Women of Trachis

Sophocles (c.496–c.406 BC), translated by Theodoridis, G., (contributor-contact-email)

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Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, composed around 450-425 BC, is a tragic narrative focused on Deianeira, the wife of the Greek hero Heracles. Distressed by Heracles’ prolonged absence and fearing for his fate due to ominous prophecies, she sends their son Hyllus to find him. After Hyllus sets off, however, news arrives of Heracles’ return. Deianeira subsequently learns of her husband’s infatuation with Iole, a captive from his conquest of Oechalia. Distraught, Deianeira employs a supposed love potion, given by the centaur Nessus, on a robe for Heracles. This potion, tainted with Nessus’ blood and the Hydra’s poison, turns out to be lethal. Realising her grave mistake, Deianeira in turn commits suicide. Hyllus discovers the truth behind her actions and informs Heracles, who then understands that his end, as prophesied, is at hand. In agony, Heracles instructs Hyllus to marry Iole and to perform a mercy killing by cremating him atop Mount Oeta. The play concludes with Heracles’ poignant acceptance of his fate.

Author Details

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Theodoridis, G.,

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