Heracles/ Iphigenia Among the Taurians/ Helen/ Ion/ Cyclops: Of these plays, only 'Heracles' truly belongs in the tragic sphere with its presentation of underserved suffering and divine malignity. The other plays flirt with comedy and comic themes. Their plots are ironic and complex with deception and elusion eventually leading to reconciliation between mother and son in 'Ion', brother and sister in 'Iphigenia', and husband and wife in 'Helen'. The comic vein is even stronger in the satyric'Cyclops' in which the giant's inebriation and subsequent violence are treated as humorous. Together, these plays demonstrate Euripides' challenge to the generic boundaries of Athenian drama.
Euripides (c.485-406 BC) is thought to have written 92 plays, only 18 of which survive. John Davie is Head of Classics at St Paul's School in London. Richard Rutherford is Tutor in Classics at Christ Church, Oxford. Together they have translated and edited 'Alcestis & Other Plays' and 'Medea & Other Plays' for Penguin Classics.