Tragic Rites: Narrative and Ritual in Sophoclean Drama

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University of Wisconsin Pres, Jan 16, 2018 - Drama - 256 pages
Presenting an innovative new reading of Sophocles' plays, Tragic Rites analyzes the poetic and narrative function of ritual in the seven extant plays of Sophocles. Adriana Brook closely examines four of them—Ajax, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus—in the context of her wide-ranging consideration of the entire Sophoclean corpus. Exploring the playwright's dramatic technique, she shows how he used elements of ritual to guide the perceptions and expectations of his fifth-century audience about plot and character.

Employing both modern ritual theory and Aristotle's Poetics, Brook exposes the deep structural analogies between ritual and narrative, the parallels between mistakes in ritual and deviations from the expected in the plot, and the relationship between ritual content and dramatic closure.
 

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Contents

Ritual Poetics in the Plays of Sophocles
3
1 Normative Rituals and Ritual Mistakes in the Antigone Trachiniae and Oedipus Tyrannus
21
2 Ritual Conflation in the Ajax
50
3 Ritual Repetition in the Electra
75
4 Ritual Status in the Philoctetes
105
5 Supplication in the Oedipus at Colonus
141
Ritual and Closure
170
Notes
181
Bibliography
211
Index
231
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About the author (2018)

Adriana Brook is an assistant professor in the Department of Classics at Lawrence University.

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