By analysing how the audience interpreted the many voices of tragic performance, this chapter suggests a new model for understanding tragedy’s relationship to the world of the watching community. Although the idea that the poet expresses his personal opinions through the chorus or his characters is now rightly seen as old-fashioned and naïve, it is still legitimate to ask how the poet uses his heroic characters and their voices to speak to his contemporary audience—using ‘speak to’ in the broadest sense, (...) that is, how the poet engages, provokes, and entertains his diverse and demanding audience, with the ultimate aim of winning the prize for the best production in the tragic competition. This chapter argues that tragedy’s status as a popular art-form—where the multiple voices of tragic performance offer something for everyone in the audience—has important implications for the genre’s place in fifth-century Athenian culture, and that a realization of tragedy’s broad appeal opens up the issue of its relationship to civic discourse in new and revealing ways. (shrink)
The death of Turnus is one of theAeneid's most controversial and variously interpreted episodes – anything from the triumphant vindication of Aeneas and the Roman future, to the poet's last, resounding plaint against Augustan totalitarianism, with all the more nuanced shades of opinion in between. Virgilian scholarship has recently become tired of the opposition between ‘optimist’ and ‘pessimist’ perspectives, but one piece of potentially important evidence has not found its way into the argument. As often, it is a matter of (...) intertexts, and it begins, unsurprisingly, with theIliad. (shrink)
This article argues that several problems of character identification in the Batrakhomyomakhia should be considered not as matters of textual criticism, to be solved by emendation, excision or transposition, but as authentie features of the poem's parodie engagement with the text of Homer and its scholarship. This engagement comprises another reason for considering the Hellenistic period as the most likely terminus post quem for the poem.