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Weaving Women’s Tales In Euripides’ Ion

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Chapter Summary

Ion, child of a chthonic female and Olympian male, embodies and resolves a conflict between earth and sky fundamental to creation myths. This chapter explores how the Chorus participates in a struggle for control of text from within the text, and how their unusual authorial agency is linked symbolically to their occupation as slaves at Creusa's loom, a realistic detail contributing to sustained weaving and textile imagery that unifies the drama. Euripides' new version of Ion's parentage, and recognition of mother and son, is revealed and enacted in theater as a result of unconventional intervention of Chorus, who thwart Apollo's plan laid out by Hermes in prologue. Ion exploits a conceptual relationship between text and textile; the rich and suggestive symbolism of cloth production foregrounds an authorial role for women. There are abundant examples of weaving women in epic poetry, some of whom sing as they work at the loom.

Keywords: authorial role; chorus; cloth production; creation myths; Creusa's loom; Euripides; Hermes; Ion; slaves; weaving women



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