The Problem of the Hecuba

Classical Quarterly 21 (3-4):155- (1927)
August Wilhelm von Schlegel, who did so much to rend the already torn artistic reputation of Euripides in the early nineteenth century, is singularly lenient in his criticism of the Hecuba. His adverse comment is limited to three points only: The first, that ‘the two actions of this piece—the sacrifice of Polyxena and the revenge on Polymestor on account of the murder of Polydorus—have nothing in common with each other but their connexion with Hecuba’; the second, that ‘the second half destroys the soft impressions of the first in a highly repulsive manner’; and the third, that it is ‘not very suitable that Hecuba should display such presence of mind in her revenge.’ In this leniency he differs from one of the latest modern English critics, Professor G. Norwood,2 who does not hesitate to condemn the play as ‘on the whole poor and uninteresting,’ ‘far below the best of Euripides' work’; and from his great predecessor, J. J. Reiske, who condemned the play on ten distinct counts, all different from those that form the basis of SchlegeFs own argument
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800001245
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