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HUMANITIES 167 several places in the book, Conacher seems to be edging away from his previous belief (tentative though it was) in the authenticity of Prometheus Bound. On that question I part company with him, but overall I find this volume an excellent guide and companion for reading Aeschylus. (C.M. KIRKWOOD) R. Drew-Griffith."Theatre ofApollo: Divine Justice and Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King' McGill-Queen's University Press. x, 147· $44.95 In his introductory chapter, Drew-Griffith provides a useful outline of the contents of the following chapters, including an important anticipation of his own Conclusion: 'The reader ofa work of literature collaborates with its authorincreating meaning ... outofthejumbledpatternoflived experience ... whatwelearnaboutwhen we read any work ofliterature ... is ourselves.' Chapter 1 begins with a frontal attack on scholars and critics who, in Drew-Griffith's view, have not been concerned with the truth ofpoems, i.e., with whether 'in some way [they] approximate real lived experience in the world.' However, his dismissal, here, of various critical approaches other than his own strikes one as somewhat sweeping, to say the least. I find it hard to agree, for example, that any concern with 'author's intention' in so far as it can be inferred from the work itself, should be rejected from the interpretation and evaluation of that work, and that critics so concerned should be dismissed, along with numerous others who are alleged to have treated poems, as, in one way or another, 'documentary facts.' Chapter 2 is concerned with 'stage directions' (in so far as these can be determined), mainly for the purpose of indicating 'the real presence' of Apollo in the play. Chapters 3 and 4 argue against the 'innocence' of Oedipus, chapter 3 against his complete innocence and chapter 4 against his moral innocence, owing to unawareness of his parentage. Thus chapter 3 argues successfully against extreme forms of 'the scapegoat theory' according to which Oedipus committed neither parricide nor incest but is a victim sacrificed to relieve Thebes of the plague. (This is not to say, of course, that scapegoat rituals have nothing to do with the Oedipus myth, but ritual is one thing, myth another and tragedy yet another, whatever the original relations between them may be). In chapter 4, Drew-Griffith argues that, because Oedipus failed to consult the oracles further and so failed to seek out his true parentage, Oedipus is morally guilty of parricide in slaying the stranger: 'He knew that he was acting in ignorance, and yet he behaved as though he did not know this; he is therefore guilty of father abuse.' This is not a completely convincing argument, for all Drew-Griffith's legalistic argument (citing Pittacus of Mytilene!) that one can be guilty through negligence. Equally unconvincing is his argument that Apollo 'is just in [an] all-toohuman sense,' in that Oedipus's murder of a stranger on a religious 168 LEITERS IN CANADA 1996 expedition determines that Oedipus should suffer exile. It is for this reason (in Drew-Griffith's view) that Apollo sends the plague and helps bring.it about that the whole truth should come out. But the great emphasis on pollution once the tragic recognition is achieved would surely suggest that it is for the horrors of parricide and, particularly, of incest that the plague has settled on Thebes. True, the oracle given to Creon is interpreted by Oedipus as simply a direction to find and banish the regicide, but (as DrewGriffith points out with regard to other oracular revelations), Oedipus has all too frequently mistaken their real significance. In my view all that matters for the I guilt' of Oedipus in the slaying of Laius is, as with the unwitting incest, the literal and terrible fact that he did commit parricide. Chapters 5 and 6 both concern Apollo; chapter 5 directly, in that it deals with the authority (against those who over-argue the case for'coincidence' in the play) of Apollo's oracles; chapter 6 indirectly, in seeking to show Oedipus's responsibility in failing to read Apollo's oracles and other warning signs along the way. Chapter 7, ''The Humiliation of Oedipus,' aiter suggesting that Oedipus's arrogance in regarding himself...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 167-168
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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