Sophocles: Trachiniae [Women of Trachis] (2902 words)


The Women of Trachis dramatizes the destruction of Heracles, the most celebrated hero in Greek civilization, by his wife Deianeira. The son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, Heracles was revered throughout Greece for his heroic deeds, in particular his destruction of numerous monsters and criminals. These “labours” were understood as a civilizing force because they made previously uninhabitable parts of the world safe for human settlement (see lines 1010-1013, 1090-1102). In our play, the hero has finally completed his tasks, but his fate still hangs in the balance; Deianeira tells us that Heracles left a prophecy stating that at the current time he would either die or his labours would come to an end (76-81, …

Citation: Levett, Brad. "Trachiniae". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 December 2016 [, accessed 12 May 2021.]

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