A comparison between Sophocles’ and Euripides’ plays on Electra’s tragic story.
This paper discusses the tragic story of Electra, but at the same time, illustrates the nature of courage, honor and loyalty despite the tragedy. The author compares two version of this play, those by Sophocles and Euripides, emphasizing how these plays are similar to each other as well as diverge from one another.
The part of Electra in this version of the play is an ideal one to play for any ambitious actress, for the character is called upon to feel and display every human emotion – passion and joy, hatred and despair. In the end she is the avenged heroine, but Sophocles has left a certain ambiguity about how we should interpret her character (although perhaps this ambiguity would not have been apparent to classical audiences). Has Electra in the end been freed from her lifelong desire for revenge? Or has she become so distorted by years of hatred that she can never be whole again?
The term tragedy is often used in a loose sense to describe any sad event, but as a term in the theater it should be properly applied only to such works as we have been discussing here – dramatic treatments that ask us to consider with the highest degree of seriousness the nature of heroism, of misery, of loss, of endurance – and also of joy and the possibility of happiness after sorrow.