This book sets out to interpret Euripides' The Trojan Women in the light of a view of tragedy which sees its function, as it was understood in classical Athens, as being didactic. This function, the author argues, was carried out by an examination of the ideology to which the audience subscribed. The Trojan Women, powerfully exploiting the dramatic context of the aftermath of the Trojan War, is a remarkable example of tragic teaching. The play questions a series of mutually reinforcing polarities (man/god; man/woman; Greek/barbarian; free/slave) through which an Athenian citizen defined himself, and also examines the dangers of rhetoric and the value of victory in war. By making the didactic function of tragedy the basis of interpretation, the author is able to offer a coherent view of a number of long-standing problems in Euripidean and tragic criticism, namely the relation of Euripides to the sophists, the pervasive self-reference and anachronism in Euripides, the problem of contemporary reference, and the construction and importance of the tragic scene.
The book, which makes use of recent scholarship both in Classics and in critical theory, should be read by all those interested in Greek tragedy and in the culture of late fifth-century Athens.
"...a learned and far-ranging book...[a] wealth of useful material...[a] truly impressive range of issues..." Classical Views "An extensive bibliography, general index, and index of passages cited complete this careful and thoughtful study. Recommended for undergraduate and graduate libraries." Religious Studies Review "It shows on every page the influence of the work of scholars like Loraux, Vernant and Zeitlin, but unlike many studies that share this pedigree, it is lucidly written and free of irritating jargon. Indeed, it can be safely recommended to those classicists who are somehow uneasily aware that naive positivism has died, but who are too embarassed to ask what has taken its place." Bryn Mawr Classical Review