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'Microstructure' in Greek Tragedy: From Bad to Worse—Wrong Guesses in Euripidean Stichomythia (Including a Comparison with Aeschylus and Sophocles): Part I. Description and Analysis)

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image of Mnemosyne

This publication is subdivided into two major parts. Part I brings to attention and analyzes a hitherto undiscovered set-piece of Euripidean stichomythic dialogue. This dialogue occurs most regularly and most powerfully in the Euripidean tragedies up to the year 415, in situations when bad news is revealed to an unknowing character. This small pattern—for which film theory offers the suitable term 'microstructure'—consists of one speaker's false guess (or guesses) before he (or she) learns the truth. In Part II of this contribution the earlier findings are set within a larger context by means of comparison, by tentatively tracing the pattern's origin and determining what Euripides' specific achievement may be, and, finally, by pointing out fundamental similarities between the production of ancient Greek tragedy and the production of modern popular film.

Affiliations: 1: Universität München, Institut für klassische Philologie, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 München, Germany


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