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Title: Character through interaction : Sophocles and the delineation of the individual
Author: Van Essen-Fishman, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 7880
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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In this thesis, I argue that Sophoclean characters take shape through a number of different kinds of interaction. On the most basic level, interaction occurs between characters; interactions between characters, however, provide a framework for interactions between those characters and a variety of more abstract concepts. These interactions, by allowing characters to situate themselves with respect to concepts such as, for example, the social roles which shape the society of the play, provide a more complex picture of the personalities depicted onstage; a fuller view of Antigone’s personality, for example, emerges both from her own interactions with the concept of sisterhood and from the differences between her interactions with that concept and Ismene’s. At the same time, these interactions involve the audience in both the construction and the interpretation of Sophoclean characters; as they watch figures interact with each other onstage, the audience, in turn, interact with their own prior knowledge of the concepts which drive the characters of a play. In my five chapters, I discuss five different areas of interaction. In my first chapter, I look at interactions between characters and myth, arguing that Sophoclean characters emerge out of a tension between novelty and familiarity. In my second chapter, I discuss the interactions between characters and their social roles, looking at the problem of appropriate role performance as it applies to Sophoclean characters. My third chapter deals with characters and their memories; I argue that Sophoclean characters shape and are shaped by their memories of past events depending on shifting present circumstances. In my fourth chapter, I discuss the interactions between characters and the passage of time and suggest that Sophoclean figures are characterized by the ways in which they move through time and respond to its passage. In my final chapter, I look at the use of general statements by Sophoclean characters, arguing that the ability of characters to generalize successfully provides a useful measure of their ability to function in the world of the play.
Supervisor: Budelmann, Felix Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hellenic (Classical Greek) literature ; Greek drama ; Greek tragedy ; character ; characterization ; Sophocles