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The Aeschylean Chorus

Lazani, Anastasia; (2019) The Aeschylean Chorus. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The chorus lies at the heart of the tragic genre for the Greeks. Yet modern scholars, audiences and theatre professionals have struggled to relate to this element of the tragic performance, which lacks a direct equivalent in modern Western theatre. Furthermore, the dramatic chorus (tragic or comic) is unique among Greek choral groups, as it combines a fictive identity inside the world of the play with the ritual identity of a chorus performing at a religious, civic festival. It thus occupies a space that is enriched by both strands of its existence: the fictionality of its persona, which is fully integrated into the tragic plot, and the rich tradition and connotations of Greek chorality. This thesis offers a new reading of the chorus across the Aeschylean corpus, organised around the fictive identity of the chorus members. Chapter 1 draws on the stark gender divide that characterises Greek life and the way this is translated into female tragic choruses, while the chapter also examines the rich non-dramatic choral tradition that underpins female tragic choruses. Chapter 2 analyses Aeschylus’ take on the ‘barbarian’ in an era where issues of identity are particularly relevant due to the Persian wars and the emerging supremacy of the Athenians. Chapter 3 looks at aged choruses, examining the connotations of wisdom and weakness that old age has in Greek thought, and how this impacts on the position of the chorus in the play. Chapter 4 analyses the peculiar case of divine tragic choruses, and examines how Aeschylus incorporates the notion of the divine as understood by the Greeks into the pre-dramatic tradition of divine choruses. The chapter also look at the construction of chorality in Aeschylus’ satyr plays. Where possible, evidence from fragmentary plays, as well as works that have influenced, or been influenced by, Aeschylus has been used to expand our perspective on Aeschylus’ dramatic practice.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Aeschylean Chorus
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Greek and Latin
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081450
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