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Κακὸς Εὐνάτωρ: Divine Rape on the Tragic Stage

Herzog, Rachel

This undergraduate thesis, written in completion of the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Classics at Barnard College, explores the representation of sexual unions between gods and mortals within Greek tragedy. The thesis begins by situating these narratives within the context of their predecessors in lyric and epic poetry before continuing to the central example of Euripides' Ion, and its parallels in the fragmentary plays of Euripides (Antiope, Alope, Auge, the Melanippe plays, Danae, and Alcmene). In the conclusion, the scope widens to briefly discuss the way these narrative frameworks are both alike to and different from the story of Cassandra as represented by both Aeschylus and Euripides. The thesis explores the ways in which these narratives combine rhetoric of injury with religious language to both portray the traumatic impact of divine rape, and its broader implications for relations between mortals and gods. I argue that, within tragedy, narratives of divine rape function as a space within which to generally explore ruptures between the human and the divine, as well as potential avenues for recuperation and healing on an individual and social level.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Classics and Ancient Studies (Barnard College)
Thesis Advisors
Foley, Helene Peet
Degree
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
June 23, 2015
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