March 10, 2008

(ca 4 BC- 65 AD)

Hercules furens

Translated by Haywood 16C

Only Roman tragedian whose tragedies survive
Stoic drama- virtue goes unrewarded
in staging: a lot of long speeches, no real character development, all have the same voice
Conversations take place on an abstract level
No Euripidean thread of humanity following virtue of the gods

Juno- Hera
Opening speech does elicit some sympathy: seems to come under the influence of the furies

Juno is afraid of Hercules’ strength: implication of Hercules’ power

How Lycus is different (from Euripides’ tragedy): Debates terms of virtue and tyrant with Megara, offers first to marry Megara, develops a poetical position (another figure exercising power)

Defacto political theory: developed by Hobbes, subject is required to obey the reigning authority; public safety is more important than opposition
Resistance theory: (Milton)

Hercules represents resistance theory and Lycus represends defacto theory

Amphitrion: consistent with Euripidean Amphitrion, tells Hercules it is no fault of his, Junoo’s doing

Theseus introduces ambiguity: guilt with Juno and Hercules

Hercules’ moment of madness is read more as anger or rage, he imagines he is killing Lycus’ sons, there are no scenes of paternal care to pair with his moment of murder, only the subdoing of the three deaded dog

Chorus comes in in tetrameters: everything else in fourteeners, preeches wealth in poverty, distinction between public and private life


“Juno: He proves what father him begot: both thence where light opprest/ Hath sea, and where it showde agayne, where Titan day doth tryane,/ And with his brand approaching nere doth dye those Aethiops twaine,/ His strength untamde is honoured: and God eche where is he”

“For heaven I may be frayde, lest he may get the highest rayne,/ That lowest wonne, the sceptors from his father wil he take,/ Nor hee to starres (As Bacchus dyd) his way wil gently make:/ The way with ruine will he seeke, and hee in empty skyes/ wil reygne alone”

“Seekes thou a match t’Alcides yet?/ Thers none, except hymselfe: let him agaynst himselfe rebell.”

“here present wil I stand,/ And that his shaftes goe streyght from how, I wil direct his hand,/ The mad mans weapon will I guide, even Hercles fyghtyng, lo,/ At length Ile ayde. This gylt once done then leefull is that so/ His father may admit to saies those gylty haades of his”

“Chorus: He proude repayre to rpince in regall seate,/ And hard court gates without the rest of sleepe/ Esteemes, and endles happynes to hold/ Doth gather goods, for treasure gaping more,/ And is ful pore amid his heaped gold.”

“Lycus: If always men eternal hates should one to th’ other beare,/ And rage be gone out of the hart shold neuer fall away,/ But th’happy still should armour holde, th’unhappy sil obay,/ Then shall the battayles nothing leave”

“Amphitryon: he himselfe that guides the starres, & shakes the clouds at will,/ Did not that Infant lurke in Den of hollowe caved hill?/ The byrthes so great full troublous pryce to have loe alwayes ought:/ And ever to be borne a God, with coste full great is bought.”

“Lycus: No Juno did commaunde him this, nor none Eurystheus loe./ But these in deede his owne workes are.”

“Hercules: the Chaos of eternall nyght of hell,/ And woorse then night, the dolefull Gods I have that there doe dwell,/ And fates subdu’de, the death contemn’de I am return’de to light.”

“Theseus: As oft the ships agaynst thyr willes doth tosse the swelling surge,/ So downward doth that headlong way, and greedy Chao- urge:/ And back agayne to drawe thy pace thee never doe permit/ The spirits who what they catch hold fast. alowe within  doth flit/ In chanell wyde with silent foorde the quiet lake of lethe.”

“Theseus: What eche man once hath done, he feeles: and guilt to th’author the are/ Returnes, and th’hurtfull with their owne example punisht bee.”

“Amphitryon” Doth any place preseript of lymite shit/ The gylty Ghosts, and as the fame reportes, doth cruell payne/ The wicked men make tame that in’eternall bondes remayne?”


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