Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Telling stories as suffering twice in Euripides

These days, we think of telling the story of trauma as a way to recover from it. But in "Helen", the tragedy by Euripides which imagines Helen as never having gone to Troy but having spent the war in Egypt, the Greek hero Teucer arrives in Egypt converses with Helen, whom he doesn't recognize. When she inquires about the fates of Greek soldiers in the Trojan War, he tells her about the deaths of his brother Ajax and many others, but eventually he stops: "Enough words now. I should not have to suffer twice." For Teucer, then, the narration of trauma is the repetition of trauma, not a release from it. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 October)

No comments: