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Euripides and the Politics of Form$
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Victoria Wohl

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166506

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166506.001.0001

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Recognition and Realism

Recognition and Realism

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 3 Recognition and Realism
Source:
Euripides and the Politics of Form
Author(s):

Victoria Wohl

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691166506.003.0004

This chapter focuses on Euripides' Electra. It argues that the play offers us a vision of egalitarianism premised on the claim that a man's virtue cannot be judged by his wealth or birth but only by his own ēthos (character). It associates that democratic vision with “reality.” But as the play unfolds that vision is prevented from realization and indeed is de-realized, as we are led to abandon this reality—our own democratic reality—for an illusion explicitly recognized as such. This process of de-realization proceeds alongside the play's demythologization. The myth is shown to be implausible, an empty form. And yet we are asked to accept this mythic form in place of “reality” and its ethical and political content.

Keywords:   Electra, Euripedes, realism, utopia, Euripidean drama, Greek tragedy, egalitarianism

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