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Abstract


A STUDY IN THE LIGHT OF ANCIENT GREEK TRAGEDIES- “MADNESS” AS A TRAGIC ELEMENT

Since the beginning of time, madness has been ascribed to the sacred. This was also the case for the Ancient Greeks. They believed that their anthropomorphic deities were involved in all aspects of life. So they characterized madness as a condition sent by the gods. The connection between madness and the divine powers has also been the theme of Ancient Greek poetry. In Homer’s The Iliad, at the fiercest moment of the war, the enraged Hector wears the armor of Patroclus and there enters into him Ares the god of war, his limbs are filled with might. In The Odyssey, when the suitors of Penelope gather for dinner, Athena makes them laugh uncontrollably and then makes them cry. The theme of madness can also be seen in the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Although insanity still is a divine punishment in those plays, there are other reasons for the madness of tragic heroes and heroines. Feelings of guilt, sense of responsibilty, sadness, shame, honor and arrogance may be mentioned among them. In the Sophoclean tragedy “Aias”, Aias goes mad and kills Greek cattle believing that it is the Greeks. After returning to his senses, he kills himself out of shame. In the Euripidean tragedy “Medeia”, after Iason’s betrayal, Medeia goes mad and takes vengeance on Iason by murdering Glauce, his new wife as well as her own children. Our aim in this study is to examine the notion of madness in the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.



Keywords
Madness, tragedy, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides.



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