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By: Euripides (480-406 BC)

The Bacchae by Euripides The Bacchae

This tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agave, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus' cousin) for refusing to worship him.

The Trojan Women by Euripides The Trojan Women

Euripides' play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned Ajax the Lesser for dragging Cassandra away from Athena's temple. What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women.

By: Francis Brett Young (1884-1954)

The Tragic Bride by Francis Brett Young The Tragic Bride

The story centers on Gabrielle Hewish, only and lonely child of Sir Jocelyn Hewish, a loveable lush and owner of the peaceful Roscarna estate nestled in the Irish countryside. In due course, young Gabrielle falls in love with a Navy man whose untimely demise sends her into a depression, and the consequences of which alter her future, culminating in a fascinating and quite unpredictable relationship with Mrs. Payne and her troubled son Arthur. A story of understanding in it’s finest sense and aptly titled, The Tragic Bride is both interesting as a story and telling as a character study.

By: Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939)

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford The Good Soldier

The Good Soldier (1915) "... is set just before World War I and chronicles the tragedies of the lives of two seemingly perfect couples. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique pioneered by Ford. It also makes use of the device of the unreliable narrator, as the main character gradually reveals a version of events that is quite different from what the introduction leads you to believe. The novel was loosely based on two incidents of adultery and on Ford's messy personal life.”Music in sections 1-5 "Minuet in G flat major and Valse Bluette" by Beethoven

By: Frank Norris (1870-1902)

The Octopus by Frank Norris The Octopus

Frank Norris based his 1901 novel The Octopus (A Story of California) on the Mussel Slough Tragedy of 1880, a bloody conflict between ranchers and agents of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The central issue was over the ownership of the ranches, which the farmers had leased from the railroad nearly ten years earlier with intentions of eventually purchasing the land. Although originally priced at $2.50 to $5 per acre, the railroad eventually opened the land for sale at prices adjusted for land improvements; the railroad’s attempts to take possession of the land led the ranchers to defend themselves as depicted in the book.

By: Ouida (1839-1908)

A Dog of Flanders by Ouida A Dog of Flanders

"Nello and Patrasche were left all alone in the world." So begins the poignant story of the two orphans who were to become inseparable companions. They were Nello, an orphaned youth, and Patrasche, the dog which he and his grandfather saved from near death one day. The tale takes place outside of Antwerp, and so popular has this story become that there is a commemorative statue of Nello and Patrasche standing in the village yet today. The story is powerful, and masterfully written by Marie Louise de la Ramée under the pseudonym Ouida.

By: Rita (E. M. Gollan) (1850-1938)

The Mystery of a Turkish Bath by Rita (E. M. Gollan) The Mystery of a Turkish Bath

A group of guests, at an exclusive luxury hotel in Hampshire, are the witnesses of an illustration of occult powers, demonstrated by “the Mystery”, as Mrs. Jefferson named the beautiful stranger who one day appeared in the Turkish Baths of the hotel. The events that follow lead Mrs. Jefferson to question the wisdom of her interest in the occult.

By: Lagerlöf, Selma (1858-1940)

The Treasure by Lagerlöf, Selma The Treasure

Selma Lagerlöf was born in Vaermland, Sweden, in 1858 and enjoyed a long and very successful career as a writer, receiving the Nobel-Prize in Literature in 1909. She died in Vaermland in 1940. The Treasure (Herr Arnes penningar) is a fairly short Novel, both a Drama and a Ghost Story. Published in 1904 and the English translation in 1923. The story is set in Bohuslaen on the West coast of Sweden in the middle of the 16th Century. Herr Arne, the old Parson in Solberga and all his household are brutally murdered, and his great Treasure stolen...

By: Romain Rolland (1866-1944)

Pierre and Luce by Romain Rolland Pierre and Luce

Pierre and Luce were an unlikely young pair who found themselves in the chaos of Paris during the war; Pierre, the shy, recently conscripted pacifist, and Luce, the free spirited artist in training, and both confused about the things going on around them. Why were these war birds flying overhead? Why these warning sirens, and occasional bombs exploding in the distance? Why did the government leaders, who didn't even know one another, hate and destroy so much? Why did these two delicate young adults find each other now? This story takes place between January 30 and Good Friday, May 29, 1918. (Introduction by Roger Melin)

By: Jean Racine (1639-1699)

Book cover Phaedra

In the court of Louis XIV, adaptations of Greek tragedies were very popular. This play, heavily influenced by Euripides' Hippolytus, deals with love that violates social taboos. Note: In Racine's work, a new "scene" begins whenever a character enters or exits. Therefore, there are no stage directions, only a list of the characters on stage for each scene. The action is continuous for the entire act.

By: Johanna Brandt (1876-1964)

The Petticoat Commando by Johanna Brandt The Petticoat Commando

In introducing the English version of this book I venture to bespeak a welcome for it, not only for the light which it throws on some little-known incidents of the South African war, but also because of the keen personal interest of the events recorded. It is more than a history. It is a dramatic picture of the hopes and fears, the devotion and bitterness with which some patriotic women in Pretoria watched and, as far as they could, took part in the war which was slowly drawing to its conclusion on the veld outside...

By: Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre

Paul and Virginia by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre Paul and Virginia

Paul and Virginia was first published in 1787. The novel's title characters are very good friends since birth who fall in love, but sadly die when the ship Le Saint-Geran is wrecked. The story is set in the island of Mauritius under French rule, then named Île de France, which the author had visited. Written on the eve of the French Revolution, the novel is hailed as Bernardin's finest work. It records the fate of a child of nature corrupted by the false, artificial sentimentality that prevailed at the time among the upper classes of France.

By: Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)

The Maid's Tragedy by Francis Beaumont The Maid's Tragedy

Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy (first published 1619) is a sensational Jacobean sex tragedy. When gentleman soldier Melantius returns to Rhodes, he finds his dear friend Amintor is recently married - but not to his troth-plight love Aspatia (the maid of the title). Instead, the King has arranged a match between Amintor and Melantius' sister, the beautiful Evadne. On his wedding night, Amintor finds that his new wife has married him under false pretenses - and this unleashes a torrent of dire consequences, sexual, emotional, and ultimately political.

By: Unknown

One-Act Play Collection by Unknown One-Act Play Collection

One-Act Play Collection includes 6 one-act plays in the public domain.

By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare Coriolanus

Shakespeare was passionately interested in the history of Rome, as is evident from plays like Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra. His tragedy Coriolanus was probably written around 1605-07, and dramatizes the rise and fall of a great Roman general, Caius Martius (later surnamed Coriolanus because of his military victory at Corioli). This play is unusual in that it provides a strong voice for the ordinary citizens of Rome, who begin the play rioting about the high price of food, and who continually clash with Coriolanus because of his contempt for plebians.

By: Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)

Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto Orlando Furioso

Charlemagne's nephew Orlando (AKA Roland) is driven insane by the infidelity of his beloved Angelica. Angelica's relationship with him and others loosely unifies multiple story lines to produce a rich tapestry of romance, fictionalized history, and pure fantasy. This romance-epic is a sequel to the less distinguished and unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato, by Mattteo Maria Boiardo.

By: Euripides (480-406 BC)

Book cover Medea

Euripides' tragedy focuses on the disintegration of the relationship between Jason, the hero who captured the Golden Fleece, and Medea, the sorceress who returned with him to Corinth and had two sons with him. As the play opens, Jason plans to marry the daughter of King Creon, and the lovesick Medea plots how to take her revenge.

By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Book cover Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis is Shakespeare's narrative poem about the love of the goddess Venus for the mortal youth Adonis, dedicated partly to his patron, the Earl of Southampton (thought by some to be the beautiful youth to which many of the Sonnets are addressed). The poem recounts Venus' attempts to woo Adonis, their passionate coupling, and Adonis' rejection of the goddess, to which she responds with jealousy, with tragic results. This recording features three different readers performing the narration, Venus, and Adonis.

By: John Webster (1580-1634)

The White Devil by John Webster The White Devil

John Webster's The White Devil (1612) is a Jacobean revenge tragedy, replete with adultery, murder, ghosts, and violence. The Duke of Brachiano and Vittoria Corombona decide to kill their spouses, Isabella and Camillo, in order to be together, aided by the crafty and ambitious Flamineo, Vittoria's brother. Their actions prompt vows of revenge from Isabella's brother Francisco, the Duke of Florence, and Count Lodovico, who was secretly in love with her. The title refers to the early modern proverb that "the white devil is worse than the black," indicating the hypocrisy practiced by many of the characters in the play.

By: Louis Ulbach (1822-1889)

The Steel Hammer by Louis Ulbach The Steel Hammer

A large inheritance greatly transforms the lives of three people: a good man, who would have inherited at least a part of the fortune if his uncle hadn't passed away before he could alter the will, his cousin, who inherits all but is prevented from enjoying it, and a gambler, who is in desperate need of such a sum of money. The connection of the three ends fatal for at least one of them.

By: Sophocles (495-406 BC)

Book cover Philoctetes

Sophocles' play recounts an episode from the Trojan War, in which the wily Odysseus and Achilles' son Neoptolemus travel to a remote island to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his death) in order to defeat the Trojans. The problem is that years before Odysseus had engineered Philoctetes' abandonment on the island, due to a festering, stinking wound he had received from a snakebite. Will Philoctetes forgive and forget, or will he take his revenge?

By: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen Rosmersholm

Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen’s masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884. As expressed by the protagonist, Rosmer, the theme of the play is social and political change, in which the traditional ruling classes relinquish their right to impose their ideals on the rest of society, but the action is entirely personal, resting on the conduct of the immoral, or amoral, “free thinking” heroine, Rebecca, who sets herself to undermine Rosmer’s religious and political beliefs because of his influential position in the community...

By: Thomas Middleton (1580-1627)

Book cover Women Beware Women

Thomas Middleton's masterful 17th century tragedy is packed with adultery, incest, intrigue, revenge, and inventive methods for murder. Leantio elopes with Bianca against her family's wishes and tries to hide her in the house he shares with his widowed mother. Yet the Duke sees Bianca at the window and is powerfully attracted to her, threatening Leantio's security. Livia, a wealthy widow, delights in intrigue, aiding the Duke to satisfy his desires with Bianca, and bringing together her brother Hippolito with her niece Isabella, despite their familial relationship...

By: Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE - c. 456 BCE)

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes

In this, the only extant tragedy from Aeschylus' trilogy about the House of Oedipus, Thebes is under siege from Polynices, a former prince of Thebes. After King Oedipus left his city and cursed the princes, Polynices and his brother, Eteocles, decided to rule alternately, switching at the end of every year. However, at the end of his year as king, Eteocles refused to turn power over to his brother and exiled him, fulfilling his father's curse that the two brothers could not rule peacefully. In the action of the play, Polynices and a group of Argive soldiers are attacking Thebes so that he can take his place as ruler...

By: Euripides (480 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Hippolytus

Eurpides' tragedy tells of Theseus' chaste son Hippolytus, who refuses to worship Aphrodite in favor of Artemis. Aphrodite gets revenge by causing Hippolytus' stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him, unleashing a chain of tragic events.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Orestes

In accordance with the advice of the god Apollo, Orestes has killed his mother Clytemnestra to avenge the death of his father Agamemnon at her hands. Despite Apollo’s earlier prophecy, Orestes finds himself tormented by Erinyes or Furies to the blood guilt stemming from his matricide. The only person capable of calming Orestes down from his madness is his sister Electra. To complicate matters further, a leading political faction of Argos wants to put Orestes to death for the murder. Orestes’ only hope to save his life lies in his uncle Menelaus, who has returned with Helen after spending ten years in Troy and several more years amassing wealth in Egypt...

By: Louis Ulbach (1822-1889)

For Fifteen Years by Louis Ulbach For Fifteen Years

For Fifteen Years by Louis Ulbach is the sequel to The Steel Hammer which tells the story of a poor upholsterer, Jean Mortier who is falsely accused of murder and the tragic chain of events that follow. For Fifteen Years begins in the aftermath of the conviction when the destitute wife and daughter of Jean Mortier are taken in by the family of a character witness from the trial, Gaston de Monterey. Circumstances and deceptions lead to distrust and tension among the two families for fifteen years but the daughter of Jean Mortier and the son of Gaston de Monterey have fallen in love...

By: William Shakespeare (1554-1616)

Book cover Two Noble Kinsmen

The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy co-written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, first published in 1634. Set in ancient Greece during a war between Athens and Thebes, the narrative follows the title characters, Palamon and Arcite, noble youths whose friendship is destroyed by their mutual love for the beautiful Emilia. The subplot deals with the love and eventual madness of the Gaoler's Daughter, who falls hopelessly in love with Palamon. The play is based on "The Knight's Tale" by Chaucer, but also has echoes of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as two of the major characters are Theseus and Hippolyta, who also appear in the earlier play.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Iphigenia in Tauris (Murray Translation)

The apparent sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis by her own father Agamemnon was forestalled by the godness Artemis, who by an adroit sleight of hand that fooled all participants, substituted a deer for the daughter. Wafted magically away to the “Friendless Shores” of savage Tauris and installed as chief priestess presiding over the human sacrifice of all luckless foreigners, Iphigenia broods over her “murder” by her parents and longs for some Greeks to be shipwrecked on her shores so she can wreak a vicarious vengeance on them...

Book cover Alcestis

Alcestis is the earliest surviving play by Euripides. Alcestis, the devoted wife of King Admetus, has agreed to die in his place, and at the beginning of the play she is close to death. In the first scene, Apollo argues with Thanatos (Death), asking to prolong Alcestis' life, but Thanatos refuses. Apollo leaves, but suggests that a man will come to Pherae who will save Alcestis. Euripides' play is perhaps the most unusual Greek drama ever written: a tragedy that is not a tragedy.

By: William Shakespeare (1554-1616)

Book cover Tragedy of Macbeth (Version 2)

Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare. It is considered one of his darkest and most powerful tragedies. Set in Scotland, the play dramatizes the corroding psychological and political effects produced when its protagonist, the Scottish lord Macbeth, chooses evil as the way to fulfill his ambition for power. He commits regicide to become king and then furthers his moral descent with a reign of murderous terror to stay in power, eventually plunging the country into civil war. In the end, he loses everything that gives meaning and purpose to his life before losing his life itself.

By: Joseph Comyns Carr (1849-1916)

Book cover King Arthur

A retelling of the classic legend of King Arthur, Guinevere & Sir Lancelot.

By: Elizabeth Cary (1585-1639)

Book cover Tragedy of Mariam

The Tragedy of Mariam (1613) is the first original drama written in English by a woman. Elizabeth Cary drew on Jewish histories by Josephus to create a closet drama (written to be read, rather than performed live) about Mariam, the second wife of Herod the Great. At the beginning of the play, Mariam believes that Herod has been killed by Octavius, and struggles with how to respond. On the one hand, she is relieved, as she is angry with Herod for killing her brother and grandfather. On the other, she knows that he loved her, and she feels caught by her sense of duty as his wife. When Herod unexpectedly returns, Mariam must decide what to do.

By: Thomas Middleton (1580-1627)

Book cover Yorkshire Tragedy

A Yorkshire Tragedy: Not So New as Lamentable and True (1619) tells the gruesome tale of Walter Calverly who stabbed his wife and killed his two young sons in April 1605. This recording is based on the text of the second quarto, which was attributed to William Shakespeare on its title page. This transcription is based on the 1619 quarto at the Boston Public Library. Students completed the transcription in the fall of 2013 for English 422 (Seminar on

By: Sophocles (497 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Oedipus Rex (Murray Translation)

"Oedipus Rex" (Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, Oidipous Tyrannos), also known as "Oedipus the King" or "Oedipus the Tyrant," is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed about 429 BC (noted classicist Gilbert Murray, translator of this version of the play, rendered the title as "Oedipus, King of Thebes"). It was the second in order of Sophocles's composition of his three plays dealing with Oedipus. Thematically, however, it was the first in the trilogy's historical chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone...

By: Aeschylus (c. 525/524-456/455 BC)

Book cover Agamemnon (Browning Translation)

The play Agamemnon details the homecoming of Agamemnon, King of Argos, from the Trojan War. Waiting at home for him is his wife, Clytemnestra, who has been planning his murder, partly as revenge for the sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, and partly because in the ten years of Agamemnon's absence Clytemnestra has entered into an adulterous relationship with Aegisthus, Agamemnon's cousin and the sole survivor of a dispossessed branch of the family (Agamemnon's father, Atreus, killed and fed Aegisthus's brothers to Aegisthus's father, Thyestes, when he took power from him), who is determined to regain the throne he believes should rightfully belong to him.

Book cover Furies (Morshead Translation)

The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus concerning the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. The name derives from the character Orestes, who sets out to avenge his father's murder. The only extant example of an ancient Greek theater trilogy, the Oresteia won first prize at the Dionysia festival in 458 BC. When originally performed, it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have followed the trilogy. Proteus has not survived, however. In all likelihood the term "Oresteia" originally referred to all four plays; today it generally designates only the surviving trilogy...

Book cover Agamemnon (Morshead Translation)

The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus concerning the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. The name derives from the character Orestes, who sets out to avenge his father's murder. The only extant example of an ancient Greek theater trilogy, the Oresteia won first prize at the Dionysia festival in 458 BC. When originally performed, it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have followed the trilogy. Proteus has not survived, however. In all likelihood the term "Oresteia" originally referred to all four plays; today it generally designates only the surviving trilogy...

By: Sophocles (497 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Philoctetes (Campbell Translation)

Philoctetes is a play by Sophocles (Aeschylus and Euripides also each wrote a Philoctetes but theirs have not survived). The play was written during the Peloponnesian War. It is one of the seven tragedies of Sophocles to have survived the ravages of time in its complete form. It was first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC, where it won first prize. The story takes place during the Trojan War (after the majority of the events of the Iliad, and before the Trojan Horse). It describes the attempt by Neoptolemus and Odysseus to bring the disabled Philoctetes, the master archer, with them to Troy.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Medea (Way Translation)

Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BCE. The plot centers on the actions of Medea, a barbarian and the wife of Jason; she finds her position in the Greek world threatened as Jason leaves her for a Greek princess of Corinth. Medea takes vengeance on Jason by killing Jason's new wife as well as her own children with him, after which she escapes to Athens to start a new life. Considered shocking to the playwright's contemporaries, Medea and the suite of plays that it accompanied in the City Dionysia festival came last in the festival that year...

By: William Rowley (1585-1626)

Book cover Changeling

The Changeling is a sensational 1622 tragicomedy by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley that comprises two intertwining plots. The first involves Beatrice-Joanna, daughter of the governor of Alicante, and her unruly passion for Alsemero, despite the fact that she is engaged to Alonzo de Piracquo. She enlists the aid of her father's servant De Flores to kill Alonzo so that she can marry Alsemero. However, she does not anticipate that De Flores, who is in love with her, will demand payment for the deed...

By: William Shakespeare (1554-1616)

Book cover Romeo and Juliet (version 4)

Two households, both alike in dignity,In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;Whose misadventured piteous overthrowsDo with their death bury their parents' strife.

By: John Ford (1586-1639)

Book cover 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

One of the most shocking plays produced in England during the reign of Charles I, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore chronicles the disastrous results of an incestuous affair between fatalistic Italian siblings, Giovanni and Annabella. As suitors vie for Annabella's hand, various webs of deception and revenge intertwine, culminating in a bloody finale. CAST LISTBonaventura, a Friar/ Bergetto, Nephew to Donado: alanmapstoneA Cardinal, Nuncio to the Pope AND Banditti: Algy PugSoranzo, a Nobleman: tovarischFlorio,...

By: Anonymous

Book cover King Leir and His Three Daughters

King Leir is an anonymous Elizabethan play about the life of the ancient Celtic king Leir of Britain. It was published in 1605 but was entered into the Stationers' Register on 15 May 1594. The play has attracted critical attention principally for its relationship with King Lear, Shakespeare's version of the same story.

By: Clemence Dane (1888-1965)

Book cover Bill of Divorcement

A Bill of Divorcement describes a day in the lives of a middle-aged British woman named Margaret "Meg" Fairfield, her daughter Sydney, Sydney's fiancé Kit Humphreys, Meg's fiancé Gray Meredith, and Meg's husband Hilary, who escapes after spending almost twenty years in a mental hospital. A 1932 film of the same name was directed by George Cukor and starred Katharine Hepburn and John Barrymore.

By: Thomas Middleton (1580-1627)

Book cover Revenger's Tragedy

"When the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good." The Revenger's Tragedy is a bloody Jacobean drama centering on Vindici, whose beloved has been murdered by the Duke. Aided by his brother Hippolito, Vindici plans to take revenge not only on the Duke, but on his lecherous Duchess (who is having an affair with her stepson, Spurio) and his sons Lussurioso (Lust), Ambitioso (Ambition), and Supervacuo (Excess). The play was published anonymously in 1606 and for several centuries was attributed to Cyril Tourneur; more recent scholarship has pointed to Thomas Middleton as the likely author...

By: Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920)

Book cover Electra

Originally staged in the Teatro Español in 1901, Electra is a controversial Spanish drama that documents the trials and tribulations of its innocent heroine. Electra is a young woman of unknown parentage who is raised in a convent in France and, after the death of her mother Eleuteria, adopted by her aunt and uncle. Electra soon falls in love with the scientist Maximo, but an intricate web of rumors and lies threatens to ruin their relationship. In this play, Benito Pérez Galdós tackles a number of hot-button themes: fanaticism, superstition, social justice, rationalism, and the powers of science.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Iphigenia in Aulis (Way translation)

Iphigenia in Aulis (Ancient Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Αὐλίδι) is the last extant work of the playwright Euripides. Written between 408, after the Oresteia, and 406 BC, the year of Euripides' death, the play was first produced the following year in a trilogy with The Bacchae and Alcmaeon in Corinth by his son or nephew, Euripides the Younger, and won the first place at the Athenian city Dionysia. The play revolves around Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek coalition before and during the Trojan War, and his decision to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis and allow his troops to set sail to preserve their honour in battle against Troy...

By: Sophocles (497 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Electra (Storr Translation)

Electra or Elektra is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes (409 BC) and the Oedipus at Colonus (401 BC) lead scholars to suppose that it was written towards the end of Sophocles' career. Set in the city of Argos a few years after the Trojan war, it recounts the tale of Electra and the vengeance that she and her brother Orestes take on their mother Clytemnestra and step father Aegisthus for the murder of their father, Agamemnon.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Electra (Murray Translation)

Electra (the Unmated One) is eaten up with hatred of her mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for their murder of her father Agamemnon. Married platonically to a good-hearted but poverty-stricken old peasant, she longs for the return of her brother Orestes to help her wreak vengeance. Orestes finally returns and together they carry out their fated work, but find the result to be as tragically meaningless as the lust for vengeance had been poisonous. Strikingly different from Sophocles, who wrote his “Electra” with full sympathy for the divine ordinance of revenge, Euripides squarely blames the God Apollo for putting an evil commandment on the shoulders of the siblings...

By: Aeschylus (c. 525/524-456/455 BC)

Book cover Prometheus Bound (Thoreau Translation)

Whether or not it was actually written by Aeschylus, as is much disputed, "Prometheus Bound" is a powerful statement on behalf of free humanity in the face of what often seem like the impersonal, implacable Forces that rule the Universe. As one of the most compelling rebel manifestos ever composed, it has appealed not only to the expected host of scholars of Greek drama, but also to a fascinatingly free-spirited array of translators, especially since the early 19th century; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (two very different versions), and activist-poet Augusta Webster are among those who have tried their poetic and linguistic powers at rendering it into English...

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Trojan Women (Coleridge Translation)

Described by modern playwright Ellen McLaughlin as "perhaps the greatest antiwar play ever written," "The Trojan Women," also known as "Troades," is a tragedy by the Greek playwright Euripides. Produced in 415 BC during the Peloponnesian War, it is often considered a commentary on the capture of the Aegean island of Melos and the subsequent slaughter and subjugation of its populace by the Athenians earlier that year. 415 BC was also the year of the scandalous desecration of the hermai and the Athenians' second expedition to Sicily, events which may also have influenced the author...

By: Sophocles (497 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Antigone (Plumptre Translation)

A powerful artistic protest against tyranny, "Antigone" has been translated and adapted dozens of times, applied over and over through the centuries to current forms of the oppression so common to human experience. Antigone's heroic resistance to Creon's petty, capricious, and unbending law has a never-ending relevance even in the third millennium CE. The play was written at a time of national fervor. In 441 BC, shortly after the play was released, Sophocles was appointed as one of the ten generals to lead a military expedition against Samos...

Book cover Oedipus at Colonus (Jebb Translation)

"Oedipus at Colonus" (also Oedipus Coloneus, Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, Oidipous epi Kolōnō) is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles' death in 406 BC and produced by his grandson (also called Sophocles) at the Festival of Dionysus in 401 BC. In the timeline of the plays, the events of "Oedipus at Colonus" occur after "Oedipus the King" and before "Antigone"; however, it was the last of Sophocles' three Theban plays to be written...

By: Aeschylus (c. 525/524-456/455 BC)

Book cover Libation-Bearers (Morshead Translation)

The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus concerning the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. The name derives from the character Orestes, who sets out to avenge his father's murder. The only extant example of an ancient Greek theater trilogy, the Oresteia won first prize at the Dionysia festival in 458 BC. When originally performed, it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have followed the trilogy. Proteus has not survived, however. In all likelihood the term "Oresteia" originally referred to all four plays; today it generally designates only the surviving trilogy...

Book cover Seven Against Thebes (Way Translation)

Seven against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won the first prize at the City Dionysia. The trilogy's first two plays, Laius and Oedipus, as well as the satyr play Sphinx, are no longer extant. When Oedipus, King of Thebes, realized he had married his own mother and had two sons and two daughters with her, he blinded himself and cursed his sons to divide their inheritance (the kingdom) by the sword...

Book cover Suppliant Maidens (Morshead Translation)

The Suppliants, also called The Suppliant Maidens, or The Suppliant Women, is a play by Aeschylus. It was probably first performed sometime after 470 BC. It was long thought to be the earliest surviving play by Aeschylus due to the relatively anachronistic function of the chorus as the protagonist of the drama. However, evidence discovered in the mid-20th century shows it one of Aeschylus' last plays, definitely after The Persians and possibly after Seven Against Thebes....The Danaids form the chorus and serve as the protagonists...

By: Sophocles (497 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Ajax (Campbell Translation)

Ajax is a Greek tragedy written in the 5th century BC. The date of Ajax's first performance is unknown and may never be found, but most scholars regard it as an early work, c. 450 - 430 BC. It chronicles the fate of the warrior Ajax after the events of the Iliad, but before the end of the Trojan War. At the onset of the play, Ajax is enraged because Achilles' armor was awarded to Odysseus, rather than to him. He vows to kill the Greek leaders who disgraced him. Before he can enact his extraordinary revenge, though, he is tricked by the goddess Athena into believing that the sheep and cattle that were taken by the Achaeans as spoil are the Greek leaders...

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Alcestis (Way Translation)

Alcestis, queen of Pherae, is one of the noblest heroines in all of Greek drama. Her husband Admetus is the supposedly virtuous king of Pherae who wins the friendship of the god Apollo. Apollo tricks the Eumenides into an agreement that when the time comes for Admetus to die, a willing substitute will be accepted in his place, allowing his friend to go on living. Admetus selfishly tries to persuade anyone to agree to be his substitute, even his own parents, but no one is willing to make that sacrifice; this disappointment and its tragic consequences embitter him, leading him ultimately to disown his father and mother...

By: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Book cover Brand

Inflamed by what he saw as his Norwegian homeland's shocking betrayal of Denmark after the Prussian invasion of Danish territory, Ibsen wrote "Brand" as an indictment of human complacency and rigidity of mind. Composing this "dramatic poem" from his self-imposed exile in Italy, Ibsen had long agonized over the stodgy provincialism of his countrymen, but the abandonment of Denmark took on the dimensions in his imagination of a human tragedy far surpassing his own personal experiences. Brand is a priest who refuses to compromise, at the cost of great suffering to others, and who lives by unrealizable ideals...


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