The homecoming (nóstos) pattern in Greek tragedy

Alexopoulou, Marigo (2003) The homecoming (nóstos) pattern in Greek tragedy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of the use of the homecoming (nostosin Greek) in Greek tragedy. I concentrate not just on the treatment of thenostos-theme within the plot and the imagery of the plays in question but also on nostosas part of Greek cultural experience. In order to illuminate the nature ofnostosboth as a life-event and as a story-pattern in the early literary tradition I begin with an overview ofnostos in life and literature, and then give a detailed account ofnostos in theOdyssey, since it is a major example of thenostos-pattern for Greek culture. By considering the literary treatment ofnostosin theOdysseyone may understand the nature ofnostosas a story-pattern and how that influences audience expectations. This is particularly important since the analysis ofnostosin Greek tragedy will be especially related to theOdyssey. Specifically the thesis aims to describe and analyse common elements within the plot and the imagery of the plays that might be callednostos-plays. Primarynostos-plays are those wherenostosserves as the fulcrum of the action, such as Aeschylusâ¿¿PersiansandAgamemnon and Sophoclesâ¿¿Trachiniae. The bulk of this study is devoted to the structural use ofnostosin these plays. I stress at the outset, however, that thenostos-pattern in Greek tragedy is exploited more widely, and there are many occasions in Greek drama wherenostosis an element of the plot. Among these, those with closest association to the treatment ofnostosin the second half of theOdysseyare the Orestes-plots (notably Aeschylusâ¿¿Choephori, Sophoclesâ¿¿Electraand Euripidesâ¿¿Electra). I also consider the use ofnostosin Euripidesâ¿¿AndromacheandHeraclessince both plays illustrate thatnostos is a means of creative variation on the part of the poet. Interpretation of the specific plays shows that thenostos-pattern common to these plays is a flexible set of conventions with significant variation in each case. Common themes and roles are developed in divergent ways, expectations raised are not necessarily met. Thus the thesis will recognise the variety of specific uses of thenostos-pattern on tragic stage. Finally, I suggest in the Appendix a new reading of Seferisâ¿¿ poem (⿿ο Î3ϿοÎ1ϿοοϿ ϿοϿ ÎYÎμοÎ1Ï¿ÎμοέοοϿ⿿).  In particular I related the return of the exile in Seferisâ¿¿ poem to the return of Orestes, which underlines the idealistic nature of the notion of a return to the same. This notion is embodied in both thenostos-plays and Seferisâ¿¿ poem.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Garvie, Professor A. F. and Cairns, Doctor D. L.
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-7013
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2016 13:14
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2016 08:00
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7013

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