Monday, March 12, 2007

This book contains four Greek tragedies that each concern a central character who was once powerful and has been brought down by betrayal, jealousy, guilt and the gods.

Medea (431BC) - Medea kills Creon (the King of Corinth), Glauce (his daughter) and her two sons by Jason. This is to cause Jason pain for leaving her for a second wife (Glauce). As a woman if her husband takes a second wife she is supposed to lump it and although killing her children is completely wicked and dispicable, she is sort of a feminist sticking up for herself and not wanting her husband to leave her. This was probably my favourite of the plays and is the most well known.

Hecabe (425BC) - Hecabe (the wife of Priam who was the King of Troy) blinds Polymestor and kills his two sons after he murdered her last living son Polydorus for his gold who he was supposed to be looking after. I can understand why she did this as she has already lost her husband, her other sons and all of her daughters except for Cassandra.

Electra (415BD) - Electra and her Brother Orestes kill their mother Clytemnestra aqnd her husbad Aegisthus because the two of them killed their father Agamemnon when he returns from winning the war at Troy. The sad thing is that they realise that they need each other but in the end they have to go their seperate ways and will never see each other again. Orestes is pursued by the Furies for murdering his kin and Electra marries his best friend Pylades.

Heracles (420BC) - Heracles returns from completing his Twelve Labours and kills Lycus. Lycus was about to kill Heracles' father, wife and three sons so acts in self defense. However now he has completed his labours, Hera is allowed to interfer and send her messenger Iris and Maddness ( who doesn't want to do this to Heracles) who afflict Heracles and in his maddness he kills his wife Megara and his sons. His father Amphitryon just escapes and they manage to confine Heracles until the maddness passes. Heracles did a horrible thing, but to be fair it wasn't really his fault. I did enjoy this the least though, it took a long time to tell when it was essentially a very short tale.

Overall ***1/2 out of 5.