Abstract Gallistl (41/2017)

The meaning of the second stasimon of Euripides’ Helena in relation to the plot of the play has not become clear enough up until now. The choir tells us about Demeter’s painful search for her daughter Kore and the joy of finding her again. Using the analogy of the myth of the Eleusinian mysteries, Euripides recounts the story of Helena of Sparta. According to his version of the narrative, Helena stayed in Egypt during the whole Trojan War. Like Kore in the underworld, her daughter Hermione was left behind alone in Sparta without her mother taking care of her. With the second stasimon, the plot seems to take a new course: while the choir is already singing of the great feast, Helena is allowed by the gods to return home to celebrate her daughter’s marriage. Considering that the play was staged in 412 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, the allusions to the mythological connections with Sparta can also be read as an appeal for peace.