Objects as Actors: Props and the Poetics of Performance in Greek Tragedy

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University of Chicago Press, Jan 8, 2016 - Literary Criticism - 272 pages
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Objects as Actors charts a new approach to Greek tragedy based on an obvious, yet often overlooked, fact: Greek tragedy was meant to be performed. As plays, the works were incomplete without physical items—theatrical props. In this book, Melissa Mueller ingeniously demonstrates the importance of objects in the staging and reception of Athenian tragedy.

As Mueller shows, props such as weapons, textiles, and even letters were often fully integrated into a play’s action. They could provoke surprising plot turns, elicit bold viewer reactions, and provide some of tragedy’s most thrilling moments. Whether the sword of Sophocles’s Ajax, the tapestry in Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, or the tablet of Euripides’s Hippolytus, props demanded attention as a means of uniting—or disrupting—time, space, and genre.

Insightful and original, Objects as Actors offers a fresh perspective on the central tragic texts—and encourages us to rethink ancient theater as a whole.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Part I
13
Part II
109
Epilogue
190
Notes
195
Bibliography
235
General Index
259
Index Locorum
269
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About the author (2016)

Melissa Mueller is associate professor of classics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has published widely on the topics of tragedy and Homer.

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