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In this book Professor Mastronarde draws on the seventeen surviving tragedies of Euripides, as well as the fragmentary remains of his lost plays, to explore key topics in the interpretation of the plays. It investigates their relation to the Greek poetic tradition and to the social and political structures of their original setting, aiming both to be attentive to the great variety of the corpus and to identify commonalities across it. In examining such topics as genre, structural strategies, the chorus, the gods, rhetoric, and the portrayal of women and men, this study highlights the ways in which audience responses are manipulated through the use of plot structures and the multiplicity of viewpoints expressed. It argues that the dramas of Euripides, through their dramatic technique, pose a strong challenge to simple formulations of norms, to the reading of consistent human character, and to the quest for certainty and closure.
Donald J. Mastronarde is Melpomene Distinguished Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published extensively on Greek tragedy and Euripides in particular, including Euripides: Medea (Cambridge, 2002) and Euripides: Phoenissae (Cambridge, 1994).