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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19060

Title: Recasting Troy in Fifth-century Attic Tragedy
Authors: Mattison, Kathryn Magill
Advisor: Revermann, Martin
Department: Classics
Keywords: Greek Tragedy
Troy
Trojan War
Identity
Trojan Women
Issue Date: 19-Feb-2010
Abstract: This thesis examines the characterization of Trojans in fifth-century Attic tragedy with a particular focus on their ability to shed light on the contemporary Athenian sense of identity. I argue against the notion that Trojans are displaced Persians, for they maintain a strong connection to their mythological heritage. The evidence I present draws on fifth-century Attic tragedies but also on the Iliad, iconography, and fragmentary tragedies. My discussion of passages from the Iliad creates a context for interpreting Trojan characters in fifth-century tragedy by establishing the tradition that tragedians could draw on as the background against which to set their Trojan characters. The iconographic evidence similarly adds depth to the project by stepping away from a textual focus to create a wider understanding of how Trojans were visually conceptualized. The fragmentary tragedies provide a tantalizing glimpse into the portrayal of Trojan men, who are otherwise almost entirely absent from tragedies. As a result, my discussion of tragedy focuses on Trojan women, and I suggest that they are representatives of an idealized culture designed to evoke an idealized sense of Athenian cultural identity. I examine Euripides’ Andromache to compare the portrayal of Spartans, contemporary fifth-century Athenian enemies, with that of Trojans to demonstrate the differences between them. Following that, I address the gendered nature of the aftermath of the Trojan War by focusing on one particularly feminine theme in each of three plays: exchange in Andromache, nostalgia in Trojan Women, and mourning in Hecuba. Finally, I discuss the role played by class in considering Trojan characters. Only Euripides’ Orestes presents a (male) character who was a slave in Troy before the fall, and this provides an excellent opportunity to contrast the treatment of that character with the treatment of the royal Trojan women. The purpose of this examination of Trojan characters is to demonstrate that there was an intellectual curiosity about them and their role in contemporary society. I argue in favour of a sympathetic treatment of Trojan characters, or more specifically, against the notion of a “Phrygianization of Troy,” and restore to the Trojans their own unique identity.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19060
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Classics - Doctoral theses

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