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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

(p.226) 11 Narrative on the Greek Tragic Stage
Defining Greek Narrative

P. E. Easterling

Edinburgh University Press

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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