Seneca's Hercules Furens : A Critical Text with Introduction and Commentary
John G. Fitch's new Latin text of Seneca's play, Hercules Furens, is based on a collation of the chief manuscripts, including the Paris manuscript T. In his introduction, Fitch traces the conflicting classical portrayals of Hercules-a figure embodying altruism and aggrandizement, restraint and wildness-and argues that in the play, the untamed side of his nature ultimately turns against him and destroys him. In introductory notes to individual acts and choral odes, Fitch addresses the play's thematic development and discusses probably influences, including the Greek tragedies of the fifth century B.C., the tragedies of the Hellenistic and Roman Republican periods, and the writings of the Augustan poets, particularly Ovid. His line-by-line commentary focuses on such stylistic matters as wordplay, soundplay, meter, diction, and rhetoric, and he also looks closely at line divisions and at characteristic metrical patterns and anapestic odes. Fitch's assessment of the figure of Hercules in ancient literature, popular religion, and literary/moral tradition will be of compelling interest to classicists and students of later periods.