Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Women on the Edge

Four Plays by Euripides, 1st Edition

Edited by Ruby Blondell, Mary-Kay Gamel, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, Bella Vivante


512 pages

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pub: 1998-12-22
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Women on the Edge, a collection of Alcestis, Medea, Helen, and Iphegenia at Aulis, provides a broad sample of Euripides' plays focusing on women, and spans the chronology of his surviving works, from the earliest, to his last, incomplete, and posthumously produced masterpiece. Each play shows women in various roles--slave, unmarried girl, devoted wife, alienated wife, mother, daughter--providing a range of evidence about the kinds of meaning and effects the category woman conveyed in ancient Athens. The female protagonists in these plays test the boundaries--literal and conceptual--of their lives.

Although women are often represented in tragedy as powerful and free in their thoughts, speech and actions, real Athenian women were apparently expected to live unseen and silent, under control of fathers and husbands, with little political or economic power. Women in tragedy often disrupt "normal" life by their words and actions: they speak out boldly, tell lies, cause public unrest, violate custom, defy orders, even kill. Female characters in tragedy take actions, and raise issues central to the plays in which they appear, sometimes in strong opposition to male characters. The four plays in this collection offer examples of women who support the status quo and women who oppose and disrupt it; sometimes these are the same characters.


"I highly recommend this collection to anyone eager to encounter an innovative reading of Euripidean drama." -- Monica Silveira Cyrino, University of New Mexico Theatre Jounral

"…in a class by itself… This would make a fine text for advanced students of literature in translation or women in antiquity." -- Classical Outlook

"This is not your grandfather's translation of Euripedes… Provides a good introduction to feminist readings of these plays, accessible translations, helpful background material, and openness about the translators' methods… A valuable addition to translations of Euripidean tragedy." -- Bryn Mawr Classical Review

About the Editors

Ruby Blondell is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Washington. Mary-Kay Gamel is Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa-Cruz. Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz is Professor of Comparative Literature at Hamilton College. Bella Vivante is Senior Lecturer in Humanities at the University of Arizona.

About the Series

The New Classical Canon

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies