Book, Library, Knowledge, Education, Read, Reading




1:45pm - 3:15pm


4/23, 4/30, 5/7, 5/14 & 5/21

(no class 4/16)

Five Sessions

This course will be offered online via the free, easy-to-use Zoom program.

Often considered the most modern of the ancient Greek playwrights, Euripides employs irony, psychological complexity and moral ambiguity—even extending to the gods.  More than any of his male contemporaries, he also understands the fury of women wronged by powerful men. We will explore the origins and conventions of Greek tragedy, read aloud portions of four of his plays, and discuss how and why these ancient works still resonate in the modern world.



The Complete Greek Tragedies, Euripides volumes I, II and V, edited by Grene and Lattimore. [University of Chicago Press, 2013]

There is also a similar edition available for free on Kindle!

  • For the first class (4/23), please read any translation of The Trojan Women.
  • For the next two classes (4/30 & 5/7), please read Medea (translated by Rex Warner) and Hippolytus (translated by David Grene), both from Euripides I.
  • For the final two classes (5/14 & 5/21), please read Electra (translated by Emily Townsend Vermeule, from Euripides II) and The Bacchae (translated by William Arrowsmith, from Euripides V).

Except for the first class, please try to obtain these translations to ensure everyone is on the same page when reading aloud.

After a career in medicine, Steven Somkin returned to his two real loves: playwriting and the ancient Greeks (his B.A. was in philosophy with a particular emphasis on Plato). An award-winning playwright, he has written 17 full length and a dozen short plays, which have been produced in New York City, the Berkshires, and regionally. He is a co-founder and current leader of the now disbanded Greek Geeks, a group of intellectual misfits devoted to reading the plays of ancient Greece. He also serves as a docent in paleontology and biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History.

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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

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