Language and Character in Euripides' Electra (Oxford Classical Monographs)

June 13, 2021
Language and Character in Euripides' Electra (Oxford Classical Monographs)

This study of Euripides' Electra approaches the text through thelens of modern linguistics, marrying it with traditional literarycriticism in order to provide new and informative means ofanalysing and interpreting what is considered to be one of theplaywright's most controversial works. It is the first systematicattempt to apply a variety of modern linguistic theories, includingconversation analysis, pragmatics, sociolinguistics (on genderandpoliteness), paroemiology, and discourse studies, to a single Greektragedy.The volume focuses specifically on issues of characterization,demonstrating how Euripides shaped his figures through their use oflanguage, while also using the same methodology to tackle some ofthe play's major textual issues. An introductory chapter treatseach of the linguistic approaches used throughout the book, anddiscusses some of the general issues surrounding the play'sinterpretation. This is followed by chapters on the figures of thePeasant, Electra herself, and Orestes, in eachcase showing how their characterization is determined by theirspeaking style and their 'linguistic behaviour'. Three furtherchapters focus on textual criticism in stichomythia, on themessenger speech, and on the agon.By using modern linguistic methodologies to argue for a balancedinterpretation of the Electra's main characters, the volume bothchallenges dominant scholarly opinion and enhances the literaryinterpretation of this well-studied play. Taking full account ofrecent and older work in both linguistics and classics, it will beof use to readers and researchers in both fields, and includestranslations of all Greek cited and a glossary of linguisticterminology to make the text accessibleto both.