Spanning the final twenty-four years of Euripides’s profession, this quantity comprises The young children of Heracles, Andromache, The Suppliant Women, The Phoenician Women, Orestes, and Iphigenia in Aulis.
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Extra info for Orestes and Other Plays
Portia rejects Bassanio’s proposal to openly wield the force of law with language which reveals law’s complex relationship to the state. Noting that this precedent would allow ‘‘many an error’’ to ‘‘rush into the state,’’ Portia evokes an image of invasion, emphasizing the threat such an errant act poses for the impenetrability of the body politic. Transgressing the chaste body of the law, then, its idealized quality as ‘‘being cut off from contact or contamination,’’30 is intimately linked to compromising the chastity of the state.
3 I argue that Paulina and Hermione become the moral voices of the play, setting limits for Leontes’ power. Hermione abandons her husband when his tyranny threatens not just her life and reputation, but the lives of her children. 4 In a world in which women are not supposed to question male authority, to be able to envision the world differently, or to have agency, Hermione and Paulina es46 ................. 17162$ $CH3 03-23-09 13:49:54 PS PAGE 46 47 ‘‘PROCEED IN JUSTICE’’ tablish a counter-narrative of marital betrayal that casts Leontes as a tyrant, both as husband and king.
Yet how can we return to this comforting zone with any degree of confidence after Portia’s promiscuous subversions? How can these men be satisfied ‘‘at full’’ when Portia’s salvific wordplay has exposed the absence inherent in both written and spoken discourse—an absence which prevents the very kind of meaningful experience Portia promises? Moreover, how can we measure Portia’s faithfulness when she takes up her proper role by way of a detour which so decidedly flouts early modern codes for feminine behavior?