Poetry

Seneca: The Trojan Women

Marie-Lan Nguyen - Wikimedia CommonsThe Trojan Women (Latin: Troades) by Seneca is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name, along with elements of the latter's Hecuba.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Two Tragedies of Seneca - Medea and The Daughters of Troy by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, verse translation by Ella Isabel Harris. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Ten Tragedies of Seneca. Latin text with English translation by Watson Bradshaw (1902). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L062N - Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Theoi: Troades, translated by Frank Justus Miller. HTML format.

Wikisource: The Trojan Women, English translation by Miller. HTML and other formats.

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Seneca: The Madness of Hercules

Picture by Marie-Lan Nguyen - Wikimedia CommonsThe Madness of Hercules (Latin: Hercules Furens) by Seneca the Younger is a Latin adaptation of Euripides' play of the same name. There are some differences in the plot. For example, instead of threatening to kill Hercules' children, the Theban usurper Lycus seeks to marry his wife Megara.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive:  Three tragedies of Seneca: Hercules furens, Troades, Medea, edited by H.M. Kingery (1908). Latin text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Ten Tragedies of Seneca. Latin text with English translation by Watson Bradshaw (1902). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L062N -  Tragedies I: Hercules Furens. Troades. Medea. Hippolytus. Oedipus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Hercules Furens. Latin text. HTML and XML formats.

Theo.com: Herculens Furens, translated by Frank Justus Miller (1917). HTML format.

Wikisource: English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus

Oedipus at Colonus, Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust, 1788, Dallas Museum of ArtOedipus at Colonus (Greek: Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, Oidipous epi Kolōnō, Latin: Oedipus Coloneus) is a tragedy by Sophocles, written shortly before his death in 406/405 BCE. It was produced at Athens by his grandson Sophocles the Younger in 401 BC.

It is thus the latest of the three 'Theban plays', in which Sophocles deals with the legends surrounding Oedipus and his family. Although the plays do not constitute a trilogy, it is tempting to see the portrayal of Oedipus' search for a place to die in peace, as the final reflection of the aging Sophocles on his earlier masterpiece Oedipus Rex.

The events at Colonus, a deme on the outskirts of Athens, are set some years after the earlier play. The protection afforded King Theseus allows Sophocles to portray Athens as a bastion of justice, where the exiled Oedipus is able to find some dignity. We nevertheless see a glimpse of old passions in his curse against his sons, setting up the events which had previously been portrayed by Aeschylus in the Seven Against Thebes, and by Sophocles himself in the Antigone.

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Free online texts

Fadedpage.com: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; translated by Francis Storr.

Internet Archive: Oedipus at Colonus, Greek text edited by August Meineke (1863). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles - Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, translated by John Swinnerton Phillimore (1902). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by F. Storr. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus. L020 - Sophocles -- Sophocles I: Oedipus the King. Oedipus at Colonus. Antigone. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text edited by Francis Storr (1912). English translation and notes by Richard Jebb (1889). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Oedipus at Colonus, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Oedipus Trilogy (Oedipus the King - Oedipus at Colonus - Antigone), translated by F. Storr. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple English translations, including Plumptre (1878), Storr (1913) and Jebb (1917).

Performances and Reviews

British Theatre Guide: Oedipus at Colonus, Theatro Technis, reviewed by Howard Loxton.

The New Hampshire, Oedipus at Colonus, reviewed by Alex La Roza, 2 March 2017.

Nuvo: NoExit's Oedipus at Colonus at IMA, reviewed by Scott Shoger, May 2012.

 Other Resources

Ancient-literature.com: Oedipus at Colonus - synopsis and analysis.

Classical Wisdom: Oedipus at Colonus - the tale of two ancient deaths.

Grand Valley State University: Notes and questions for Oedipus at Colonus.

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Oedipus at Colonus, public domain audiobooks based on translations by Jebb and Storr.

Literature and History: The Requiem at Athens - Sophocles' Three Theban Plays, Part 2 - Oedipus at Colonus. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

QUATR.US Study Guides: Oedipus at Colonus, by Karen Carr.

Stockerblog: Oedipus at Colonus, by Barry Stocker.

Text Etc: Translating Sophocles 2 & 3, by C. John Holcombe.

Theatre Database: Oedipus at Colonus, essay excerpted from The Tragic Drama of the Greeks, by A.E. Haigh.

Wikipedia: Sophocles - Oedipus at Colonus.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Sophocles: The other Theban plays - Oedipus the King and Antigone.

Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes - tells the story of Oedipus' sons.

Aeschylus: Eumenides - shares a similar emphasis on Athens as the seat of justice.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Oedipus at Colonus is listed.


Dante: The Divine Comedy

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). 1465 fresco, in the dome of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Wikipedia.The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia) is a poem by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). In three canticles; Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, it describes Dante's progress on a mystic journey, through hell and purgatory, escorted by the poet Virgil, and through Heaven guided by Beatrice, an idealised portrait of the historical Florentine woman who was the object of Dante's unrequited love.

The poem is generally considered one of the central works of western literature. It gave profound expression of the medieval worldview, in an educated vernacular which would pave the way for renaissance humanism. Itself densely allusive, the work has inspired poets, painters and artists of all kinds ever since.

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Free online texts

Danteonline.it: Commedia. Italian text. HTML format.

Dartmouth College: DanteLab - a customisable digital reader.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by H.F. Cary. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Divine Comedy, translated by Charles Eliot Norton. Vol I. Hell | Vol. II Purgatory | Vol III Paradise. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, translated by Henry F. Cary. Harvard Classics Edition. Multiple formats.

ItalianStudies.org: The Divine Comedy, translated by James Finn Cotter. HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: The Divine Comedy, Italian text and English translation by Courtney Langdon. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: The Divine Comedy, prose translation by A.S. Kline. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Divine Comedy -  Italian textEnglish translation by H.F. Cary (1888). TXT format.

University of Adelaide: The Divine Comedy - The Vision of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, translated by Henry Francis Cary; illustrated by Gustave Doré. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Divina Commedia - Italian text, multiple formats. Divine Comedy, translated by Longfellow. HTML and other formats.

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Sappho: Poems

Alcaeus and Sappho. Attic red-figure kalathos from Akragas ca. 470 BC. Via Wikimedia Commons user Bibi Saint-Pol.Sappho (Greek: Ψάπφω) was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Little is known for certain of her biography, but she is thought to have lived from around 630 to 570 BCE.

Only one complete poem of hers survives, the Ode to Aphrodite. Other extant fragments include some discovered as recently as 2014.

To the ancients, Sappho was one of the nine canonical lyric poets, and was sometimes described as the 'tenth muse'. In modern times, her work has attracted much interest for its expression of female autonomy and sexuality. The use of the term 'lesbian' to describe female homosexuality is a reference to her.

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Free online texts

Bibliowiki: The Poems of Sappho, translated by Edwin Marion Cox. HTML format.

Guardian: Read Sappho's 'new' poem, translated by Tim Whitmarsh. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Poems of Sappho - An Interpretative Rendition into English , by John Myers O'Hara. Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Sappho - A New Rendering, by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. Multiple formats.

Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies: Sappho Fragments 58–59 - Text, Apparatus Criticus, and Translation, by Dirk Obbink. HTML format.

Internet Archive: Sappho - One Hundred Lyrics, translated by Bliss Carman (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sappho - Poetic Fragments, by D.M. Myatt. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sappho - The Poems and Fragments. Greek text with an English translation by C.R. Haines (1926). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L142 - Lyra Graeca I: Terpander. Alcman. Sappho. Alcaeus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Middlebury College: Sappho -New Poem No. 58 from the Koln papyrus, translated by William Harris. HTML format.

Peitho's Web: Sappho, translated by H.T. Wharton (1895). HTML format archived at the Internet Archive.

Sacred texts: The Poems of Sappho, translated by John Mysers O'Hara (1910). HTML format.

Sacred texts: The Poems of Sappho, Greek text and English translation by Edwin Marion Cox (1925). HTML and unicode formats.

University of Houston: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Julia Dubnoff. HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek texts.

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Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda

Gylfi and three speakers. Manuscript SAM 66 (Iceland, 1765–1766), Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Via Wikipedia.The Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda or Snorri's Edda (Icelandic: Snorra Edda) is a compilation of Old Norse legends traditionally attributed to the the 13th Century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson. Originally known simply as The Edda, it's later title differentiates it from collections based on the Codex Regius, which became known as The Poetic Edda.

The work is composed of four sections:

  • The Prologue presents an account of the Norse Gods tracing their ancestry to the ancient Trojans, and providing subsequent genealogies influenced by Anglo-Saxon tradition.
  • Gylfaginning - Tells the story of King Gylfi of Sweden and his encounter with three mysterious beings, High, Just-As-High, and Third. Their dialogue provides the frame for an account of the old pagan Norse cosmology.
  • Skáldskaparmál - A dialogue between Ægir, the Norse god of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry touching on Norse myth and the poetic language in which it found expression. In particular it gives a detailed list of the figurative expressions known as kennings.
  • Háttatal - A technical discussion of the verse forms of Old Norse poetry.


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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Younger Edda, translated by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson. Multiple formats. 

Heimskringla: Edda Snorri Sturlusonar - Old Norse and modern Scandinavian texts. HTML format.

Internet Archive: The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. HTML format.

Septentrionalia: Prose Edda, Old Norse texts, pdf format.

Viking Society for Northern Research: Edda, by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony Faulkes. PDF format.

Viking Society for Northern Research: Prose Edda - Prologue and Glyfaginning. Old Norse text. PDF format.

Wikisource: Prose Edda, translated by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Prose Edda, public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Prose Edda.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

The Poetic Edda.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Virgil: The Aeneid - Like many medieval European texts, the Edda employs Virgil as a model in linking local traditions to a classical heritage.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Prose Edda is listed.


Euripides: Heracleidae

Hercules and Iolaus, Fountain mosaic from the Anzio Nymphaeum, Museo Nazionale RomanoHeracleidae or the Children of Heracles (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλεῖδαι) is a tragedy by Euripides, probably first produced in Athensvaround 430 BC, in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. Its subject may have had a political resonance at the time, as Heracles was said to be the ancestor of the Dorian Greeks, a group which included the Athenians' main adversaries, the Spartans.

The play opens after Heracles' death, with his children fleeing persecution by Eurystheus, King of Argos. Accompanied by their uncle Iolaus, they take refuge at Athens. When King Demophon, son of Theseus refuses to give them up, Eurystheus declares war. Heracles' daughter Macaria offers herself as a sacrifice to ensure Athenian victory. With the aid of Heracles' eldest son, Hyllus, Eurystheus is defeated and captured.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Heracleidae, Greek text with notes by E.A. Beck (1882). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Heracleidae, Greek text with notes by C.S. Jerram (1888). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L011N - Euripides -- Euripides III: Bacchanals. Madness of Hercules. Children of Hercules. Phoenician Maidens. Suppliants. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by David Kovacs. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: Herakleidae, translated by George Theodoridis (2010). Multiple formats.

Topostext: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML format with accompanying map.

University of Adelaide: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation. HTML and other formats.

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Euripides: Medea

Medea killing one of her sons. Side A from a Campanian (Capouan) red-figure neck-amphora, ca. 330 BC. From Cumae.Medea (Ancient Greek: Μήδεια) is a tragedy by Euripides, first performed at the Athenian City Dionysia in 431 BC in which it came last.

The central character is taken from the legendary voyage of the Argonauts, during which Jason was assisted by the Colchian princess Medea to obtain the golden fleece. The play opens some years after Jason's return to Corinth with Medea as his wife. Jason has decided to cast her aside to marry Glauce, daughter of King Creon of Corinth. Medea is sent into exile at Athens, but persuades the Athenian King Aegeus to allow her to return. She poisons Glauce and Creon, before killing her own children by Jason, and fleeing to Athens.

Medea's escape may have contributed to contemporaries' negative judgement on the play. In modern times, however, it has been widely performed, with much interest in the issues of gender and ethnicity raised by a play which make a barbarian woman its central protagonist.

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Free online texts

Geoffrey Steadman: Medea, Greek text with commentary. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Medea, translated by Gilbert Murray (1912). Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Medea, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Medea, translated by T.A. Buckley (1897). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Medea, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L012 - Euripides -- Euripides IV: Ion. Hippolytus. Medea. Alcestis. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation, by David Kovacs. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Medea, translated by George Theodoridis (2005). Multiple formats.

Stoa.org: Euripides' Medea, translated by C.A.E. Luschnig. PDF format.

University of Adelaide: Medea, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Performances and Reviews

Almeida London 2015

Susannah Clapp, 'a female voice both ancient and modern', Guardian, 4 October 2015.

Bristol Old Vic 2017

Lyn Gardner, 'all-female cast excel as Euripides meets modern-day Maddy', Guardian, 12 May 2017.

Other Resources

Ancient-Literature.com: Medea - synopsis and analysis.

The Conversation: Medea is as relevant today as it was in Ancient Greece, 23 July 2014, by Laura Swift.

History of Ancient Greece: Early Euripides, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Internet Archive: An English Commentary on the Rhesus, Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, Heraclidae, Supplices, and Troades of Euripides, by Charles Anthon (1877). Multiple formats.

The Iris: A Guide to Euripides' Medea, by Mary Louise Hart, 11 September 2015.

Librivox: Medea, public domain audiobooks.

Literature and History: Woman the Barbarian -Euripides' Medea. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

Wikipedia: Medea (play).

Youtube: Theater Talk- “Medea” actress Fiona Shaw and director Deborah Warner.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Apollonius of Rhodes: Argonautica - The best known treatment of the Argo story.

Gaius Valerius Flaccus: Argonautica.

Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae  - features Euripides as a character who is mocked for his portrayal of women.

Hesiod: Theogony.

Herodotus: The Histories - records a tradition about Medea's return to Colchis.

Pindar: Pythian Odes.

Pseudo-Apollodorus: Bibliotheca.

Diodorus Siculus: The Historical Library - discusses a number of versions of Medea's story.

Seneca: Medea.

Cicero: Pro Caelio -  deploys Medea's name as a rhetorical barb against Clodi, sister of P. Clodius Pulcher.

Ovid - refers to the legend in the Heroides, Metamorphoses and Tristia.

Hyginus: Fabulae.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Medea is listed.


Sophocles: The Women of Trachis

Death of Hercules (painting by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1634, Museo del Prado)The Women of Trachis or The Trachiniae (Greek: Τραχίνιαι) is a play by Sophocles thought to be among his earlier surviving works.

The tragedy centres on Heracles and his wife Deianeira, who attempts to win back his love from a captured slave with a love-potion, only to find her self tricked into poisoning him.

The Women of Trachis at Amazon (US/UK/Canada) | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Seven Plays in English Verse, translated by Lewis Campbell. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles Vol. II; Ajax, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes. Greek text with facing translation by F. Storr (Loeb edition, 1916). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles, translated by Thomas Franklin (1848). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles Vol II; Trachinae, Ajax, Philoctetes, Electra, verse translation by Thomas Dale (1824). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles, Vol II; Ajax, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes, Fragments, translated by Lewis Campbell (1879). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Tragedies of Sophocles, translated by Richard C. Jebb (1904). Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L021 - Sophocles II: Ajax. Electra. Trachiniae. Philoctetes. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

University of Adelaide: The Trachiniae, translated by R.C. Jebb. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple translation. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

History of Ancient Greece: Heracles from Zero to Hero, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Trachiniai, translated by Lewis Campbell. Public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Sophocles

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Bacchylides: Poems.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

Euripides: Heracles.

Euripides: Heracleidae.

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Women of Trachis is listed.


Sophocles: Electra

Electra (Greek:  Ἠλέκτρα) is a tragedy by Sophocles produced probably between 41 and 410 BC, a similar date to Euripides' play of the same name, so that it is uncertain which of the two is earlier.

Like Aeschylus' Libation Bearers, both plays focus on Electra's reunion with her brother Orestes, and their joint revenge on their mother Clytemnestra for the murder of their father Agamnenon, King of Mycenae. Sophocles treatment has been thought be some to be distinctive in downplaying the moral issues raised by their vengeance.

Electra at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Seven Plays in English Verse, translated by Lewis Campbell. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles Vol. II; Ajax, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes. Greek text with facing translation by F. Storr (Loeb edition, 1916). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles Vol II; Trachinae, Ajax, Philoctetes, Electra, verse translation by Thomas Dale (1824). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles, translated by Thomas Franklin (1848). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sophocles, Vol II; Ajax, Electra, Trachiniae, Philoctetes, Fragments, translated by Lewis Campbell (1879). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Tragedies of Sophocles, translated by Richard C. Jebb (1904). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Electra, translated by R.C. Jebb. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L021 - Sophocles II: Ajax. Electra. Trachiniae. Philoctetes. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text, edited by Francis Storr (1913). Translation by R.C. Jebb (1894). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Elektra, translated by George Theodoridis (2006). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Electra, translated by R.C. Jebb. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple translations. Multiple formats.

Performances and Reviews

Italy 1962

YouTube: Elektra 1962 (English subtitles)

University of Newcastle (Australia) 1998

YouTube: Sophocles' Elektra (1998 production).

Dream Theatre, Chicago 2010

YouTube: Electra.

Pittsburgh Public Theater 2011

YouTube: Ted Pappas talks about Sophocles' fiery classic ELECTRA at Pittsburgh Public Theater.

The Old Vic 2014 - BBC 2015

YouTube: Sophocles' Electra - Kristin Scott Thomas (BBC Radio 3) - radio production.

Other Resources

Ancient-Literature.com: Electra - synopsis and analysis.

History of Ancient Greece: Sophocles, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Translations by Lewis Campbell and Francis Storr. Public domain audiobooks.

Stage Agent: Electra (Sophocles).

Wikipedia: Sophocles - Electra (Sophocles Play).

YouTube: Scene from Sophocles's "Electra"- Fall 2009-Styles of Directing & Acting Class NYU, by Abigail Devora.

Youtube: Popular Videos - Sophocles and Electra.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Homer: The Odyssey.

Aeschylus: The Oresteia - Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides.

Euripides: Electra.

Aristotle: The Poetics.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Electra is listed.