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Title: Epic precedence : Statius’ Thebaid and its intertextual links to the Iliad of Homer
Author: Frisby, Danielle Marianne
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the intertextual relationship of Statius' Thebaid with Homer's Iliad. It is an uneasy relationship. wavering between playful competition and the nihilistic sense that a competition taken to such hyperbolic levels is self-destructive, corresponding with the issue at the heart of the narrative: civil war. It considers key features of epic poetry: the gods, cosmos, and epic substitution in examining the Thebaid's response to the Iliad. The nature of civil war in the text is a major concern, brought out through confusion of identities in blending of characters, and the way the narrative uneasily inhabits the epic genre. Characters and scenes allude to multiple points in the literary tradition between Homer and Statius, including Vergil, Ovid, Lucan, Aeschylus and Callimachus. Statius highlights and often 'corrects' Vergil by going back to Homer, and seems to set up a conflict in the genre. I address how the natural world of epic seeps through from imagery into reality, and indicates the emotional and destructive nature of civil conflict. Homeric violence is escalated to render heroes more impressive than their Homeric counterparts, but also more transgressive and essentially self-defeating in their attempt to compete with Homeric precedent. Problems of divine patronage are brought out, as well as apparently split personalities in gods. Multiple poet figures, even within one character, indicate multiple conflicted narratorial voices pulling the reader in different, often opposing directions. Issues of lineage are frequently brought to the fore, with heroes of the Iliad being the generation after the heroes of the Thebaid, and in some cases their actual descendents, placing the Thebaid in a paradoxical position of being both before and after the Iliad. The result is a disquieting reading of the text which leaves the reader uncertain whether epic has been taken to a new level or made to self-destruct.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available