Why the Greek Tragedies Still Matter

“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering,” wrote C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain, “and you find that you have excluded life itself.” We have always suffered; we have always tried to cope. That urge to understand suffering is what’s behind one of humanity’s richest literary traditions—tragedy.

The classical Greek tragedies are the bedrock of the form: just as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle shaped philosophy, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides shaped drama. Noet’s Bristol Classic Greek Tragedies Bundle gives you some of their most important works, including Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus and Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy. These compelling stories and penetrating insights into human nature still resonate today.

For a limited time, you can pre-order these tragedies for $45 off. The Pre-Pub price goes up on June 5­—claim yours right now.

Know the most important Greek tragedians

Some eras produce astonishing leaps forward in art and science. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were of one time; so were Leibniz and Newton, who independently invented calculus. Likewise, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides all worked in roughly the fifth century BC.

  • Aeschylus is widely regarded as the father of drama. Though he obviously worked before the time of Christ, he’s deeply concerned with themes common to Christian art: good and evil.
  • Sophocles defeated Aeschylus in a drama competition in 486 BC. He went on to dominate the world of drama for the next 50 years, winning some 24 out of 30 competitions. In his Poetics, Aristotle alludes to Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as the highest achievement in tragedy.
  • Euripides defeated Sophocles in a competition in 411 BC, and went on to introduce innovations that have informed tragedy down to modern times. Before him, tragic heroes were nearly mythical figures; after, they were ordinary people in extraordinarily trying circumstances.

When you read a tragedy like Hamlet or Othello—one in which actions have consequences and, simultaneously, fate acts as an almost blind force; one in which the tragic hero is imprisoned in a cage of his or her own making—you’re reading a story with roots in the works of these ancient Greeks.

Pre-order right now for the best price

The Greek Tragedy Bundle’s Pre-Pub price is going up in just two days; after that, it won’t be on Pre-Pub for much longer. You’ll never see a better price than this.

Know the classics: pre-order the Bristol Classics Greek Tragedies Bundle for $45 off.

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Written by
David Davidson
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Written by David Davidson