Thoughts Shot Forth in Vain (Eur. Hecuba 599–602)

In this piece, attention is once again drawn to the locus classicus of Euripidean sententious  outbursts, lines 599–602 put in the mouth of Hecuba mourning her daughter Polyxena. Suggested  for bracketing by W. M. Sakorraphos in 1893 and athetised by J. Diggle (1984) and  D. Kovacs (1995) in their respective editions (although not in the editions of J. Gregory (1999)  and K. Matthiessen (2010), the lines (and the whole passage 592–602) have also shouldered a  weight of Euripidean Weltanschauung doctrines built on their slender frame. A brief overview  of scholarly judgment, often overexacting, prompts one to occupy the middling ground allowing  both for the possibility of the genuine character of the lines 599–602 and their relevance  in context (and not only expressing the ideas current in Euripides’ times) with both birth and  upbringing contributing to virtuous character. The metaphor in line 603 should not be considered  a brave mannerism, or a marginal remark of some critic, but a marker of a change of  topic, its archery imagery well on the side of trite.

  Kostyleva T.V. Thoughts Shot Forth in Vain (Eur. Hecuba 599–602)