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Frade Abstract

Breaking news: Hercules is the son of Zeus - The chorus in Helen Eastman’s Hercules

Sofia Frade

In Euripides’ Heracles the chorus has a fundamental role in defending Hercules’ status as a demi-god, yet the old men of Thebes are strangely a lot closer to Amphitryon than to the hero and cannot bear the violence of the madness and retreat in the second half of the play.

In this modern version, the violence of the madness is moderated, but the problems related to the status of the hero are no less important. And once again the chorus has a fundamental role, not only by describing the new scenarios of each labour, much like the original chorus, but by poking around and questioning the identity of the hero time and again. As true celebrity journalists the chorus are not by anyone’s side, Hercules ignores them, yet they will have their role until the very end. And, as easily as they were ready to destroy the hero, they will be the ones to announce his true nature.

This chapter examines how the chorus is fundamental to the dramatic structure and how it helps the audience to focus on the essential question (both of this play and the Euripides’ original): what is the true nature of the hero?