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Antithesis and the One/Many in Aeschylus’ Septem

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image of Mnemosyne

AbstractSeptem exhibits several types of antithesis. The artistic function of the antithetical modes seems to be to maintain the tension between contraries, such as Thebans/Argives, interior/exterior, public/personal, words/symbols, and one/many. The dramatic function is to project conflict, particularly, to allow the verbal duels created by Eteocles and his scout to represent for the audience the duels that take place at the gates. Although antithesis is a common feature of archaic style, Aeschylean antithesis shows arresting similarities with Empedoclean usage where contraries are unified in the process of creating and preserving the cosmos/Thebes. Like neikos and philia, Eteocles and Polynices, hostile by nature, are in the end shown to be one.

Affiliations: 1: 29 Pinflower Lane, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550USAjallison@ias.edu

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2013-01-01
2016-12-04

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