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Euripides and the Gods$
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Mary Lefkowitz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199752058

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752058.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.193) Conclusion
Source:
Euripides and the Gods
Author(s):

Mary Lefkowitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752058.003.0008

At the end of dramas the gods may not have solved all problems, that does not mean that Euripides sought to have his original audiences cease to honor them. On the contrary, it reminds us that the gods exist to please themselves, not in order to make humans happy. The codas to five dramas (even though they were probably not written by Euripides) state explicitly and without any hedging that the gods do what they choose to do and that humans only understand what has happened after the fact, by which time it is too late to prevent further suffering and loss. This outlook is shared by the other dramatists. Theatrical performance gives the audience a fleeting opportunity to look down upon human life with all its limitations from a distance, as a god might see it, without the usual mist of partial understanding that clouds mortal eyes.

Keywords:   Euripides, Greek gods, codas, Rhesus, Prometheus, Philoctetes, Trachiniae, Greek theology, Greek drama

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