n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - The character of Deianeira in Sophocles'

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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The is a play about the destructive marriage of Deianeira and Herakles that ends in the painful ruin of the male partner. It is a marriage where the husband is predominantly absent, toiling as mankind's representative to defeat the forces of savagery and barbarity. This is reflected in the fact that the play appears to be divided into two separate halves, with the marriage partners never encountering each other throughout the period of the play's action and for a long period before. Yet, in the first half, Herakles is seldom absent from the mind of his wife: in the second half, apart from an expression of unforgiving fury at her for being responsible for his end, Herakles has no concern at all for her. The pattern, in fact, accurately reflects what Sophocles portrays as the condition of their marriage.

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