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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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Eros in Euripides’s Poetics: Sex as the Cause of the Trojan War

Eros in Euripides’s Poetics: Sex as the Cause of the Trojan War

7. Eros in Euripides’s Poetics: Sex as the Cause of the Trojan War
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Euripides's treatment of sex as the cause of the Trojan War. The first aspect of sexuality in Euripides that strikes us is the violence with which it assails its subjects—most often women—in excessive, perverse, and sometimes destructive forms. This violence is deployed in a particular way and has particular effects: it dislocates and dispossesses the self, making it a puppet of a drive that the subject often cannot clearly diagnose or identify. Eros is one of the most insidious and piercing instantiations of otherness and can ensnare the whole of a human being. This representation of sexual drive threatens Euripides's metaphysics, which gestures toward an imagined self, which, through its sophia, is able to build a solid and sure stronghold against forces that would pierce through it. This chapter discusses the debate between Helen and Hecuba in Troades and suggests that it represents a typical metalepsis of Euripides's sophia.

Keywords:   sex, Trojan War, sexuality, Euripides, eros, sexual drive, sophia, Helen, Hecuba, Troades

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