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Published: 27 June 1996

112 Pages

5-5/16 x 8 inches

ISBN: 9780195094510

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (06)



Translated by W. S. Di Piero and With Introduction, Notes, and Commentary by Peter Burian

Greek Tragedy in New Translations

Series Copy
Based on the conviction that only translators who write poetry themselves can properly recreate the celebrated and timeless tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, The Greek Tragedies in New Translations series offers new translations that go beyond the literal meaning of the Greek in order to evoke the poetry of the originals. Under the editorship of Herbert Golder and the late William Arrowsmith, each volume includes a critical introduction, commentary on the text, full stage directions, and a glossary of the mythical and geographical references in the plays.

One of Euripides' late plays, Ion is a complex enactment of the changing relations between the human and divine orders and the way in which our understanding of the gods is mediated and re-visioned by myths. The story begins years before the play begins, with the rape of the mortal Kreousa, queen of Athens, by Apollo. After Kreousa secretly abandons Apollo's newly born child, Apollo has the child brought to his temple at Delphi to be reared by the priestess as ward of the shrine. Many years later the remarried and childless Kreousa goes to Delphi to seek prophecy about children with her husband Xouthos. Apollo, speaking through the oracle, bestows the temple ward, Ion, on Xouthos, enraging Kreousa. After mother and son both try to kill each other, the priestess reveals the birth tokens that permit Kreousa to recognize and embrace the child she thought was dead.
In Ion, disturbing riptides of thought and feeling run just below the often shimmering surfaces of Euripidean melodrama. Although the play contains some of Euripides' most beautiful lyrical writing, it quivers throughout with near disasters, poorly informed actions, and misdirected intentions that almost result in catastrophe.