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Author Information: Euripides

 
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        Little is known of the life of Euripides. He was born about 485 B.C. on the Island of Salamis and may have begun his career as a painter before turning to writing in the drama competitions of 455 B. C. He won his first chorus (a preliminary event) but lost the final competition for tragedies. During his lifetime his plays were often produced, but he won the Athenian drama prize only four times. He died in 406 B.C.; some (rather dubious) sources reported that he was accidentally attacked and killed by the king's hunting dogs while walking in the woods in Macedonia.
        Euripides was a prolific writer, the author of some eighty-eight or more plays, of which nineteen have survived under his name. He was criticized by the conservatives of his time for introducing shabby heroes and immoral women into his plays, a practice that they considered degrading to the noble form of tragedy. However, audiences to whom his predecessors were cold and remote found Euripides direct and appealing. And he must have made a strong impression upon his fellow playwrights, such comic writers as Aristophanes went to great lengths to parody and ridicule his works and character. It is written in Greek accounts that Socrates rarely went to the theater but always attended a new play but Euripides. Upon hearing of his death, Sophocles, the aging genius of the stage in Euripides's day, paid his younger contemporary the honor of dressing his chorus in mourning.
        Euripides became immensely popular after he died, and his influence altered drama forever Considered by George Bernard Shaw to be the greatest of the Greek dramatists, Euripides is now regarded by many as the originator of the dramatic sensibility that developed into what we call “modern” European drama.

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