Reading Greek Tragedy
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This book is an advanced critical introduction to Greek tragedy. It is written specifically for the reader who does not know Greek and who may be unfamiliar with the context of the Athenian drama festival but who nevertheless wants to appreciate the plays in all their complexity. Simon Goldhill aims to combine the best contemporary scholarly criticism in classics with a wide knowledge of modern literary studies in other fields. He discusses the masterpieces of Athenian drama in the light of contemporary critical controversies in such a way as to enable the student or scholar not only to understand and appreciate the texts of the most commonly read plays, but also to evaluate and utilize the range of approaches to the problems of ancient drama.
or someone to punish? Cho.: Say simply someone who will kill in return. EL: I can ask this and not be wrong in the god's eyes? This is an important piece of dialogue with many strands. I wish to concentrate here mainly on Electra's penultimate question, where she introduces a distinction between 'someone to judge', and 'someone to punish'.26 Both words have the same stem, dike, which I have already discussed briefly above, where it was translated as 'right' or 'justice'. The processes of
'retribution-bringing day'. That adjective had been used for the pickaxe of Zeus which destroyed Troy, and Aegisthus offers a further version of events in terms of bloody retribution for bloody crime. The final recognition of this chain of transgression and transgressive retribution is, for Kitto, a major climax of the Agamemnon. The Choephoroi opens with the next link of that chain. 'On Orestes falls the task of avenging the outrage done to his father. Here is nothing new, it was foreseen by
embraced the maiden holding her gently. Last, he gasped out blood, red blood on her white cheek. Corpse on a corpse he lies. He found his marriage. Its celebration in the halls of Hades. Creon's own son and heir, the continuation of his family, has been destroyed through Creon's attempt to maintain the order of the city and the hierarchy of the home. Significantly, this tale of the messenger is told to Eurydice, Creon's wife, the dear (philos) mistress of his household. Wordlessly, she leaves the
here satisfied that at last I am equal to handling my father's formidable toys.' In this reading Telemachus will have his mother leave the oikos since he will have proved himself man enough to take control as head of the household. But the sentence can equally well be read as Merry, for 43 Od. 22.46iff. " Od. 21.113-17. 750 • Text and tradition example, takes it: 'but should I string the bow . . . my lady mother need not then, to my deep sorrow, leave this house, going her way with some other
wooed by many of the 'first men' of Greece, but Aegisthus was afraid that if a child was born from one of these 'best men', such offspring would try to avenge Agamemnon. Aegisthus is dissuaded from simply killing Electra and has given her instead to the farmer as a wife. The farmer is a true-born Mycenean, as he explains, but however shining his heritage, his lack of wealth has resulted in the destruction of his 'nobility' (eugeneia) - the traditional connection of wealth and noble status. But