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Review Of J. R. Porter, Studies In Euripides’ Orestes (Mnemosyne Suppl. 128, 1994)

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Chapter Summary

J.R.Porters review has a clearly stated programme: to contest interpretations of Orestes variously founded in the conviction of Orestes criminal insanity and moral folly, and the irony central to such interpretations. Orestes presents the picture of a world gone bizarrely awry, where the heros expectations are constantly raised only to be cruelly dashed. The resulting tensions and frustrations eventually lead Orestes to lash out in a manner reminiscent of Euripides earlier tragic victims, but with an important difference. Eventually the stress becomes so great that it strains the boundaries of tragic convention itself until, in the end, the tragic potential of Orestes predicament becomes lost amid the moral, political, and situational chaos of the late Euripidean stage. The Second Stasimon, preceding the assembly-trial, is literally central in the play; and it is confessedly a stumbling-block. P. deserves credit for honesty in highlighting it in Appendix Three.

Keywords: Euripides tragic victims; J. R. Porter; Orestes; Second Stasimon



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