Aristophanes to consider her character above all others, as the … Continue reading The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata

Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

Aristophanes The Birds ("Ornithets") is the only comedy written by Aristophanes whose entire action takes place far from the city of Athens. Consequently, the play makes little mention of the circumstances of the Peloponnesian War, or of contemporary Athenian politics. It won second prize at the Dionysia in 414 BC. It is a play about the … Continue reading Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

The Peloponnesian War, Book V: Battle Recommences and Melos Enslaved

Book V opens at the conclusion of the truce between Athens and the Spartans. Cleon leads the Athenians in an attack on Thrace. A double surprise attack is launched against Cleon and the Athenians by Brasidas of of the Spartans, catching Cleon off guard and kills him en route, as well as Brasidas. After this … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book V: Battle Recommences and Melos Enslaved

What Is Tragic About Greek Tragedy? Euripides’s Hecuba Considered

Euripides's Hecuba is perhaps the most bleak of the Greek tragedies. It takes place shortly after the sack of Troy by the Achaeans. The few remaining Trojans have been either killed or enslaved by the Greeks. Hecuba, Queen of Troy and wife of Priam, has been captured and enslaved by Odysseus. Like Job, the her life has had … Continue reading What Is Tragic About Greek Tragedy? Euripides’s Hecuba Considered

Examining Euripides’s Helen

Thirty years prior to Euripides's first performance of Helen at the Dionysia in 412 BC, Herodotus of Halicarnassus echoed a controversial theory of the story of the Trojan War. In Book II of his famous Histories, or "Inquiries", Herodotus suggests that Helen of Sparta, wife of Menelaus, was not actually taken to Troy, but was instead transported by the gods … Continue reading Examining Euripides’s Helen