Euripides: Hecuba

BookEuripides: Hecuba

Euripides: Hecuba

Aris & Phillips Classical Texts


December 1st, 1991



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Hecuba, in slavery after Troy's fall, fails to dissuade Odysseus, whose life she once saved, from sacrificing her daughter to honour his dead friend, Achilles; but the girl dies proudly, true to her royal blood in surmounting degradation. Then Hecuba learns of her sons' treacherous murder by a former ally; out of her terrible loss comes determination for revenge, which she claims as a right but how just is her horrific cruelty? How credible against her earlier characterisation? The play has striking effects: the ghost of the murdered son, and his murderer subsequently blinded; poignant lyricism; vivid narratives; above all, a careful pattern of scenes demonstrating the equivocal power of 'Persuasion, man's only sovereign' (v.816). Hecuba is both a study of resilience and weakness, and a typically Euripidean comment on the uncertain, even collapsing, values of his time. Text with facing translation, commentary and notes.

Author Information

Christopher Collard is Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Swansea. He has published widely on tragedy and Euripides in particular. His work includes editions with commentary of Euripides, Suppliant Women (1975, 1984) and Hecuba (1991), and he is co-editor of Selected Fragmentary Plays of Euripides (1995, 2004) and Iphigenia at Aulis (2017). He was General Editor of the Aris & Phillips Classical Texts series from 2007-2016.