BMCR 2003.12.23

Euripides. Bacchae, Iphigenia at Aulis, Rhesus. Loeb Classical Library 495

, , Bacchae ; Iphigenia at Aulis ; Rhesus. Loeb classical library ; 495. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002. viii, 455 pages ; 17 cm.. ISBN 0674996011. $21.50.

This is the sixth Euripides volume in David Kovacs’ excellent Loeb series (Harvard University Press, 1994-2002). K’s text is his own but relies on earlier editors’ collations of the mss. Drawing extensively on Diggle’s Oxford text, K. refers the reader to Diggle’s apparatus criticus, so his own textual notes are sparse. But K. distinguishes his goals from those of an OCT editor, valuing readability even if this means supplying an absent line if the context is clear (vol. I, p. 38). K. cautions readers against blind faith in the manuscripts’ accuracy and fear of guesswork, calling these “irrational attitudes” (vol. I, p. 39). K. thus approaches the manuscripts with considerable skepticism, and his editorial decisions and translations reflect his interpretive preferences. Nevertheless, his textual decisions are generally judicious, and his translations are fluid and readable, faithful to the Greek without being stilted, accessible without being anachronistic.

More than any recent translator of the Bacchae, K. minimizes the play’s references to sexual and visual themes.1 K. denies the attribution of skopophilia to Pentheus, since in his view this would undermine the universality of Pentheus’ role as a tragic hero (pp. 7-9). Thus, for example, K.’s Pentheus imagines that the bacchae “sneak off one here, one there to tryst in private with men” ( ἄλλην … ὑπερετεῖν 222-223). Way’s “…to work with men the deed of shame” leaves no room for doubt but obviously needs up-dating, and other translators are more explicit. Compare Golder’s “…into the bushes where they serve the lusts of men” (and similarly Arrowsmith, Buller, Esposito, Franklin, Morwood, Rudall, Williams), or Meagher’s less literal “wrap themselves around men” or Walton’s “off they creep to bed down.” (Raphael and McLeish’s “slipping off on the quiet, one by one, / to whore with men” probably overdoes it.) Compare, too, K’s restrained “They hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god” (225) with Raphael and McLeish’s “They worship lust, not God.” K. also preserves Way’s suggestive, if somewhat ambiguous and old-fashioned, “consorts” ( συγγίγνεται 237), in contrast to other more explicit and less literal choices, such as “he plays around” (Woodruff), “he’s at it with” (Raphael and McLeish), “he debauches them” (Walton).

K. perhaps errs on the side of discretion, but his conservative approach to the sexual issues provides a healthful antidote to the excesses of some translators. K’s Dionysus asks Pentheus, “What? Have you conceived such a strong desire ( ἔρωτα) for this?” (813). Others render ἔρωτα as “passion” (e.g. Esposito, Morwood, Seaford, Woodruff), “wild craving” (Williams), or adverbially as “passionately” (Arrowsmith, Buller, Franklin). But K. at least avoids exaggerating or trivializing Pentheus’ predicament (cf. Raphael and McLeish: Dionysus: “D’you want to see them at it in the hills?” Pentheus: “See them? More than gold I’d give …” Dionysus: “what, most of all? What … turns you on?”(811-813).) With possibly too much delicacy, K.’s Pentheus says “Indeed, I imagine that like birds caught in bushes they are held fast in sweet enclosures of their beds” ( καὶ μὴν δοκῶ σφᾶς ἐν λόχμαις ὄρνιθας ὡς λέκτρων ἔχεσθαι φιλτάτοις ἐν ἕρκεσιν 957-8). (Cf. Dodds’ “Think of it! I fancy they are in the bushes now, like mating birds, hugged close in the grip of love,” or Seafords’ “And indeed I suppose them to be in the thickets like birds, held in the most pleasant nets of love-making.”) But again, K. avoids the overly-prurient approach of other translators (e.g. Meagher’s “… locked in love, twitching like mating birds,” or Walton’s “… At it, like sparrows,” or Woodruff’s “…held in a sweet tangle of sex”). K.’s Pentheus also states mildly, “I would see clearly the maenads’ shameful behavior” ( αἰσχρουργίαν 1062). (Cf., for example, Meagher’s “their perversity,” Arrowsmith’s, Williams’, Golder’s “shameless orgies,” Walton’s “debauchery,” Morwood’s “foul antics,” Woodruff’s “shocking behavior,” or Raphael and McLeish’s “filth.”) K.’s treatment of this theme remains consistent throughout, and comparison of his translation with others yields numerous examples of this kind.

In rejecting the voyeuristic interpretation, K. minimizes not only all sexual references, but also elements of visual reciprocity and metatheatricality in the play, all of which are, arguably, thematically central and, in general, powerfully ironic. Translating ἰδών (357) as “he will find,” when Pentheus threatens Dionysus, K. obscures the crucial irony that, ultimately, not Dionysus but Pentheus will (literally) “see” a πικρὰν βάκχευσιν (357). K’s “so that his eyes get plenty of darkness” (510) misses the force of εἰσορᾷ (cf. Esposito’s “so that he sees only pitch darkness” or Teevan’s “let him see his true nature in the dark”) as does K’s “Do you mark” for ἐσορᾷς (550) (cf. Arrowsmith, Buller, Esposito, Morwood, Rudall, Teevan et al.). While K. retains the reciprocity between subject and object in Dionysus’ riddling response ὁρῶν ὁρῶντα“We could see one another” (470), he does not emphasize the theme (cf. Golder’s “he gave me his rites, / seeing that I could see,” or Esposito’s “It was face to face. He looked at me, I at him”). Avoiding the metatheatrical implications of “spectator,” K. translates θεατής (829) as “viewer” (cf. Seaford, Morwood, Esposito). Here, too, less literal translations elide the noun and exaggerate Pentheus’ skopophilia (e.g. Woodruff’s voyeuristic “don’t want a view of…?” or Walton’s “Do you want a peep at the Maenads…?” or Raphael and McLeish’s suggestive pause: “You wanted to see them… to watch them dance?”) or omit the visual reference (e.g. Mahon’s “Look, do you want to do this thing or not?”). K. also translates θεωρίας (1047) as “festival,” although he provides a footnote explaining the word’s ambiguous meaning of both “an official delegation to a religious festival” and “viewing.” But K. does render faithfully all of the references to visual perception in Cadmus’ speech (1302-1326) and in the remainder of the play. He accepts Kirchhoff’s ἔμ’ ἴδοι (as does Seaford) at 1384, translating Agave’s final assertion of visual reciprocity, “…where unclean Cithaeron shall never or my eyes see Cithaeron.” (Cf. Meagher’s “far from the sight of Kithaeron” or Woodruff’s “I’d like to go far away from the curse of Kithairon,/ where I can’t see Kithairon,” which transmit only half of the visual relationship.)

Although K. does not always transmit the references to visual perception, he does preserve other crucial metaphorical language, such as the hunting imagery at 435ff. and 451-452, where his Pentheus claims, “He is in the net and is not fast enough to escape from me” (451-452). (Cf. Meagher’s “He’ll need more than feet to flee from here,” or Golder’s “He’s netted now, / he won’t be dancing out of this.”) K. preserves the ironic suggestion in the Greek that Dionysus obliterates even objectively measurable phenomena like speed as well as the ironic foreshadowing of Pentheus himself as captured prey.

But K. avoids metaphors with less thematic significance. For example, while preserving πόδα of the manuscript (rejecting Blomfield’s βάσιν), K. translates, “Hold on! Calm your anger!” (647). The metaphor, “Put a quiet foot under one’s anger,” (Dodds, p. 157) is tricky to render in English. (Williams’ “Step calmly with your anger” seems awkward and, arguably, not worth the price, while Golder’s “Hold it, not another step, I warn you, Pentheus,/ Tread lightly” offers an effective compromise.) The messenger’s ἢ λόγον στειλώμεθα (669) poses a similar challenge. Seaford’s “or whether I should draw in the sail of my report” preserves the metaphor, but the effect is wooden. K. opts for the unmetaphorical “or be circumspect in my speech.” (I like the concise alliteration of Esposito’s “or whether I must reef in my report.”)

Avoiding metaphorical embellishment or addition, K. transmits without distortion the starkest moments of the play. His first messenger, for example, recites supernatural events with straightforward and disturbing simplicity, claiming that “the whole mountain with its beasts was as possessed as they [the bacchae] were, and everything was set in rapid motion” (726-727) (cf. Gibbons’ “…till nothing that lived was outside the running dance”). K. is similarly compelling in the tight, tense, and painful exchange between Agave and the chorus (1168-1201), and effectively literal when his Agave refers simply to “the fingers of our pale-skinned hands” (1207-1208), a more contemporary version of Way’s “with the fingers white/ of our own hands.” (Cf. Rudall’s “with the soft white flesh of our hands.”) Other translators seek an implement: “nails” (Williams, Golder), “hooks” (R & M) “knives” (Meagher), “blades” (Esposito), and miss the point that the women hunt without implements.2

Literal translation enables K. to capture the mood and intensity of the chorus throughout, but prose is not, unfortunately, well-suited to choral passages, and K’s versions lack the lyric lightness and movement of the Greek. His chorus of Asian bacchants begins, for example, “From the land of Asia,/leaving behind Tmolus the sacred mount, I have sped,/ toiling for Bromios a toil that is sweet/ and a weariness that wearies happily, / making ecstatic cry to the bacchic god (64-67). This faithfully transmits the sense of the Greek, capturing κάματόν τ’ εὐκάματον nicely, but misses the feeling of headlong rush that the Greek conveys, the sense of ecstatic transport. (Cf., for example, Golder’s “Out of Asia/over Tmolus/racing down/ we come/ crying evohe —/ Evohe O Bromios,/Roaring god,/ you,/you we serve/ with this labor/ the sweet/ sweet labor/ of crying/ evohe/ evohe unending/ evohe/ until we drop/ evohe from joy.”) K.’s chorus describes, rather than enacts.

K.’s editorial decisions are less restrained than his translations, and small textual emendations can have significant consequences. For example, unlike many translators, K., like Seaford and Dodds, interprets without comedy the scene between Cadmus and Teiresias. Accepting οὐκοῦν (191) of the OCT, many translate Cadmus’ statement as a question, “Shall we take our chariots to the mountain?” (Arrowsmith and, similarly, Buller, Esposito, Franklin, Gibbons, Golder, Mahon, Morwood, Raphael and McLeish, Rudall, Seaford, Teevan, Williams, Woodruff.) Others treat the line as a positive assertion. (Cf.Way’s “Come, to the mountain fare we, chariot-borne,” and Walton’s “Let’s order my chariot to take us to the mountains,” or Meagher’s jarringly contemporary “So why don’t we hop into my chariot and drive up into the mountains!”) In these versions, Cadmus comically undercuts his own insistence that he no longer feels old (188-189). In contrast, K. reads οὔκουν, and K. alone translates the comment as a negative assertion: “No chariot then will take us to the mountains.” Similarly, K. treats 195 as a statement, rather than a question (cf. the OCT) translating, “we alone shall dance in the god’s honor” and removing any hint of hesitation or doubt. K’s Cadmus feels thoroughly rejuvenated; his statement provides no comic contrast with his previous claims.

Similarly, a small editorial decision alters the meaning of the controversial, twice-repeated choral passage in the third stasimon (877-881 = 897-901). K. accepts Willink’s ἦ τι for the ms. ἢ τί τό, translating “What good is cleverness? Is there any ( ἦ τι) god-given privilege/ nobler in the sight of men/ than to hold one’s hand in triumph/ over the heads of foes?/ What is noble is always ( αἰεί) loved.” Since like the Latin num, expects a negative answer, K.’s chorus here celebrates vengeance as the highest human value.3 In contrast, Seaford retains the ἢ τί τό of the ms. and translates, “What is the wise gift, or what is the finer gift from the gods among mortals? Is it to hold the hand powerful over the head of your enemies? (No, for) What is fine is dear always.” (Similarly, Morwood, Esposito.) On this view, the chorus is far from praising revenge,4 and the lines refer as much to Pentheus’ attempt at vengeance as to Dionysus’. The lines stress the contrast between Pentheus and Dionysus: a god can value dominance above all else, because a god can dominate perpetually; a human being cannot.5 Certainly, in this ode, the Chorus acknowledges the importance of time (see 882-883) and recognizes the distinction between gods and mortals in their relationship to it, since “The gods craftily conceal/ the unhastening tread of time” (888-889), and in this way connects this theme to the theme of hiding and concealing. Presumably, if the gods did not conceal the passage of time, mortals would realize that it is foolish to value dominance above all else, would realize that dominance, for mortals, can only be temporary, not permanent, and, therefore, not καλόν. K.’s decision to render τὸ σοφόν as “cleverness” and his addition of “what good is” makes the chorus’ observation simplistic rather than re-evaluative.

K.’s editorial decisions prove even more determinative in the Iphigenia at Aulis. This play presents considerable textual problems, and K. aims “to set out what the audience heard at its first performance, the joint product of Euripides and his literary executor” (p. 157). K. brackets all passages that he deems later interpolations (e.g. 1-48 and 106-162; in the previous Loeb edition, Way makes no such distinctions). K. agrees with most scholars that the original performance of the play probably concluded at 1531 with Iphigenia’s voluntary self-sacrifice and brackets 1532-1629, Artemis’ circumvention of the sacrifice by the substitution of a deer (p. 161).

K. reads the I.A. straightforwardly and without irony. He argues that the play accords with themes of heroic self-sacrifice for the sake of the community elsewhere in Euripides and shows that the war against the barbarians to avenge the rape of Helen was necessary to Greek liberty. K. insists that “these sentiments are to be taken seriously” (p. 162). For K., the play stands in sharp contrast to Aeschylus’ presentation of the sacrifice of Iphigenia as the appalling first step in an unheroic conquest. He claims that “if there is any criticism of the Trojan War in our play, it is unemphatic nearly to the vanishing point” (p. 163).6

This unsubtle interpretation inevitably influences both K.’s selection of lines to bracket and his translation. He brackets, for example, 469-537, which depict Menelaus’ change of heart and include both Menelaus’ passionate refusal to kill Iphigenia for the sake of recovering Helen (473-503) and Agamemnon’s characterization of the sacrifice as “bloody murder” (512). He brackets, too, 773-784 in which the Chorus describes the sack of Troy, the “severed heads” (776), the weeping of the Trojan woman and of Priam’s wife, the suffering of Helen. When Clytaemestra criticizes the army as ἄναρχον (914), K. translates this as “undisciplined,” (cf. Way’s more pejorative “lawless,” Dimock’s “hard to control,” Cavender’s “under no restraint,” or Morwood’s “unruly”) and brackets the second half of the line and the first half of the next, in which Clytaemestra expresses the amorality of the collective: κἀπὶ τοῖς κακοῖς θρασύ, χρήσιμον δ’ ὅταν θέλωσιν (914-915). K. translates: “bold for mischief, though they can be good if they so choose.” (Cf. Way’s “and to evil bold,” Dimock’s “ripe for any crime,” Walker’s “eager for any violence,” Cavender’s “nerved for any cruel act,” and Morwood’s “who are bold when it comes to evil.”) The choice of “mischief” for τοῖς κακοῖς softens Clytaemestra’s accusation and minimizes the moral ambiguity of the collective for which Iphigenia will sacrifice herself. K. also brackets the first part of Achilles’ reply to Clytaemestra expressing his sympathy, his intention to help prevent the sacrifice, and his sense that his own honor is at stake (919-943). And K. brackets, too, the end of Iphigenia’s eloquent, heart-wrenching appeal to her father (1241-1252), in which she claims that it is “better to live ignobly than to die nobly” (1252). Inclusion of such lines would undermine K.’s reading of the play as a straightforward approbation of Iphigenia’s noble self-sacrifice. Further, K. brackets 1407-1430, in which Iphigenia criticizes Helen for causing “battles and murders because of her body” (1417-1418) and tells Achilles: “do not die on my behalf or kill anyone, but allow me to save Hellas if I can” (1419-1420). Ironically, by dying and precipitating the entire Trojan War, Iphigenia will be no less responsible for the countless deaths than Helen.7 And by bracketing 1475-1509, the last part of Iphigenia’s final speech, K. further minimizes the identification between Iphigenia and Helen.

K.’s interpretation also influences his translation and editorial choices in subtler ways. He translates Ἀφροδίτη τις (1264) as “a great longing,” when Agamemnon characterizes the Greek army’s passion to sail in revenge against Troy (1264-1266). Arguably, the reference to Aphrodite undermines the expedition’s moral imperative, since Aphrodite caused the theft of Helen in the first place.8 And K. accepts West’s conjecture of Δαναΐσιν κόραις at 1309-1310, so that his Iphigenia explains, “They came for a quarrelsome contest about beauty, but to me it spelled death: this death brings honor to Danaid girls” (1307-1310). In contrast, the Δαναΐδαισιν ὦ κόραι of the ms. (preserved in Way’s previous Loeb edition as well as in the OCT) emphasizes the irreconcilable contrast between a child’s sacrifice and an army’s glory and points out a central horror of warfare. (Cf. Way’s “whereof to me death, but to Danaans glory, O damsels,” Cavender’s “it brought me death, women, and to the Greeks/ it brought a reputation that will live forever,” Walker’s “which to me brings death, O maidens,/ but to the Danaans glory,” or Dimock’s “whose issue is my death,/ O my friends,/ whatever glory it brings to the Argives.”) And at 1605-1606, K. translates, “Agamemnon sends me to tell you this and to say what kind of portion she has received from the gods and what kind of imperishable glory she has won in Hellas.” K, thus makes Iphigenia the subject of κυρεῖ, acknowledging that this is “awkward,” but insisting that “that is clearly what the author meant” (p. 339, n. 29). Other translators understand Agamemnon as the subject of the verb (cf. Way’s “… And say what heaven-sent fortune fair he hath,/ What deathless fame through Hellas he hath won,” Walker’s “… and tell what fortune/ Had come from heaven and what deathless glory/ He had won for Greece,” and Dimock’s, “…to tell you of this/ destiny which the gods have sent/ and of the glory which he has won/ among the Greeks”). K.’s version contributes to his interpretation of Iphigenia’s self-sacrifice as unproblematically glorious. Although the identification of later additions and other textual decisions supports K’s unironic interpretation of the play, his laudably literal approach to translation contrasts favorably with other translations and even belies his own interpretation. It does seem odd that the author of the Trojan Women could produce a play about Iphigenia containing no criticism of the Trojan War and its disastrous consequences. And indeed, Agamemnon’s weakness and self-delusion shine through K.’s translation. For example, having failed to persuade Clytaemestra to return home and let him arrange the “wedding,” Agamemnon maintains that he is “defeated at every turn” ( πανταχῇ νικώμενος 745). But Agamemnon has only unsuccessfully attempted two strategies: stop Clytaemestra from coming, and send her home. He hardly seems to have exhausted the possibilities, given the extreme nature of the situation.9 Moreover, K.’s Iphigenia argues that her noble death will enable the Greeks to “destroy the Phrygians, so that the barbarians will not do anything to women in the future” (1379-1380). The irony in these lines seems inescapable since what the barbarians are doing to Greek women (i.e. abducting them, as the following lines, 1381-1382, which K. brackets, explain) seems, at the moment, far less terrible than what Greeks are doing to a Greek woman. And K. compellingly renders Clytaemestra’s angry reproach to Agamemnon. Asking whether Agamemnon has thought this through, Clytaemestra sarcastically advises him that he “ought to make a just proposal among the Greeks: ‘do you want to sail to the land of the Phrygians, you Achaeans? Draw lots to see whose child must die” (1196-1198). But this, of course, is precisely what warfare inevitably entails: the participants effectively “draw lots to see whose child must die.” The angry sarcasm powerfully encapsulates the randomness of war and the generation-specific modes of experiencing it. Perhaps in a way K. does not intend, his I. A. speaks to modern times.

K.’s brief introduction to the Rhesus provides a plot summary and discusses the question of authenticity but does not offer any analysis or interpretation of the play. Not persuaded by the suggestion that the play’s weaknesses derive from its production early in Euripides’ career, K. suspects that the original Rhesus was lost by the 4th century and that the version we possess, written by someone else, was mistaken for Euripides’ original play (p. 352).

K.’s literal translation transmits the energy and swiftness of the Greek without romanticizing the characters. K. does not, for example, idealize Hector as a paragon of democratic virtues. Contrast Braun’s claim that “Hector’s failure as regent and general is owing to his fine qualities, which are, in fact, democratic virtues” (Braun, pp. 8-9). As in the Greek, K.’s Hector seems impetuous and hot-tempered, even, at times, cynically ambiguous. K.’s Chorus observes, “Hector, you are acting hastily ( ταχύνεις) before learning what is going on” (76). Eliding the verb, Braun minimizes the criticism (“Before we learn what the Greeks are doing?”), while other translators over-emphasize it (cf. Way’s “Hector, thy fiery haste outrunneth knowledge,” Lattimore’s “Too quick, Hector. You act before you understand,” and Morwood’s “Hector, you are rushing impetuously onwards before you are sure what is happening”). Similarly, K. faithfully renders Hector’s misguided and dismissive response to the shepherd’s intrusion. K.’s Hector exclaims, “How stupid the minds of rustics are!” (266) (cf. Way’s “dull-witted oft the spirits are of clowns,” Lattimore’s “What crude creatures these yokels are. They have no sense,” or Morwood’s “What great stupidity infects the minds of county-folk!”). Only Braun minimizes Hector’s intolerance, substituting the patronizing mockery of “Now here’s a sample of rustic clumsiness!” K. also captures the ambiguity in Hector’s angry response to the injured driver’s persistent accusations. Losing his temper, Hector exclaims, “Seize him! Bring him to my house and there give him such treatment as he shall not find fault with!” ( μὴ ’γκαλῇ 877-878). Other translators miss the implicit threat (cf. Way, “So tend him that he shall not slander us,” Lattimore, “Then look after him carefully, so that he will not/ be complaining any more,” Braun, “Treat him well./ I want no more complaints,” Morwood, “look after him in such a way that he will have no cause for complaint”), but K. preserves Hector’s menacing tone.

K.’s prose translations of the choral passages are fluid and accessible, and K. nicely captures the terse economy of the Muse’s bitter final words asserting the value of childlessness: “What troubles, what disasters mortals have in bearing children! Anyone who calculates them properly will spend his life childless, not beget them only to bury them!” (980-982). Although prose translation cannot capture the poetic effects of the original, K.’s translation is appropriately bleak and unequivocal.

Nearly a century has elapsed since publication of the previous Loeb editions of Euripides, and K.’s newest volume is most welcome. The text is reasonable and readable, and the translations are literal but contemporary. K.’s Euripides is timeless and timely.


1. By my count, sixteen English translations of the Bacchae have appeared since 1990, and ten of these have been published since 1998 (four in 1998, six since 1999). In this review, I cite J. Buller (Oxford, 1992), S. J. Esposito (Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1998), D. Franklin (Cambridge, 2000), R. Gibbons (Oxford, 2001), H. Golder (New York, 2001), D. Mahon (County Meath, Ireland, 1991), R. E. Meagher (Wauconda, Illinois, 1995), J. Morwood (Oxford, 1999), F. Raphael and K. McLeish (London, 1998), N. Rudall (Chicago, 1996), R. Seaford (Warminster, 1996), C. Teevan (London, 2002), J.M. Walton (London, 1998), C. K. Williams (New York, 1990), P. Woodruff (Indianapolis and Cambridge, 1998). I also cite A. S. Way’s previous Loeb edition (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1912), W. Arrowsmith (Chicago, 1959), and E. R. Dodds (Oxford, 1986). For the I.A., I cite A. S. Way (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1912), K. Cavender (Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1973), C. Walker in D. Grene and R. Lattimore (Chicago, 1958), W. S. Merwin and G. E. Dimock, Jr. (New York, 1978), J. Morwood (Oxford, 1999). For the Rhesus, I cite A. S. Way (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1912), J. Morwood (Oxford, 1999), R. Lattimore in D. Grene and R. Lattimore (Chicago, 1958), R. E. Braun (New York, 1978).

2. See Seaford pp. 243 and 245.

3. Dodds notes that ὅ τι καλὸν φίλον is an old proverb (cf. Plato, Lysis 216c), and that ( αἰεί) adds little to it (Dodds, p. 187). Seaford, however, counters that its position at the end of the line gives it weight.

4. But cf. M. Nussbaum in Williams (pp. xii-xiii), who sees in this the dark flip-side of the chorus’ freedom from the constraints of human civilization, a parallel to the duality of Dionysus himself.

5. Cf. the contrast between Ajax and Athena in Sophocles’ Ajax. Both hate their enemies and love their friends, but one is subject to time, the other is not. See B. Knox, “The Ajax of Sophocles,” in Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater (Baltimore and London, 1979), pp. 133-134.

6. But cf. Cavender, pp. 9-10 and 15.

7. Merwin and Dimock, p. 11.

8. See Merwin and Dimock, pp. 9-10.

9. Arguably, the play makes us consider other alternatives to Agamemnon’s and Menelaus’ behavior because they were not tried (Merwin and Dimock, p. 19). Dimock contends that Euripides’ antipathy to the Trojan War remained consistent and that, for him, the Trojan War served as an image for the disastrous futility of the Peloponnnesian War (Merwin and Dimock, p. 4). But while Dimock’s interpretation of the play may be more persuasive, his translation lacks K.’s accuracy and literalness. Consequently, Dimock offers an even more negative portrait of Agamemnon than the Greek text presents.