Author (Your Name)

Philippa Blume, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. English Dept.




When writting about a period we have a tendency to generalize and typify that period as a whole rather than explore the individual, and therefore varying components. Yet these components actually do not permit many generalizations to be made. We tend to forget how extensive an historical period really is and how varied one particular writer may be. The Aeschylus who wrote the Suppliants 1s an almost entirely different person from the Aeschylus who wrote the Oresteia. For this reason it would not be accurate to discuss all the Greek tragedies in terms of one tragedy alone, and yet it is also impossible to discuss all of them. Realizing this limitation I have selected certainGreek tragedies to illustrate both the variety and unity with in one period. Aeschylus' Oresteia, Sophocles' Oedipus, and Euripides' Hippolytus are to be the examples. We cannot dogmatically claim what was the major motivation or idea behind the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides. It is fairly safe to assume that they were partly concerned with winning a prize at the Dionysian festival for which the traedies were originally written, but it is also safe to assume that the idea which recurs throughout a tragedy is the one which holds the greatest interest for the author.


Aeschylus, Criticism and interpretation, O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953, criticism and interpretation