By James Barrett
The messenger who reviews vital motion that has happened offstage is a well-known inhabitant of Greek tragedy. A messenger informs us concerning the loss of life of Jocasta and the blinding of Oedipus, the insanity of Heracles, the slaughter of Aigisthos, and the demise of Hippolytus, between different very important occasions. regardless of its incidence, this traditional determine continues to be simply little understood. Combining a number of serious approaches—narrative conception, style learn, and rhetorical analysis—this lucid research develops an artificial view of the messenger of Greek tragedy, displaying how this function illuminates a few of the genre's such a lot power issues, particularly these when it comes to language, wisdom, and the workings of tragic theater itself.
James Barrett supplies shut readings of numerous performs together with Aeschylus's Persians, Sophocles' Electra and Oedipus Tyrannus, and Euripides' Bacchae and Rhesos. He lines the literary ancestry of the tragic messenger, displaying that the messenger's narrative constitutes an unexplored web site of engagement with Homeric epic, and that the function illuminates fifth-century b.c. experimentation with modes of speech. Breaking new floor within the research of Athenian tragedy, Barrett deepens our knowing of many principal texts and of a kind of theater that highlights the fragility and bounds of human wisdom, a subject explored by means of its use of the messenger.