Book Review: Euripides, “The Suppliant Women,” The Complete Greek Tragedies

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

In Euripides IV, “ The Suppliant Women,” of  The Complete Greek Tragedies, a female narrator in third person is caught in the aftermath of war and goes about much like as in “Antigone,” with a desperation over the future of the subsequent dead and whether or not they will have a proper burial.  The tone is regal, medieval, desperate, however romanticized and wise.  It is as if all forthcoming action in such a context would elicit rape.  For every query, in every context perhaps the women keep falling from “suppliance.” 

I would like to address a dramatic backdrop and create a romanticized context. I appreciate the plot, the tone and setting within the aftermath of war.  What to do with all these dead?  Perhaps in this case the women go around hoping to solicit the burial and are raped.  Perhaps that is a proper description of what the aftermath of war could be like. I appreciated the narrator’s language, storytelling, use of the introduction for introspection and the chorus to enhance the storytelling with perspectives.  The tragedy reads like a play, crossed with a poem, crossed with fiction.  The characters are cited. 

Works Cited:

Greene & Lattimore (editors) Euripides IV, “The Suppliant Women,” The Complete Greek Tragedies, University of Chicago Press, 1958, pp. 51-104

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