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Where Is Electra In Sophocles’ Electra?

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Chapter Summary

Each drama generates its own set of significant spaces which may have connotations enriched by internal action of the play or by external knowledge of audience, and these spaces may in turn contribute to the meaning of a character or response of an audience. This chapter explores one character's relation to dramatic space, and author's thesis is that Sophocles' Electra handles this unusually: the protagonist, he argues, fails to occupy a significant place-partly because she is excluded from those that seem to acquire importance, and partly because the places she does occupy are emptied of meaning. Author's argument begins with the important signifier in theatrical space, the skene, and then considers other real and imagined spaces that Electra may inhabit, eventually concluding that Sophocles' use of "negative space" not only heightens the emotional power of his protagonist but also makes it hard for spectators to find meaning in the murders.

Keywords: audience; dramatic space; Electra; protagonist; skene; Sophocles; theatrical space



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