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Chapter Summary

Euripides differs from Sophocles in presenting the prehistory of the play in a block in the prologue speech, and he often also inserts external retrospective narratives later in the play. The prologue speech is balanced by external prospective narration at the end, often by a deus ex machine. The effect is to present the plot of the play as a brief of crucial segment of an extended story. The messenger-speech is the most notable example of internal retrospective narration in Euripides. More distinctive is his use of detailed and usually accurate internal prospective narration in his plotting scenes. His embedded narratives, both iambic and lyric, tend to proceed chronologically, and this is indeed an aspect of his characteristic clarity of structure. His boldest effects in the treatment of time are not in his embedded narratives but in his repeating presentation of the same events in a variety of modes.

Keywords: Euripides; retrospective narratives; Sophocles



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