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Euripides and the Politics of Form$
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Victoria Wohl

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166506

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166506.001.0001

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The Politics of Form

The Politics of Form

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction The Politics of Form
Source:
Euripides and the Politics of Form
Author(s):

Victoria Wohl

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691166506.003.0001

This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, namely to prove the very simple proposition that in Euripidean tragedy, dramatic form is a kind of political content. The project is motivated by two separate but intersecting problems. The first is the problem of Euripidean tragedy. There are eighteen extant tragedies confidently attributed to Euripides and many of them are, for lack of a better word, odd. With their disjointed, action-packed plots, comic touches, and frequent happy endings, they seem to stretch the generic boundaries of tragedy as we usually think of it. The second problem is the relation between the play and its contemporary world, the political world of democratic Athens. Tragic dramas were, almost without exception, set in the mythic past, not in the fifth-century polis, and almost never allude overtly to their contemporary moment. The remainder of the chapter discusses the meaning of politics of form by way of a brief illustration.

Keywords:   Euripidean tragedy, Greek drama, dramatic form, Euripedes, tragic drama, democratic Athens

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