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Silence in Sophocles' tragedies

Maggel, Avgi-Anna; (1997) Silence in Sophocles' tragedies. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The introduction of the thesis presents the poetics of silence in tragedy, the framework of the thesis, parallel aspects of silence, silent persons within the light of the three-actor rule and a review of previous scholarship. The study of silence in Sophocles' plays is divided into two parts, each of which explores silence as a feature of characterization and as a structural element in Sophocles' extant plays. a) Speakers and Mute Performers: Part I deals with mute named characters, speakers who turn into mute characters, extras in crowd-scenes, and mute attendants. The roles of mutes in relation to speakers are classified according to their dramatic importance. b) Speakers and Silence: in Part II emphasis is given to silence in the structure of the dialogue with particular reference to the mechanism which generates the position of a silent witness in a dialogue-scene and the transition of speech from one speaker to another. The technique related to the change of speakers refers to the entry of a new character, the verbal interferences and the short interventions of silent witnesses in the dialogue. The contribution of this research is that it reverses the focus from speech to silence and investigates the dramatic procedures or conventions, which motivate the various manifestations of silence. The orchestration of silence on stage implies that the form and meaning of silence are defined in relation to the speaking parts. The silent persons follow the speeches in a closer or a more distant contact with the speakers, and they perform dramatic actions which are often not precisely indicated in the words. By following at close range their reactions, their reasons for being silent in the scenes and the breaking of their silences, we explore the rhythm of silence in the shifts of dialogue and the fluctuation of the meaning of silence in the interaction of characters in the context of the Sophoclean drama.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Silence in Sophocles' tragedies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Sophocles; Tragedies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098676
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