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Euripidean men revisited: four case studies

Kokkini, D.; (2011) Euripidean men revisited: four case studies. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

While Euripides’ women have attracted a great deal of attention in recent decades, it is now half a century since the last substantial monograph devoted to his male characters. The present thesis examines representations of manliness and male behaviour in Euripidean tragedy. It aims to revisit Euripidean men as characters in their own right, not simply as foils to powerful women, and in relation with ideals of manliness as expressed and experienced in fifth-century Athens. The Introduction is divided thematically into two parts. The first part deals with the emergence of Gender and Men’s Studies from the same theoretical thinking that shaped Feminist thought, and demonstrates how their rhetoric and ideas can be used in literary criticism. The second part uses the idea of masculinity as a cultural construct and focuses on the concept of ‚ideal masculinity‛ as promoted in ancient Greek sources. Four case studies constitute the four main chapters of the thesis, each one of them placing emphasis on different aspects of masculinity and male identity. Chapter 1 focuses on Herakles in Herakles, and deals with questions regarding his relation with femininity, gender balance of roles within the oikos, male domesticity and the existence of multiple definitions of manly courage. The second case study is Admetos; Chapter 2 demonstrates that in Alkestis courage is not necessarily synonymous with the male sex, while other positive elements of male identity such as propriety and hospitality are given prominence as equally important and praiseworthy. Chapter 3 focuses on Hippolytos and explores the implications of a narrow and distorted understanding of positive qualities such as sophrosyne and piety, which can place a man at odds with his familial and public role. Finally, Chapter 4 uses Jason in Medeia to highlight the ramifications of a failure to fulfill the male obligations to his oikos and its members.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Euripidean men revisited: four case studies
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Greek and Latin

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