Women of Trachis Essay

2280 words 10 pages
In Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, who is responsible for Heracles’ death? Note: that an important part of your response to this question will be to discuss the extent to which Heracles may be responsible for his own destruction, through his nature as a traditional hero.

It could be argued that none of the characters in "Women of Trachis" are essentially and solely responsible for the death of Sophocles’ character Heracles. It is simply human error and the innate qualities of a tragic hero and heroine. All the same, one could justify that the characters could have foreseen the impact of their actions or perhaps that the disastrous end of Heracles was inevitable as it was the prediction of the oracle (Women of Trachis ll.77-82). In the first
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On the other hand, it is evident to see this is just that, a mistake, and it is thought that the less characteristic the act, then the greater is the evidence of her desperation; and of the power of Kypris [another name for Aphrodite, thus meaning the power of love]. Finally, it is Deianira in all her human fallibility; not least her human shifts of mood, to which our sympathies are powerfully attracted. To conclude, upon reviewing Deianira’s actions we can see it was an act of innocence, not out of malicious intent, thus she cannot be held accountable for the death of her husband.

Upon reflection as to what extent Heracles was responsible for his own downfall and destruction, it is evident to see that he is more than a traditional hero, as he also possesses God-like qualities. German historian, Viktor Ehrenberg argued that Heracles was a god, however there is one crucial difference between Heracles and the twelve traditional Gods, he was son of Zeus; the father of all gods, and a mortal woman; therefore, as a marginal figure, he displays qualities that are both powerful and vulnerable. As a god, Heracles when he wants something destroys everything that stands in his way, however as a man, he is vulnerable and destroys himself as well as his wife. Heracles is self centered and ruthless in every relation – towards his enemies, but also towards his servant Lichas, and