Euripides’ Heracles, produced ca. 416 B. C., is like several of his plays (e.g. Andromache) double in its plot in that it portrays two reversals of fortune, one in each direction. The play’s initial action results in a change from bad to good fortune when Heracles rescues his wife and children, while the second, where he murders them in a fit of god-sent madness, takes him from happiness to misery. The play thus expresses the archaic Greek theme of the fragility of human happiness and the impossibility of foreseeing the future. Many Greek myths make the point that not even the greatest of men (Achilles, for example, or Heracles) can escape the vulnerability of the mortal state. This is one of the great themes of …

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Citation: Kovacs, David. "Heracles". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 March 2011 [, accessed 24 September 2023.]

32955 Heracles 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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