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Eventually he retired to the "rustic court" of King Archelaus in Macedonia, where he died in 406 BC.
Euripides was the youngest in a set of three great tragedians who were almost contemporaries: his first play was staged thirteen years after Sophocles' debut and only three years after Aeschylus's masterpiece, the Oresteia.
It is said that he died in Macedonia after being attacked by the Molossian hounds of King Archelaus and that his cenotaph near Piraeus was struck by lightning—signs of his unique powers, whether for good or ill (according to one modern scholar, his death might have been caused instead by the harsh Macedonian winter).
In an account by Plutarch, the catastrophic failure of the Sicilian expedition led Athenians to trade renditions of Euripides' lyrics to their enemies in return for food and drink (Life of Nicias 29).
In fact the boy was destined for a career on the stage, where however he was to win only five victories, one of which was after his death.
He served for a short time as both dancer and torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius.
Yet he also became "the most tragic of poets", He was "the creator of..cage which is the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being frequently lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes.
Whereas Socrates was eventually put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia.
Such comic 'evidence' suggests that Athenians admired Euripides even while they mistrusted his intellectualism, at least during the long war with Sparta.
More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, especially in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
This new approach led him to pioneer developments that later writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance.
Aeschylus had written his own epitaph commemorating his life as a warrior fighting for Athens against Persia, without any mention of his success as a playwright, and Sophocles was celebrated by his contemporaries for his social gifts and contributions to public life as a state official, but there are no records of Euripides' public life except as a dramatist—he could well have been "a brooding and bookish recluse".
He is presented as such in The Acharnians, where Aristophanes shows him to be living morosely in a precarious house, surrounded by the tattered costumes of his disreputable characters (and yet Agathon, another tragic poet, is discovered in a later play, Thesmophoriazusae, to be living in circumstances almost as bizarre).