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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 Power of Love: Who Is Aphrodite?

The Power of Love: Who Is Aphrodite?

(p.46) 9. The Power of Love: Who Is Aphrodite?
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how sophia depersonalizes Aphrodite and divinizes sexual power in Euripides's poetics. It considers the intellectual predicament in which Euripides must have found himself, as a thinker and a dramatist, in interpreting the irrational and perverse nature of human sexual drive. It explains how Aphrodite's presence could account for the irrational behavior of Helen, and her return to make love with Paris after having strongly rejected that intercourse. It suggests that the mysterious, mad, and commanding force of erotic passion can be attributed to Aphrodite's instigation and imperious will. It also reflects on the debate between Helen and Hecuba in relation to the nature and effects of eros.

Keywords:   sophia, Aphrodite, sexual power, Euripides, sexual drive, Helen, love, erotic passion, Hecuba, eros

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