The Odyssey Hecuba Speech Analysis

783 Words 4 Pages
Euripides presents two Hecubas in his tragedy. One demonstrates a passive sufferer, who experiences grief and tragedy, but sill perpetuates a sense of stability. In contrast, there’s a vengeful Hecuba who loses her nobility and morality in her desire for revenge. The tradition of nomos becomes the link between the two presentations of Hecuba. Nomos envelops both of Hecuba’s conversations with Odysseus and Agamemnon. However, nomos succeeds in Odysseus’ speech, but fails to influence Agamemnon. The failure to keep nomos and the success of persuasion leads to her transformation and the activeness in her vengeance.
The conversation with Odysseus establishes the importance of nomos. The sacrifice of Polyxena complies with nomos. Odysseus represents the majority opinion of the Greeks. In their debate, Odysseus tells Hecuba, “Accept your lot. And we – if we do wrong to honor courage, then we stand convicted of our ignorance. But you foreigners do not…pay respect to those who died in a moral cause.
…show more content…
Realizing her helplessness, Hecuba doubts her ability to persuade Agamemnon. Nevertheless, she uses Agamemnon’s love for Cassandra to impact his decision. She asks Agamemnon, “How, my lord, will you acknowledge love’s delights? Or for the loveliest embraces in your bed, what thanks, what fee will my child gain, and I for her? For out of darkness, out of night’s enchantments comes the strongest drive toward thanks that flesh can know (58). This speech demonstrates her exploitation of Agamemnon’s infatuation with her daughter. This creates the idea that Cassandra’s position as a concubine becomes a bargaining characteristic. The idea that a mother would use this aspect as persuasion seems morally distasteful and repulsive. Regardless, Agamemnon now agrees to vengeance although not being active in it. Here, Hecuba becomes Persuasion. This Hecuba abandons nomos and becomes reckless of her own

Related Documents