Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Euripides and the Politics of Form$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Victoria Wohl

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166506

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166506.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Beautiful Tears

Beautiful Tears

(p.39) Chapter 2 Beautiful Tears
Euripides and the Politics of Form

Victoria Wohl

Princeton University Press

This chapter asks about the ethics of (lyric and structural) beauty and the politics of pathos in two plays, Trojan Women and Hecuba. The first, Trojan Women, presents a tale of unmitigated misery and renders it self-consciously beautiful. But how are we to watch this sublime suffering? The play won't let us maintain a safe spectatorial distance; it demands that we watch with pity, but also suggests the insufficiency of that response. Our tears do no good. The insufficiency of pity is also a central theme of the second play, Hecuba. Here pity is shown to be not only politically ineffectual, but in fact morally dangerous: the beauty of tragic suffering generates a perverse investment in that suffering itself, and our longing for the beautiful symmetry of justice makes us complicit in a vicious act of injustice. Both plays thus propose that aesthetic judgments bear ethical and political consequences, but neither takes it for granted that beauty will make us just.

Keywords:   ethics, pathos, Trojan Women, Hecuba, Euripedes, Euripidean drama, Greek tragedy, beauty, pity

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.