chapter  4
6 Pages

The 'Troades'

The Hippolytus is justly renowned for its tragic beauty and power, and it is not suggested that the inconveniences just discussed are as prominent in reading or performance as they are in analysis. There is, however, the question why this play is strict in form while the later tragedies are not, and in these few discrepancies between the logic of the tragic idea and the demands of plot and symmetry of form we may see the answer to the question. A consideration of the Troades and Hecuba will suggest that later Euripides might have been content with presenting to us his three victims in bare juxtaposition with the minimum of logical connexion and formal unity. At all events, from now on, until he turned from tragedy to melodrama and tragi-comedy, Euripides sacrifices this external tidiness to directness of expression, being in this truly Greek; for surely the greatness of all Greek art lies not in its ability to achieve beauty of form (never the first aim of the great artist), but in its absolute sincerity to the underlying idea. We have to wait a century or more to see the rise of' classicism'.