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MonkeyNotes-Electra by Euripides
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Euripidesí Style

Euripidesí style is more colloquial than some of his contemporaries. Yet it is more intellectual and abstract also. His 2choral odes are not totally integrated into action. His style is original, as well as experimental wherein he does not completely adhere to the conventions of tragedy. In modern times, Euripides has been appreciated because of his intellectual subtlety and bold and original dramatic power. His brilliant psychological insight and his ability to elicit symbolic meaning from ancient myth and legends are seen in his works like Electra, Medea and some others. In these plays, the plot moves systematically from the prologue to the climax, which is followed by the anti-climax.

In some of his plays, Euripides uses the chorus separately from the main action of the drama. Some of his plays are made up of brilliantly detached episodes and do not form units from which the plot is developed in a coherent and systematic manner. However this is not the case in Electra, wherein coherence is maintained throughout. Through his prologues, he makes the readers and spectators aware of the events that are to take place in the play. He is criticized for this and also for the long histories of dramatic personae (characters in the play). He is also criticized for the alteration of legends to suit the requirements in the play. Among his various devices is the sudden introduction of a god or gods to facilitate an anti-climax. In Electra, the Dioscuri, the sons of Zeus appear towards the end of the play. There is a reference to Apolloís oracle. This encourages Orestes to kill his mother.


The moods and attitudes fluctuate between extremes within the same play. He is able to portray bitterness, realistic feelings, human weaknesses, selfishness and corruption. Yet his work also reflects human dignity, sincerity, heroism and tender sentiments. In Electra although Electra and Orestes hate their mother with intensity, their love and repentance is seen towards the end of the play after Clymenestra has been killed.

Euripidesí heroes and heroines are victimized due to divine cruelty. Orestes in Electra is ordered by the divine oracle to kill his own mother. After that he repents and goes through mental torment. So does Electra. Euripides has written the play Electra in poetic style. The characters speak in poetry. However, in the English translation by Lucas, the same characters speak in prose. The language in both cases is simple and easy to understand. He has introduced the chorus as is commonly done in Greek plays and later in English plays too. Aristotle considers him to be "the most tragic" Greek writer.

The play Electra has psychological subtly and an accomplished stage technique. It is written in poetry, which is beautiful but ornamental to a great extent. Moreover there is an inner lack of harmony caused by the authorís impatience with the material available.

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