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Defining Greek Narrative$
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Douglas Cairns and Ruth Scodel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748680108

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680108.001.0001

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Narrative on the Greek Tragic Stage

Narrative on the Greek Tragic Stage

Chapter:
(p.226) 11 Narrative on the Greek Tragic Stage
Source:
Defining Greek Narrative
Author(s):

P. E. Easterling

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680108.003.0011

The narratives in Greek tragedy reflect the particular challenge of the genre, which seeks to present a given sequence of events within a limited time, in a more-or-less unchanging setting, without loss of complexity. Tragedy uses a variety of ways to evoke off-stage space and to extend its temporal range. The tragedians did not use narrative only because the conventions required it; narrative performance was obviously valued in its own right, and tragedies exploit the possibilities of deceptive narratives and of narrative that provoke very different responses from different audiences. A particularly Greek feature was the multiple role-playing of tragic actors. Especially when the narrator of climatic events off-stage was the same actor who played the protagonist, narrative could achieve special force by evoking earlier speech and action.

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