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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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‘Let the monster be mine’: Seneca and the internalization of imperial furor

‘Let the monster be mine’: Seneca and the internalization of imperial furor

(p.51) 2 ‘Let the monster be mine’: Seneca and the internalization of imperial furor
The Reception and Performance of Euripides' Herakles

Kathleen Riley

Oxford University Press

This chapter is an analysis of Seneca's Hercules Furens in which, for the first time, the madness is internalized. Seneca dispenses with the interventionist figures, Iris and Lyssa, thereby obscuring the boundary between sanity and insanity. He portrays Hercules throughout as a megalomaniac and menacingly autarkic overreacher, whose madness triggers a latent psychosis, and whose hallucinations merely extrapolate his ‘rational’ aspirations. He thus restores the traditional theodicy, which Euripides dismantled, and introduces to this particular tale of madness both psychological and ethical coherence.

Keywords:   Seneca, Hercules Furens, internalized, megalomaniac, autarkic, latent, psychosis, theodicy, psychological

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