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Orestes by Euripides
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Orestes

by Euripides

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1371135,109 (3.42)9
François-Marie Arouet wrote under the nom de plume of Voltaire, and produced works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. Orestes was produced in 1750, an experiment which intensely interested the literary world and the public. In his Dedicatory Letters to the Duchess of Maine, Voltaire has the following passage on the Greek drama: "We should not, I acknowledge, endeavor to imitate what is weak and defective in the ancients: it is most probable that their faults were well known to their contemporaries. I am satisfied, Madam, that the wits of Athens condemned, as well as you, some of those repetitions, and some declamations with which Sophocles has loaded his Electra: they must have observed that he had not dived deep enough into the human heart. I will moreover fairly confess, that there are beauties peculiar not only to the Greek language, but to the climate, to manners and times, which it would be ridiculous to transplant hither. Therefore I have not copied exactly the Electra of Sophocles-much more I knew would be necessary; but I have taken, as well as I could, all the spirit and substance of it."… (more)

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» See also 9 mentions

My tepid rating of this play is due in part to the translation by Theodore Buckley (this is the most commonly available one in the public domain) & partly due to Euripides' writing. I read this as part of the Kindle omnibus, "The Tragedies Of Euripides Volume 1" and also listened along to the Librivox recording.

While the plot of this play includes a considerable amount of bloody action, it almost all takes place off stage. This is basically a "talking" play -- the various characters tell each other about the action rather than portray it. Because of this, the late Victorian style of Buckley's translation has a large impact on the effect of the play on the reader. I found that in some passages, I was drifting off even as murder and revenge were being discussed.

I would recommend anyone considering this play to seek out a more modern translation. The plot itself is quite interesting, dealing with fate & punishment, revenge & murder. ( )
  leslie.98 | Dec 8, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Euripidesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chapouthier, FernandEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Méridier, LouisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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