This chapter argues that Euripides' Children of Herakles and Suppliant Women should be studied together because both are remarkably similar products of a moment in the playwright's career and the history of Athens. That moment, in the early stages of a (Peloponnesian) War — a conflict with a foe who was ideologically and culturally different, if not in fact opposite — made those myths particularly suggestive as vehicles for re-examination of what it meant to be Athenian. It further argues that an understanding of these plays as living theatrical examples of the complex and elusive principle of negotiation can be key to viewing them as coherent and especially apt dramatic investigations of the nature of the democratic polis — which is to say, as truly ‘political’ plays.
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