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Drama At The Festival: A Recurrent Motif In Menander

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Chapter Summary

This chapter singles out one scene from Epitrepontes as it recurs, with variations, in several plays by Menander, and is important in a number of ways. The scene itself involves the rape or seduction of a young Athenian woman by a male Athenian citizen, usually in the course of a nocturnal festival, and results in the birth of an illegitimate baby. This poses the acute problem of what to do with the baby. It considers Menander's inventive use of a traditional theme, as well as points of style in its presentation. It also considers Menander's ethical standpoint regarding the act itself: rape or sexual exploitation of an unprotected girl. Finally, it suggests a reason why the motif may have lent itself so well to Menander's dramatic production. The chapter talks mainly about two plays-Epitrepontes and Samia.

Keywords: Athenian woman; drama; Epitrepontes; illegitimate baby; Menander; nocturnal festival; rape; Samia; sexual exploitation



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