An ambitious attempt to depict and understand the life of the great Euripides.
for some so-called licences in metre, belongs in my judgment markedly to the last class. In speculation he is a critic and a free lance; in artistic form he is intensely traditional. He seems to have loved the very stiffnesses of the form in which he worked. He developed its inherent powers in ways undreamed of, but he never broke the mould or strayed away into shapelessness or mere realism. His last, and in many respects his greatest, play, the Bacchae, is, as far as our evidence goes, the most formal that he ever wrote.
These, then, are the lights in which we propose to look at Euripides. In attempting to reconstruct his life we must be conscious of two backgrounds against which he will be found standing, according as we regard him as Thinker or as pure Artist. We must first try to understand something of the tradition of thought in which he was reared, that is the general atmosphere of fifth century Athens, and watch how he expressed it and how he reacted against it. Next, we must understan