Euripides was a playwright of Ancient Greece (5th century BC), one of three great tragedians whose works have survived to the present day (the earlier two are Aeschylus and Sophocles). A whopping eighteen of his plays have survived complete (many via a remarkably-preserved 800-year-old copy of The Complete Works of Euripides — Volume 2: E-K), along with fragments of many others. One of these, The Cyclops, is a Satyr Play about Polyphemus.
His works are noted for having subtler and more realistic characterization than his predecessors, and for playing with the established tropes of Greek tragedy. On the other hand, Friedrich Nietzsche condemns Euripides for being in thrall to Socrates and Plato's philosophy, saying that Euripides "killed" tragedy by infusing it with reason and philosophical ideas.
Any discussion of Euripides has to make note of the fact that he had a Love It or Hate It reputation during his day. Euripides was well aware of the constraints placed upon playwrights at the time, and many of his plays attempted to subvert at least one of the Aristotelian conventions. Today, however, some scholars regard him as the best of the three surviving Greek playwrights and several regard him as the Shakespeare of Athens.
Extant works include:
- Iphigenia at Aulis
- Iphigenia among the Taurians - Euripides' Fix Fic because ancient fan boys hated what happened to the eponymous Iphigenia.
- Phoenician Women
- The Suppliants
- Trojan Women
Works by Euripides with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Euripides provide examples of:
- Author Tract: Iphigenia in Tauris, against Human Sacrifice.
- Character Filibuster: An atheistic one survives from Sisyphus. Of course, it's the title character giving it...
- Deconstruction: Trojan Women plays up the tragedies which befall the people of Troy after their city fell rather than focusing on the heroics of the main characters.
- Deus Ex Machina
- Drives Like Crazy: Phaëton is lost, but it's a given that this trope featured big time.
- Greek Chorus: Although Aristotle complained in Poetics that the choruses lost touch with the play.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: In Ion, Apollo exploits it; Ion is in fact Creusa's son after Apollo raped her, but the oracle tells Creusa's husband that he is his son.
- Missing Episode: Ancient sources credit him with writing 95 plays. We've only got 19.
- Satyr Play: His Cyclops is the only one surviving today.
- The New Rock and Roll: There was some kind of major musical change in Athens in the fifth century, and it's possible that Euripides, unlike most tragedians, made use of 'new music'. This is one of the things that earned him his Love It or Hate It reputation.
- Virgin Sacrifice
- Who's on First?: A Foregone Conclusion in Cyclops.
- Wicked Stepmother
- (The only surviving Satyr Play)
- (Though the authorship is questioned)