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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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The Lewd Gaze of the Eye

The Lewd Gaze of the Eye

(p.43) 8. The Lewd Gaze of the Eye
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the notion that the lewd gaze is what triggers erotic passion. It considers Gorgias's expression in his Encomium of Helen: “What wonder, then, if the eye of Helen, delighted by Paris's body, provoked in her soul desire and craving for love?” This view, according to which the lover is the source of his/her own passion, goes along with the alternative traditional explanation suggesting that the source of sexual desire resides in the object itself—for instance, in the cheeks or the eyes of the seducing object. As the subjective gaze in viewing a desirable object produces erotic passion, the text implies that the enemy is not outside but inside us. This chapter also discusses Hecuba's claim that Paris's beauty is the source of Helen's craving, but it is Helen's wanton and greedy glance at Paris's beauty and wealth that turns her mind into lewd and wicked desire and adultery.

Keywords:   lewd gaze, erotic passion, sexual desire, Hecuba, Paris, beauty, Helen, adultery

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