The Cyclops of Euripides

A 5th Century Athenian masterpiece, Cyclops is a sui generis piece of literature, and an invaluable inclusion to the literary canon.

Links to Cyclops Texts:

The only Satyr-play extant in its entirety, Euripides has composed here a lighthearted take on Homer’s famous Cyclopeia. In translating it, I have adopted a line-by-line free verse approach, so as to remain faithful to the medium of verse, as well as being as inclusive as possible with regards to the language used. Rather than modify the language too much in order to accommodate a poetry more accessible to readers of the English, my goal was merely a close rendering of the Greek into English.

As for the story, the play deftly employs the chorus of satyrs, and their infamous father Silenus, to explore a number of Ancient Greek tropes, whilst maintaining a comic atmosphere in a setting of great adversity. By reading it, ‘Cyclops’ offers an insight into the role of satyrs in Greek culture and imagination, in addition to a more general mode of Greek thought.

I have also prepared a short piece of literary criticism, analysing ten lines of Polyphemus’ speech to Odysseus, wherein the Cyclops boasts of his superiority to the Gods. I selected this passage owing to the rich connections one can draw between it and the intellectual themes of Euripidean Athens.

This passage can be found here: Euripides’ Cyclops – Lines 316-328

Since this is a play, it’s important to present it in three parallel columns: one for the character speaking, one for the dialogue, and one for the line numbers. To produce this, I’ve put both the Greek and English texts into a table, so although it’s not as neat as it could be, I’ve managed to format it in parallel. To avoid unnecessary scrolling up and down, the optimum rows per page is 10, so in clicking right, it’s like turning the pages of a book.

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