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The Reception and Performance of Euripides' HeraklesReasoning Madness$
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Kathleen Riley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199534487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199534487.001.0001

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‘No longer himself’: the tragic fall of Euripides' Herakles

‘No longer himself’: the tragic fall of Euripides' Herakles

(p.14) 1 ‘No longer himself’: the tragic fall of Euripides' Herakles
The Reception and Performance of Euripides' Herakles

Kathleen Riley

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Euripides' own radical treatment of the Herakles mainomenos myth, namely his externalization of the madness and humanization of the hero. The structural fission, unparalleled central epiphany, and highly unusual characterization of Herakles and Lyssa establish psychological and ethical discontinuity between Herakles sane and Herakles insane. Against divine unreason, the rehabilitated Herakles emerges as a mature and humanistic hero whose salvation is achieved through human philia (love, friendship) and his own progressive spiritual resolve. The chapter concludes with a brief survey of antiquity's alternate traditions of the myth prior to Seneca.

Keywords:   Euripides, Herakles mainomenos, externalization, humanization, Lyssa, rehabilitated, humanistic, philia, alternate traditions

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