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LE MYTHE D’ÉLECTRE DANS L’OEUVRE DE TROIS POÈTES DE L’ANTIQUITÉ

Gabriela Chiciudean

Abstract


This paper is the first part of a larger study that depicts the transformation of Electra’s myth in theatre plays, from its origins to modernity, its continuous accommodation to different epochs and mentalities, to historical contexts, aesthetical tendencies, new literary genres and subgenres and, last but not least, the author’s personality. The paper focuses on Electra’s myth in antique poetry and offers a general view on the tragedy, its origin and structure, elements, action and characters, with concrete examples from Aeschylus’ Orestia, Sophocles’ Electra and Euripides’ Electra. Considering the myth as a major instance of the imagination, interesting in its syntax (formal structures) and semantics (symbolism), we underline the constant constants met in the abovementioned tragedies, e.g. revenge and redemption and other invariable elements. The transformations suffered by the myth are very well reflected by the Greek tragedies. Sophocles and Euripides get their inspiration from Aeschylus but they modify the structure of the tragedy and the tragic character of the hero. If Aeschylus insists on the power of gods over human beings, for Sophocles the human being becomes more important. Euripides’ works are considered more innovative both on the level of content and construction. His characters are devoid of greatness, they are common human beings obliged to earn their living, old men and women, frightened prisoners and cowards. Thus, myth as a common source of inspiration, especially the cycle of the Atreidai, namely the episode of Clytemnestra’s killing by Orestes, is to be met in the three poets’ works in different interpretations. Our goal is to follow the mythical invariants met in the three tragedies (the abovementioned revenge and redemption), as well as constant elements such as recognition, choice of characters, the importance of the choir, the messenger, the judgement, etc.


Keywords


Electra; myth; theatre; tragedy; Aeschylus; Sophocles; Euripides

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References


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