Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Horror in Euripides' “Hecuba” and “Heracles”
by Keyser, Derek Smith, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011, 262; 3477565
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates horrific material in Euripides' Hecuba and Heracles. It applies analytic models found in modern horror criticism to discuss graphic violence and the contradiction of normative cultural conventions within these plays. It argues that in both plays Euripides uses horrific material to demonstrate the inadequacy of such conventions as protections against ruthless brutality. It concludes that by eliciting horror from his audiences and denying them the possibility of resolution following disaster Euripides invites them to question the stability of their cultural framework.

In my first chapter I discuss how we should define and identify horror in ancient tragedy. I begin my investigation with an analysis of fear in Aristotle's Poetics, but I turn to modern horror theory to find a more suitable approach for identifying tragic horror. I adopt the approach of Noel Carroll, who argues that horror is generated by severe and violent contradictions of normative cultural categories.

In my second chapter, I focus on horrific disruptions found in the Hecuba. I focus on three areas of the horrific in this play: the presence of ghosts, incidents of aberrant violence against ϕiλoi, and the manipulation of cultural categories in Hecuba's revenge. In my third chapter I analyze the way the horrific massacre in the Heracles subverts traditional assumptions concerning religion, family, and home.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smith, Peter M.
Commitee: Boyle, Brendan P., Goslin, Owen, James, Sharon L., Race, William H.
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Classics
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Classical studies, Classical Studies, Theater History
Keywords: Euripides, Greece, Hecuba, Heracles, Horror
Publication Number: 3477565
ISBN: 978-1-124-94253-7
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