Poetics

by

Aristotle

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Menelaus Character Analysis

Menelaus is a king in Greek mythology. He is a major character in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but Aristotle references Euripides’s Menelaus in Orestes. Menelaus is Orestes’s uncle, and in Orestes, Menelaus refuses to support Orestes after Orestes kills his step-father, Aegisthus, and his mother, Clytemnestra. Aristotle refers to Euripides’s Menelaus as an example of “unnecessary badness” in a character, since it is expected that Menelaus will help Orestes because he is his uncle.
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Menelaus Character Timeline in Poetics

The timeline below shows where the character Menelaus appears in Poetics. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8. Other Aspects of Tragedy
Tragedy vs. Epic Poetry  Theme Icon
Imitation  Theme Icon
Component Parts and Balance  Theme Icon
...inconsistent and this is fitting of their supposed character, such inconsistencies should be “consistently inconsistent.” Menelaus in Orestes is an example of “unnecessary badness” in a character, and Iphigeneia in Aulis,... (full context)