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Title: A study of the recurrent characters in Greek tragedy, with particular reference to the extant plays of Euripides
Author: Roderick, Thomas Douglas
ISNI:       0000 0001 3529 9530
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1978
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The present thesis examines the recurrent characters in Greek Tragedy. This category comprises the named and human personae but excludes types and deities. The study was originally concerned with the extant plays of Euripides only. However it soon became clear that a comparative analysis of Aeschylus and Sophocles was necessary, to assess the contribution of the earlier playwrights and to establish, in its proper context, the achievement of Euripides. The findings indicate that the degree of consistency in the characterization is much higher than has hitherto been recognized. The evidence for this judgement is based upon literary and stylistic considerations, as well as upon the general behaviour and thoughts of the characters concerned. The first chapter is devoted to Aeschylus. Here it is argued that he began the practice of using recurrent characters because it was appropriate for the trilogic format of the plays and his philosophic view of the continuity in the cosmic and human order. For the first time, too, the psychology of the characters assumed importance and the sympathy of Aeschylus for women is revealed. The second chapter centres upon Sophocles. He extended the scope of the device by employing it in dramas that were connected in themes and ideas but not written as a set trilogy at the same time. The consistency in his personae throws fresh light on his belief in the fundamental unchangeability of human nature. The next three chapters deal with Euripides in the following order: the male characters, then the female characters, and finally the lesser characters. Influenced in his views by Aeschylus, Euripides advanced further, with the result that the device reached its height under him. It became a means of conveying his beliefs about the effects of war and conflict between human beings, and of achieving psychological realism in his characterization.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Classical Literature