Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book has been a long time in the making. So many individual scholars, students, and institutions have in one way or another helped me to formulate and improve my ideas that I have decided to note contributions to individual chapters locally. Nevertheless, some special thanks belong here. The following have at one stage or another read more than one chapter of the book, and I am profoundly grateful to all of them: Duncan Foley, Richard Seaford, and Christian...

Introductory Note and Abbreviations

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pp. xi-2

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Introduction

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pp. 3-18

Greek tragedy was written and performed by men and aimed—perhaps not exclusively if women were present in the theater—at a large, public male audience. 1 Masculine identity and conflicts remain central to the enterprise, but the texts often explore or query these issues through female characters and the culturally more marginal positions that they occupy. Such indirection is basic to the genre as a whole. Tragic plots borrow from the whole repertoire of Greek...

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Part I: The Politics of Tragic Lamentation

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pp. 19-56

Readers and viewers of Greek tragedy sometimes find their attention wandering during the often lengthy scenes of ritual lamentation in Greek tragedy. My students have almost reached the point of horrified laughter when considering the scene in Euripides’ Bacchae where Cadmus and Agave apparently lamented each part of the dismembered body of king Pentheus and reconstituted it for proper burial on stage. During these moments of distraction, we tell ourselves that although our own society is uncomfortable with lengthy and...

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Part II: The Contradictions of Tragic Marriage

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pp. 57-106

The plots of Attic New Comedy of the fourth century b.c.e. and later generally revolve around the marriages and love affairs of Athenian men. A typical plot recognizes intractable social obstacles to the fulfillment of desire yet can conclude with a young man enabled to marry the girl of his dreams because she turns out after all to be a marriageable citizen daughter, to legitimize the child of a raped (citizen) virgin, or to prolong an affair with a sympathetic concubine (pallakē) or hetaira (courtesan or prostitute) who has caught his...

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Part III: Women as Moral Agents in Greek Tragedy

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pp. 107-300

In the Poetics, Aristotle defines tragic character in relation to tragic choice. In drama, character, Aristotle argues, reveals a prohairesis or a process of undertaking commitment in which a person chooses to act or to abstain from action in circumstances where the choice is not obvious (Poetics 6.1450b8–10).1 What I would like to begin to explore in this part of the book is the representation of the making and enacting of difficult moral choices—if not necessarily difficult choices in precisely the Aristotelian sense—by female characters...

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Part IV: Anodos Dramas: Euripides' Alcestis and Helen

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pp. 301-332

Homer’s Odyssey bestows on Penelope kleos, the immortal fame conferred by epic poetry, for her chastity and her brilliance in devising the stratagem of the web (2.125 and 24.196–97, kleos . . . aretēs). At the same time the poem pointedly contrasts the heroine’s creative fidelity to her husband with the adultery and treachery of Clytemnestra and (more discreetly) Helen. Attic tragedy, apparently preferring to dramatize the Clytemnestras over the...

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Conclusion

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pp. 333-338

Unquestionably, ancient Greece left a legacy to later Western culture that reinforced symbolic links between female, “nature,” domestic/private, emotion/ the irrational, and passivity and male, culture, public, rational/the selfcontrolled, and activity.1 Greek conceptions of the self and of models of human achievement were also structured in our remaining documents from a male point of view, with women, barbarians, slaves, and children serving to define...

Bibliography

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pp. 339-368

General Index

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pp. 369-386

Index Locorum

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pp. 387-410