Of Love and Bondage in Euripides’ Hippolytus

Authored by: Monica S. Cyrino

Sex in Antiquity

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519410
eBook ISBN: 9781315747910
Adobe ISBN: 9781317602774


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In his ferocious tragedy of passion gone awry, Hippolytus., Euripides portrays the destructive power and violent rippling effects of antagonistic eros., giving dramatic expression to a traditional image he inherited from earlier Greek writers and artists. 2 When the ancient Greek poets articulated the universal feeling of erotic desire, whether expressed by a male or female poet or character in a poem or play, it was almost never described as a pleasant experience. Eros in Greek poetry is characterized as having both hostile intentions and deleterious consequences. 3 The poets depict the experience of erotic desire using metaphors of war, athletic contests, natural disasters, disease, madness, with all of these attacks leading inexorably to total physical and mental devastation. Eros can be depicted as a harmful outside entity, aggressively pursuing victims, a supernatural force that attacks and invades the body and mind of the lover in order to assume control and ultimately to demolish the individual into tiny indistinct fragments.

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