THE AEOLUS OF EURIPIDES: CONCEPTS AND MOTIFS

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Abstract

The paper deals with the reconstruction and the basic concepts and themes of E. Aeolus. The play is distinct of its purely tragic action with exploitation of pathetic and rhetorical motifs, and, particularly, of an admired agon logon as an ‘artificial speech’. The fragmentary evidence reveals a conjunction of tradition and innovation, of the earlier competitive excellencies, identifying the agathos with the noble and the rich, as against the new co-operative excellencies which do not presuppose high social status, but moral virtues, such as wisdom, self-control, and good social behaviour. The play displays typically Euripidean beliefs on wealth and poverty, prudent political decisions as a prime quality of a ruler, bravery in battle and rhetorical skill, nobility and virtue, the harmony of opposites, good marriage, the ingenuity of the human mind, all reflecting democratic concepts which form the moral background of the fifth-century Athenian City-State.

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