In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

130 BOOK REVIEWS/COMPTES RENDUS To the debate on all such questions Conacher's book has made an admirable and highly stimulating contribution. Misprints and errors are mainly minor. But Weir Smyth appears as Smythe throughout the text (it is correct in the Bibliography). and Van Looey (84, 184) should be Van Looy, while Stinton (I84) has become Stinson. On II "power" in the translation of Pers. 59 should be "flower," and in n. 17 Ag. 12 should be 112. On 20 for Frogs 403 read 1403. On 57 aVToKToVc.vC has become aVKTovc.vC. On 58 n. 44 the reference should be to Sophocles, OT II89ff. On 91 Pelasgus has turned into Danaus. On 159 and 166 there are references to a paper by Chiasson which is not listed in the Bibliography. On 177 Page's OCT has become confused with the Denniston -Page edition of Agamemnon. A.F. GARVIE DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW GLASGOW G12 8QQ UK R. DREW GRIFFITH. The Theatre oi Apollo: Divine Justice and Sophoc1es' Oedipus the King. Buffalo, NY: McGill-Queens University Press, 1996. 147 pp. $44.95. ISBN 0-7735-1500-3. Early in this slim volume Griffith warns his readers that his book "may seem reactionary" (3). So it iso Griffith does not advance a new argument so much as he responds to recent readings of the OT. Griffith wants to understand the OT as a moral play that can teach us something about ethics in our own lives. He argues, therefore, for three points: that Apollo is present throughout the play, that Apollo is a just god, and that in the course of the play Apollo punishes Oedipus for his crimes. These are perhaps not shocking or extraordinary claims: but this sort of reading has been out of favor lately. In order to make his case, Griffith argues in subsequent chapters against the readings of Ahl,I Girard,2 Dodds,3 and Peradotto,4 each of whom has seen Oedipus as innocent in some way. Griffith's desire to read the playas having immediate force for us I F. Ahl, Sophodes' Oedipus: Evidenceand Self-Conviction Othaca 1991). 2 Nurnerous publications. but most notably R. Girard. Violence and the Sacred , trans. P. Gregory (Baltimore/London 1977). 3 E.R. Dodds. "On misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex." G&R 13 (1966) 37-49. 4 J. Peradotto. "Disauthorizing prophecy: The ideological mapping of Oedipus Tyrannus." TAPA 122 (1992) 1-15. BOOK REVIEWS/COMPTES RENDUS 131 leads hirn into an interesting theoretical position. In an introductory chapter on method. he rightly denies the possibility of a fully "historical" reading. that iso of recreating the mind of an Athenian viewer of the play. But rather than turning from there to a New Critical reading (focusing on the interna1dynarnics of the text itself). or still less to a New Historical reading (self-consciously exploring the cultural differences that the text presents to us). Griffith suggests that we should exarnine a poem's "truth" which. for hirn. is the "essential universal experience in the presentation"(I2) of the poem. Elsewhere he speaks of the text being "true in the sense of being in conformity with lived experience" (4). As often. I suspect that what Griffith sees as essential and universal are. in fact. particular to his (and our) own culture . No doubt Griffith would label me a cultural relativist-but I suspect many classicists will be uneasy with Griffith's suggestion. e.g.. that Sophocles is moving towards a monotheistic system (64). and more will cringe over sentences such as "This particular fable has ... as its most basic premiss. that the ground of being is a just and powerful God. whom it pleases Sophocles to call Apollo." (83) For Griffith. there is no distance between Sophocles and us-and we all share the same set of values and beliefs. As one might expect from a work that is reacting to aseries of divergent readings. Griffith's own argument is not entirely consistent. He makes a number of intelligent observations about Girard's explanation of Oedipus as a scapegoat; in particular Girard seems unable to decide. in various publications. if Oedipus is really guilty or (as is typical of scapegoats) chosen...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 130-133
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.