This paper seeks to account for the anomalous qualities of the Hesiodic Shield of Heracles, and particularly of the shield-description within the poem. Drawing on Khapaeva’s analysis of the nightmare in literature, I argue that the shield-description develops a nightmarish aesthetics: with its horrific themes, intense visuality, and broken structures, the description imitates a nightmare. Moreover, it encourages listeners to immerse themselves in the nightmarish world that it creates.

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