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Chapter Summary

Plutarch signals his major concerns quite early in the proem or early chapters of the first Parallel Life in the form of anecdotes, for example, which prognosticate future greatness, abilities, traits, persistent behavioral patterns, problems, etc. These themes are most vividly emergent in the ‘grand scenes’ of the Lives, sections in which the narrative is greatly slowed down. Longer episodes of narrative slowing down often showcase the main protagonist’s specific involvement in major historical events. Plutarch tends to accelerate the narrative through, or omit from it altogether, long presentations of battles. He rarely presents speeches of any length. External and internal prolepses and analepses are often used to highlight behavior by recontextualizing it or clustering similar instances thematically. Plutarch concludes most of the pairs analeptically with a brief retrospective essay in which the major accomplishments and characteristics of the two heroes are recalled and evaluated instructively in an impartial way.

Keywords: analepses; Parallel Life; Plutarch; prolepses



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