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How Does “Seven” Go Into “Twelve” (Or “Fifteen”) In Euripides’ Suppliant Women?

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Chapter Summary

Euripides' Suppliant Women has not enjoyed the same reputation or popular reception as his Medea or Bacchae. With the rise of "performance criticism" over the last quarter century, Suppliant Women has attracted even more attention, as it startles spectators and readers for a number of reasons: a very grand "cancelled opening" at the beginning; an active sub-chorus of boys who occupy the focus of attention at the close of the play; a powerful scene where the dead bodies are returned, in which over fifty individuals may have been assembled in the orchestra; a troubling dea ex machina at the end; and, above all, the unprepared and unparalleled self-immolation of Euadne on the pyre of her husband. This chapter surveys the state of play of a minor but thorny matter, the composition of the chorus.

Keywords: chorus; composition; dea ex machina; Euripides; orchestra; self-immolation of Euadne; Suppliant Women



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