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Euripides’s Revolution under CoverAn Essay$
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Pietro Pucci

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700613

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700613.001.0001

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Hecuba’s Rhetoric

Hecuba’s Rhetoric

6. Hecuba’s Rhetoric
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Hecuba's musings on the deficiency of language by focusing on her debate with Polymestor. In her debate with Polymestor before Agamemnon, Hecuba defends the revenge she has already taken on Polymestor, and her defense is a masquerade, a pretense, since Agamemnon is a complicitous judge. In an earlier scene, Agamemnon had already agreed with Hecuba that she should seek revenge. This chapter discusses the rhetorical art of Euripides's characters and suggests that its measure and qualification are always dependent on some aspect or connotation of sophia: skill, expertise, shrewdness, deceptiveness, sophistication, wisdom. It argues that Euripides's sophia is often able to disregard its own polysemic connotations and intends to deliver a truly “wise” message.

Keywords:   language, Polymestor, Agamemnon, Hecuba, revenge, rhetoric, characters, sophia, Euripides

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