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Chapter Summary

Greek tragedies are representations of human action, but also formal structures with internal rules of their own. This chapter addresses the question as to what extent convention and realism are operative in Euripidean stichomythia. By comparing the turn-taking system in stichomythia to the universal characteristics of turn-taking and conversation as formulated by Sacks et al., the chapter gives a more objective and nuanced picture of the relationship between convention and realism in Euripidean stichomythia than has been offered hitherto. It concentrates on some less obvious similarities, i.e. turn-allocation, turn-extent variation, and turn-taking errors, violations and repairs. Turn-allocation takes place by means of illocutionary expressions, which help to identify the speech act intended, provide information about its performance and the interlocutors' attitude and/or position therein. The chapter offers some counterweight against the scholarly verdict on Euripidean stichomythia as entirely unnatural.

Keywords: Euripidean stichomythia; Greek tragedy; realism; turn-taking system



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