In Euripides' play we see a very different figure from the Herakles of popular imagination. In his account of Herakles' maddened killing of his children, Euripides emphasises the human to the hero's character, presenting him as a loving father. Herakles is an ideal text for those new to ancient drama, raising many central issues of Greek tragedy. Emma Griffiths analyses the key themes and characters while situating the drama in the wider context of Greek tragedy and mythology. Euripides' approach to drama is illustrated through consideration of the hero's self-awareness, and the reception of the play in later art and literature is discussed as part of an exploration of the 'universality' of tragedy.