Il perturbante e la crisi

Il ruolo dell’apparenza e del kairos nelle Supplici di Eschilo


  • Federica Piangerelli University of Macerata



Xenos, barbaros, appareance, kairos, hospitality


This paper aims to reflect on the polyvocal notions of “appearance” and “kairos”, framing them in an unprecedent field of investigation: the relations between foreigners. In fact, the analysis focuses on some central passages of Aeschylus’ Suppliants, the paradigmatic “drama of hospitality”.

A first scenario reflects on the uncanny nature of the Danaids: they are barbarians, in appearance, behaviour and forma mentis, but also Greek, due to their genealogy common to the Argives. The analysis aims to prove that this double identity explains the “prism of the appearance”. Like a reflecting surface, the phenomenal sphere reveals and refracts: it is not illusory, because it shows a “visual truth”, but it is not exhaustive, because it transmits a partial image, which must be integrated with a “narrative truth”.

A second scenario, indeed, investigates the crisis experienced by Pelasgus, king of Argos, related to the necessity to decide about the fate of the Danaids: hospitality or rejection? But the king faces this situation with responsibility because he recognizes the sacrality of the moment he lives. The exam intends to show that Pelasgus’ anguish explains the “dynamic stability of the kairos”. This exceptional time, on the one hand, proves to be a “stable point”, because it blocks the consequentiality of events; on the other, it is a “dynamic moment”, because it is a crossroads of opposing possibilities. But only after a critical examination of all the hypotheses, Pelasgus chooses to act as he should: welcoming the Suppliants, honouring the divine law of hospitality.