Then about Creusa’s crime, Hermes describes the event saying“[Creusa] bore at home a baby boy, then took him to the very cavewhere she and the god had lain, and exposed the infant there to die, recessed in the lightly rocking enclave of a cradle”. In this line, the seemingly superfluous details, “the lightly rocking enclave of a cradle”, is mentioned to paint that image of2
Ariyaman innocent child, being cruelly and unnaturally sent to his death.Apollo’s rape is also given a reaction by other characters more central than Hermes. To Ion, who considers himself the son and dear servant of Apollo, and who reveres him to a point of sycophancy, hears details about the rape and is astonished to disbelief. His reaction, although deprecating, is somewhat tame. At first, he is in disbelief that the “venerable” Apollo could dosuch a deed: “it cannot be. Some man got her into trouble and nowshe is ashamed” (117). He does not believe this assertion at first, but will later turn from defensive incredulity, to its consideration as a definite possibility. And then, when he finally believes this rape to have really happened and believes Apollo did this, he states “It was not fair of the god” (116). There is at the least, recognition, a belief that such a depravity is not beyond the morality of the divine. But, there isa feeling of capitulation as well, a sense that although this happened, there is nothing that can be done: “So, my lady, do not proceed. There cannot be an oracle against the god of oracles. Any attempt to pressure unwilling gods to reveal what the do not want to reveal… would be the height of foolishness” (117).It would appear that Euripides wants to make it clear what Ion’s reaction is to these allegations against Apollo, and how he 3
Ariyamreacts in general to hearing about the crime of rape. This tame reaction reveals something about Ion’s character. It betrays an immaturity. Ion does not have a passionate response; he just has a careful one. There can also be seen a lack of identity in Ion. He does not know who he is, and therefore does not have his own voice to fully exert his feelings. Everything he says, everythinghe does, is not for himself, but for Apollo. At the moment, one can argue that his whole existence has been to this point completely surrendered to Apollo--like a living sacrifice.Creusa tells the same story she tells Ion to the Old Man, but instead of referring to the victim of the rape as “a friend”,she is honest with the Old Man, and reveals herself as the victim. The Old Man’s reaction is much more animated than Ion’s.
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- Fall '19