The Phoenician Women
The Suppliant Women
In these four plays Euripides explores ethical and political themes,contrasting the claims of patriotism with family loyalty, pragmatism and expediency with justice, and the idea that 'might is right' with the ideal of clemency.
Ion is a vivid portrait of the role of chance in human life and an exploration of family relationships, which combines a sympathetic portrait of a rape victim with remarks on Athenian xenophobia. In Orestes, the most popular of the tragedian's plays in the ancient world, Euripides explores the emotional consequences of Orestes' murder of his mother on the individuals concerned, and makes the tale resonate with advice to Athens about the threat to democracy posed by political pressure groups. The Suppliant Women is a commentary on the politics of empire, as the Athenian king Theseus decides to use force of arms rather than persuasion against Thebes. The Phoenician Women transforms the terrible conflict between Oedipus' sons into one of the most savage indictments of civil war in Western literature by highlighting the personal tragedy it brings.