Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Cheiron's WayYouthful Education in Homer and Tragedy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Justina Gregory

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190857882

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190857882.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 24 June 2019

Philoctetes

Philoctetes

Chapter:
(p.165) 6 Philoctetes
Source:
Cheiron's Way
Author(s):

Justina Gregory

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190857882.003.0007

Although Neoptolemus’ trajectory in Philoctetes is often described as a rite of passage, this chapter argues that it is better understood in terms of a different topos, the Biou Hairesis, or Choice of Life. Having received a conventional heroic upbringing, Neoptolemus comes under the influence of two additional instructors, Odysseus and Philoctetes. Odysseus urges the young man to join him in duping and victimizing Philoctetes, while Philoctetes appeals to the noble nature Neoptolemus presumably inherited from his father Achilles. At first repelled but then persuaded by Odysseus’ sophistic argumentation, Neoptolemus ultimately defies the older man and refuses him his cooperation. While empathy for Philoctetes plays a role in his change of mind, his decisive concern is for his own reputation. The end of the play, however, raises the disquieting possibility that Neoptolemus has not made a lasting ethical choice.

Keywords:   Biou Hairesis, crisis of disillusionment, crisis of empathy, Neoptolemus, Odysseus, Philoctetes, rite of passage, Sophocles

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .