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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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Herakles' apotheosis: the tragedy of Superman

Herakles' apotheosis: the tragedy of Superman

(p.252) 8 Herakles' apotheosis: the tragedy of Superman
The Reception and Performance of Euripides' Herakles

Kathleen Riley

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the philosophical appropriation of Euripides' Herakles by the Modernist writers George Cabot Lodge, W. B. Yeats, and Frank Wedekind. It shows how dramatic interest in the tragic Herakles shifted from his latent psychosis to his latent divinity, his uniquely ambivalent status as theios aner. As a consequence, the madness and filicide gathered significance not as manifestations of the Heraklean psychology, but because they anticipated and affirmed a superhuman destiny. Lodge, Yeats and Wedekindconceived of Herakles as the archetypal Nietzschean Superman, reasoning the madness and murders as an inescapable precondition of self-divinity.

Keywords:   Modernist, George Cabot Lodge, Yeats, Wedekind, theios aner, Nietzschean, Superman, self-divinity

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