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Die Illusion des Amphitryon (Seneca, Hercules Furens 520-3)

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image of Mnemosyne

Up till now scholarship has assumed that the return of Hercules from the underworld at the end of the second act of Hercules Furens is prefigured in some kind of epiphany (Her. F. 520-3). In the course of the drama, however, it is expressly stated on two occasions that Hercules has already left the underworld at an earlier point. This apparent contradiction can be resolved if one supposes that Amphitryon, who is the sole witness of the epiphany, is the victim of an illusion. It is possible to explain the phenomena which he interprets wrongly (the groaning of the earth and the swaying of the temple) by taking into account the simultaneous action on stage.

Affiliations: 1: Technische Universitat Dresden, Institut für Klassische Philologie, 01062 Dresden, Germany


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