Euripides' Herakles: PTSD and Tragedy in Fifth Century Athens


Course description

Athens in the latter half of the fifth century BCE was a city constantly at war. The audience of Greek tragedy was the audience of Athenian male citizens, all of them veterans of many conflicts. Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist with the US Veteran's Administration who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder, says that one function of tragedy for the audience may have been as group therapy, to assist them to cope with the emotional damage of battle and help them function again in a civilian context. In this session we will examine that hypothesis through a reading of Euripides' play, Herakles, which is itself a classic depiction of the causes and consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Continuing Studies statement on use of educational technology

This course will require the use of Zoom and may use other education technology such as internet-based applications, cloud services, or social media. In order to complete this course you will be required to either consent to the disclosure of your personal information outside of Canada to enable use of these technologies, or work with the Division of Continuing Studies to explore other privacy protective options (such as using an alias or nickname).