Classics Colloquium: Katherine Hsu

Katherine Hsu
Brooklyn College
Hamilton Hall 603
Friday, September 7, 2018 - 4:10pm to 5:30pm
Constraining Violence in Euripides' Heracles

In this talk, I examine how Euripides’ Heracles confronts the thorny problem of heroic violence through an exploration of Heracles’ roles as philos and kallinikos. In the first part of the play, in which Heracles rescues his family from a tyrant, Heracles’ violence is firmly constrained by communal principles of philia and the imperatives of epinician victory, as captured in the epithet kallinikos. These constraints seem to fail when, in a fit of madness, he murders his own family (his closest philoi) in the very same manner in which he won athletic contests and accomplished his Labors. I then consider how these roles together help to avert Heracles’ suicide in the final part of the play, suggesting a path forward for coping with the unpredictable extremes of heroic violence. See more information here.

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