32 pages 1 hour read


Women of Trachis

Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Lines 821-1278Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Lines 821-970 Summary

The Chorus sings of the prophecy’s fulfillment. The end of Heracles’ labors has come to pass, but it is because he is dying via the very venom that killed Nessus. Deianeira weeps for what she has brought to pass. They sing that no enemy has ever laid Heracles so low as Aphrodite, who caused this catastrophe.

The nurse screams from off-stage, then enters to reveal that Deianeira has killed herself with a sword on her marriage bed. By the time the nurse fetched Hyllus, who learned from the servants that his mother had not intended to kill his father, Deianeira had already died by suicide. Realizing that his false accusation contributed to his mother’s death, Hyllus mourned, having lost both his parents on the same day.

The Chorus sings about its uncertainty over who to mourn first. One victim they have seen in the house; the other they are waiting to see. They do not want to see Zeus’ son in such pain. They see a procession advancing with the dying hero. The procession’s silence provokes the Chorus to wonder if Heracles is asleep or dead.