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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 Polis’s Loss of Control and Authority

The Polis’s Loss of Control and Authority

(p.142) 22. The Polis’s Loss of Control and Authority
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the annihilation of the polis's political power and authority, announced in the plots of Bacchae and Iphigenia in Aulis. In both Euripides plays, the polis lost its ability to organize and harmonize the collective life of Athens—at least initially—in dealing with women's issues. In Bacchae, the entire female population abandons the city, and the king is unable to recall them and punish them as he wants to do. In Iphigenia in Aulis, the sacrifice of Iphigenia triggers an institutional crisis that is resolved only when she consents to be sacrificed, and then turns into a sort of savior “hero.” This chapter shows how political failure and impotence manifest themselves in contact with that part of the population that state politics has never consented to make a partner in its power and actions.

Keywords:   polis, political power, political authority, Bacchae, Iphigenia in Aulis, women, politics, Euripides, Athens

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