Euripides’ Hecuba: an Essay of Interpretation

Nikolsky Boris M.

In this article a new interpretation of Euripides’ tragedy Hecuba is proposed. As the thematic analysis of the tragedy shows, the author’s intention was to stress the relativity of ordinary notions of friendship and enmity and to suggest a new criterion to define them, i.e. virtue and baseness. This theme reflects a political aim of Hecuba: the tragedy was intended to put in doubt the necessity and usefulness of the military alliance with the Thracians. The attitude towards the Thracians should depend not on formal relations of friendship but on moral evaluation of their deeds: their cruelty necessitates the view of them as enemies rather than friends.

Keywords: Euripides, tragedy, Hecuba, Athens, Thrace

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