Feature

Euripides' Beatific Vision

An Ancient Greek Drama Awakened a Powerful New Longing in Its Audiences
by James Ware

In the early spring of 438 b.c., a large crowd gathered at Athens in an open-air theater on the southern slope of the acropolis to view a series of twelve dramatic performances staged in conjunction with the yearly festival of Dionysus. Exhibited before the very image of the god, which had been transported in sacred procession from the adjacent temple, the twelve plays included four each by the famed tragic poets Sophocles and Euripides. The playwrights vied with each other, and Sophocles, we know, won the coveted first prize that year. But the only drama from the festival to survive is the last . . .

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