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Heracles | Study Guide

Euripides

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Heracles | Scene Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • One day in Thebes

    Megara, Heracles's sons, and Amphitryon shelter on the steps to Zeus's altar outside their palace.

    Prologos
  • A little while later

    Lycus arrives and threatens to burn them on a pyre.

    Episode 1
  • Immediately following

    Megara asks to dress her children for burial.

    Episode 1
  • Later the same day

    As Heracles's family awaits execution, Heracles returns unexpectedly and vows to save them.

    Episode 2
  • Soon after

    Lycus returns to find only Amphitryon outside, who lures the king into the palace to his death.

    Episode 3
  • A little while later

    Iris and Madness arrive.

    Episode 4
  • Soon after

    Under orders from Hera, Madness drives Heracles into a killing frenzy.

    Episode 4
  • Immediately following

    Heracles kills his wife and children

    Episode 4
  • A little while later

    A messenger tells the chorus that Heracles has gone mad and killed his wife and sons.

    Stasimon 4
  • At the same time

    The messenger says that Pallas put Heracles to sleep before he could kill Amphitryon.

    Stasimon 4
  • Later the same day

    Heracles wakes up, and Amphitryon tells Heracles what has happened.

    Exodos
  • Soon after

    Sad and ashamed, Heracles decides to commit suicide.

    Exodos
  • A little while later

    Theseus arrives to fight for Heracles but discovers that Heracles has killed his family.

    Exodos
  • Immediately following

    Theseus argues against suicide and persuades Heracles to live in Athens as an honored hero.

    Exodos

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Prologos Outside Heracles's palace in Thebes is an altar to Zeus. On the steps leading up to the altar sit Heracles's family: his... Read More
Parodos The chorus—a group of old Theban men—enters, singing a song about the discomforts of old age. They liken themselves to "... Read More
Episode 1 Lycus enters with his entourage of followers. He makes snide comments to Amphitryon and Megara, asking if they really th... Read More
Stasimon 1 The chorus sings a song in praise of Heracles. Whether he should be called the "son of Zeus or of Amphitryon" makes no d... Read More
Episode 2 Megara laments that she is seeing her and Heracles's sons for the last time. She tells them that their father had intend... Read More
Stasimon 2 The chorus sings the praises of youth and laments the growing burden of old age. They wish old age would "sink beneath t... Read More
Episode 3 Lycus returns with his retinue just as Amphitryon is coming out of the palace. Lycus tells the old man to have Megara an... Read More
Stasimon 3 The chorus sings a song calling on the city to rejoice that Lycus is dead. Lycus, they say, is paying the "penalty of [h... Read More
Episode 4 Iris introduces herself and Madness. Iris is "the handmaid of the gods." Madness is the "daughter of Night." They mean n... Read More
Stasimon 4 The chorus sings out their horror at the murders taking place. They watch as "a tempest rocks the house; the roof is fal... Read More
Exodos The doors of the palace open. Heracles lies there asleep, chained to the fallen column. Amphitryon comes out and asks th... Read More
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