Violent Eros and Grief without Rage: the Tragedy of Deianeira in Sophocles’ "Trachiniae"


  • Carmine Catenacci University of Chieti-Pescara Gabriele D'annunzio



Trachinie, Sophokles


This paper aims to reconsider and reassess the character of Deianeira in Sophocles’ Trachiniae. Despite her bashful and elusive personality, she ranks among Sophocles’ heroes and heroines standing out as noble characters, who are totally committed in achieving their goals, and are
destined for isolation, mistake and self-punishment. Beyond the forces at work in other tragedies, such as the inescapability of the fate and the illusory nature of human condition, Women of Trachis is characterized by the power of eros in its most devastating, brutal, and even wildest
aspects. Such violent power, even in the form of sexual assault, struck and persecuted Deianeira from her early age, causing deep trauma. Not only does she yearn for the distant and innocent age when she was a girl, but she also seems anchored there due to some traits of her character. One feature makes her special among the tragic heroines.
Her tragedy is full of grief but does not go through rage.