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Chapter Summary

Narratives are frequent and highly important in Sophocles’ plays. His retrospective narratives are both internal and external, whereas his prospective narratives are largely internal, which means that the future outside the plays is not narrated but only briefly alluded to. External retrospective narratives fill in the prehistory of the plot, often in several not necessarily chronologically ordered installments, while internal retrospective narratives report offstage events. Internal prospective narratives anticipate developments of the plot, either correctly or misleadingly or ambiguously. Sophocles’ use of time in his narratives is designed to serve his general interest in the theme of mortals coming to terms with the vicissitudes of their lives and the ways in which the past encroaches on the present.

Keywords: dramatic narratives; prospective narratives; retrospective narratives; Sophocles



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