September 23 ~  Goodness of Life Complete Greek Tragedies

"The man is happiest who lives from day to day and asks no more, garnering the simple goodness of life." ~ Euripides


Greek playwright Euripides (480-406 BC) was born on the island of Salamis and grew up in Athens.

Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, Euripides wrote history's great classical tragedies. A student of philosophy and poetry, he wrote his first tragedy at age 18.

"Let my heart be wise. It is the god's best gift," he wrote.

Popular and controversial, Euripides wrote with elegant creativity. Of his estimated 90 plays, 18 have survived time and include: Medea (431), Hippolytus (428), Electra (417?), and Helen (412).

He observed, "Do not consider painful what is good for you."

Euripides was an innovative writer who focused on the ordinariness of his characters. His tragedies examined the notion that each Greek mythological hero had a "tragic flaw" that led to his inevitable downfall. He also used the plot device, deus ex machina, "god from the machine," in which a god appears to resolve a hopeless situation.

"Only our characters are steadfast," he said, "not our gold."

With simple language and intricate plot, Euripides examined the social, political, and religious views of his time. Greatly influenced by the philosopher Socrates, Euripides lived his life in search of wisdom and spread his knowledge and legacy with his writings.

Look to the simple goodness of life.