Under the Sign of the Shield: Semiotics and Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes

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Lexington Books, 2009 - Drama - 177 pages
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Described as "a powerful, brilliant, and original study" when first published, this second edition of Froma Zeitlin's experiment in decoding the Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes in the light of contemporary theory now updates her explorations of the tragic struggle between Eteocles and Polyneices, the doomed sons of Oedipus, with a new preface, a new afterword, and the addition of the relevant Greek texts. The mutual self-destruction of the enemy brothers in this last act of the cursed family is preceded (and determined) by one of Aeschylus' most daring innovations through the pairing of the shields of attackers and defenders in the central scene of the play as an extended dialogue explicitly concerned with visual and verbal symbols. In a preliminary consideration of the relations between language and kinship and between city and family, between self and society, as determining forces in fifth-century drama, the heart of the book is a detailed investigation of this tour de force of semiotic energy. Zeitlin's decipherment of this provocative text yields a heightened appreciation of Aeschylus' compositional artistry and the complexity of his worldview. At the same time, this study points the way to Zeitlin's larger engagement with the special ideological role that the city of Thebes comes to play on the tragic stage as the negative counterpart to the self-representation of Athens.
 

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Contents

Trilogy Narrative Time and Repetitive Form
5
Génos System of FamilySystem of Language
11
MythosPólisGénos AutochthonyIncest
15
Hero Structure Sign and Identity
21
Reading the Signs by the Rules of the Game
27
TydeusMelanippos 375421
33
KapaneusPolyphontes 422456
41
EteoklosMegareus 457485
49
ParthenopaiosAktor 526567
65
AmphiaraosLasthenes 568630
77
PolyneikesEteokles 631685
91
Aftermath
103
The Shield Scene as System Relations and Patterns
123
The Shield Scene as Representation The Mise en Scéne
129
The Shield Scene as System The Development of the Self
137
Tragic Thebes on the Athenian Stage
153

HippomedonHyperbios 486525
55

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About the author (2009)

Froma I. Zeitlin is professor of classics and the Charles Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature at Princeton University.

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