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Statius Thebaid 1.72: Is Jocasta Dead Or Alive? The Tradition Of Jocasta’s Suicide In Greek And Roman Drama And In Statius’ Thebaid

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Chapter Summary

The story of Statius' Thebaid starts some time after the close of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus (OT) and shortly before his Oedipus Coloneus (OC). Jocasta's bitter thoughts of her life in two lines (637-8) summarize her thoughts in OT 1245-50 and are a counterpart to Dido's extensive soliloquy in A. 4.651-62. This economy of words is typical of Statius' style, as is the cruel substitution of in pectore for Virgil's sub pectore and the daring concetto plagam lacrimis siccabat (imitating A. 10.834) replacing siccabat ueste cruores. After the analysis of the tradition of Jocasta's death and of the variations in the circumstances, setting and timing of this dramatic episode by Euripides, Seneca and Statius, the chapter returns to the problem of alleged inconsistency in Theb. 1.72.

Keywords: Euripides; Jocasta; Oedipus Coloneus; Oedipus Tyrannus; Statius; Thebaid 1.72



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