Tragic Beauty

On the Deianeira of Sophocles


  • Sergej Valijev



Sophocles, Trachiniae, Deianeira, tragic irony, tragic recognition


The article sheds light on several key aspects of Deianeira’s tragic fate. Beginning with a presentation of Sophocles’ use of tragic irony, which arises from Deianeira’s ignorance of the meaning of her own words, it continues by describing her first tragic recognition: her realisation of the true cause of Heracles’ attack on Oechalia, which shakes the foundations of her life. In her shock she decides on her fateful deed, which cannot be interpreted as mere thoughtlessness but must be considered in the broader frame of her hopeless existential condition. Her second tragic recognition, that is, recognition of the fact that she has inflicted out of love a mortal wound on her beloved, conclusively reinforces her feeling of hopelessness, from which she considers death to be the only exit. However, in her movingly depicted moments of farewell we can once again perceive the tragic beauty of the woman who is paradoxically robbed of the meaning of her life by her steadfast love.


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29. 12. 2021




How to Cite

Valijev, Sergej. 2021. “Tragic Beauty: On the Deianeira of Sophocles”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 23 (2): 11-25.