Pages in category "Lost plays"
The following 48 pages are in this category, out of 48 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 48 pages are in this category, out of 48 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Achilleis (trilogy) – The Achilleis is a lost trilogy by the Athenian dramatist Aeschylus. The three plays that make up the Achilleis exist today only in fragments, but aspects of their content can be reconstructed with reasonable certainty. In the Myrmidons, Achilles refusal to fight after his quarrel with Agamemnon led to the death of Patroclus, the title of the play traditionally placed second in the trilogy is the Nereids. The chorus was thus a group of Nereids, and the subject of the play involved Achilles and his Nereid mother Thetis, probably her mourning his imminent death and the acquisition of his new arms. In the Phrygians or Ransom of Hector, Priam and a chorus of Phrygians sought to retrieve Hectors body from the still wroth Achilles. In addition to the Oresteia, the Seven Against Thebes and Suppliants formed part of connected trilogies, since the Achilleis survives in fragments, its text is comparatively more fluid than that of ancient texts with medieval manuscript traditions. In the case of the fragments of Aeschylus, the edition of record is the volume of Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta edited by Stefan Radt. While it is now customary to refer to the text and numeration of Radt, for example, fr.140 Radt and 232 Mette refer to the same three-word fragment of the Myrmidons, uttered by Achilles, Arms. Sommersteins Loeb is the most current English translation and follows the numeration of Radt, given Aeschylus tendency to write connected trilogies, three plays attested in the catalogue of his work have been supposed to constitute the Achilleis, Myrmidons, Nereids and Phrygians. At the very beginning he sits alone, enshrouded, some Achilles or Niobe, not showing the mask. This play, along with the also lost Niobe, are two famous examples cited in antiquity of the theme of the Aeschylean silence. In Nereids, Thetis and a chorus of sea-nymphs bring Achilles his new armor, the remainder of the action probably would have concerned his revenge killing of Hector and Patroclus funeral. A small number of verses from these three of Aeschylus lost works have been saved, fifty-four from Myrmidons, seven from Nereids, the reconstructed trilogy premiered July 7,2004, with Mario Frangoulis as Achilles. Die Fragmente der Tragödien des Aischylos, Radt, S. Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta, vol. Diggle, J. Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta selecta, Oxford Classical Texts, critical edition including select fragments of the Myrmidones. Smyth, H. W. Aeschylus II, Loeb Classical Library no.146, Greek text with translation of select fragments known before 1926, the text of the fragments is superseded by Lloyd-Jones and, in turn, Sommerstein. Lloyd-Jones, H. Appendix to the reprint of Smyth, including text and translation of most papyrus fragments, Sommerstein, A. Aeschylus III, Fragments, Loeb Classical Library no.505. Greek text with facing translation of fragments containing at least one complete line, fitzpatrick, D. review of Michelakis, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 20
2. The Suppliants (Aeschylus) – The Suppliants, also called The Suppliant Maidens, or The Suppliant Women, is a play by Aeschylus. It was long thought to be the earliest surviving play by Aeschylus due to the relatively anachronistic function of the chorus as the protagonist of the drama. However, evidence discovered in the mid-20th century shows it one of Aeschylus last plays, definitely after The Persians, the Danaids form the chorus and serve as the protagonists. They flee a forced marriage to their Egyptian cousins, when the Danaides reach Argos, they entreat King Pelasgus to protect them. He refuses pending the decision of the Argive people, who decide in the favor of the Danaids, Danaus rejoices the outcome, and the Danaids praise the Greek gods. Almost immediately, a herald of the Egyptians comes to attempt to force the Danaids to return to their cousins for marriage, Pelasgus arrives, threatens the herald, and urges the Danaids to remain within the walls of Argos. The play ends with the Danaids retreating into the Argive walls, the remaining plays of the tetralogy have been mostly lost. However, one significant passage from The Danaids has been preserved and this is a speech by the goddess of love Aphrodite praising the marriage between the sky and the earth from which rain comes, nourishing cattle, corn and fruits. As the plot of the remaining plays has been reconstructed, following a war with the Aegyptids in which Pelasgus has been killed. The marriage is forced upon his daughters, but Danaus instructs them to murder their husbands on their wedding night, all do except for Hypermnestra, whose husband, Lynceus, flees. Danaus imprisons or threatens to kill Hypermnestra for her disobedience, but Lynceus reappears and kills Danaus, Lynceus becomes the new king of Argos, opinions differ as to the ending, although certainly Aphrodite was involved in the denouement. An alternative opinion is that Hypermnestra is put on trial for disobeying her father, the trilogy was followed by the satyr play Amymone, which comically portrayed one of the Danaids seduction by Poseidon. George Thomson, expanding on D. S. Ridgeway, on the other hand, friis Johansen, H. and Whittle, E. W. Aeschylus, The Suppliants. Garvie, A. F. Aeschylus Supplices, Play and Trilogy. E. D. A. Morshead,1908 - verse, full text Walter George Headlam and C. E. S. Headlam,1909 - prose Herbert Weir Smyth,1922 - prose, full text G. M. Cookson,1922 - verse S
3. Andromeda (play) – Andromeda is a lost tragedy written by Euripides, based on the myth of Andromeda and first produced in 412 BC, in a trilogy that also included Euripides Helen. Andromeda may have been the first depiction on stage of a man falling in love with a woman. The play has been lost, however, a number of fragments are extant, in addition, a number of ancient sources refer to the play, including several references in plays by Aristophanes. Several aspects of the plot of Andromeda can be inferred from the extant fragments and references. The play opened with Andromeda alone on stage, having been chained to a rock near the sea and near a cave by her father Cepheus, King of Aethiopia and this was to mollify the sea god Poseidon after either Cepheus or his wife Cassiopeia had offended the god. Andromeda laments her fate alone, with only her echo to respond, a chorus of virgins appears as Andromedas lament continues. Then Perseus appears, using the crane to depict his flight on winged sandals, planting my foot on high, cutting a path through the midst of the ether, having just defeated the Gorgon Medusa. When Perseus asks Andromeda if she will show his gratitude if he saves her, she responds Take me, stranger, whether for servant, wife, or slave. During their dialogue, Perseus apparently moved from being struck by Andromedas beauty to feeling pity for her to falling in love with her and this may have been the first depiction of a man falling in love with a woman on stage. A messenger delivered the news that Perseus had successfully defeated the sea monster, the play most likely ended with the goddess Athena appearing as a deus ex machina to announce that Perseus and Andromeda would be married and that all the characters would become constellations. Athena likely also prophesied that the descendants of Perseus and Andromeda would become the rulers of Mycenae, little is known of treatments of the Andromeda myth prior to Euripides. However, Sophocles wrote a play entitled Andromeda, which covered the story and was believed to have been performed around 450 BC. Sophocles Andromeda is now lost except for a few fragments, Euripides treated earlier aspects of the Perseus myth in his earlier plays Danae, which covered Perseus birth, and Dictys, which covered his defeat of Medusa. There are also references to Andromeda in at least two plays by Aristophanes, in 411, a year after Euripides plays were first produced, Aristophanes incorporated extended parodies of both Helen and Andromeda in his comedy Thesmophoriazusae. Euripides, who is a character in Thesmophoriazusae, needs to save a kinsman who was captured dressed as a woman infiltrating an all-woman festival, Euripides first attempts to do this by a parody of the scene in which Menelaus arrives dressed in rags. He then uses a parody of Andromeda in which the kinsman as Andromeda laments his fate to the response of his echo, Euripides as Perseus arrives via the crane, in the parody, Perseus love as depicted in Andromeda is transformed to lust. Aristophanes also referenced Andromeda in his 405 play The Frogs, where the god Dionysus states that while reading Andromeda he was smitten with longing for Euripides and it has been reported from antiquity that Alexander the Great was able to perform a portion of Andromeda by heart
4. Antigone (Euripides play) – Antigone is a play by the Attic dramatist Euripides, which is now lost except for a number of fragments. According to Aristophanes of Byzantium, the plot was similar to that of Sophocles play Antigone, the date of the play is uncertain, but there is evidence that it was written late in Euripides career, between 420 BCE and 406 BCE. As a result, Creon condemned her to death, and although Creon rescinded the sentence, Antigone and her lover Haemon, Creons son. One extant fragment is a plea to the god Dionysus, suggesting the possibility that Dionysus was the deus ex machina who saved Antigone and Haemon and prophesied the birth of Maeon. Several extant fragments deal with love and marriage, and John Homer Huddilston believed that this, the vases suggest that Heracles was the deus ex machina who saved Antigone and Haemon. Per Hyginus, Creon had delegated the task of executing Antigone to his son Haemon, Haemon deceived Creon and spared Antigone, who later bore Haemon a son. The son came to Thebes as an adult, and Creon recognized him, Creon refused Heracles request to pardon Haemon, who then killed Antigone and himself. Huddilston, believing the vases and Hyginus fable to relate to Euripides play, Maeon is already grown and has come to Thebes to participate in games. Creon recognizes him and is enraged that Haemon deceived him years earlier and he orders Antigone to appear before him, and she does so along with Haemon. Creon sentences one or both to death, when Heracles appears to intercede as a deus ex machina, in this reconstruction, the comment by Aristophanes of Byzantium does not apply to the plot of Euripides play, but only to the background to the play. The date for Antigone has not been definitively established, in addition, a scholiast remark indicates that another play of Euripides, Antiope, was produced after 412. However, metrical analysis of the extant fragments of Antiope indicate an earlier date. This leaves open the possibility that the scholium erroneously referred to Antiope but meant Antigone, or originally named Antigone, if so, that would indicate that Antigone was produced between 411 and 406 BCE
5. Epigoni (play) – The Epigoni is an ancient Greek tragedy written by the Greek playwright Sophocles in the 5th century BC and based on Greek mythology. According to myth, Polynices and six allies attacked Thebes because Polynices brother, Eteocles, all but one of the seven would-be conquerors were killed. Their children swore vengeance and attacked Thebes and this was called the war of the Epigonoi, the story had been told, before Sophocles, in the lost epic Epigonoi. These Epigonoi defeated and killed Laodamas, son of Eteocles, and conquered Thebes, all of the Epigonoi but Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus, or else Alcmaeon, son of Amphiaraus, survived this battle. Amphiaraus had known that the attack against Thebes was doomed to fail and had not wanted to partake, but was coerced to do so by his wife Eriphyle, who had been bribed by Polynices. Amphiaraus had instructed his son Alcmaeon to avenge him against his mother, Alcmaeon was then pursued by the Erinyes, similar to the fate of Orestes after killing his mother Clytemnestra. The fragment translates to the following, Speaker A, … gobbling the whole, Speaker B, And the helmets are shaking their purple-dyed crests, and for the wearers of breast-plates the weavers are striking up the wise shuttles songs, that wakes up those who are asleep. Speaker A, And he is gluing together the chariots rail, several fragments had been definitively assigned to Epigoni prior to this find. One was translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones as Most calamitous of sons and this was apparently stated by Eriphyle to Alcmaeon shortly before he killed her. Another fragment presents an exchange between Alcmaeon and Adrastus, Eriphyles brother and thus Alcmaeons uncle, in this exchange Alcmaeon remarks that Adrastus is the brother of a woman who killed her husband. Adrastus retorts by accusing Alcmaeon of murdering the mother who gave birth, a remark in Philodemus book about music leads scholars to believe that the dispute between Alcmaeon and Adrastus was somehow resolved through the power of music. Another fragment posits the view that for victims of envy find that ill repute wins out over shameful rather than over honorable actions, and an additional fragment notes that someone will no longer live in Argos. In addition to the assigned to Epigoni, there are seven extant fragments assigned to a Sophocles play entitled Eriphyle. Many scholars believe that Eriphyle is just a title for Epigoni. These fragments include such advice as Maintain restraint in speech, as is proper to old age, there are other fragments that may belong to Epigoni but are uncertain
6. Hippolytus (play) – Hippolytus is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Athens in 428 BC, Euripides first treated the myth in a previous play, Hippolytos Kalyptomenos, which is now lost, what is known of it is based on echoes found in other ancient writings. It is thought that the contents to the missing Hippolytos Kalyptomenos portrayed a shamelessly lustful Phaedra who directly propositioned Hippolytus, Euripides revisits the myth in Hippolytos Stephanophoros, its title refers to the crown of garlands Hippolytus wears as a worshipper of Artemis. In this version Phaedra fights against her own desires, which have been incited by Aphrodite. The play is set in Troezen, a town in the northeastern Peloponnese. Theseus, the king of Athens, is serving a voluntary exile after having murdered a local king. His illegitimate son is Hippolytus, whose birth is the result of Theseuss rape of the Amazon Hippolyta, Hippolytus has been trained since childhood by the king of Troezen, Pittheus. At the opening of the play Aphrodite, Goddess of love, explains that Hippolytus has sworn chastity, instead, he honors the Goddess of the hunt, Artemis. This has led her to initiate a plan of vengeance on Hippolytus, when Hippolytus went to Athens two years previously Aphrodite inspired Phaedra, Hippolytus stepmother, to fall in love with him. Hippolytus appears with his followers and shows reverence to a statue of Artemis, a servant warns him about slighting Aphrodite, but Hippolytus refuses to listen. The chorus, consisting of married women of Troezen, enters and describes how Theseuss wife. Phaedra, sickly, appears with her nurse, after an agonizing discussion, Phaedra finally confesses why she is ill, she loves Hippolytus. The nurse and the chorus are shocked, Phaedra explains that she must starve herself and die with her honor intact. However, the nurse quickly retracts her initial response and tells Phaedra that she has a charm to cure her. However, in an aside she reveals different plans, the nurse, after making Hippolytus swear not to tell anyone, informs Hippolytus of Phaedras desire and suggests that Hippolytus consider yielding to her. He reacts with a tirade and threatens to tell his father, Theseus. After making the chorus swear secrecy, she goes inside and hangs herself, Theseus returns and discovers his wifes dead body. Because the chorus is sworn to secrecy, they cannot tell Theseus why she killed herself, Theseus discovers a letter on Phaedras body, which falsely asserts that she was raped by Hippolytus
7. The History of Cardenio – The History of Cardenio, often referred to as merely Cardenio, is a lost play, known to have been performed by the Kings Men, a London theatre company, in 1613. The play is attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher in a Stationers Register entry of 1653, thomas Sheltons translation of the First Part of Don Quixote was published in 1612, and would thus have been available to the presumed authors of the play. Two existing plays have been put forward as being related to the lost play, also, a song, Woods, Rocks and Mountains, set to music by Robert Johnson, has been linked to it. Although there are records of the play having been performed, there is no information about its authorship earlier than a 1653 entry in the Stationers Register, the entry was made by Humphrey Moseley, a bookseller and publisher, who was thereby asserting his right to publish the work. Moseley is not necessarily to be trusted on the question of authorship and it may be that he was using Shakespeares name to increase interest in the play. However, some modern scholarship accepts Moseleys attribution, placing the lost work in the category of collaboration between Fletcher and Shakespeare as The Two Noble Kinsmen. Fletcher based several of his plays on works by Cervantes. After a few together, Don Quixote and Sancho discover a bag full of gold coins along with some papers. Don Quixote and Sancho search for the person to whom the gold and they find him, it is Cardenio, a strange bare-footed character who leaps about from rock to rock like a mountain goat and whose clothes are in shreds. Cardenio, who lives in the formed in a cork tree, rants. Don Fernando has recently seduced and agreed to marry a woman named Dorotea. To do this, he sends Cardenio away on an errand, Luscinda then writes a letter to Cardenio to alert him to the fact that he is being double-crossed, and that her father has agreed to have her marry the wealthy Don Fernando. She tells Cardenio that she is in her gown. She secretly has a knife hidden in the folds of her dress, Cardenio arrives and hides behind a tapestry to watch the nuptials. When it comes time to exchange the vows, Luscinda pauses, the bridegroom goes to kiss his bride, but she swoons. Cardenio, upset, hops on his donkey, leaves town, Luscinda runs away to flee her new husband. Cardenio is reunited with Luscinda, and Don Fernando is reunited with Dorotea, Double Falshood has the plot of the Cardenio episode in Don Quixote. It has been suggested that Theobald was unable to publish the original script, the fate of Theobalds three alleged manuscripts is unknown
8. The Isle of Dogs (play) – The Isle of Dogs is a play by Thomas Nashe and Ben Jonson which was performed in 1597. It was immediately suppressed, and no copy of it is known to exist, the play was performed, probably by Pembrokes Men, at the Swan Theatre in Bankside in July or August,1597. A satirical comedy, it was reported to the authorities as a lewd plaie full of seditious and slanderous matter, while existing records do not indicate what gave offence, a reference in The Returne from Parnassus suggests that the Queen herself was satirised. Other evidence suggests that Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham may have been the target, the Isle of Dogs is a location in London on the opposite bank of the Thames to Greenwich, home of a royal palace, Placentia, where indeed the Privy Council met. It was also believed to be where the queen kennelled her dogs, david Riggs suggests that the satire might have been related to portrayal of the queens councillors as lapdogs. However, the title alone does not indicate the plays content, the Isle is also mentioned in Eastward Hoe, another play for which Jonson was arrested. Nashe also referred to the location in Summers Last Will and Testament, if I had thought the ship of fooles would have stayed to take in fresh water at the Ile of dogges I would have furnished it with a whole kennel of collections to the purpose. Whatever the cause, Richard Topcliffe informed Robert Cecil, who raised the issue to the Privy Council, three of the players were arrested and sent to Marshalsea Prison. Nashes home was raided and his papers seized, but he escaped imprisonment and he later wrote that he had given birth to a monster — it was no sooner borne but I was glad to runne from it. Nashe was later to call it an imperfit Embrion of my idle houres and claimed to have only the introduction. For his part, Jonson recalled that he said nothing but yes, authorities placed two informers with him, those two are referred to in his Epigram 59 Of Spies. After this burst of repression, royal authorities appear to have let the matter drop without incident, the report of the initial arrest says that the rest of the players or actors in that matter shall be apprehended, but no one else ever was. Shaa and Spenser were released quickly, and even Jonson was out of jail by early in October, Pembrokes Men were in action again, as were the other companies, before winter of that year. The only party permanently hurt was the Swans impresario Francis Langley, Langley had apparently run afoul of the Privy Council on an unrelated matter involving a large Portuguese diamond that Langley had fenced, or planned to fence. Others, among them William Ingram, have questioned this chronology, the July 28 order does not mention the play, it was written in response to one of the city authorities periodic pleas for an end to the theatres. The Council issued specific orders against the play in the next month, in this light, Pembrokes men may have made their offence worse by performing the play after the date of prohibition. Moreover, Cecils anger over the diamond may suggest that Langley was the sole target of the July injunction. Andrew Gurr adds to this picture by noting the tendency of the Court to licence two chief companies throughout the later Elizabethan and early Stuart periods
9. Seven Against Thebes – Seven Against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea and it concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won the first prize at the City Dionysia, the trilogys first two plays, Laius and Oedipus, as well as the satyr play Sphinx, are no longer extant. When Oedipus, King of Thebes, realized he had married his own mother and had two sons and two daughters with her, he blinded himself and cursed his sons to divide their inheritance by the sword. The two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, in order to avoid bloodshed, agreed to rule Thebes in alternate years, after the first year, Eteocles refused to step down, leading Polynices to raise an army of Argives to take Thebes by force. This is where Aeschylus tragedy starts, dialogues show aspects of Eteocles character. There is also a description of each of the seven captains that lead the Argive army against the seven gates of the city of Thebes as well as the devices on their respective shields. Eteocles, in turn, announces which Theban commanders he will send against each Argive attacker, finally, the commander of the troops before the seventh gate is revealed to be Polynices, the brother of the king. Then Eteocles remembers and refers to the curse of their father Oedipus, Eteocles resolves to meet and fight his brother in person before the seventh gate and exits. Following a choral ode, a messenger enters, announcing that the attackers have been repelled and their bodies are brought on stage, and the chorus mourns them. Due to the popularity of Sophocles play Antigone, the ending of Seven against Thebes was rewritten about fifty years after Aeschylus death, others appear as stock figures to fill out the list, Burkert remarks. The city is saved when the brothers simultaneously run each other through, the mythic theme passed into Etruscan culture, a fifth-century bronze mirrorback is inscribed with Fulnice and Evtucle running at one another with drawn swords. The Seven Against Thebes were Adrastus Amphiaraus Capaneus Hippomedon Parthenopeus Polynices Tydeus Allies, some sources, however, state that Eteoclus and Mecisteus were in fact two of the seven, and that Tydeus and Polynices were allies. This is because both Tydeus and Polynices were foreigners, however, Polynices was the cause of the entire conflict, and Tydeus performed acts of valour far surpassing Eteoclus and Mecisteus. Either way, all nine men were present in the battle, from the nineteenth century onwards, however, it has not generally been regarded as among the tragedians major works. Translators Anthony Hecht and Helen S. Bacon wrote that the play has been accused of being static, undramatic, ritualistic, guilty of an interpolated and debased text, archaic, and in a word, boring. Lille Stesichorus, a fragment of the Theban myth by the lyric poet Stesichorus A. S. Way,1906 – verse E. D. A. Morshead,1908 – verse. The Orientalizing Revolution, Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age Seven against Thebes pp 106–14, Burkert draws parallels between Greek and Ancient Near Eastern materials
10. Love's Labour's Won – Loves Labours Won is a lost play attributed by contemporaries to William Shakespeare, written before 1598 and published by 1603, though no copies are known to have survived. Scholars dispute whether it is a true lost work, possibly a sequel to Loves Labours Lost, the first mention of the play occurs in Francis Meres Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury in which he lists a dozen Shakespeare plays. His list of Shakespearean comedies reads, for Comedy, witnes his Getleme of Verona, his Errors, his Loue labors lost, his Loue labours wonne, his Midsummers night dreame, Shakespeare scholars have several theories about the play. Against this is must be observed that Elizabethan playwrights almost never wrote sequels to comedies, sequels were written for historical plays or, less commonly, for tragedies. Another theory is that Loves Labours Won was a name for an existing play. This would explain why it was not printed under that name in the First Folio of Shakespeares complete dramatic works in 1623, for which the sequel theory has no obvious explanation. A longtime theory held that Loves Labours Won was a name for The Taming of the Shrew. The find provided evidence that the play might be a work that had been published but lost. However, this evidence is not decisive, another playwright had written a play called The Taming of a Shrew which was published in quarto in 1594, whereas Shakespeares Shrew play was not published until the 1623 Folio. Therefore, it is possible that Shakespeare originally titled his Shrew play Loves Labours Won in order to distinguish it from the rival play, yet another possibility is that the name is an alternative title for another Shakespearean comedy not listed by Meres or Hunt. Much Ado About Nothing, commonly believed to be written around 1598, is often suggested, for example, Henry Woudhuysens Arden edition of Loves Labours Lost lists a number of striking similarities between the two plays. Much Ado about Nothing is also listed under another title, Benedick and Beatrice. In addition, Troilus and Cressida is generally considered to have written around 1602. David Grote argues that it was name for As You Like It. It was staged as a piece to Loves Labours Lost. The pair of plays bookended the period of the war, Loves Labours Lost was set at the beginning of the war in 1914, with Love Labours Won set at its end in 1918, with the male characters returning home after the final victory. It was featured as a device in the 1948 novel Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin, in which the discovery of a copy of the play triggers a series of murders. The writing of the play is a plot point in the 2007 Doctor Who episode The Shakespeare Code, in which lines from the play
11. Oedipus (Euripides) – Oedipus is a play by the 5th-century BCE Athenian dramatist Euripides. The play is now lost except for some fragments, what survives of the play covers similar ground as Sophocles acclaimed Oedipus Rex, but scholars and historians have found there are significant differences. In Oedipus Rex, the title character blinds himself upon learning his true parentage, accidentally killing his father, in Euripides play, however, it appears Oedipus is blinded by Laius, a servant of his father and Oedipus predecessor as king of Thebes. Furthermore, Euripides play implies Oedipus was blinded before it was known that Laius was his father, also, while in Sophocles play Jocasta kills herself, remaining fragments of Euripides play depict Jocasta as having survived and accompanied Oedipus into exile. A number of fragments of Oedipus and of ancient writings about Oedipus are extant, in one fragment, John Malalas writes that Euripides wrote a drama about Oedipus, Jocasta and the Sphinx. Another fragment gives the beginning of a hypothesis of the play, three fragments describe the Sphinx preparing to pose her riddle, presumably to Oedipus in the confrontation in which Oedipus defeats her by answering the riddle correctly. A key fragment is spoken by a servant of Laius, boasting of blinding Oedipus and this fragment is translated by Collard and Cropp as We pressed the son of Polybus to the ground, destroying his eyes and blinding him. An illustration on a 2nd-century BCE Etruscan alabaster urn might depict this scene, the illustration shows Oedipus held down as described in the fragment, watched by a figure holding a scepter, presumably his brother-in-law and uncle and eventual successor Creon. However, the illustration also shows Jocasta, who probably would not be at Oedipus blinding in the play, and also shows Oedipus children, several fragments appear to involve the characters reactions to the revelations in the play. Several of these fragments have been ascribed to Jocasta, in one of these fragments, she notes that envy destroyed Oedipus, destroying her too. In at least two fragments, Jocasta describes what a wife should do, particularly serving and supporting her husband. It is clear from the fragments that Oedipus contained a description of Oedipus defeating the Sphinx, the context of the description of the defeat of the Sphinx is not universally agreed upon. In Uberlegungen zum Oedipus des Euripides, Martin Hose suggested a reconstruction of the plot of Oedipus as follows, Oedipus adoptive mother Periboea arrives in Thebes to tell him that his father Polybus has died. Oedipus is as yet unaware that he is adopted, and believes Periboea, Oedipus proudly tells Periboea how he defeated the Sphinx, earning for himself the newly vacant throne of Thebes and marriage to Thebes newly widowed queen Jocasta. Periboea arrived in Thebes in a chariot that Oedipus had sent her as a gift, which had belonged to the previous king Laius, Laius servants would have recognized the chariot, thus realizing that Oedipus was the killer of Laius, and blind him as punishment for the deed. Creon might have involved in the blinding. As yet, it would not have revealed that Oedipus was the biological son of Laius. The blind Oedipus has a scene with Jocasta and possibly Periboea in which the fact that his parents are Laius
12. Philoctetes (Aeschylus play) – Philoctetes is a play by the Athenian poet Aeschylus. It was probably first produced during the 470s BCE and it is now lost except for a few fragments. Most of what we know of the plot is from the writings of 1st century orator Dio Chrysostom, the few extant fragments from the play are not much use in reconstructing Aeschylus treatment. One fragment mentions that Philoctetes bow has been hung on a pine tree, several are of Philoctetes commenting on the pain in his foot, including one in which he longs for death. We do know the broad outline of the plot from a comparison by Dio Chrysostom of the Aeschylus Philoctetes with Euripides Philoctetes and Sophocles Philoctetes, Philoctetes is mentioned briefly in Homers Iliad and Odyssey, and his story was expanded on in Lesches Little Iliad and Arctinus Iliupersis. However, ten years into the Trojan War they found out that Philoctetes and his bow, in the original versions of the story, Diomedes was sent to recover Philoctetes and bring him back to Troy. However, in Aeschylus play, Odysseus, who was responsible for Philoctetes being marooned on Lemnos was sent to fetch him. The plot point of having Odysseus being sent to recover Philoctetes after being responsible for his abandonment is a point that Euripides and Sophocles retained in their Philoctetes plays. Philoctetes did not recognize Odysseus at first as a result of the suffering Philoctetes endured for the ten years alone. It is not known exactly how Odysseus ultimately secured Philoctetes bow and cooperation, Dio does tell us that Odysseus pleas and lies were not inappropriate for someone of Odysseus heroic stature. According to Aspasius, Aeschylus and Sophocles Philoctetes attempted to hide his pain at first, the chorus in the play is made up of men of Lemnos. In In Aeschylus play, the men of Lemnos had not visited Philoctetes throughout his ten year time on the island. Philoctetes told the chorus his backstory of being abandoned by the Greeks, Dio considered Aeschylus approach of having a chorus that had never visited Philoctetes but not apologizing for that more straightforward than Euripides approach of an apologetic chorus. In Sophocles Philoctetes, Lemnos is uninhabited, making the decision of the Greek commanders to maroon Philoctetes there even more heartless, Dio praised Aeschylus version for its simplicity, dignity, grandeur and bold thought and language. Classics professor Norman Austin claims that Aeschylus revisions to the story actually make Aeschylus story more Homeric. The date of the production of Philoctetes is unknown. However, it is believed that it was originally produced during the 470s BCE
13. Philoctetes (Euripides play) – Philoctetes is a tragedy by the Athenian poet Euripides. It was probably first produced in 431 BCE at the Dionysia in a tetralogy that included the extant Medea and was awarded third prize and it is now lost except for a few fragments. Much of what we know of the plot is from the writings of Dio Chrysostom, less than 20 fragments of Euripides Philoctetes survive, amounting to about 40 lines. We do know the broad outline of the plot from a comparison by Dio Chrysostom of Euripides Philoctetes with Aeschylus Philoctetes and Sophocles Philoctetes, in addition, portions of Dios paraphrase of the early portion of the play are extant. The extant portions of Dios paraphrase cover the bulk of fragments number 787 through 790, a fragment of a hypothesis of the play exists providing some background information. Philoctetes is mentioned briefly in Homers Iliad and Odyssey, and his story was expanded on in Lesches Little Iliad, however, ten years into the Trojan War they found out that Philoctetes and his bow and arrows were required to conquer Troy. In the original versions of the story, Diomedes was sent to recover Philoctetes, Aeschylus play introduced the innovation that Odysseus, who was largely responsible for Philoctetes being marooned on Lemnos was sent to fetch him. Euripides retained this plot point in their versions of the story, however, Euripides pays homage to the original approach by including Diomedes as Odysseus partner in convincing Philoctetes to return to the Greek cause. He claims it is because of mans ambition and he notes that the goddess Athena has told him that she will keep him safe by disguising him so that Philoctetes will not recognize him. He also notes that is mission is particularly urgent because an embassy of Trojans is planning to try, Odysseus sees Philoctetes either leaving his cave or returning to it. Odysseus is stunned by Philoctetes shabby appearance, Philoctetes original Greek soldier outfit had worn out, and so he wears animal skins. Philoctetes does not recognize Odysseus, and Odysseus claims to be a soldier who has been betrayed by the Greek army, Philoctetes offers Odysseus his hospitality but notes the poor conditions in which he lives. Although most scholars reconstructing the plot consider this dialogue an extension of the prologue, a man from Lemnos named Actor, who had previously befriended Philoctetes arrives and possibly warns Philoctetes that an embassy from Troy is coming. Actors arrival may have followed an apology by the chorus of men from Lemnos for not having visited Philoctetes earlier, following the arrival of Actor, we have less support from Dio, and so any plot reconstruction is more speculative. Certainly, there was a scene between Philoctetes and a representative from Troy, which is one of Euripides great innovations to the plot in his play, Wecklein and Webster have suggested that the Trojan representative may have been Paris. After Philoctetes initial refusal to support the Trojans, the disguised Odysseus may have interceded with political, fragment 796, in which Odysseus states that it is shameful to keep silent while letting barbarians speak, probably relates to this scene, and fragment 795 probably does as well. This introduces a theme, since Odysseus is pretending he has been rejected by the Greek army. Although Dio tells us that Diomedes was a character in the play, collard, following Wecklein, suggests that Diomedes entrance may have been shortly after the Trojans left as part of a pre-arranged plan with Odysseus to trick Philoctetes into giving up the bow
14. The Persians – The Persians is an ancient Greek tragedy written during the Classical period of Ancient Greece by the Greek tragedian Aeschylus. The first play in the trilogy was called Phineus, it dealt with Jason. In The Persians, Xerxes invites the gods enmity for his expedition against Greece in 480/79 BCE. Given Aeschylus’ propensity for writing connected trilogies, the theme of divine retribution may connect the three, Aeschylus himself had fought the Persians at Marathon. He may even have fought at Salamis, just eight years before the play was performed, the satyr play following the trilogy was Prometheus Pyrkaeus, translated as either Prometheus the Fire-lighter or Prometheus the Fire-kindler, which comically portrayed the titan’s theft of fire. Another fragment from Prometheus Pyrkaeus was translated by Herbert Weir Smyth as And do thou guard thee well lest a blast strike thy face, for it is sharp, expressing her anxiety and unease, Atossa narrates what is probably the first dream sequence in European theatre. This is a beginning for a tragedy by Aeschylus, normally the chorus would not appear until slightly later, after a speech by a minor character. An exhausted messenger arrives, who offers a description of the Battle of Salamis. He tells of the Persian defeat, the names of the Persian generals who have killed. The climax of the speech is his rendition of the battle cry of the Greeks as they charged, On. Set free / Your fatherland, set free your children, wives, / Places of your ancestral gods, at the tomb of her dead husband Darius, Atossa asks the chorus to summon his ghost, Some remedy he knows, perhaps, / Knows ruins cure they say. On learning of the Persian defeat, Darius condemns the hubris behind his son’s decision to invade Greece and he particularly rebukes an impious Xerxes’ decision to build a bridge over the Hellespont to expedite the Persian army’s advance. Xerxes finally arrives, dressed in robes and reeling from his crushing defeat. The rest of the consists of the king alone with the chorus engaged in a lyrical kommós that laments the enormity of Persia’s defeat. Aeschylus was not the first to write a play about the Persians—his older contemporary Phrynichus wrote two plays about them, the second, Phoenician Women, treated the same historical event as Aeschylus’ Persians. Neither of Phrynichus plays have survived, interpretations of Persians either read the play as sympathetic toward the defeated Persians or else as a celebration of Greek victory within the context of an ongoing war. The celebratory school argues that the play is part of a culture that would find it difficult to sympathize with its hated barbarian enemy during a time of war. During the play, Xerxes calls his pains a joy to my enemies, according to a scholium at Aristophanes Frogs 1028, Hiero of Syracuse at some point invited Aeschylus to reproduce The Persians in Sicily
15. Oresteia – This trilogy also shows how the Greek gods interacted with the characters and influenced their decisions pertaining to events and disputes. The only extant example of an ancient Greek theater trilogy, the Oresteia won first prize at the Dionysia festival in 458 BC, many consider the Oresteia to be Aeschylus finest work. The principal themes of the include the contrast between revenge and justice, as well as the transition from personal vendetta to organized litigation. Orestia originally included a satyr play Proteus following the tragic trilogy, Agamemnon is the first of the three plays within the Oresteia trilogy. It details the homecoming of Agamemnon, King of Mycene, from the Trojan War, after ten years of warfare, Troy had fallen and all of Greece could lay claim to victory. Waiting at home for Agamemnon is his wife, Queen Clytemnestra, who has been planning his murder. The play opens to a watchman looking down and over the sea, reporting that he has been lying restless like a dog for a year and he laments the fortunes of the house, but promises to keep silent, A huge ox has stepped onto my tongue. The watchman sees a far off in the distance and is overjoyed at the victory. Clytaemnestra is introduced to the audience and she declares that there will be celebrations and sacrifices throughout the city as Agamemnon, upon the return of Agamemnon, his wife laments in full view of Argos how horrible the wait for her husband, and King, has been. After her soliloquy, Clytaemnestra pleads, and later convinces Agamemnon to walk on the laid out for him. This is a very ominous moment in the play as loyalties and motives are questioned, the Kings new concubine, Cassandra, is now introduced and this immediately spawns hatred from the queen, Clytaemnestra. Cassandra is ordered out of her chariot and to the altar where, once she is alone, is crying out insane prophecies to Apollo about the death of Agamemnon. Inside the house a cry is heard, Agamemnon had been stabbed in the bathtub. The chorus separate from one another and ramble to themselves proving their cowardice when another final cry is heard, when the doors are finally opened, Clytaemnestra is seen standing over the dead bodies of Agamemnon and Cassandra. Clytaemnestra describes the murder in detail to the chorus, showing no sign of remorse or regret, suddenly the exiled lover of Clytaemnestra, Aegisthus, bursts into the palace to take his place next to her. Aegisthus proudly states that he devised the plan to murder Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra claims that she and Aegisthus now have all the power and they re-enter the palace with the doors closing behind them. Upon arriving, Orestes reunites with his sister Electra at Agamemnons grave, shortly after the reunion, both Orestes and Electra, influenced by the Chorus, come up with a plan to kill both Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus. Orestes then heads to the door where he is unexpectedly greeted by Clytaemnestra
16. Tereus (play) – Tereus is a Greek play by the Athenian poet Sophocles. Although the play has been lost, several fragments have been recovered, some scholars believe that Sophocles Tereus was influenced by Euripides Medea, and thus must have been produced after 431. However, this is not certain and any influence may well have been in the opposite direction, marsh takes this to imply that as of the time of Medeas production, the myth of Tereus had not yet incorporated the infanticide, as it did in Sophocles play. A hypothesis of the play dating from the 2nd or 3rd century CE was translated by P. J. Parsons in 1974, according to this hypothesis, Tereus, the king of Thrace, was married to Procne, daughter of the Athenian ruler. Tereus and Procne had a son Itys, Procne wanted to see her sister Philomela and asked Tereus to escort her sister to Thrace. During the journey, Tereus fell in love with Philomela and raped her, in order to prevent her from telling Procne what he had done, he cut out Philomelas tongue. But Philomela wove a tapestry showing what had happened and sent it to Procne, Procne became jealous and, in revenge, killed Itys and served him as a meal to Tereus. The gods turned Procne and Philomela into a nightingale and a swallow to protect them from Tereus, in 2007, Trinity College, Dublin professor David Fitzpatrick used the hypothesis and the extant fragments to attempt a reconstruction of the plot of Tereus. In this reconstruction, the play begins with an either a Thracian male servant or herald on behalf of the absent Tereus speaking and this is based on fragment 582, translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones as O sun, light greatly honoured by horse-loving Thracians. Fitzpatrick believes that the chorus is made of Thracian women sympathetic to Procne, Tereus arrives with the mute Philomela, either lying about Philomela or, as Fitzpatrick believes is more likely, having disguised her as a male servant while claiming that Philomela is dead. The recognition scene likely took place on stage, where Philomelas tapestry reveals the rape and mutilation, after a choral interlude, Procne plans her revenge. After Tereus learns of the cannibalism he hunts the sisters, in the reconstruction, the revelation that the women and Tereus were turned into birds is related by a deus ex machina, who Fitzpatrick believes was most likely Apollo. Lloyd-Jones agrees that fragment 589 appears to be a statement from a deus ex machina and this fragment states that Tereus is mad, but the women acted even more madly by using violence to punish him. The fragment concludes by stating that any mortal who is infuriated by his wrongs, one fragment appears to be a lament by Procne about the status of married women. In the Lloyd-Jones translation, this passage begins But now I am nothing on my own, but I have often regarded the nature of women in this way, seeing that we amount to nothing. The passage goes on to note that as living with their father girls live the happiest life. But then they are pushed out and sold, away from our paternal gods and from our parents, some to foreign husbands, some to barbarians, some to joyless homes, but regardless, they must approve and be happy with their lot. Fitzpatrick believes that the tension between husband and wife was one of the themes of the play, the tension between families by marriage and families by birth may also be a theme, as by raping Philomela, Tereus betrays the trust of Procnes and Philomelas father Pandion