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Title: Incest in Ovid and Seneca
Author: Blurtsyan, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2686 6128
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines the presentation of incest in selected texts in the Metamorphoses of Ovid and in the tragedies Phaedra and Oedipus Rex of Seneca. Previous scholarship has discussed incest in Roman literature from various perspectives, especially those of social history and literary criticism. This work offers for the first time a detailed study of the incest episodes in Ovid and Seneca, taken as a distinct group, and discusses questions relating to the main general themes, and, especially, the psychological and ethical dimensions of incest. It examines these topics through a close reading of key passages from the texts, taken in the context of the overall character of these literary works as well the broader context of Roman thinking about incest. The thesis identifies shared features in the treatment of incest in Ovid and Seneca as well as defining salient differences between them in these respects. It also considers whether there is anything distinctive in the presentation of incest in these authors when compared to the presentation of intense and problematic passions in these authors. The discussion brings out certain general features of incest in Ovid and Seneca and places these features in the broader context of ancient thinking about incest in Roman culture. The discussion highlights the fact that incest is seen by Ovid and Seneca as a type of erotic passion; this is partly linked with the importance given by these authors to the psychological and ethical dimensions of incest. Both Ovid and Seneca focus especially on exploring and trying to explain the nature of the psychological motivation to commit incest. This study also highlights salient differences between Ovid and Seneca in their interpretation of incest and explains these by reference to possible literary or philosophical influences and the distinctive poetic and intellectual projects of Ovid and Seneca. The most important point of difference between Seneca and Ovid in their treatment of incest consists in their approach to the moral status of incest. Seneca's presentation is strongly moralistic (though combined with a profound interest in the psychological roots of incest), while Ovid's approach is usually sympathetic to the incestuous lovers and is sometimes subversive of conventional ethics, especially through its treatment of the manipulation of names
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available