Euripides' Ion is the story of a young man's search for his identity, and a woman's attempt to come to terms with her past. Through the story of a divine rape and its consequences, it asks questions about the justice of the gods and the nature of parenthood, encouraging its audience to consider contemporary concerns through the filter of traditional myth.
This study outlines the pre-history and later reception of the Ion myth, and provides a literary interpretation of the play's main themes, aiming to combine analysis of the text with a consideration of its cultural contexts. Chapters on religion, family, and national identity investigate how Euripides handles these issues in the light of the values of his day, and a chapter on genre discusses the play's upbeat ending and explores how we should define tragedy.
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Tragedy and its Contexts
Mothers and Children
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abandonment accept action actors Aeschylus Alcestis ancient Apollo argues Aristophanes aspects Athenian Athens audience audience's autochthony baby Bacchae behaviour birth Cambridge child Children of Heracles choral odes Chorus City Dionysia claim Classical Comedy comic Companion to Greek contemporary context Creousa Creousa's murder debate Delian League Delphi depicts describes Dionysus divine rape Dorians drama emotional emphasises empire Erechtheid Erechtheus Erichthonius Euripidean Euripides example explores F.I. Zeitlin father female festival fifth century frequently gods Gorgon Greek Tragedy happy ending Helen Hermes Herodotus highlights Hippolytus hostility human iambic identity importance Ion and Creousa Ion's Ionian Iphigeneia literary Loraux Medea monody mortal characters mother murder attempt mythological oracle Oxford parent parenthood patriotic play's plot poet poetry political portrayal portrayed presented rape recognise relationship religious role scene scholars similar Similarly social song Sophocles stasimon story suggests TAPA temple themes Thucydides tone traditional tragic Trojan Women vengeance Xouthos Zacharia Zeus