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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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How to Deliberate a War

How to Deliberate a War

17. How to Deliberate a War
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Aithra's rhetorical appeals urging her son Theseus to wage war against the Thebans in order to recover the bodies of those who died in battle outside the gates of Thebes. In Suppliant Women, Aithra calls on Theseus to use Athens's force “to compel violent men who prevent the dead from obtaining due burial and rites, and to stop those who are confounding the law of all Greece.” In trying to convince Theseus, Aithra seems to imply that he is disregarding not only the reverence owed to suppliants, but also, and more importantly, the divine law concerning the burial of corpses. Aithra's readiness to have her son risk the dangers of war is the theme that most strikes Theseus. This chapter considers how Aithra transforms and sublimates her natural motherly love into eros for Athens, and how Theseus turns into a family man and a fable-like character who impersonates a glorious legend.

Keywords:   rhetoric, Theseus, war dangers, Thebes, Suppliant Women, Aithra, Athens, burial, divine law, eros

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