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Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek ReligionVolume I: Early Greek Religion$
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Andrej Petrovic and Ivana Petrovic

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.001.0001

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Euripides on the Extremes of Purity and Pollution

Euripides on the Extremes of Purity and Pollution

Hippolytus, Orestes, Electra, and the Bacchae

Chapter:
(p.183) 10 Euripides on the Extremes of Purity and Pollution
Source:
Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion
Author(s):

Andrej Petrovic

Ivana Petrovic

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.003.0011

Chapter 10 discusses representations of inner purity and pollution in Hippolytus, Orestes, Electra, and the Bacchae. In Hippolytus, Euripides represents Hippolytus’ exceptional purity which is threatened by Phaedra’s miasma of the mind, the Nurse’s and Theseus’ abuse of rituals, and divine agos. Orestes is polluted by matricide and suffers from the derangement of the mind, but he accuses Menelaus of having a polluted mind. In Electra, once the heroine repents she is described as ‘phronein hosia’, and in the Bacchae, inner purity is closely related to Bacchic initiations and oribasia. In all of the analysed plays Euripides explores radical scenarios involving inner purity and pollution.

Keywords:   Euripides, Hippolytus, Orestes, Electra, the Bacchae, phren, miasma of the mind, phronein hosia, lifelong purity, pollution by murder

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