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Tragic Narrative: A Narratological Study of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus [Reprint 2012 ed.]
 3110174014, 9783110174014

Table of contents :
Chapter 1. Tragic Narrative
I. Narratology and Greek Tragedy
II. Time Games
III. Narrative Games
IV. Audience Reception: The External Narratees
V. Beyond the Text: Music and Dance (Appendix)
Chapter 2. Narrative Past
I. The Hold of the Past on the Present
II. Controlling the Past: Shaping the Future
Chapter 3. Narration and the Battle
I. Designing the Battle
II. Praying for Victory: Narration and Prophecy
III. Narration and Concealment
Chapter 4. Narration and Death
I. The Death of Oedipus: Deferral and Secrecy
II. Praying for Death
III. Narrative Tactics: The Messenger
IV. Looking Back in Sorrow: The Lament
VI. Intertextual Reversal: Sophocles’ Antigone
Chapter 5. ‘Viewing’ Colonus
I. Description and Focalization
II. Political ‘Viewing’: The Athenian Colonus
III. Mystical ‘Viewing’: The Eleusinian Colonus
Conclusion
Bibliography
a) Abreviation
b) Select Editions of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus
c) Works Cited
Indexes
I. General Index
II. Index of Greek Words
III. Index of Principal Passages

Citation preview

Andreas Markantonatos Tragic Narrative

w DE

G

Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte Herausgegeben von Gustav-Adolf Lehmann, Heinz-Günther Nesselrath und Otto Zwierlein

Band 63

Walter de Gruyter · Berlin · New York 2002

Tragic Narrative A Narratological Study of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus

by

Andreas Markantonatos

Walter de Gruyter · Berlin · New York 2002

© Printed on acid-free paper which falls within the guidelines of the ANSI to ensure permanence and durability.

Library of Congress — Cataloging-in-Publication-Data

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress

Die Deutsche Bibliothek — Cataloging in Publication Data

Markantonatos, Andreas: Tragic narrative : a narratological study of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus / by Andreas Markantonatos. - Berlin ; New York : de Gruyter, 2002 (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte ; Bd. 63) Zugl.: Oxford, Univ., Diss., 2001 ISBN 3-11-017401-4

© Copyright 2002 by Walter de Gruyter G m b H & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin All rights reserved, including those of translation into foreign languages. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in Germany Cover design: Christopher Schneider, Berlin Printing and binding: Hubert & Co., Göttingen

Foreword

When Andreas Markantonatos began this work, there existed almost no books applying narratology to any form of drama. There was too a prevailing scepticism as to whether narratology could legitimately be applied to drama at all: drama, being essentially a matter of 'mimesis' rather than narration, of 'showing' rather than 'telling', does not have a controlling narrator, so how could narratology be used in its analysis? As his work proceeded however, it soon became clear that narratology has much to offer the study of drama. Dr Markantonatos saw for instance that techniques that had been applied to film could with perfect appropriateness be applied to drama. The narrator is absent from the play's events, but none the less remains a guiding presence, performing all the acts of omniscient narrators elsewhere, ordering the actions, deciding whether events will be staged or narrated by a character, exploiting the split between stage-time and text-time and so on. Similarly, the audience, as well as the characters in the play, can be constructed as narratees, and the interplay between the knowledge of each set of narratees is available to the author as in other genres. In recent years, others have followed a similar path, but this book remains the only volume dedicated to a thorough demonstration of what narratology and its varied techniques can contribute to the study of a single play. It is now clear that drama responds to narratological scrutiny as well as other genres and in equally interesting ways. There are, it is true, narrative constraints in drama which do not exist in other genres, but drama has a corresponding range of strategies that compensates for these constraints and offers possibilities not open to those genres. This book looks at one play, but offers a profound demonstration of the rich variety of different kinds of analysis that narratology affords the student of drama. The introduction provides a very useful tour d'horizon of the question of narratology's relationship to drama, and of the ways in which that question has been answered. After this solid theoretical foundation, successive chapters consider different narratological approaches. Oedipus' control of the presentation of events in the play is powerfully demonstrated by analysis of his use of analeptic accounts of the past and proleptic

VI

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accounts of the future; in a manner that other characters cannot match. His life is focalised through a number of characters, but this blind and apparently powerless old man's control of our and the characters' view of the past grows as he increasingly exercises his narratorial authority to present his past as he interprets it. In the same way, his move to heroic status is expressed in great part by his vision, unavailable to others, of the future course of events and of their significance. Narration of off-stage events is an obvious area for narratorial analysis, but the Oedipus at Colonus provides an intriguing example of an eventthe cavalry battle between the Athenian and Theban forces which is the subject of a major choral narration and is contemporary with that narration, but which the narrators cannot see and indeed do not in the end describe in any actual detail. Markantonatos cleverly reveals how what is in narratological terms essentially an ellipsis of the battle-narrative in fact contributes to our sense of the immense importance of this battle, through its presaging of a future event of great importance to Athens: analepsis is again employed to endow a mythical event with extra meaning. In a similar fashion, the death of Oedipus is presented through a plethora of different focalisations and, though it is finally described by the Messenger, his narration has another ellipsis at its very heart. Only Oedipus seems able to comprehend the meaning of his death: for us and the characters, an aura of mystery remains. In this chapter, narratology goes hand in hand with intertextuality, as the plot of Oedipus at Colonus is examined through its relationship with Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone, and the coming events in the royal household are evoked and assessed through the action of the play: for instance, the difference of opinion between Antigone and Ismene is a mirror-text of the situation in Antigone. A final powerful chapter considers the setting of the play at Colonus and the way in which the description of Colonus is so constructed that it evokes Athens itself and Eleusis with its rituals: various narrative devices are used to give this site a significance well beyond what might have been expected. Through differing focalisations and descriptions, Colonus is made a place of considerable religious and political importance, and the death of Oedipus is given further significance by its association with intertexts of the Eleusinian Mysteries. 'Description' has often been seen as the poor relation of narratology, even as an embarrassment, but in this chapter its importance in the creation of the play's meaning is firmly established.

Foreword

VII

This rich and fascinating book thus takes a play of already acknowledged complexity and finds in it, through narratology, further as yet unremarked levels of signification and intricacy. It is narratology which lets Markantonatos explore the way the events on stage, which have a very short temporal compass, are set against the many off-stage worlds, both past and future. It is narration, in its many forms, which brings these worlds before the spectators' and readers' eyes, and gives the stage-action its cosmic significance. A.M. Bowie, The Queen's College, Oxford.

Acknowledgements

This book began life as a doctoral thesis at Oxford University in 1994. Since then my initial views on the possibility for an application of narratology to Greek tragedy have undergone considerable changes always for the better, I hope. This would never have happened without the unfailing guidance and continuous encouragement of Dr. A. M. Bowie, who took an immediate interest in my work and agreed to act as supervisor of my doctoral thesis. Like another μυσταγωγός, he guided me through the long and often frustrating process of putting my hazy ideas in order and expressing myself clearly. If only I had been endowed with his extraordinary attention to detail and his remarkable feeling for Greek! My sole ambition is that the present book meets his rigorous scholarly standards. Through the years, I incurred several debts of gratitude from people at Oxford and elsewhere. My text has been greatly improved by their enlightening observations. I am especially grateful to Dr. D. Innes for her unstinted support during my first year at Oxford as an M.St, student, the late Dr. D. Fowler for readily responding to my narratological queries and providing me with abundant bibliography to improve the thesis, Prof. P. J. Parsons for his unforgettable tutorials and valuable advice, Prof. O. Taplin for reading parts of my thesis and lending me his outstanding theatrical expertise, Prof. P. E. Easterling for going through part of my text with matchless acumen and advising me on several crucial points, Dr. C. Pelling for reading everything again with great perceptiveness and learning, Prof. Dr. H.-G. Nesselrath for making many helpful suggestions with his usual insight and sensitivity, Dr. I. J. F. de Jong for her useful recommendations, and, last but not least, Dr. T. C. B. Rood, Dr. B. Goward and Dr. N. J. Lowe for letting me see exciting unpublished work on narratology and classical literature. Especially, the last has put me in his debt in offering plenty of suggestions for the improvement of my narratological analysis. Without his constructive criticism, my arguments would have been much weaker. Needless to say, any errors remaining in the book are my responsibility. I am aware that many more people have taken the time to discuss

X

Acknowledgements

aspects of my work or answer queries. I feel privileged to have such friends as Michael Lipka, Abe Fawal, Brian Hardy and Cristina NeaguCostelo, who were particularly receptive to my approach. Also, I would like to record my gratitude to the Faculty Board of Literae Humaniores, who elected me to a generous three-year scholarship. On a personal note, I owe to my wife, Mirella, far more than I could ever possibly say. She has helped me enormously at every stage no less than in caring for our newborn son. Finally, I am very aware that this study would never have seen the light of day without the constant support of my parents, who were always there for me in my hour of need. As I am true to the saying that θεός μέγιστος τοις φρονοϋσιν oí γονής, the book is deservedly dedicated to them with all my love. A.M. Athens February 2002

Contents Chapter 1 Tragic Narrative I. Narratology and Greek Tragedy II. Time Games III. Narrative Games IV. Audience Reception: The External Narratees V. Beyond the Text: Music and Dance (Appendix)

1 7 13 19 26

Chapter 2 Narrative Past I. The Hold of the Past on the Present a) Oedipus and the Chorus (I) b) Oedipus and the Chorus (II) c) Oedipus and Creon II. Controlling the Past: Shaping the Future a) Oedipus and Ismene b) Oedipus and Creon c) Oedipus and Polynices

30 33 39 44 53 55 65 69

Chapter 3 Narration and the Battle I. Designing the Battle a) Oedipus and Thebes b) Arrival of Creon c) Arrival of Theseus II. Praying for Victory: Narration and Prophecy III. Narration and Concealment

78 79 85 91 100 109

Chapter 4 Narration and Death I. The Death of Oedipus: Deferral and Secrecy

116

XII

Contents

a) Narration and Deferral b) Narration and Secrecy II. Praying for Death III. Narrative Tactics: The Messenger IV. Looking Back in Sorrow: The Lament VI. Intertextual Reversal: Sophocles' Antigone

116 123 127 130 147 161

Chapter 5 'Viewing' Colonus I. Description and Focalization II. Political 'Viewing': The Athenian Colonus a) First 'Viewing': Antigone b) Second 'Viewing': The Stranger c) Collective 'Viewing': The Chorus III. Mystical 'Viewing': The Eleusinian Colonus a) Colonus and Eleusis b) Oedipus and Eleusis

167 170 172 174 179 197 198 208

Conclusion

Bibliography a) Abbreviations b) Select Editions c) Works Cited

227 228 228

Indexes I. General Index II. Index of Greek Words III. Index of Principal Passages

291 293 294

Preface

The purpose of this study is to test the validity of a narratological approach in the analysis of Greek tragedy. Regardless of the paradox that drama constitutes a narrative without external narrators, I seek to show that a wide range of narratological tools can be put to good use in the interpretation of tragedy. As far as I am aware, this is the first full-scale study of a play, ancient and modern, in narrative terms. Previous attempts to examine the narrative structures of plays focused on plot-centred, actiondriven models, which took their cue from the recent developments of modern linguistics. In particular, in his two studies La Syntaxe Narrative des Tragédies de Corneille (1976: Paris & Ottawa) and The Poetics of Plot: The Case of English Renaissance Drama (1985: Minneapolis), T. G. Pavel offered a model of analysis which was based on the Chomskyan version of generative-transformational grammar. By contrast, in assuming a purely narratological perspective, I. J. F. de Jong (1991), Narrative in Drama. The Art of the Euripidean Messenger-Speech (Leiden) offered a close reading of certain Euripidean plays. Her interesting analysis focused solely on the messenger-speech as first-person narrative. Even more promising is B. Goward (1999), Telling Tragedy. Some Narrative Techniques in Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides (London) which discusses several aspects of the narrative methods of the tragic poets. By far the most important contribution to the subject is N. J. Lowe (2000), The Classical Plot and the Invention of Western Narrative (Cambridge), which, among other things, subjects the entire tragic corpus to a splendid narratological scrutiny. N. J. Lowe lays down the groundwork for a far-reaching narratological analysis of Greek tragedy. His insightful narrative exposition has allowed readers to see tragic narration in sharper perspective. In keeping with Agathon, who once pertinently noted that ιδίας όδούς ζητοΰσι φιλόπονοι φύσεις (fr. 21 Snell), in this study I aspire to strike a happy medium between the rigorous narratological analysis of the text and the all-embracing narrative interpretation of plotting techniques. In Oedipus at Colonus Sophocles uses the figure and history of Oedipus to explore and thematise with unprecedented directness some of the main narratological concerns of tragedy: the intricate relation between the

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narrow here-and-now of the visible tableau and the many off-stage worlds that have to be channeled into it through narrative, including the past, the future, other treatments of the myth and the world of fifth-century Athens. The result is fascinating - a rich, strange, problematical play full of wild tonal shifts and bravura story-telling. The emotional thread that holds the play together is in the gradual unfolding of the narrative. Among other things, Oedipus at Colonus makes us ponder the very nature of love - how it is hard-wired into us, how it blurs the line between the selfish and the selfless. As the visual configuration is repeatedly intensified by a wide variety of narrative techniques, Sophocles leads us inside the dark recesses of a family, where grief, love and violence commingle in ways that we might not care to acknowledge. Under the stress, the fissures of what seemed like a sad old story gape open. However, the past is not allowed to dominate and ultimately poison the present. By way of religious, political and intertextual references, Sophocles invents an image of endlessness consistent with a temporal end. Oedipus possesses a kind of perpetuity, his halo signifies the perennitas of Athens. As the ultimate purpose of this book is to offer an insight into the narrative workshop of Sophocles, I would like to close the preface with the hope that my analysis will ultimately deepen our understanding of the narrative art of this remarkable playwright.

Chapter 1 "I hate to shoot with only one lens" Michelangelo Antonioni

Tragic Narrative This chapter will argue that in view of the special parameters for an application of narratology to Greek tragedy drama presents a wide range of ploys to compensate for the narrative restrictions of the genre, so much resented by Italian film director, Michelangelo Antonioni. This entails a series of modifications of the original theory as systematized by Genette and given a wider scope by film critics, some of whom take their cue from the recent developments in the field of narrative studies. Even though Greek tragedy does not display the same potential for chronological manoeuvring as film, there is considerable scope for temporal alterations of the linearity of the story. Time is an extremely important aspect of dramatic production, but so is the active involvement of the original audience. In a separate section, focus will be given to the intricate issue of audience reception. With extreme caution, the fusion of mythical elements, with telling references to a contemporary state of affairs, will be treated as a key point in the construction of a possible world within which the tragic narrative unfolds. As a last point, in an appendix, brief reference will be made to the extra-textual parameters of tragic performance, most notably music and dance, which constitute meta-narratives, commenting on the staged action and affecting, to a large measure, audience reception.

Narratology and Greek Tragedy According to mainstream narratology, the study of narrative focuses mainly on artefacts such as novels, short stories, fables and even narrative poems (epic poetry, prose poems etc.) - that is, textual pieces which in essence

2

Chapter 1

are mediated through a kind of narrator and thus constitute a true diegesis. Until recently, theorists of narrative analysis have taken for granted that the dichotomy between diegesis and mimesis, i.e. 'telling' and 'showing', is unquestionable. Further, one of our leading narratologists, drawing on the authority of Plato, is at pains to emphasize the difference between diegesis and mimesis, insisting on "the truly insurmountable opposition between dramatic representation and narrative."1 There is indeed an apparent discrepancy between dramatic representation and novelistic representation; however, in essence, both of them translate a specific series of events, which comprise a certain number of characters, into text by often disrupting the chronology of the original story2. As a consequence of the disruption, in both cases a specific textual level is formed, which constitutes the principal narrative and into which all secondary narratives are inserted. Essentially, the 'first' narrative serves as the chronological level with respect to which all temporal discrepancies are defined as such.3 Thus, it is reasonable to argue that Narrative in a broader sense (hence the capital N) embraces both diegetic and mimetic artefacts inasmuch as there is an undeniable affinity between enacted and recounted events. As Chatman has rightly suggested, it would be wiser for narratologists to treat both diegesis and mimesis as separate narrative modes, which in turn are hierarchically subordinate to the wider category of Narrative.4 Therefore the students of narratology should feel free to apply the specific critical 1 2

3 4

Genette (1988) 41. Story is taken to mean the linear patterning of events which can be reconstituted from the text itself. A story is composed of discriminable events performed by certain agents and linked by particular principles. This recalls the cognate distinction between fabula and sjuzet, established by Russian formalism (cf. Tomashevsky 1965,66; Erlich 1981', 240), and between 'story' and 'discourse', suggested by Chatman (1978) 19. Cf. also Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 3; Elam (1980) 119-120; Cohan & Shires (1988). A caveat, however, is needed here. The anteriority of story to narrative need not imply actual pre-existence. In speaking of original stories, actualized in theatrical terms, it is unwise to presuppose that "there was a fixed body of lore waiting patiently for the playwrights to give it dramatic form. In an important sense, poets were the mythmakers of Greece" (Burian 1997, 184-185). Cf. Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 91-94; Bal (1985) 51ff„ (1997) 80ff. (1990). On the notion of Narrative as a broader category embracing literary and nonliterary genres, see also Onega & Landa (1996) 3; Ricoeur (1984-1988) vols, i-iii (for Ricoeur's narrative theory, which includes the study of drama, see Clark 1990, 152-198; Wood 1991). On narratology and historiography, see White (1973), (1978), (1987);

Narratology and Greek Tragedy

3

tools of the theory to a wider range of artefacts containing plots but not centred around purely 'diegetic' techniques, such as drama and film.5 The secondary importance of the distinction between telling and showing is made even more obvious by the very fact that the boundaries separating diegetic and mimetic genres are hard to define with any degree of precision. Both narrative modes tend to intermingle, and thus any attempt at strict compartmentalization is impossible. Indeed, most novels become more or less 'mimetic' when extensive portions of dialogue are incorporated into the main narrative or, even more strikingly, when short stories come mostly in the form of quoted dialogue, and it is only the nontheatrical circumstances of their publication that distinguish them from drama. Well-known examples that spring to mind are Hemingway's "The Killers", where the narrator is almost eliminated from the story, and Beckett's 'novels', which read as performance texts.6 At the other end of the spectrum, one can argue for the potentially 'mixed' nature of drama, especially in the case of the embodiment of lengthy secondary narratives, which predominantly take the form of retrospective and anticipatory reports, known in narratological terms as analepses and prolepses respectively.7 Thus, it is fair to say that there is no definite distinction between telling and showing, since both of them Hornblower (1994), (1996) 13-19; Rood (1998); de Jong (1999a); Kraus (1999). On the important field of narrative, feminism and psychoanalysis, see Jameson (1981); Brooks (1984); Chambers (1984); DuPlessis (1985); Hoffman (1986); Hirsch (1989); Mellard (1987); Nash (1989); cf. also Nelson (1987); Sarbin (1986); Schäfer (1981); Siegle (1986); Smith & Morris (1992); Spence (1982). On narrative theory and drama, see Pavel (1976), (1985); Segre (1981); Hutcheon (1984) 36-47; Sifakis (1988); O' Neill (1994) 16-17. Greek tragedy has been treated as a kind o f narrative by traditional critics, see Lattimore (1964) ch. 1. Cf. also Chalkia (1979); Aélion (1984), (1987); Herington (1985); Roberts (1989), (1992), (1995); Buxton (1991); Kraus (1991); Belfiore (1992) ch. 3, (2000b); Segal (1992); Kuntz (1993); Dunn (1996); Lowe (1996), (2000) 157187; Goward ( 1999) 9-20. 3

Needless to say, narrative analysis is equally applicable to other genres, which do not have pretensions to literariness, but are often characterized by an apparent absence o f an external narrator, such as radio broadcasts, television programmes and advertising (cf. also Kozloff 1992 2 ).

6

7

Cf. Levy (1980); Christensen (1981); Dipple (1988); Kennedy (1989) 101-152; Villanueva (1989); Pozuelo Yvancos (1993). On analepses and prolepses, see Sternberg (1978), (1990); Segre (1979); Genette (1980) ch. 1; Prince (1982), (1987) s.v.; Rimmon-Kenan (1983) ch. 4; Bal (1985) 49-58, (1997) 84-89; Black (1986); Reis & Lopes (1987) s.v.; de Jong (1987) 81-90; Turim (1989); Richardson (1990) 100-108; 132-139; Herman (1999).

4

Chapter 1

are potentially present in the same context and more often than not cooperate in reproducing a number of events. There is hardly any literary genre that is homogeneous, that is to say actualized through only one medium or mediated in only one narrative mode. The frequent amalgamation of diegesis and mimesis presupposes hybrids, works in which both narrative modes co-operate to present the story. As a result of this fusion of both narrative modes in the same textual ensemble, the clear-cut opposition between pure diegetic artefacts on the one hand and pure mimetic ones on the other collapses and, subsequently, any piece of work, either enacted or recounted, may well feature parts which are actualized in a different narrative mode from the predominant one. An important feature of the potential blending of diegesis and mimesis is the specific rôle of the external narrator, who may well lie outside the action and in his omniscience give shape to the narrative. In the case of mixed genres, in which both diegesis and mimesis are amalgamated, the recounting of events together with the showing of actions presupposes a commanding intelligence, which decides which segment of the story is to be represented by which narrative mode. It is obvious that in epic the diegesis is most often mixed, since the narrator reproduces the speech of certain characters and thus inserts some mimetic elements into his telling. Here the narrator is palpable, since he voices his presence by referring explicitly, though rarely, to his own activity as narrator-focalizer.8 In theatre and film, on the other hand, representation takes place through iconic signs and there may be no explicit narrator - someone, that is, who can weave in and out of the action and undertake to tell the story from a position above the principal narrative. This, however, does not remove the possibility that the narrative makes use of diegetic channels to mediate a portion of the story, as the story-telling impulse of the characters plainly shows. Essentially, the main discrepancy between narrated and non-narrated artefacts is the use of an explicit narrator. The contention is therefore that an external narrator is another narrative device among many others, the employment of which is completely in the power of the author or the playwright, who will either utilize this specific narrative technique or 8

Cf. de Jong (1987) 53ff. Also see Lynn-George (1988); Richardson (1990); Peradotto (1990); Reichel (1990); Morrison (1992); Stanley (1993); Olson (1995); Doherty (1995); de Jong (1997), (1999b), (2001); Nünlist & de Jong (2000), who offer a useful check list of narratological terms; Alden (2001).

Narratology and Greek Tragedy

5

avoid it completely. Thus, the presence of an explicit narrator is merely optional and its significance is reduced to the status of a narrative mechanism which contributes in its turn to the reproduction of the story. It would be unwise to treat the implementation of this discretionary device as a crucial parameter in inventing an all-too-rigid dichotomy between diegesis and mimesis. Given the wider scope of narrative analysis, telling and showing are simply different narrative modes, which either transpose an explicit narrator between the author/playwright and the characters or let the author/playwright give voice to the characters without the presence of any autonomous mediator. In the event of the absence of an external narrator, a particular issue arises with regard to the precise delineation of the commanding intelligence which brings the narrative to life. What is particularly difficult for some traditional theorists to come to terms with is the idea of an invisible narrating agent, who subjects the events to external narratorial control.9 In the case of mimetic narratives, such as theatre and film, which do not necessarily entail the presence of an external narrator, we can easily obviate the apparent difficulty by simply arguing for the presence of a governing consciousness, which we choose to identify with the playwright or the director, whose omniscience shapes the narrative and brings the story to life.10 What essentially happens here is that, after having relegated the explicit narrator to the status of an optional narrative apparatus, it is reasonable to assume that the spatio-temporal arrangement of the action and the specific utilization of narrative modes lie with the playwright or ' Cf. Genette (1988) 41-43, 135ff.; Rimmon-Kenan (1983); Scholes & Kellogg (1966). 10 Chatman (1990) ch. 5 interposes a third category between the text and the real author, the 'implied author1 (cf. also Booth 1961; Iser 1974; Bronzwear (1984); Branigan 1984, 71). The implied author is a being of complex psychological significance and, according to Chatman, is identified with the text itself and its successive readings through time. One has the feeling that what Chatman really does here is simply to replace the historical context, which conditions to a large extent the reception of each work, with a ghostly being of questionable value. In the case of Greek tragedy, it would be better to adhere to the traditional notion of the poet seen in narratological terms as the one who subjects the narrative to authorial control, rather than pretend that texts appear miraculously under gooseberry bushes. For adequate arguments against the idea, see Genette (1988) 135-154; Rimmon-Kenan (1988) 86-89. Film narratology offers a similar model of the director as enunciator of the narrative along the lines of 'auteur policy'; cf. Metz (1974); Black (1986); Gaudreault (1988); Burgoyne (1990); Stam, Burgoyne & Flitterman-Lewis (1992) 95-122; Jost (1995).

6

Chapter 1

the director who deems it preferable to enunciate the narrative directly. The invisibility of the playwright or the director does not constitute enough reason to ignore their immanent presence in the narrative. It is always the case, in both narrated and non-narrated fiction, that the story is brought to life by the author, who may choose to mask his presence by introducing an explicit narrator, or give voice to the narrative through the characters themselves. The presence of an external mediator allows the author access to a different range of narrative ploys," but it is the author in every case who is charged with the unfolding of the narrative. Similarly, in the case of Greek tragedy the guiding nous of the playwright is the invisible consciousness that shapes the narrative.12 The playwright is the imperceptible puppeteer, the omnipotent artistic figure behind the tragic narrative. This controlling power, however, is not instantly discernible. There is no Homeric narrator here, who, in his display of omniscience, would openly command the narratorial language of the play. None the less, the playwright reveals his discretion by posing as an editorial intelligence that selects certain stretches of time for full-scale treatment, pares down others a little, presents others in highly compressed fashion, and simply scissors out events that are inconsequential. His unrestricted narrative knowledge is created in a number of ways: cutaways to action nearby, crosscutting different plotlines, following several characters from one locale to another. More particularly, in his invisibility, the playwright does what he would always do, regardless of the presence or absence of an external narrator:13 he gives the events, which are extracted from a 11

12

13

On narrative experimentation in postmodern fiction, see Booth (1961); Bonheim (1982); Waugh (1984); Hutcheon (1984), (1985), (1988); Brodsky (1987); Dipple (1988); Britton (1992); Shaw (1992). On narrative methods in earlier prose fiction and sacred texts, see Marin (1980); Nelson (1987); Vance (1987); Warhol (1990); Mander (1999). On the concept of the playwright as some sort of production supervisor or director, see Taplin (1977) 13-15; Rehm (1992) 25. Apart from supplying the script, the τραγψδοποιός composed the music of the lyrics, devised the accompanying choreography and supervised the production in general. Goldhill (1997) 338 argues that the influence of the χορηγός over the production should not be ignored. It would be unwise to treat instances which remind one of an external narrator as examples of unqualified directorial intervention. Therefore, I exclude as examples of authorial control the formal prologue, in which a god, characters, or (in some early plays of Aeschylus) Chorus can face, though not actually address, the audience and give a retrospective account of the background of the principal narrative or even anticipate the future development of the plot, and the deus ex machina. All these cases

Time Games

7

mythic continuum, a sense of beginning and ending - that is, some chronological orientation and sense of direction. He is in charge of carrying out the necessary chronological discrepancies between story-time and text-time. He also selects the setting of the play (and, of course, all possible topographical displacements) and, in the special case of tragedy, directs such external parameters as the musical score which is to accompany the action.14 He defines the very manner in which the events are to be relayed to the audience - that is, whether they are to be staged, or recounted by the characters. Finally, he determines, to a large measure, the special conditions which govern the intricate relationship between the play and the original audience.

Time Games In view of the complete effacement of an explicit narrator, tragedy lacks the potential of narrated fiction, or even modern theatre productions, for modulating the relative flow of text-time vis-à-vis story-time. Because of the strictly unchanging pace of theatrical time, the action can be accelerated or decelerated only by the invocation of special conventions, which are not normally employed by Greek tragedy. Narrated fiction, on the other hand, features both forms of time modification (that is, acceleration and deceleration), which can be broken down into five paces:15 (1) Scene, which denotes a temporal equivalence between story and text; it is mostly manifested in dialogue. (2) Summary, which designates an acceleration of pace through the textual compression of a given story-period into a relatively condensed

14

15

fall within what is argued to be a wider category of secondary narratives which comprises every instance of temporal digression. Even though this study focuses mainly on the textual aspect of tragedy, the authorial power of the playwright may as well dictate everything that has to do with the employment of expressive techniques based on the use of the actor's body. The latter comprise the use of the voice in modulating the text, gesture ('kinesics') and grouping or movement in space ('proximics1, which includes dancing) and, on the other hand, those the actor carries on his body: make-up and costume. Cf. Taplin (1977) 13, (1978); Elam (1980) 84-87; Carlson (1984), (1988), (1990); Esslin (1987) 72ff.; Schechner (1988); Pfister (1988); Aston & Savona (1991); Fischer-Lichte (1992) 6492; de Marinis (1993) 15-46; Boegenhold (1999) 53-66. Cf. Genette (1980) 93-112; Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 51-56; Bal (1985) 68-77.

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statement of its main features. The degree of compression can be variable, thereby producing multiple gradations of acceleration. (3) Ellipsis, which marks an omission at the level of the text, and thus describes the maximum possible speed of narrative acceleration. In the case of ellipsis, zero textual space corresponds to some story duration. (4) Slowdown, which denotes a gradual deceleration of text-time in comparison to the fixedly literal flow of story-time. (5) Pause, where some portion of the text corresponds to zero story duration; it is mainly expressed in description. It is apparent that, by favouring the mimetic mode and reserving the diegetic mode for the characters' secondary narratives through which all temporal digressions are effected, Greek tragedy does not display all five flow rates, but avails itself of only two of them - that is, scene and ellipsis.16 The dialogic character of tragedy facilitates the notion of a play as a scenic depiction of story-events, in which a pure coincidence between storyduration and text-duration occurs.17 Ellipsis, on the other hand, is not a 16

17

There are instances in Greek tragedy in which the action is somewhat decelerated. This happens mainly in situations of urgency when a character displays uncalled-for verbosity in the face of danger. Well-known examples that spring to mind are Euripides' Med. 1121-1230 and Ion 1106-1228 where one of the servants storms onto the stage in order to warn his mistress that her life is in peril, but lingers on to deliver a rather long account of the preceding events (on retardation, see Reichel 1990). On time in Greek tragedy, see also Romilly (1968); Hourmouziades (199P) 71-114; Jakob (1997); Hutchinson (1999); Goward (1999) 21-37. In general, establishing an objective norm against which the text-duration can be measured with absolute certainty has always been an embarrassment to narratologists. It has been suggested that, when it comes to analyzing narrated fiction, a scene with a dialogue can play the part of this much-coveted zero-line where the narrative tempo coincides with the story-duration. Genette (1980) 86ff., however, is sceptical of the accessibility and applicability of such a point of reference and in turn re-defines the relation between story-duration and text-duration in terms of 'steadiness in speed' - that is, constancy of pace between the duration in the story measured in minutes, hours, days, years - and the length of text devoted to it (in lines and pages). At first sight, the student of tragedy seems better-off vis-à-vis the student of narrated fiction, since dramatic narrative presents itself mainly in dialogue form enacted on-stage without the presence of any external narrator. Although the dialogic format may be a good candidate for becoming the established norm in gauging real durations, it is as well to bear in mind that it is in its turn subject to stage conventions and directorial interventions. Be that as it may, drama presents a strong case for the establishment of dialogue as a point of departure for a further gradation of degrees of correspondence between story-time and text-time.

Time Games

9

stock trait of tragedy, but is mainly manifested in scene changes and in the narrative breaks between plays of connected trilogies. The latter, in particular, allow for at least two ellipses between the plays of a trilogy.18 A particular temporal problem arises with regard to the fluidity of setting. In Sophocles and Euripides, the scene can only be changed if the Chorus is taken off and then brought back on at the new location. On the other hand, Taplin argues that in Aeschylus there are at least three instances of change of scene in which the Chorus do not move from the orchestra (Pers. 598, Cho. 584, Eum. 566).19 This fluidity of place may signal a specific temporal elasticity, which it would be unwise to treat as an ellipsis. The chronological linearity is partly re-established by continuity of action.20 Strictly speaking, summary (acceleration), slowdown and pause are virtually impossible in tragedy in view of the severely literal treatment of time. Some concessions must be made, however, for certain cases of time deformation, such as the occasional temporal suppleness of certain songs and the spatio-temporal discrepancy of the ekkyklema. Choral odes and, less frequently, songs shared with actors (lyric dialogues) which divide acts are used to cover far longer periods of time between scenes than it is justified by their actual delivery.21 This kind of acceleration affects the tempo of the story and brings about an anisochrony between the respective durations of staged and unstaged action. The use of the ekkyklema, a trolley which was wheeled out to reveal a tableau from inside the central doors of the stage building, violates the spatial boundaries of the action, thereby breaking down the distinction of indoors and outdoors.22 The interaction of characters 18

On trilogies, see Méautis (1936); Ferguson (1969); Podlecki (1975); Gantz (1979), (1980); Müller (1999). 19 (1977) 103-107. Similarly, Aristophanes demonstrates a certain flexibility in the handling of places. Often the permanent character of the setting is seriously undermined by a relaxed management of geographical pointers. Cf. also Lowe (1987), (1988). 20 Cf. Taplin (1977) 107, 338-340, 390-392. There is evidence that Aeschylus' Aetnaeae featured four or five scene changes, but Taplin (1977) 417 argues that "the actual change was not explicit nor tied to any specific moment." 21 Cf. Lucas (19572) 170; Taplin (1977) 293; Easterling (1997a) 158; Lowe (2000) 173. 22 On the ekkyklema, see Flickinger (19364) 284-289; Pickard-Cambridge (1946) lOOff.; Hourmouziades (1965) 93-108, (19912) 61-70; Taplin (1977) 442-443; Newiger (1989); Mastronarde (1990); Rehm (1992) 37. The date of the introduction of the ekkyklema is contested (cf. Taplin 1977,443, who with some hesitation concludes that the ekkyklema was a post-Aeschylean invention). On the concept of inside and outside in tragedy, and the general tension between the world of the family and the world of

10

Chapter 1

on the trolley with those on-stage is also realistically impossible and time is conveniently bent to allow for this temporal transgression to occur. In Greek tragedy, all temporal digressions are introduced by the characters themselves.23 Their narrative impulse allows them to take occasional excursions into both past and future (or, in certain off-stage cases, present). By contrast, in film, chronological discordances are not necessarily embedded verbally in the narrative, but are frequently presented visually in the form of 'flash-back' and 'flash-forward'. 24 In a manner similar to cinema, in tragedy the audience perceive the action through a fourth dimension, which functions as an immovable 'camera' turned permanently to the on-stage events.25 However, unlike the moving cinematic camera, the theatrical 'camera' remains stable throughout the play, unless the scene changes. Thus, the fixed focus in drama entails the channelling of action into the theatrical frame in contrast to the modern cinematic camera, which moves around following the action. The chronological incursions into either past or future are carried out by characters, who are within the theatrical space and act as narrators-focalizers. It follows that the case of drama is somewhat different from that of the novel or film, since all chronological deviations are embedded in the primary narrative through the agency of characters. Thus, strictly speaking, text-time does not come to a halt in order for the temporal digression to occur, but the chronological sequence of the play remains unchanged. The same type of mediation may

23

the polis, see Taplin (1977) 340-357; Easterling (1985), (1988), (1997b); Padel (1990), (1992). All embedded narratives must be vocalized. In view of the very nature of the medium, tragedy does not display instances of unspoken soliloquies. The interior monologue, an otherwise widely used narrative technique, is virtually impossible in drama. Even though in other narrative media any character's inward life can be revealed, in theatre soliloquies must be spoken aloud in order for the audience to apprehend them.

24

Cf. Browne (1976); Andrew (1984); Dmytryk (1984); Bordwell (1985) 77-78, 89-93, 193-198, (1988), (1989), (1998); Bordwell, Staiger & Thompson (1985); Bordwell & Tompson (1993 4 ) 70ff.; Bordwell & Carroll (1996); Branigan (1984), (1986), (1992) 39-44, 173-177; Chatman (1974), (1980), (1986); Turim (1989); Burgoyne (1990); Carrol (1993); Lothe (2000). On theatre and film, see Bazin (1967a), (1967b); Chatman (1974); Metz (1974); McDonald (1983); Mackinnon (1986); Jost (1989 3 ); (1995); Sontag (1992 4 ); Clerc (1993); McDonald & Mackinnon (1993).

25

This is not to say that the gaze of the spectators is easy to track. In drama the audience can look at different things. By contrast, cinema and television present a wider range of control devices (cf. also Ellis 1982).

Time Games

11

well happen in narrative proper; for instance, one of the characters can assume the capacity of a story-teller and convey an analeptic or proleptic report, without, however, stepping out of the main course of events. None the less, what in narrative fiction is merely one of numerous possibilities of peering into both past and future, in Greek drama constitutes the only means of taking chronological detours from the linearity of the play. A crucial distinction with regard to the narrative evocation of unstaged action is that between events which occur within the time-span of the play {internal) and events which occur without the time-span of the play (external).26 In the case of external off-stage events, a further distinction should be drawn. Events which fall without the time-frame of the principal narrative may either take place before the beginning of the play and are only recounted by an analepsis27 or after the ending of the play and are only recounted by a prolepsis. Conversely, off-stage events which fall within the time-frame of the principal narrative may be recounted by both an analepsis and a prolepsis, and, in special cases, on-stage characters may establish visual or aural contact with off-stage action by means of certain conventions.28 This visual or aural contact allows the characters to offer a narrative insight into the off-stage world. In particular, the teichoscopia in Euripides' Phoen. 88-201 is a visual presentation of an off-stage scene by on-stage characters. Antigone and the slave observe the Theban terrain from the rooftop of the palace, referring to specific off-stage landmarks and enemy warriors. Mantic inspiration is another way of presenting synchronous images of off-stage action; the only instance of this is Sophocles' OC 1044-1095 in which the Chorus in their prophetic enthusiasm profess to view the Athenian pursuit at the very moment of its happening ( 1067-1070) There are cases where the Chorus 26

On internal and external events which are recounted by internal and external analepses and prolepses, see Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 46ff.

27

Note also the possibility that a satyr-play may evoke in lighter tones part of the story staged in the preceding trilogy. In this case, the satyr-play constitutes an analepsis on a grand scale, as happens with the Aeschylean Proteus, which in all likelihood tells of the maritime hardships of Menelaus as referred to by the Herald in Ag. 674-680. On satyric drama, see Brammer (1959); Hourmouziades (1974); Seaford (1974); (1984); Sutton (1980); Seidensticker (1989).

28

In the treatment of internal off-stage action in this chapter, interior scenes are also included (all palace scenes except the disputed Eur. Andr. 1100-1157; cf. Stevens 1971 apud 1100; Lloyd 1994, 156).

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Chapter 1

envisage the present based on speculation or even knowledge of the inexorable course of off-stage events. In Sophocles' Track, the women of Trachis visualize the sorrowful lament of their mistress inside the palace (846-850), and in Euripides' Med. the women of Corinth view in their mind's eye Medea's children already walking the road to murder (977), thereby predicting the inevitable destruction of the young princess (978989). A special means of establishing a narrative link to off-stage action is prayer. This is exclusively employed by the Chorus, who, in addressing a god or a set of divinities, seek to influence the turn of events which are taking place at the same moment somewhere else and occasionally visualize their longed-for outcome. There are numerous examples of this particular way of expanding the narrative view into off-stage action by dint of an emotional appeal to various deities. For instance, in Aeschylus' Supp. 524599, the daughters of Danaus call upon Zeus to render his help now that their stay at Argos is being debated at the assembly. Also, in Sophocles' OC 1556-1578 the Colonan elders ask the powers below to grant a peaceful passing to Oedipus by offering recurrent prolepses of his arrival at the Underworld, and in Euripides' Heracl. 748-783 the Chorus invoke a set of divinities (among them Zeus and Athena) to see to Athens' success in war.29 Cries from within present an alternative way of setting up an aural connection between on-stage characters (most notably the Chorus) and off-stage action.30 All instances of the convention, which again allows the characters to offer a narrative insight into the off-stage world, refer to interior scenes and generally involve killing.31 29

Other notable examples are Soph. Ant. 1115-1152, Eur. Supp. 598-633, Ion 10481105, IA 1510-1531. It is often the case that the Chorus encourage the audience to visualize off-stage action along the lines of similar past instances by evoking a particular story taken from a mythical cycle from which the principal narrative is extracted. They appear to insinuate that successive episodes in one's family history have an underlying similarity and conform to an inexorably recurring pattern. In Aesch. Sept. 720-791, the Chorus refer to the horrible story of Oedipus, thereby inviting the audience to treat the outcome of the off-stage duel between Eteocles and Polynices as another horrible episode in the family's series of disasters. Other notable examples are Eur. Phoen. 1018-1066, Or. 807-843.

30

Cf. Flickinger (1939); Joerden (1960); Dale (1969); Taplin (1977) 323 n. 1; Arnott (1982); Halleran (1985) 74-75, (1995) 216; Hamilton (1987); Luschnig (1992). Apart from Aesch. Ag. 1343-1345, a full list of off-stage cries would include Cho. 869-874, Soph. El. 1401-1416, Eur. Med. 1270-1293, Hipp. 776-789, Hec. 10351043, El. 748-760, 1165-1171, HF 750-756, 886-908, Or. 1296-1310, Antiope fr.

31

Narrative Games

13

Narrative Games Mainly chronological detours reveal the ability of tragic narration to go anywhere at will. The narrative can skip a dull spot or linger over a rich one, jump back to an earlier passage or start at the end of the story. It is most often the case that a playful narration keeps shifting the ground under the audience's feet by blocking normal access to the narrative through incomplete and insufficient cues. At other times, instead of a complex braiding of causal lines or an abrupt breaking of them, the play spins them out in smooth careful linearity. However, this is an exception to the rule. In order to close off old causal lines and open up new ones, the narration not only intersperses flashbacks and flashforwards with present action, it shuffles them out of their fabula sequence. In view of the moment-bymoment unfurling of the narrative, the use of prolepses lets the audience glimpse the outcome before they have grasped all the causal chains that lead up to it, and the use of analepses only gradually reveals a prior event, so as to tantalize the audience with reminders of their limited knowledge. In the light of the plays' various games with narration, the evocation of unstaged action results in the introduction of a wide range of chronological perspectives into the primary narrative. The present moment of the action is placed within a larger chronological framework and a new perceptual screen is introduced through which the staged events are evaluated or even explicated. Narratology gives special weight to cases of incorporation within the principal narrative of more than one version of the same or 48.50ff. Kambitsis and possibly Cresphontes 456 Nauck2 (cf. Hamilton 1987, 588 n. 6; Collard, Cropp & Lee 1995, 146). Eur. Cyc. 663 offers a paratragic example and Hamilton (1987) 588 adds Eur. Or. 1347 with reservations. Eur. Hipp. 565-600 offers an unparalleled example of a character (Phaedra) eavesdropping at the skene door (cf. Taplin 1978, 70-71; Halleran 1995, 198-199). All instances of cries within presuppose an on-stage Chorus, and there are three cases in which Electra is involved (Soph. El. 1404-1416, Eur. El. 751-760 and Or. 1296-1310). It appears that the presence of Electra is highly conventional, given the striking similarities of the off-stage killings or, in the case of Eur. Or., attempted killing of Helen by Orestes and Pylades. The Chorus, however, occasionally depart from the orchestra and partake in off-stage action. There are five instances of the departure of the Chorus in mid-play: (a) Aesch. Eum. 231-244, (b) Soph. Aj. 814-866, (c) Eur. Ale. 746-861, (d) Eur. Hel. 385-515 and (e) [Eur.] Rhes. 564-674 (on the disputed cases of Aesch. Aetnaeae and Eur. Phaethon, see Taplin 1977, 375-376). Not in all of them do the Chorus refer to the off-stage events preceding their re-entry (cf. Soph. Aj. and [Eur.] Rhes.).

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Chapter 1

almost the same set of events. Repetitive frequency - that is, the repeated recounting of a specific number of events - is an important means by which tragedy filters a subordinate story-line through more than one focusing perspective.32 The very act of filtering the events through multiple levels of editorial screening allows the mind to make connections between different narrative moments, to see past, present and future as a chain of events with strong causal connections between each link. Story-lines gain meaning by their repetition, which is both the recall of an earlier moment and a significant variation of it. The specific timing of the insertion is often of particular importance, given that the plot moves forward and thus our appreciation of the scenic action changes accordingly, sometimes to a considerable degree. The potential re-appraisal of analeptic and proleptic statements is, moreover, determined by the very identity of the particular narrator, who may well be the same person each time or someone different. Both possibilities have various implications for the reception of the narratives and, given the highly subjective nature of narration in general, different versions of the same event can vary fundamentally. Like any other narrative piece, the secondary narratives are highly conditioned by the personal beliefs and presuppositions of the characters. This means that in narcological terms they are focalized.33 Even the so-called 'messenger-speeches', which 32

On frequency, see Genette (1980) 113-160; Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 48ff.; Bal (1985) 77-79, (1997) 111-114. On the filtering of tragic action through a multiplicity of perspectives, see the excellent discussion by Segal (1996) 16-25.

33

On focalization and point of view in general, see Uspensky (1973); Genette (1980) 161211, (1988) 72-78; Lanser (1981); Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 71-85; Bal (1985) 100-114, (1997) 142-161; Martin (1986) ch. 6. Cf. also Romberg (1962); Stanzel (1984); Wilson (1986); Sherer & Sternberg (1986); Prince (1987) 31-32; Hoffman & Murphy (1988); Ehrlich (1990); Chamberlain (1990); Hardee & Freeman (1990); Stuigess (1992); Weber (1992); Reid (1992); Fehn, Ingeborg & Tatar (1992); Stam, Burgoyne & FlittermanLewis (1992) ch. 3; Fludernik (1993), (1996); Riehle, Foltinek & Zacharasiewitz (1993); O' Neill (1994) 83-106; Emmott ( 1997); Herman (1999). On character in drama, see Easterling (1973a), (1977); Gould (1978); Rosenmeyer ( 1982) ch. 8; Damen (1989); Goldhill (1990b); Kirkwood (1994 ! ) ch. 3; Gill (1995) 5-19, (1998); Budelmann (1999a) ch. 2.

34

The issue of functionality of the messenger-speech was given much thought as early as the nineteenth century. Hornung (1869) and Bassi (1899) 88-89 drew attention to the similarities between the epic and the account of the messenger, and argued that the latter is a merely functional element of Greek tragedy. Bremer (1976) treats the

Narrative Games

15

have been treated as a mere tool in the hands of the playwright to recount unstaged/unstageable events through the mediation of an unengaged and unindividualized figure,34 have come to be seen as narratives that bear visible marks of their enunciation and characterization.35 Further, it is often the case that the secondary narratives are, to a large measure, conditioned by whether the narrators participate in them as characters - or at least in some manifestation of their 'self - (homodiegetic narrators) or assume a position outside the narrative (heterodiegetic narrators).36 With regard to the secondary reports offered by the characters we are again on familiar ground, since the purely diegetic nature of those embedded pieces makes them susceptible to a narratological analysis of the kind that has been practised so far in the domain of narrated fiction (e.g. epic poetry and novelistic prose). This means that, unlike tragic narrative which makes use of a distinct set of ploys to side-step the absence of an external narrator, all subordinate narratives are related by explicit narrators and, moreover, often display an exceptionally high level of sophistication. With respect to the narrative refinement of the inserted accounts, the poet is virtually unchecked by any restriction in presenting unstaged action. His gaze scans an enormous range of secondary story-lines and action-strands, which are introduced into the principal narrative by means of the story-telling disposition of the characters. For instance, an unstaged event which falls within the chronology of the play may well be filtered through a multiplicity of perspectives. The same event may be either anticipated by one or more characters, or evoked by on-stage characters at, or almost at, the moment of its happening and recalled by the participants themselves; the Messenger, in

35

36

messenger-speech as a necessary dramatic device on account of the difficulties presupposed in staging certain off-stage events, such as crowd scenes, miracles and death. Cf. also Barlow (1971) 61-78 and Rosenmeyer (1982) 197ff. who both throw emphasis on the omniscience and detachment demostrated by the messenger. See also Keller (1959); Erdmann (1964); di Gregorio (1967); Stanley-Porter (1968); Green (1996), (1999); Stéfanis (1997). On fourth-century tragedy and the messenger-speech, see Xanthakis-Karamanos (1980) 71-102. Cf. de Jong (1990); (1991); (1992). de Jong's forceful rebuttal of the alleged transparency in the messenger-speech is to some extent anticipated by Rassow (1883) 33-40, Fischi (1910) 38-40 and Henning (1910) 42, who acknowledge the occasional obscurity of the messenger's account. Moreover, Taplin (1978) 82 and Heath (1987) 154 bring attention to the skilful rhetoric displayed by the messenger. Cf. also Barret (1995) for a useful overview of various critical trends in the analysis of the messenger-speech. Cf. Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 95.

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Chapter 1

particular, is occasionally included in this group of retrospective narrators." The gradation of the narrative elaboration of these accounts is limitless. The tragic narrator can shift from channel to channel at any moment to reveal or conceal narrative information. Each time it is up to the character whether to drop a fleeting, single-line allusion to a specific event or to expand on this lead and develop it into a full-blown narrative piece. On account of the complex process of narrative fine-tuning, the text becomes a closely-woven tissue of narrative possibilities on which the playwright, through the voice of the characters, can infinitely improve. Take for instance Euripides' presentation of Heracles' madness in the Heracles Furens. Iris and Lyssa anticipate the horrible events moments before their actual occurrence (822-874) and, in offering a narrative insight into the off-stage world, Lyssa goes so far as to envisage Heracles' first signs of insanity (867-870). The cries of Amphitryon help the Chorus to establish an aural contact with off-stage action at the moment of its happening (886-908) and then the Messenger offers a long account of the events inside the palace (922-1015). However, references rich in narrative content do not stop here. Amphitryon, in a lyric exchange with the Chorus, gives his own version of Heracles' madness (1042-1086) and, when his god-stricken son finally awakes, recounts once more in stichomythia the appalling deeds of the once renowned hero (1109-1145). Amphitryon, again in dialogue, explains the events to Theseus (1178-1213) and, last but not least, Heracles himself

37

With regard to the 'messenger-speech' it is briefly noted here that de Jong (1991) has brought a salutary change in her thought-provoking study of the messenger's report as first-person narrative, but her treatment is seriously marred by her unnecessary rigidity in "treating variations from the norm as questions of exclusion" (Machemer 1995). As de Jong herself concedes, there are many narrative speeches that are excluded from her rigidly circumscribed inventory simply because they fail to comply with one or the other of her criteria (1991, 180). A telling example of the inadequacy of this approach is the narrative of Polymestor in Euripides' Hec. 1132-1182, in which Polymestor tells Agamemnon how Hecuba and her attendants conspired against him and his sons. The rhesis is acknowledged by de Jong (1991) Appendix A 179-180 as being similar to a messenger-speech, but is barred from the body of Euripidean messenger-speeches on account of the identity of the speaker who is one of the protagonists. None the less, Polymestor recounts off-stage action which falls within the time-scale of the play and no reason is found why it must be excluded on such questionable grounds as his identity. The same, of course, applies to the rest of the Euripidean messenger's narratives which do not comply with de Jong's concept of the messenger-speech (Hec. 98-153, Tro. 1123-1182, Bacch. 434-450, IA 414-439).

Narrative Games

17

mournfully recounts the killing of his wife and children to the Athenian king (1229-1393). The relation of mutual implication between the principal narrative line and the subordinate reports of the characters presupposes that the narrative dynamics which have been outlined above may well work the other way. More particularly, while the secondary level of the characters' stories presents the audience with a background of narrative information against which the principal narrative is reviewed, the ever-changing diegetic level of the play functions concurrently as an adjustable context, within which the subordinate narratives in their turn are re-evaluated.38 This is especially evident in Oedipus at Colonus, in which Sophocles explores with unprecedented directness the intricate relation between the limited narrative space of the visible stage and the multiple narrational worlds that have to be focalized into it through narrative. In the light of the play's various games with narration, the evocation of off-stage narratives results in the introduction of a wide range of alternative perspectives into the main line of the action. The present moment is placed within a larger narrative framework and new perceptual screens are introduced through which the on-stage action is reviewed. As a consequence, different lines converge in the play with a finely-timed series of narrative hammer-blows. The plot moves along and the tragic narration follows it through a carefully controlled repetition and variation. More specifically, this play is centrally preoccupied with narrative access to off-stage worlds, and particularly to versions of the past and the future, seen and focalized through a variety of contrastingly imperfect perspectives in the present. The audience are inducted into a narrative that reveals its truths without strain or hurry. The narration follows the layers of events, accidents and coincidences with great effort and difficulty. Oedipus at Colonus is not a straightforward story, but each narrative step is plotted around powerful barriers to information flow. The playwright creates narrative gaps which are usually focused and 18

Bakhtin's dialogic principle - that is, an utterance only acquires meaning in relation to the utterance of an other - is particularly relevant here. Notwithstanding his scepticism about drama's ability to allow for the dialogic interpénétration of one language by another which is enabled in the novel by the simultaneous presence of the narrator's overarching language along with the language of the characters, Bakhtin is always eager to place heavy stress on the infinitely varied to and fro of narrative process. Cf. Bakhtin (1981), (1984), (1986), (1990); Todorov (1984); Holquist (1990); Lodge (1990); Danow (1991 ); Morson & Emerson (1991); Gardiner (1992); Dentith (1995) 3-104; Hirschkop (1999).

18

Chapter 1

flaunted by being presented as deferred story-lines. Secrecy, silence, persistent repetition, gradual revelation, poignant complexity and incessant revision make up the narrative profile of the play. As the action is divided into primary and secondary narrative space, the interstitial links of cause and effect are carefully plotted through an ingenious system of tests and obligations. A close narcological analysis reveals that such intrinsic set-pieces as the messenger-speech, the lament, the choral ode, the lyric and stichomythic dialogue are constantly employed to serve an important function of narrative economy. In order for the narrative momentum to reach a powerful endgame, the accounts of the characters present a remarkable diversity. There are times when the narrational tactics the play exploits create diffused gaps with respect to past events but unusually focused expectations about future ones. At other times the narration fleshes out the past by taking care to combine and reiterate actions that the audience have already seen or heard about, so that they can gather a total impression from repeated narrative bursts. The rebus-like syntax of the narrative is particularly evident in two instances of internal off-stage events. Both the cavalry battle and the heroic death of Oedipus occur within the time-scale of the play. Their narrative presentation gives rise to a wide range of analeptic and proleptic practices. As various story-lines are braided together by narrative means, the playwright arranges the events so as to block or complicate the construction of causal relations. Not only does he pull narrative surprises along the way, but also takes great pain in excising the narrative centre from the onstage action. Both the cavalry battle and the heroic death of Oedipus are shut out of the narrative. This demonstration of narrative violence results in a startling narration, full of powerful set-pieces and unpredictable twists. As the narrative rules that bind the characters' worldview are constantly redefined, the relation between primary and secondary action takes a new turn. Sophocles swings the analepses and prolepses in out of nowhere with all the sinuous stealth there is, without jolting the audience back from the narrative and the point. What is more, the play's subtle use of point of view lets the characters take up the narrational burden. An extremely large pattern of off-stage events is reported back to the characters. Through an adroit patterning of analepses and prolepses, the tragic narration makes different characters the main carriers of narrative meaning. Oedipus is a case in point. An extremely large bulk of unstaged narrative is slotted into him. Oedipus is the blind

Audience Reception: The External Narratess

19

central character, to whom everything in the present has to be narrated, yet who himself is an extraordinary narrator of past and future. Theseus, and less so Creon, take charge of the narrative, but they play second fiddle to Oedipus. Close engagement with the text shows that the rhetorical sophistication of the characters' accounts affects the moment by moment unwinding of the narrative. As the narration isolates and confines each character within a separate visual cage, narrational alternatives slam endlessly against one another. Yet, despite its serpentine twistings of order, the narration leaves no significant gaps: the flashbacks and the flashforwards are so arranged as to lead the audience steadily towards a reconstruction of the missing causes. The immense jigsaw of secondary narrative not only teases the audience's curiosity about the past, but also maximizes their urge to know what will happen next. Something which brings us to our next point of discussion. The tragic narration is necessarily incomplete, needing to be unified and fleshed out by the active participation of the audience. The introduction of specific filters in the play - mainly through anachronistic and metatheatrical references - and the evocation of contemporary values and beliefs before or after the insertion of the subordinate narrative pieces affects in advance, or even in retrospect, the import of the characters' accounts. The intricate process of creating and re-creating meaning out of an incessant viewing and re-viewing of the play and its subordinate narrative levels is made possible through the active involvement of the original audience. To this I now turn.

Audience Reception: The External Ν arratees Before proceeding with a tentative discussion of some of the main principles that govern audience response, it would be appropriate to define what is meant exactly by the original audience of the play.39 This is known to be a matter of controversy, but failing to spell out in brief how I visualize the fifth-century spectators of tragedy from the start of this study would result in unnecessary ambiguity. In an audience as large as 14,000 to 17,000 people, the Athenian citizens (adult, enfranchised males) were

39

The following discussion draws on Pickard-Cambridge (1988 3 ) 263-278; Podlecki (1990); Henderson (1991); Goldhill (1994), (1997); Csapo & Slater (1995) 286-305.

20

Chapter 1

the majority.40 Among those citizens, whose seating in all probability was arranged according to their particular tribe,41 there was the executive council of 500, the members of which occupied a special block of seats called the βουλευτικόν. Also, there is reason to believe that honorific seats were reserved for the ephebes who were paraded as war orphans.42 Priests, most notably the priest of Dionysus, were granted honorific seats in the first rows of the theatre, which were also reserved for other dignitaries. As for non-citizens, it is certain that both groups of foreigners and metics (resident aliens, who also attended the Lenaea) were present at the Great Dionysia, but there is no compelling evidence for any special seating arrangements. None the less, a particular number of foreigners was singled out and honorific seats were allotted to certain dignitaries from other states. The presence of women at the Dionysia is a much contested issue and the available evidence is far from conclusive.43 With extreme caution, it is assumed that women were indeed present in the theatre of Dionysus - perhaps at the discretion of their spouse or guardian. The notion of tragedy as a narrative which is enunciated by the playwright would be incomplete without taking into account the part played by the original audience. Narratology makes a distinction between internal and external narratees; internal narratees are found within the narrative and their knowledge as mythical characters does not surpass the spatio-temporal parameters of the action, while external narratees lie without the narrative and are mostly identified with the contemporary reader or spectator.44 As 40

41 42

43

44

Henderson's idea that the Athenian citizens were surrounded and indeed outnumbered by non-citizens (1991, 145) is rightly rejected by Taplin (1996) n. 21. Cf. Pickard-Cambridge (19883) 270; Winkler (1990) 39-41; Goldhill (1997) 59-60. Cf. Aeschin. 3. 154; Goldhill (1997) 59. In second century Β CE, special seating arrangements were made for the whole class of ephebes (Pollux, Lexicon 4. 122; Σ on Ar. Av. 794). This cannot be taken as certain evidence for the existence of similar arrangements in fifth-century Athens, given the changing circumstances of the institution of the ephebeia. Cf. Podlecki (1990) and Henderson (1991) who both advance a detailed defence of the presence of women in the theatre of Dionysus. Goldhill (1994) and Taplin (1996) n. 21 remain sceptical. Cf. also Sourvinou-Inwood (1995) n. 37 who treats the ritual invisibility of women at the Dionysia as discordant with their incontestable significance in other religious contexts and thus concludes that women did attend the performances (cf. also Blundell & Williamson 1998 on women's importance in religious thought and ritual). Cf. Prince (1980); Rimmon-Kenan (1983) ch. 9.

Audience Reception: The External Narratess

21

will be argued, tragic narratives do not address their audience directly, as comic narratives often do, but encourage, always in an indirect manner, the external narratees to view the issues of the play against a fifth-century, principally Athenian, background. This happens because the narrative itself often gives specific cues to the audience. In particular, anachronisms, metatheatrical allusions and proleptic excursions which extend out of myth into fifth-century Athens evoke a series of contemporaiy fields of reference. The evocation of a wide range of fifth-century systems of reference is of cardinal significance in the reception of the plays, since it is the original audience who are meant to experience the tension between fifth-century Athens and mythology. This is especially so in view of the fact that the audience did not react in a uniform way to the topics of the play. There is reason to believe that the dynamics of the original audience were quite complex and, in certain cases, the social and political boundaries between the various groups in the theatre were transgressed.45 Even an attempt at sketching the possible response of a particular segment of the spectating body is highly speculative. It is undeniable, however, that specific parameters, such as political convictions, social and economic status, nationality, gender and religious affiliations, affect the reception of plays. Theatre at Athens was a major opportunity for public display and the particular care taken with regard to the seating arrangements of the audience would have greatly predisposed the spectators towards interpreting the action with their specific identity in mind. This, however, does not preclude the possibility that certain issues of the plays would elicit reactions from a wider range of spectators, who were not necessarily bound together by such all-important characteristics as their nationality or gender, but shared a common experience, such as their participation in a mystic cult.46 On the other hand, various stratifications are 45

46

Cf. Wilson (1991); (1993); (1997); (2000). On audience reception in general, see Hardy (1975); Eco (1977), (1979); Kindermann (1979); Muzenidis (1979); Ruthrof (1981); Styan (1985); Arnott( 1989); Kolb (1989); Earp Taalman Kip (1990); Morgan (1991); Taplin (2000). Cf. Lada (1993); (1996a) 107, (1996b); (1997); (1998); (1999). On audience reception in relation to Greek drama, see also Erbe (1977); Bowie (1993a), (1997); Segal (1996); Sommerstein (1997). On the reception of tragedy outside Athens, see Taplin (1993), (1999); Easterling (1994) and, less convincingly, Allan (2001). It is worth noting that, according to the reconstruction of Gebhard (1974) and Poehlmann (1983), (1986), in the theatre of Dionysus there was a very short distance between the actors

22

Chapter 1

possible even within a larger audience group, such as the Athenian citizens, who could be stratified according to their deme or other tribal affiliations.47 The tension which is inherent in the interplay of fifth-century reality and mythology is closely associated with the much-contested issue of theatrical illusion and the breaking of this illusion by contemporary references.48 Although plays are built through the intermingling of mythical elements on the one hand and fifth-century ones on the other, it would be unwise to press this observation too far and assume that the recognition by the original audience of fifth-century allusions or even metatheatrical references breaks the illusion and shatters what has been called by traditional critics 'suspension of disbelief. By contrast with comic poets, tragic poets are never given a free hand to openly declare the fictional character of the enacted story. There are indeed specific cues to tell the audience how to interpret a scene or to indicate to which issue they should address their attention, but there is no compelling evidence in the plays that the spectators are encouraged to acknowledge that they are in the present.49 The exploitation of the tension between contemporary reality and mythical fantasy does not necessarily presuppose the suspension of the illusion. Indeed the fusion of those two worlds, the one of fifth-century Athens and the other of mythology, contributes to the maintenance of the spell, since the audience themselves function as co-authors of meaning in the production of the play. In the light of recent developments in narrative analysis, the very notion of 'illusion' is closely associated with the notion of the playwright who

47

48

49

and the front rows of the audience. This makes for closer interaction between actors and audience (cf. also Hammond 1972, 1978; Green 1991, 1994). In fact, this can work both ways: a reference to the deme-system may well have resulted in the intensification of the Athenians' sense of identity through the appeal to their common experience as demesmen. The possibilities of audience reception are in fact limitless, and it lies with the power of the critic's imagination to try and conjure up the innumerable aspects of audience dynamics in the theatre of Dionysus. Think for instance of the possibility of Theban/Argive spectators watching a dramatization of a Theban/Argive legend by the Athenians; cultural politics had never been more intensely rehearsed than at the Dionysia (cf. also Zeitlin 1990). On political diversity in Athens, see e.g. Jones (1999); Hunter & Edmondson (2000). On the notion of theatrical illusion in tragedy, see Görler (1974); Bain (1975); (1977); (1981); (1987); Taplin (1977) 129-134, (1978), (1983), (1986), (1995), (1996); Easterling (1988), (1996), (1997a) 165ff.; Ringer (1998); Dobrov (1999). The audience acknowledged their presence in their approval or disapproval of the

Audience Reception: The External Narratess

23

creates his own possible world in which the audience are unconditionally engulfed.50 The existence of this kind of fictional world, or what has been termed an 'as-if world, presupposes the presence of the inaccessible. Plays, in other words, reflect life in a specific ambience which is not available in the empirical world, or is even denied by it. As a result, tragedy turns life into a storehouse from which the poet draws his material.5' In particular, Greek tragedy draws on a wide range of fifth-centuiy referential fields. For instance, ritual has been recognized as a powerful reference system, which is occasionally misrepresented, or even intentionally perverted, to fit the needs of the playwright.52 Also, fifth-centuiy politics is often refracted in the plays. Specific aspects of the Athenian political and juridical system, such as democratic institutions, social issues and legal practices, are frequently viewed from a mythical perspective.53 This approach favours the active collaboration of, and at times complicity from, the external narratees of the plays, without, however, having recourse in so awkward an abstraction as 'the breaking of the illusion'. Experiencing the spell of being a spectator presupposes the instinctual observation of fifth-century referential fields, which are fictionalized by being torn away from their given context in the world of reality. Thus, any

50

51 52

53

performance (cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1988', 272-273). There is plenty of evidence of the noisiness of Athenian audiences, but that does not mean that the 'spell' of the performance is fractured. On 'possible world1 theory as a promising branch of narratology with deep philosophical roots, see Lewis (1973), (1978), (1986); Goodman (1978), (1983 4 ), (1984); Eco (1979), (1996); Pavel (1986); Currie (1990); Riffaterre (1990); Ronen (1990), (1994); Ryan (1991); Dolezel (1998). Cf. also Champigny (1972); Kahler (1973); Holloway (1979) 1-19; Jameson (1981); Brooke-Rose (1981); Hutcheon (1984); Cebik (1984); Siegle (1986); Brodsky (1987); Rabinovitz (1987); Foster (1987); Mellard (1987); Coste (1989); Nash (1989); Chamberlain (1990); Warhol (1990); Reid (1992); Fludernik (1993); Lloyd (1993). Cf. Iser (1988); (1989) ch. 13; (1993). On ritual and festival, see Friedrich (1983); Bowie (1993a), (1993b); Rehm (1997); Ormand (1999). On the various uses of sacrifice, see Zeitlin (1965); Foley (1985); Jouanna(1992); Goldhill (1992) 66-70. On supplication, see Gould (1973) 85if.; Burian (1974); Freyburger (1988); Rehm (1988); Csapo (1990); Kuntz (1993) 59-84. On the function of gods in tragedy, see Mikalson (1991); Pucci (1994); Parker (1999). There is a multiplicity of referential fields including no less than the plays themselves. On drama and athletics, see Larmour (1999). On metadrama, see Ringer (1998); Dobrov (1999). E.g. on Theseus' 'proto-democracy', see Easterling (1997b) 34-36; Mills (1997) 160185. On the Areopagus, see Goldhill (1992) 89-92. On political rhetoric, see Collard

24

Chapter 1

kind of allusion to a fifth-century state of affairs or even to a theatrical convention activates what has been called the spectators' 'encyclopaedia', namely the reservoir of knowledge and presuppositions that each member of the audience brings with him in order to make sense of the performance.54 In this sense, the poet, lacking the assistance of an explicit narrator, builds up a spatio-temporal construction out of both mythical and fifth-century materials and the audience in their turn are lured even deeper into this possible reality through their exploration of contemporary references. In the following chapters we will have the opportunity to delve into the dynamics between the tragic narrative and the original audience. The plays are inextricably intertwined with their external narratees to whom they constantly appeal and whose knowledge they frequently evoke in order to deepen the spectating experience. In the light of the off-stage worlds which are mediated into the principal narrative of Oedipus at Colonus, the visible stage grows steadily wider. As the narrative frame keeps moving, alternative perspectives come into view. According to the narrative agenda of Sophocles, this is done without strain or hurry. Retardation, persistent repetition, slow-plotted revelation, painful difficulty bring out the complexity of marshalling the different lines by narrative means. As in the case of reported events, which come to the open in a progressive fashion, the evocation of various fields of reference offers multiple narrative backgrounds to the action and destabilizes the audience's expectations. In particular, setting up filters, through which the narrative is viewed and reviewed, is particularly significant for this study, since the intertextual affinities of the play and the mystic affiliations of some of the audience constitute crucial fields of reference for the understanding of the action. The theatrical knowledge of the spectators, especially their intertextual reservoir with regard to other dramatizations of the Oedipus legend, is called upon by the tragic narrative, which is in its own right a rigorous re-appraisal of the myth. The close specificity of references to Sophocles' Antigone and Oedipus Tyrannus affects the reception of the narrative of Oedipus at Colonus. In certain cases some inferences must be revised and

54

(1975b); Conacher (1981); Buxton (1982); Bers (1994); Hall (1995); Halliwell (1997). On the political aspect of drama, see Walcot (1976); Goldhill (1986) ch. 3, (1990a); Euben ( 1986); Connor ( 1990), ( 1996b); Meier ( 1993); Dobrov ( 1997); Griffin ( 1998), (1999); Flashar (2000) 164-180. Cf. Eco (1977); (1979); (1996).

Audience Reception: The External Narratess

25

some hypotheses will have to be suspended while the narrative delays payoff. The narration invokes expectations only to defeat them, plans and times encounters with narrative information that will upset the audience's assumptions. Unexpected reversals of the other two plays which are effected in snapshots hours of critical decision at Colonus recompose the relation between primary and secondary action. The stage-by-stage revision of these former plays demonstrates the complexity of past and future events. As the tragic narrative ends, its conclusion is held back by complications, subplots, and digressions. The powerful evocation of the previous plays not only sheds a purposeful light on the events, but also results in a fine endgame twist. Despite the ominous echoes, the narration lets a ray of hope warm the hearts of the spectators. In open praise of Athenian institutions, Sophocles infuses the narration with some gladness and some hope by restricting the sphere of uncontrollable violence. The richly-inverted narratives constitute but one instance of the play's various games with narration. Also, unmistakeable references to a particular Athenian political matrix and the mystic experience of the Eleusinian Mysteries create a narrative space of great depth, scope, coherence, and solidity. As the development of the narrative gradually unfurls the play's locale as well, special fifth-century filters intensify the political and religious character of the events. Again, this is done in an especially unhurried manner. After successive narrative splashes, the confluence of political and religious elements in the pantheon of Colonus comes into full view. Procrastination, elaboration and gradual revelation are the techniques Sophocles employs in order to present the setting in Athenian terms. In the light of the slowplotted Athenian connections, Colonus becomes a transformation of Athens. The same applies to the notion of the setting as a variation on Eleusis. In this case, the mystic echoes of the play are intimately related to the narrative agenda of the play. The Eleusinian matrix goes hand in hand with the restricted narrational state in a crescendo of suspended revelation. Secrecy, silence, complexity, delayed plotlines, deferred reports and diffused gaps create a narrative which could easily accommodate an Eleusinian filter. As the play is quite restricted in its range of knowledge and highly suppressive in concealing causal information, the initiatory character of the ending allows the spectators to view the scenery of the action in accordance with a specific mystical schema. Essentially, the continuous re-negotiation of the play between the poet and the audience is what reveals the multi-faceted character of the tragic narrative and uncloaks its hidden layers of meaning.

26

Chapter 1

APPENDIX Beyond the Text: Music and Dance The presence of an external narrator, who in Greek tragedy is identified with the playwright himself, is evident in areas which can fundamentally define the spatio-temporal dimension of the play, or fall outside the conceptual space of the discourse, especially in the case of the musical accompaniment to specific parts of the action (lyric parts) and choreography. The aim of this section is to examine in narratological terms the function of music and dance The brief exposition of the narrative status of music and dance in tragedy, despite the fact that both of them do not loom large in this study, is believed to be necessary for the notion of tragedy as narrative, which is commanded by an authorial intelligence and occasionally traversed by other non-textual narrative threads. Tragedy is not only a visual experience, but also an aural one; music is inextricably entwined with the discourse and, in the broadest sense of the word, constitutes a kind of meta-narrative in relation to the principal narrative. The musical dimension of tragedy is mostly lost to us, and possible reconstructions are especially difficult owing to scanty evidence, but its existence must have affected the reception of scenic action.55 In Greek tragedy, music comes from a source outside the notional space of the play. The aulos-player wore no mask and did not partake in the action as a character.56 His presence is classifiable in narratological terms as 'non-diegetic'. Examples of the opposite - that is, music originating from the characters themselves - are rare. In Euripides' Hyps, the heroine accompanies her song to her infant with a kind of rattle (κρόταλα), and

55

56

On music in drama, see Kranz (1933) 137ff.; Dale (1968 2 ); Pickard-Cambridge (1988 s ) 257-262; West (1992) 35Off.; Richter (1972), (1983); Pintacuda (1978); Anderson (1994) 113-144. Also see Georgiades (1973); Gentili & Pretagostini (1988); Comotti (1988); Landels (1998); Pöhlmann & West (2001); Murray & Wilson (2002). On the special significance of rhythmical patternings in Greek tragedy, see notably Taplin (1985); Easterling (1997a) 157-161; Scott (1984), (1996). The instrument by which both singing and recitative (παρακαταλογή) were normally accompanied in tragedy and comedy was the aulos. The lyre, on the other hand, was used in drama mainly for special effects (cf. Pickard-Cambridge 19883, 156ff.; West 1992, 350-355; Anderson 1994, 114-115). Cf. Pickard-Cambridge (I988 3 ) 166; Anderson (1994) 115.

Beyond the Text: Music and Dance

27

in Bacch. the initiates play τύμπανα. 57 Such instances allow us a glimpse into the now lost variety of combinations between diegetic and non-diegetic levels in the musical accompaniment of the plays. The non-diegetic nature of music imposes an external narratorial authority on the text. This authority can manipulate the reception of particular segments of the play by creating specific moods and tonalities supplementary to the actual discourse. Recent narcological research in the field of cinema studies has shown that the sound-track may well be a key-factor in the film's impact on the audience.58 It has been observed that potential modifications of the musical commentary on the action can result in completely different receptions of a film. This holds true for tragedy as well: music provides a rhythmical accompaniment to the recited or sung portions of the play, thereby creating the appropriate atmosphere. The external intervention of music in Greek plays is always signposted at the level of the text by the more elaborate form of the language, which signals the additional presence of a non-discursive medium. The case of film music is different in the sense that its meta-narrative function is not necessarily defined by any visual or discursive parameter in the course of the film, but on the contrary the music-track can be inserted into the narrative regardless of specificity of context or constraint of convention.59 The employment of characteristic discourse to fit the accompanying music and the subsequent demarcation of a portion of the play as a textual segment to be recited or sung are both integral parts of the poetics of Greek tragedy. In the case of songs, the special nature of the language is foregrounded through the employment of Doric elements.60

57

Hyps. fr. 1. ii. 8ff. Bond; Bacch. 123ff„ 158ff. According to Athenaeus 1, 20 E (TrGF iv Testimonia Ha 28 Radt), young Sophocles played the lyre in his Thamyras. Cf. also Pickard-Cambridge (1988 3 ) 165; Anderson (1994) 114; West (1999b).

58

On music in cinema, see Gorbman (1980), (1987); Nattiez (1990); Bordwell & Thomson (1993 3 ) ch. 8; Burt (1994); Adorno & Eisler (1994-); Bosseur (1995); Escal (1995); Smith (1996); Levinson (1996).

59

Cf. D o a n e ( 1980); K o z l o f f ( 1988). Cf. Goldhill (1996) 251-252; (1997) 128; Gould (1996) 219. Further, it has been argued that the conventional transition from the Attic dialect of fifth-century Athens to a relatively unfamiliar type of discourse may well mark the characters' transformation into something beyond their mythical identity (cf. Gould 1996). On dialect in Aristophanes, see Col vin (1999). On the perception of the Chorus by the audience as both characters and singers at the Dionysia, see Heikkilä (1991); Caíame (1995); Bacon (1995);

60

28

Chapter 1

Beside music, there is another non-textual aspect of Greek tragedy which 'de-familiarizes' the discourse - that is, the choreography of the plays. Again we are treading on uncharted territory because our knowledge of Greek dance is insufficient and, as in the case of music, written evidence is far later than the fifth centuiy BCE.61 None the less, we can safely argue that the choral odes of the plays were choreographed in a manner closely related to the music accompaniment and that there was some sort of responsion of dance configurations between strophe and antistrophe.62 Choreography is performed by the Chorus and thus constitutes a 'diegetic' function.63 The non-textual parameters of both music and dance, the first controlled by an external narratorial power, and the latter executed by the characters, demonstrate, in visual as much as in aural terms, the extraordinary nature of the choral discourse.

61

62

63

Henrichs (1995), (1996); Easterling (1997a) 42-44. However, Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1997) 59-60 remain sceptical (cf. also Lloyd-Jones 19832, 110). On dance in ancient culture and Greek drama, see Kitto (1955); Lawler (1964); Pickard-Cambridge (1988') 247-257; Webster (1970); Baldry (1971) 65-68; Mullen (1982); Winkler (1990) 50-58; West (1992) passim; Lonsdale (1993); Naerbout (1997); Wiles (1997) 87-113; Kurke (2000). Cf. Scott (1996) 21; van Nes Ditmars (1992); Green & Handley (1995) 14-21; Wiles (1997) 96ff. As in the case of singing, dancing is often taken to be expressive of the transmutation of the Chorus into something beyond their mythical personality. Cf. principally Segal (1996) 180-198.

Chapter 2

Narrative Past It is one of the basic narratological concerns of tragedy that the forward progress of the narrative is interspersed with exposition that supplies pertinent background information. The off-stage events are channelled into the action through the story-telling disposition of the characters. In the play, the narration retards the revelation of narrative clues. Instead of spinning them out in smooth linearity, Sophocles chooses to give the audience information piecemeal. He combines and repeats actions that the audience have already heard about, so that they can gather a total impression from repeated narrative bursts. In view of the tight linkage of past and future, the gradual disclosure of former events builds up a powerful narrative momentum of delayed anticipation. The analeptic reports make a daringly bulky package of narrative past. However, the narration does not swoop from character to character without allowing any one to take up full residence at centre stage. In this case, most of the narrational burden is taken up by one character alone. Oedipus exercises maximum narratorial control over the past. Examination of the analepses makes plain that deep knowledge of the past in narrative terms, especially the past which falls without the chronology of the action, is indeed a most powerful advantage. Throughout the play, Oedipus makes liberal use of his narratorial insight. First, in order to confront the different reports of Creon and the Chorus, he is given the privilege of carrying out a sumptuous reconstitution of his horrible actions. All rival accounts are swept aside by the sheer narrative force of his advocacy of innocence. His hard-won analeptic vision serves a significant function of narrative economy. The narrative agenda of the play is constantly redefined by his formidable argumentation. This is all the more so in view of his subdued presence in the final scenes of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. The shocking events in the earlier play are seen in a completely different light. Eventually, in his capacity as master story-teller, Oedipus produces the maximum conviction in his Athenian addressees. The fundamental revision of the Theban past, which is enacted gradually and

30

Chapter 2

in certain movements, strengthens the rhetoric of his self-exculpation. Secondly, Oedipus offers recurrent retrospections of the events leading up to his exile and beyond. Narratives caught in the spiral of time reveal the dark underside of his lifestory. In this case, unqualified command of the past allows the narrator to stake a mighty claim to the future. By moving back into the past, Oedipus stretches far into prospective action. Irrespective of the terrible nature of the predictions with regard to the fortunes of Eteocles and Polynices, he draws on an unprecedented proleptic power in his masterly recounting of the past. The carefully plotted release of narrative builds an essential backdrop to a coming catastrophe which is seen as resulting from cause-and-effect developments down a programmed path.

The Hold of the Past on the Present The dramatic momentum lies in the plotted release of successive fragments of story. In recurrent analeptic excursions, Oedipus bustles about his enormous thesis, rechecking the ropes and knots with which he has bound it. If he finds a knot he thinks too loose, he reties it three or four times. His long peregrination has offered him a sufficient distance in time from which to view events without peering through the distorting lens of self-incriminating emotions. Advanced age and great suffering have trained his eye as a multidimensional optic that builds its big picture from an extremely wide variety of clues. As he is endowed with rhetorical power, his story is not a straightforward narrative, but interweaves disparate, sometimes apparently unconnected strands into pleasing multitextured reports. Oedipus carries out his defence of innocence through a set of analepses. He is granted the privilege of reconstructing his past in the face

1

On the question of Oedipus' innocence, see principally Sheppard (1920) ch. 2; Linforth (1951); Knox (1957); Howe (1962); Gould (1965), (1966); Gellie (1972) 162ff.; Winnington-Ingram (1980) 261ff.; Hester ( 1977), (1993); Markantonatos (1989) 43-58; Williams (1993) 68-72; Konstan (1994); Finkelberg (1997). See also Adkins (1960) ch. 3; Lloyd-Jones (1983 2 ) 118; Gill (1995) 7-8. On the Oedipus myth, see Bethe (1891); Robert (1915); Baldry (1956); Edmunds (1981), (1985); Steiner (1984); March (1987) 119-154; Zimmermann (1993); Mastronarde (1994) 17-30; LIMC 7.1 (1994) 17-30.

The Hold of the Past on the Present

31

of the horror-stricken Chorus and reviling Creon2. His narratorial control allows him to overthrow all the alternative scenarios advanced by the rest of the characters and to affect the narrative thrust of the play. Essentially, his analeptic insight is called upon at critical points of the action, when his safe settlement at Colonus is at stake. The possibility of his removal from the sacred grove, owing to the fearful reaction of the Chorus, is eliminated by the narrative reconstruction of his deeds (266-274). Also, Creon's abusive account, whose sole purpose is to bring about the banishment of his relative from Athens, is refuted by the analeptic knowledge of Oedipus (962-999). In both cases, the Chorus serve as a significant champion of new narrative scenarios, which are especially favourable to Oedipus. In view of his notable narratorial ability, they redefine the horizon of narrative expectations in accordance with his wish. His deep knowledge of the past is made plain in the narrational latitude with which he focalizes the same series of events more than once and the amount of new narrative content which he adds on each occasion an event is recounted. Depending on the version he wishes to revise or even discredit, he draws on his narrative arsenal. The maximum control, which he exercises over the external past of the play, is also made plain in the significant absence of such well-known narrative ploys as embedded focalization and quotations of other people's direct speech. As a result, no distinct views on the narrated events are allowed to slip into his reports and the action is focalized by him alone. His consistent narrative tactic is to redefine the relationship between agent and action in order to offer a new interpretation of the events of parricide and incest. Essentially, it is his continuous preoccupation to recast the past from active into passive terms with a view to showing his innocence. Even though the topography of the action remains the same, he redistributes the parts of the actors, thereby exposing the real villains. This narrative momentum casts Oedipus as the dominant story-teller in the play, who, in his relentless redrawing of the past, prevails upon the rest of the characters. The very inability of the latter to offer similar major reconstitutions of former events weakens their authority. This is a case of an extremely large pattern of unstaged action which is 2

On the power of rhetoric in tragedy, see Duchemin (1968); Collard (1975b); Walcot (1976) 63-74; Conacher (1981); Buxton (1982); Goldhill (1986) ch. 9; Bers (1994); Halliwell (1997), who brings attention to the narratorial power of Oedipus.

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reported back to the narrative locus in snapshot hours of critical decision. Sophocles slots a bulky package of narrative information into Oedipus. Until his arrival at Colonus the narrative truth had been so securely sealed in its human canister. As Oedipus presents the full backstory, the narrative past spools back from the present moment. This is not a case of an instantaneous narrative damburst of suspended revelation. With many distinctively narrative splashes, Oedipus recomposes the relation between primary and secondai^ action. In transferring his horrible deeds from the narrative invisibility of the external past into the centre of the reported world, he offers the missing pieces in the jigsaw of truth. In the play, as the past painfully works itself out in successive analeptic excursions, the act of remembering becomes as important as what is being remembered. Each analepsis spotlights a particular aspect of his former life and brings into the primary narrative novel elements in relation to his terrible actions. Regardless of the slow-plotted revelation of the past, the appalling nature of his crimes makes reporting difficult. Despite the wealth of narrative, some story elements are left unspecified. Family sins stay out of the narrative reach of the play. In view of the obscurity of the divine plan, an exhaustive exploration of the narrative past is bound to remain beyond human understanding. However, it is ultimately this very gradual unravelling of the past which earns Oedipus a safe settlement at Colonus. His side of the story needs to be told. The analeptic knowledge displayed by Oedipus at Colonus is closely related to Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus? The killing of Laius and the polluted union with Jocasta form the narrative background of the Oedipus Tyrannus. The gradual unravelling of the true circumstances of the terrible crimes brings about the downfall of Oedipus at Thebes. In the earlier play the unhurried revelation of the fragmented past builds up a ruthless narrative machine of destruction, while at Athens clear knowledge of the past brings safety. By contrast with the earlier play, in which the horrible events are presented to Oedipus by various narrative agents, in the Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus is the master story-teller. At Colonus he vehemently defends his terrible past against the revulsion of the Chorus 3

On the intertextual suspension of the play between the OT and Ant. and, more specifically, the special connection between the play and the OT, see Seidensticker (1972); Miller (1986); Adrados (1993); Segal ( 2 0 0 P ) 131-143; Bernard (2001) 58ff. On Ο Γ and narrative, see Lentricchia & McLaughlin (1995=) 72ff. (J. Hillis Miller).

Oedipus and the Chorus (I)

33

and the invective of Creon. In his defence, he goes over the same story ground which constitutes the backdrop of the former play. This time, the narrative exposition of his lifestory little reminds us of his self-loathing cries at Thebes. The argument of his guiltlessness overrides the instinctive aversion of the Colonans, thereby preventing a rehearsal of all-toofamiliar Theban feelings of repugnance. In particular, the violent reaction of the Colonans brings to mind the response of the Theban elders when the miasma was finally revealed. For a moment it appears that Oedipus has found himself yet again in a situation of public scorn. Against the formidable background of the momentary reenactment of Theban-like revulsion, the eventual mollification of tension imbues his plea of innocence with great significance. His compelling advocacy averts the replication of a state of affairs which would lead to his ultimate engulfment in a surge of self-incrimination. By recreating a specific narrative situation through the recital of a similar range of emotions, Sophocles draws attention to the terrible nature of the pollution. This time, however, the ending of the earlier play is not replicated in Athens and the intertextual resonance is not carried out to its anticipated conclusion. Oedipus stands his ground. It is the remarkable force of his rhetoric that turns the narrative tables on his addressees.

Oedipus and the Chorus (I) From the veiy beginning of the play, the idea of π ά θ ο ς is given particular emphasis. In an address to Antigone, Oedipus himself alludes to his previous suffering: στέργειν γαρ αί πάθαι με χώ χρόνος ξυνών μακρός διδάσκει και το γενναΐον τρίτον (7-8) Even though the passing reference to his misfortunes remains vague (7 αί πάθαι), he drops an important narrative hint. It is here that he introduces the notion of a certain πάθος, which he experienced at some undefined point in the remote past, χρόνος... μακρός (7-8), in particular, acts as a significant temporal pointer which indicates this protracted period in his life. Later Oedipus meets with the Chorus. The revelation of his true identity increases the trepidation of the Colonans, who fear divine reprisals for harbouring such an abomination within Athenian territory. Their instinctive

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response is echoed in the horror of the Thebans in the earlier play. The reaction of the Theban elders is one of shock and disgust at the terrible sight of self-mutilated Oedipus (1297-1307; cf. 1312). The blind Oedipus inspires terror in the Chorus and his image of grief and misfortune is unbearable even to look at (1297 δεινόν ίδεΐν). The Colonans express similar feelings of consternation at the supplicant (141 δεινός μεν όραν, δεινός δέ κλύειν). The closing scene of the Oedipus Tyrannus does not provide any space for reflection on the antecedent events. Oedipus is given over to an unremitting self-deprecation. However, he allows for a fleeting glance at the mitigating circumstances of his crimes when he invokes the power of Apollo as his destroyer and schemer of his downfall (1329-1330 'Απόλλων τάδ' ήν, 'Απόλλων, φίλοι, / ό κακά κακά τελών έμά τάδ' έμά πάθεα). It is true that the enormity of his pollution defies any attempt at human calculation. The helplessness of the situation is well brought out in the reluctance of the Theban Chorus to enquire with Oedipus about his misfortunes. The terrible events render impossible any effort at making sense of the calamity (1303-1306; cf. 1312). Even though the Chorus wish to question Oedipus about his crimes, they merely express their horror. It appears that they consider death to be the only answer to so great a defilement (1368 κρείσσων γάρ ήσθα μηκέτ' ών ή ζων τυφλός). However, Oedipus has come to hold a completely different view on the issue, which he vigorously defends at Colonus. The enormity of the events does not allow for an instantaneous release of narrative. All interested parties are extremely reluctant to touch upon the miasma. In his dialogue with the Colonans, Oedipus offers some narrative clues about his life. He wishes to paint a sympathetic picture of himself through fleeting analeptic references to his miserable lot: Οι. Λαΐου ϊστε τιν' - Χο. ώ· ίου ίοΰ. Οι. τό τε Λαβδακιδάν γένος; Χο. ω Ζεϋ, Οι. αθλιον Ο'ιδιπόδαν; Χο. συ γάρ δδ' ει; Οι. δέος ισχετε μηδέν' οσ' αύδώ. Χο. ίώ ώ ώ. Οι. δύσμορος. Χο. ώ ώ. Οι. θύγατερ, τί ποτ' αύτίκα κύρσει; Χο. εξω πόρσω βαίνετε χώρας. (220-226) It is often the case that epithets are frequently employed as implicit analeptic markers. Also, certain epithets give voice to the inner life of the narrator, who chooses them with a view to affecting his addressees and

Oedipus and the Chorus (I)

35

controlling their reaction to his tale.4 Both αθλιον (222) and δύσμορος (224) give expression to Oedipus' grievous emotions with regard to his predicament. However, the mere mention of his name is powerful enough to horrify the Chorus. They ask for his immediate departure. It appears that the Chorus take for granted the shocking nature of the events, which renders superfluous any attempt at narrating past action. In a manner similar to the Colonans, Antigone does not embark on a narrative of her father's deeds. Even though she refers to the past εργα of Oedipus, she prefers to play down their unpurposed character and appeal instead to the Chorus' sense of pity (237-253). This is not to say, however, that the focalization of Antigone is without special significance. Her intervention comes after a relatively long period of silence and this throws further emphasis on her pious request. Also, as a homo-diegetic narrator that is, a narrator who participates in some manifestation of herself in the recounted events - Antigone offers a glimpse of the past which commands respect.5 This is especially so in view of the insufficient narrative knowledge of the Chorus with regard to the former actions of Oedipus.6 As the scholiast remarks, it is natural and graceful that an έλεεινολογία of the daughter should precede the father's appeal to reason (τό δικαιολογικόν).7 Still, her emotional address does not get her very far with the Chorus, who remain apprehensive of divine judgement (254-257). She begins her pleading by noting briefly that the reason why the Chorus finds Oedipus unbearable and a potential threat to the land is that they have been informed by hearsay about his εργα, which, however, have been committed unwittingly: ώ ξένοι αίδόφρονες, άλλ' έπεί γεραόν πατέρα τόνδ' έμόν ουκ άνέτλατ' έργων ακόντων άίοντες αύδάν (237-240) In the fleeting analepsis of the past (240), she introduces a significant 4

5

6 7

Cf. de Jong (1991) 80-87. On the use of ornamental epithets in tragedy, see Bergson (1956). We should not always treat homo-diegetic narrators as more reliable: they are less liable to error, but more prone to lie. Cf. Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 224. Σ on 237 de Marco.

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narrative ploy, which is put to use by Oedipus time and again in his recurrent retrospections. In order to place stress on the involuntary deeds of her father, she replaces the adjective of the act (ακουσίων) with that of the agent (240 άκόντων). None the less, the significance attached to Oedipus' unintentional actions is quickly discounted by the girl, who deems it more effective to appeal to the Colonans' sense of humanity rather than elaborate on her mild analepsis (241-251). Despite her narratorial discretion, in rounding off the appeal, she drops a broad hint at the important rôle of the gods in the downfall of her father (252-253 ού γάρ... εί θεός άγοι, / έκφυγεΐν δύναιτο). The narratorial reticence of Antigone throws into sharper relief the subsequent openness of Oedipus, who, as a homo-diegetic narrator himself, initially offers but a mere sketch of the events in which he was the protagonist. Faced with the dismal possibility of being driven away from Attica, he begins to take charge of the narrative of his past (266-274). This demonstration of analeptic insight pays dividends for Oedipus. In the light of new narrative information, the Colonans decide to delegate the issue of his suppliancy to Theseus (292-295). In his analepsis, Oedipus takes Antigone's fleeting reference to the unwitting nature of his deeds one step further. He introduces the idea that the terrible events of parricide and incest were acted upon him. In this regard, he presents himself as sufferer rather than doer. His narrative focuses on a time prior to his horrible εργα, when a certain πάθος, brought about by people in the know, prompted him to action. Essentially, in recalling the events preceding his dreadful deeds, Oedipus offers the real cause of his crimes, something which is apparently missing in the Chorus' insufficient knowledge of the past. In particular, the omission of any temporal markers with regard to the events of parricide and incest lays further emphasis on the one and only chronological sequence which Oedipus is more than eager to establish: at all occasions a specific πάθος preceded any of his unwitting actions.8 Even though the analepsis makes explicit mention of the horrible calamities that befell him in connection with his mother and father, the very events are touched upon in an allusive fashion. As an important part of his narrative strategy, 8

The notion of suffering is given further emphasis in view of his suppliant status, which is invariably necessitated by an untoward event in the life of the supplicant. Cf. Gould (1973) 79ff.; Karademetriou (1975) 44-46; Freyburger (1988). On supplication and tragedy, see principally Burian (1972), (1974); Rehm (1988).

Oedipus and the Chorus (I)

37

great care is taken by Oedipus not to appear disrespectful in apportioning blame to his parents. This is the first account by Oedipus of his terrible actions. The fear of the Chorus stems from their awareness of those crimes and it is precisely this feeling of horror that Oedipus strives to dispel from the Colonans (263-269). He begins with a general reference to the events of parricide and incest, which, he maintains, he has suffered rather than perpetrated: έπεί τά γ' εργα μου πεπονθότ' έστί μάλλον ή δεδρακότα, ει σοι τα μητρός και πατρός χρείη λέγειν, ών οΰνεκ' έκφοβί] με· (266-269) Once more, a certain strain of the language puts further accent on the notion of his undue suffering. In a manner similar to Antigone's analepsis (239-240 έργων άκόντων), the activities of the agent stand for the agent himself (266-267).' To cap his plea of innocence, Oedipus becomes more specific without, however, offering any definite narrative clues about what exactly happened with regard to his father and mother: καίτοι πώς εγώ κακός φύσιν, όστις παθών μέν άντέδρων, ωστ' εί φρονών επρασσον, ούδ' αν ώδ' έγιγνόμην κακός; (270-272) Again, his intention is to lay emphasis on the idea of πάθος and establish a certain temporal sequence according to which some unspecified misfortune came before the event. He speaks of taking action after having been the victim of some suffering, which he refrains from elaborating upon (271). άντέδρων, in particular, presupposes a specific action against which he retaliated at "a definite moment".10 The conditional clause gives voice to an alternative scenario (271-272)." The introduction of unreal

9

Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990a) print έπεί τά γ' εργα με / πεπονθότ' ισθι μάλλον ή δεδρακότα (266-267), but I see no reason for the conjecture (cf. also Budelmann 1999b, 173-175). In a personal communication, Easterling noted that the conjecture weakens the effect of the whole sentence by diverting part of the emphasis from the acts to με (266). 10 Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 271. " Conditional clauses often introduce narrative possibilities, which may or may not

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possibilities, which filter the past through a different perspective, is an important characteristic of his narrative policy. The idea of torment is powerful enough to secure his innocence even in the event of his being fully aware of the repercussions of his doings. The imaginary analepsis functions as an implicit retrospection, thereby indicating that in fact the opposite happened. Oedipus was ignorant of the consequences of his actions. Immediately the foregoing imaginaty scenario gives way to an analepsis of what really transpired (273). Oedipus remarks that he suffered at the hands of people who were conscious of what they were doing: νϋν δ' ουδέν είδώς ίκόμην ιν' Ικόμην, ύφ' ών δ' επασχον, είδότων άπωλλύμην (273-274) Again, his main preoccupation is to draw attention to the idea that a certain misfortune, which he himself experienced at an indefinite time in the past, took place prior to his sinful action. The passive voice and the use of such strong verbs as επασχον (274) and άπωλλύμην (274), which hark back to his initial mention of his misfortunes (7 αί πάθαι) and the notion of his doings as being acted upon him (267 πεπονθότ'), enhance the idea of his suffering. This is the first time that Oedipus makes reference to the people who were responsible for his disaster (274). The identity of the aggressors, who were familiar with a specific knowledge, remains obscure. In constantly suppressing narrative information, Oedipus seems to be extremely reticent when it comes to naming the people who are accountable for his downfall. In the first reconstruction of the past, Oedipus is content to lay emphasis on the unpurposed character of his actions, which were every time precipitated by a non-specific misfortune. He refrains from going into narrative detail about his former doings. His brief analepsis, none the less, appears to be powerful enough to allay the fears of the Chorus, who refer the issue of his suppliancy to the Athenian king (294-295 τους δέ τησδε γης άνακτας / άρκειταϋτά μοι διειδέναι). In pushing the narrative down a new path, the Colonans revoke their initial decision to remove Oedipus

materialize within the time-scale of the play. Alternative scenarios fall within the broader category of counter/actuals. On potential action and the wider issue of possible worlds, see notably Lewis (1973), (1978), (1986); Goodman (1978), (1983"); Ronen (1990), (1994) with abundant bibliography.

Oedipus and the Chorus (II)

39

from the land and draw up a scenario, which is most favourable to the supplicant. By contrast with their initial feelings of revulsion, which bring to mind the all-too-similar horrified reaction of the Theban elders in Oedipus Tyrannus, the Athenian Chorus yield to the advocacy of Oedipus. However, before the arrival of Theseus, they confront Oedipus with their own analepses of his past actions. In laying aside their initial narrative self-constraint, they offer their own view on the past, which is contrasted with yet another display of narratorial knowledge by Oedipus.

Oedipus and the Chorus (II) The lyric dialogue between Oedipus and the Chorus occurs while Ismene is on her way to the grove to perform the necessary offerings to the Eumenides (510-548). The placatory rites help to validate Oedipus' status as supplicant of the goddesses and remove any feeling of miasma from his encroachment on their inviolable grove.12 Once ritual order is established, the Chorus assume the rôle of the supplicant's host, something which had been eagerly denied by them for fear of pollution (235-236, 256-257). As it is often the case with a receiver of supplication, the Chorus bring to light the past crimes of the supplicant, and thus the local community comes to terms with the actions of a person who will ultimately become a protective presence in the land.13 No matter how indiscreet the questioning of the Chorus may seem,' 4 it marks a significant change in their attitude towards Oedipus. Here the establishment of ritual peace gives rise to a generous flow of narrative information. This is not an easy matter for both Oedipus and the Chorus. Even though some story elements need urgent clarification, the enormity of the events does not allow for a smooth recounting of the past. As Segal has shown, in drama full stories emerge gradually from the complex of a wide 12

The appointment of a woman to carry out the ordinances of the Chorus is significant by the very reason of women's central role in ritual, especially sacred rituals for the Erinyes. In Euripides' Melanippe

Captive (fr. 660.18-21 Mette; P.Oxy. 1176 fr. 39 col.

11; cf. Collard, Cropp & Lee 1995, 272-274), Melanippe claims that all rituals connected with the Fates and the Erinyes ('the Nameless Goddesses') flourish if performed by women. 13

Cf. Gould (1973) 94ff.

14

Cf. Burton (1980) 261-263.

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variety of individual perspectives.15 It is often the case that lyric dialogues constitute the climactic moment of a wide range of contrasting accounts. As different viewpoints are spliced together, some in distorted echo of the other, the polyphony of kommatic narration allows the playwright to place heavy stress on the complexity of the reported action. In establishing a bracingly swift pace, the lyric dialogue between Oedipus and the Chorus gives expressions to an enriching array of contradictory analeptic excursions. In the light of the intensity of the narrative tug-of-war between Oedipus and the Chorus, the events of parricide and incest are filtered through two sharply distinct perspectives. This is especially so in view of the narrative knowledge of Oedipus, who, in availing himself of a wide range of editorial practices, offers considerably broader temporal and emotional filters. By contrast with the self-loathing cries of Oedipus in the final scenes of Oedipus Tyrannus, the defence of his innocence in Athens assuages the fears of the Chorus. The restoration of ritual order allows for a fuller exploration of the narrative past. In the kommos, the Chorus most eagerly undertake the investigation. Unlike the Theban Chorus, they are keen to learn what the Thebans deemed too terrifying to question and to hear what the Thebans thought unheard-of (518 άκοΰσαι cf. also OT1312 ες δεινόν, ούδ' άκουστόν, ούδ' έπόψιμον). The horrible events of parricide and incest are brought to the fore at Colonus, something which at Thebes was deemed impossible owing to the shocking discovery. This change in the attitude of the Chorus signals a significant turning-point in the life of Oedipus whose deeds can now be discussed in the light of day. By contrast with their previous horrified reaction (220-236, 254-257), which acted as a barrier to information flow, the Chorus become more specific in connection with Oedipus' past and so does Oedipus. Despite his initial reluctance to speak about his terrible deeds, Oedipus overtly refers to his parricide and incest. The ability to reconstruct his past life in narrative terms and instruct the Colonans in the true circumstances of his doings strengthens the force of his defence. In keeping with his narrative policy, he lays emphasis on the notion of suffering and ignorance, which are treated as significant parameters of his advocacy. More particularly, in relation to the abominable marriage with his mother and the horrible killing of his father, he focuses once more on the period preceding his crimes. His intention is not to dispute the events themselves, but to place 15

(1995) 16-25.

Oedipus and the Chorus (II)

41

them in a larger temporal perspective, which is unavailable to the Chorus. This time, his narratorial discernment is not employed with a view to overturning an unfavourable narrative scenario. The fragmentary, yet illuminating, retrospection of the parricide and incest allows him to bring into the open the actions, which would have cost him an early departure from the sacred grove. The Chorus speak first of something evil, a dreadful anguish with which Oedipus became involved at some point in his life, but found incurable (510-511 δεινόν μεν το πάλαι κείμενον ήδη κακόν, ώ / ξεϊν', έπεγείρειν, 513-514 τάς δειλαίας άπόρου/φανείσας άλγηδόνος, α ξυνέστας). On the other hand, in keeping with his narrative strategy, Oedipus draws particular attention to the idea of πάθος with regard to the accidental circumstances of his actions. In a series of recurring analepses, he speaks of the past as some sort of misfortune which was visited upon him. He does not wish to bring into the open the shameless actions that he has suffered (516 ά πέπονθ' άναιδή).16 He endured an extremely grievous experience without having any prior knowledge of the horrible repercussions of his actions (521 ήνεγκον κακότατ', ώ ξένοι, ήνεγκ' άέκων μέν).'7 16

Lloyd-Jone & Wilson's άναιδώς is hardly appropriate for the questioning of the Chorus. The sense of shame is not altogether absent from Oedipus as is evident in his horror at the birth of his daughters in the kommos (531) and his feeling of pollution before Theseus (1132-1136). The notion of ruthless questioning does not quite tally with the preceding compassionate attitude of the Chorus towards Oedipus, άναιδώς is too harsh a term to define those supplicated and may well have negative connotations within the context of suppliancy. According to Xenophon (Hell, ii 3.52-56; cf. Krentz 1995, 137ff.), Theramenes had taken refuge upon the altar of Hestia Boulaia, when Satyrus and his attendants started dragging him. Xenophon calls Satyrus θρασύταχος και αναιδέστατος, thereby referring to the shameless violation of the rules of supplication. The feeling of αιδώς characterizes the supplication situation and its employment here to define the cross-questioning of the Chorus may well be unnecessarily misleading (cf. also Gould 1973, 83-87; Cairns 1993, 221ff.). In a personal communication, Easterling agreed that άναιδώς is implausible. Oddly, Günther (1998) 7 takes άναιδώς as "among the most compelling conjectures the editors made in the text."

17

Bothe's έκών is adopted by Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990a), who agree with Wilamowitz's interpretation that the reference is to Oedipus' self-inflicted blinding. Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 522 rightly resists the conjecture, which is at variance with the general tone of the play; Oedipus is eager to assert his innocence on the grounds of his unintentionality (cf. also 964 ήνεγκον άκων). At no time does Oedipus admit that he committed the actions of parricide and incest in knowledge. The notion that Oedipus

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The notion of suffering becomes even more specific. Oedipus offers recurrent backward glances at his incestuous marriage with Jocasta. According to his narrative tactics, the event is described as a calamity which befell him without being of his own design (525-526, 539-541). In the retrospection, a novel element in connection with his life with Jocasta also emerges whose timing is of great significance. Antigone and Ismene are identified as the daughters of Oedipus and his own mother (530-535). It is often the case that certain narrative information is purposely suppressed until it is most relevant. Against a background of well-guarded secrecy with regard to Oedipus' horrible actions, the introduction of novel narrative elements defines an important development in his relationship with the Chorus. This is especially so, when the narrative matter is not widely known. This has another consequence, however. Fresh narrative information is more easily controlled. This becomes plain in Oedipus' wish to filter the event through his own perspective by averting the possibility of rival focalizations. His abominable relation to Antigone and Ismene, which is not known to the Chorus, is repeatedly focalized by Oedipus: Xo. ή μητρόθεν, ώς άκούω, δυσώνυμα λέκτρ' έπλήσω; Οι. ώμοι, θάνατος μέν τάδ' άκούειν, ώ ξεΐν'· αΰται δέ δύ' εξ έμοϋ Χορ. πώς φής; Οι. παΐδε, δύο δ' άτα Χο. ώ Ζεϋ. Οι. ματρός κοινός άπέβλαστον ώδίνος. Χο. σοί γ' άρ' άπόγονοι τ' είσί και Οι. κοιναί γε πατρός άδελφεαί. (527-535) By affording himself a tactical advantage over his interlocutors, he prevents the Chorus from acknowledging his incestuous relation to Antigone and Ismene by taking out of their mouths the name your sisters (534) and offering instead a less emphatic focalization (535). In using the

acted of his own free will introduces an unnecessary subtlety, especially in view of his ensuing invocation of the god (522 θεός ί'στω). An admission, such as έκών, jars with Oedipus' appeal to the deity, which must have been preceded by the mention of some significant point in extenuation of his deeds. Cf. also Dawe (1978) 139.

Oedipus and the Chorus (II)

43

non-specific πατρός (535), he mitigates the effect of a direct reference by the Chorus to his polluted relationship with the girls.18 In the focalization of his ill-starred marriage, he filters the event of the incest through a wider temporal perspective, which allows him to present himself in a particularly favourable light: έδεξάμην δώρον, ö μήποτ' έγώ ταλακάρδιος επωφελήσας οφελον έξελέσθαι. (539-541)19 He alludes to a certain service which he did for the city, for which he received the Theban queen as a reward (541 έπωφελήσας). Regardless of their limited narrative knowledge, the Chorus present a particularly damning report of the parricide. At the close of the lyric dialogue, they refer to Oedipus as the polluted killer of his father. In order to rebut their rival analepses, Oedipus takes refuge in his well-known narrative policy of broadening the temporal scope of the narration. The Chorus observe that the plea of suffering does not exonerate him from the killing of his father, which, no matter how much he can strain the language, he cannot possibly claim that he suffered (542 δύστανε, τί γάρ; εθου φόνον - ) . Even though Oedipus admits the slaying of Laius (545 εκανον. εχει δέ μοι -), he remarks that it was justified (546 προς δίκας τι). Then he becomes more specific about the mitigating circumstances of the killing: ατα άλούς έφόνευσ' άπό τ' ώλεσα, νόμω δέ καθαρός· αιδρις ές τόδ' ήλθον. (547-548)20

18

19

20

On unspeakable words, see Clay (1982). In the Oedipus plays, characters frame certain words pertaining to parricide and incest, but do not pronounce them. Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990a) print έπωφελήσας οφελον έξελέσθαι (541), and by this they understand "Oedipus received a gift after the service he had rendered that he, miserable one, should never have accepted!". The manuscript reading έπωφέλησα is understood by the scholiast as equivalent to ώφελον, something which is not accepted by Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 541 and Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 235. In a personal communication, Easterling noted that Jebb and Lloyd-Jones & Wilson must be right here. Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990a) print ατα άλούς έφόνευσ' άπό τ' ώλεσα (547) adopting Lloyd-Jones' emendation of και γάρ to ατα and Hermann's emendation of άλλους to άλούς, and by this they understand that "Oedipus murdered and slaughtered as the victim of the power that sent him mad". The passage is difficult and no

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He abides by his familiar narrative tactic of speaking of a certain πάθος, which occurred prior to the parricide (547). In this case, the unspecified suffering takes the form of an undefined ατα (547) much in the same vein as his abominable marriage (526 ατα) and his incestuous offspring (530 δύο δ' ατα). Also, Oedipus introduces the vague notion of his guiltlessness, which is supported by a certain law (548 νόμφ καθαρός). No more details are given in connection with this law. Nonetheless, the invocation of a legal level of control imbues the analeptic excursions with special authority. The narrative vagueness with regard to the precise legal aspects of his case throws into sharper relief the force of his claim. It appears that no further narrative exposition is needed in view of the obvious validity of his advocacy of innocence. According to the account, Oedipus killed his father in ignorance, something which, as he claims, makes him καθαρός (548) in the eyes of the law. Oedipus' last claim does not go uncontested in the play. Later Creon disputes the innocence of his relative by means of an incriminating analepsis, which focuses on the polluted character of the parricide and incest. In a desperate effort to divert the narrative progress of the action, he seeks to re-interpret the law.

Oedipus and Creon In the scene with Creon and Oedipus, the latter embarks on an elaborate retrospective narrative of his life (962-999). As in his previous analepses, he takes an excursion into the past to defend his innocence. This time, however, he does so in even more significant detail and within a

emendation seems entirely satisfactoiy. Porson's άνους (taken up by Dain) is attractive, but it can hardly be made to mean 'without understanding' merely in the sense of'unwittingly'. Dain's καί γάρ άνους έφόνευσα και ώλεσα does not stray very far from the manuscript tradition and does not introduce a significant agent, such as άτη which has been invoked earlier in the kommos by Oedipus with regard to his incestuous marriage (526) and his daughters (531). However, for lack of a certain conjecture, the OCT reading is adopted here. In a personal communication, Easterling argued in favour of Lloyd-Jones' reading. She noted that the conjecture is simpler than some of the proposed alternatives and provides the necessary explanation for άλούς (547).

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considerably longer temporal reach.21 It could not have been otherwise. His narratorial knowledge needs to be put to use at this most crucial point in the action, when his safe settlement at Colonus is again in jeopardy. In offering his own focalization of the terrible crimes, Creon introduces an alternative scenario, which is most unfavourable to Oedipus (944-949). In seeking to cancel the hopeful prospect of Oedipus' untroubled position in Attica, he wishes to redraw the action of the whole play. His focalization has indeed a certain authority, which makes his arguments even more compelling. As a homo-diegetic narrator, he is in a position to command a first-hand knowledge of the recounted events. None the less, his intention is not to produce a detailed narrative of the past, but to present Oedipus as the guilty doer. The damning report of Creon does not leave space for any mitigating circumstances. If his narrative is accepted, then the action of the play must be fundamentally overhauled. The previously allayed fears of the Colonans must be revived and Oedipus must be driven out of Attica. Creon argues that, when he tried to lay hands on Antigone and Oedipus, he acted on the belief that Athens would never harbour a polluted person, who was found a parricide and tainted with an incestuous marriage. He goes on to refer to the wisdom of the Areopagus, which does not allow

21

It has been argued that Oedipus' retort recalls comparable defences before the Athenian Areopagites. In some measure this is true and the audience are invited to view the past through a fifth-century legal filter. On the legal aspect of Oedipus' innocence, see most recently Edmunds (1996) 134-138, who overstates his case. Especially, Creon's telling reference to the important fifth-century institution of the Areopagus (947-949) sets Oedipus' plea in an Athenian legal context. The court of the Areopagus tries cases of intentional homicide among others, and even in the event that the defendant denies the accusation of intentionality, still it lies with the Areopagites to judge the validity of his claim. However, murderous instances like that of Oedipus' parricide abound in the life of Greek heroes, such as Theseus and Heracles, and thus the claim of ignorance is more important in this context than Oedipus' extenuation from homicide on grounds of self-defence. Moreover, exact correspondence to the fifth-century legal processes of the Areopagus is not to be found in the confrontation between Oedipus and Creon. Incest does not fall within the realm of the Areopagus which tried only cases of homicide, wounding, arson and poison committed deliberately. Cf. also Dover (1994 3 ) 274; Winnington-Ingram (1980) 262f.; Halliwell (1997) 137-140. On the Areopagus, see Wallace (1989); Hansen (1991) chs. 3, 12. On Athenian homicide law, see principally Harrison (1968); MacDowell (1963), (1978) ch. 7; Carawan (1998) with abundant bibliography.

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men, who are defiled with bloodshed, to be given protection by the Athenian city (944-949). In the analepsis there is no reference to the unpurposed nature of the events. The account of Creon does not feature any former stage of πάθος, which prompted Oedipus to his dreadful, yet justified, actions.22 Faced with the narrative authority of Creon, Oedipus widens the temporal scope of the narration. His parricide and incest, which are given a fuller narrative presentation, are viewed against the backdrop of his family history. Notwithstanding the wealth of narrative, Oedipus is reticent about the guilty doings of his parents, which emerge in the narration, but only in an allusive fashion. In keeping with his narrative tactics, he seeks to redefine the relation of the agent to the action in treating the killing and the marriage as calamities: φόνους μοι και γάμους και συμφοράς του σου διήκας στόματος, ας εγώ τάλας ήνεγκον άκων (962-964) συμφοράς (962), in particular, is emphatically placed last in his enumeration of the events, which were referrred to by Creon as the polluted actions of his relative (944-946).23 In a like manner to his previous retrospection (521 ήνεγκ' άέκων), he repeats in identical language his claim to be the sufferer rather than the doer (964 ήνεγκον άκων). The control that Oedipus exercises over the flow of the narrative is made plain in his unique capacity to recall previous action, which falls well before the actual events of his parricide and incest. His backwardlooking glance at the possible causes of his disaster has an unprecedented reach, which outstrips the narratorial ability of Creon to make long excursions into the past. The invocation of a divine level of control mitigates the enormity of the events. Antigone was the first to hint at the rôle of the gods in the ruination of Oedipus (252-254). Here, in improving on the narrative lead, Oedipus explicitly refers to divine rage against his clan as a possible cause of his calamities: θεοίς γαρ ήν οΰτω φίλον, τάχ' αν τι μηνίουσιν ές γένος πάλαι. (964-965) 22 23

On the cruelty of Creon, see Fisher (1992) 302ff. According to Clay (1982) 285, the evasive plurals allow the character "to deflect attention from the thought of a single act".

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This latest addition of narrative makes the audience alert to the possibility that there is to be another episode, this time of divine character, in the temporal sequence of πάθος and action, which Oedipus so eagerly wishes to establish. The imprecision of the event, which is intensified by the omission of any definite chronological brackets, appears to be purposeful. In this case, restricted narrative authority lays emphasis on the apparent detachment of the narrator from the recounted action. Oedipus draws attention to the fact that he himself did not partake in this past incident of divine anger and thus is not to be held responsible for an event which is simply reported but not generated by him. Denying the authorship of an event is another way of referring to an alternative narrative possibility. Analepsis by negation, or negative analepsis, is often employed to alert the audience to the existence of other narrative potentialities, which may or may not have materialized.24 In this case, a certain event is recalled by negation, but, in accordance with the narrative policy of Oedipus, the agent is again redefined. As far as he is concerned, the stain of some old sin, on account of which he erred against himself and his family, is not to be found on him: έπεί κατ' αυτόν γ' ούκ άν έξεΰροις έμε άμαρτίας όνειδος ουδέν άνθ' δτου τάδ' είς έμαυτόν τούς έμούς θ' ήμάρτανον. (966-968) In order to dissociate himself from the action which may have provoked the anger of the gods, Oedipus renounces the possibility that he is the author of the deed, thereby implying that someone else is to be held responsible for the disaster. According to the account, there must have been a voluntary crime, an αμαρτία, preceding his own άμαρτίαι, as these are indicated by τάδ' (968). However, the sinful action, in retaliation for which Oedipus suffered his misfortunes, was committed by a person who remains as yet unidentified. The narrative perception of Oedipus is again made evident in his ability to refute the reports of other characters through new focalizations of the past. Having hinted at the existence of a purposed crime by a member of his family, Oedipus becomes more specific with regard to the sinful action, which is treated, it is true, with the utmost discretion. His purpose is to present his own version of the violation of divine order. At 24

Cf. de Jong (1987) 61-68.

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this point in his defence, he tries to press home the fact that he found himself entangled in an impossible situation before his birth and that, on account of this prénuptial offence, he was bound to suffer without being accountable for provoking divine wrath: έπεί δίδαξον, ει τι θέσφατον πατρί χρησμοισιν ίκνειθ' ωστε προς παίδων θανειν, πώς αν δικαίως τοΰτ' όνειδίζοις έμοί, δς οΰτε βλάστας πω γενεθλίους πατρός, ού μητρός ειχον, άλλ' άγέννητος τότ' ή; (969-973) Again, the imprecision in connection with both the exact parameters of the events and the chronology of the action helps to dissociate him from this sorry incident. Oedipus speaks of some divine doom which came to his father by means of oracles at an indefinite time (969-970). He picks his words carefully. While refraining from using his hindsight, he recounts the dreadful prophecy without naming himself as the prospective killer of Laius (970). By contrast, in keeping the original phrasing of the oracle, he refers vaguely to the unborn offspring of the Theban king (970 προς παίδων). The use of the allusive plural for the singular underscores the uncertainty over the identity of the killer.25 After the reference to the oracle, which was delivered to his father long before Oedipus was even conceived, he alludes to his ill-starred birth: εί δ' αύ φανείς δύστηνος, ώς έγώ 'φάνην, ές χείρας ήλθον πατρί καί κατέκτανον, μηδέν ξυνιείς ών εδρών είς ους τ' εδρών, πώς αν τό γ' άκον πραγμ' αν είκότως ψέγοις; (974-977) By contrast with his previous references to the divine judgement and the prophecy, he makes use of his hindsight in calling himself δύστηνος (974). This qualificatory remark is an implicit reference to his father's

25

As in the case of the surprising reference to the divine wrath against the Labdacids, the audience must have been struck by the allusion to Laius' folly, which does not feature in Soph. OT. By contrast, the Chorus in Aesch. Sept. talk of an ancient transgression (742-743), which can be no other than Laius' not heeding the thrice pronounced Apolline oracle. Again, however, the sorry incident is treated in an implicit fashion. Could there have been a code of silence with regard to the foolishness of the Theban king in view of Oedipus' reticence about the specific circumstances of his father's sin? On the Apolline oracle, see Lloyd-Jones (1983 2 ) 120-121.

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foolishness in disregarding the divine warning and having a child - a child who was destined to run into disaster. Oedipus is all too tactful with regard to Laius' folly and nothing is explicitly stated. He even omits the period between the oracle and his birth and, in a temporal jump, he recalls the event of his unhappy birth. This is not the only chronological leap in this context. Having left out the period spanning the troubled events after his birth, Oedipus focuses on the killing of his father, which, in direct contrast to his familiar tactic, is presented as the result of his own actions (975). This is, none the less, mitigated by the involuntary character of the event, which has been stated time and again in his former retroversions (976 μηδέν ξυνιείς). The repetition of εδρών (976) enhances the notion of Oedipus as the doer, who, however, carried out the deeds unknowingly, as he emphatically claims in treating once more the action as the agent (977 άκον πράγμ'). Repetitive frequency allows the narrator to view the same event from a multiplicity of perspectives. It is the constant policy of Oedipus to treat his parents' faults with extreme tactfulness, but at the same time to hint at their past thoughtlessness by means of certain narrative ploys. In particular, the omission of crucial narrative information with regard to his father is eventually supplied in a distinct analepsis in connection with his mother: έτικτε γαρ μ' έτικτεν, ώμοι μοι κακών, ουκ είδότ' ουκ είδυΐα, και τεκοϋσά με αύτής όνειδος παΐδας έξέφυσέ μοι. άλλ' εν γάρ οΰν εξοιδα, σέ μέν έκόντ' εμέ κείνην τε ταΰτα δυσστομεΐν εγώ δέ νιν άκων χ' έγημα, φθέγγομαί τ' άκων τάδε. (982-987) Even though in his retrospection of the parricide Oedipus made a fleeting reference to his birth (974 ώς εγώ 'φάνην), here he acknowledges the event emphatically in the repetition of ετικτε (982; cf. also 983 τεκοϋσα). However, he is quick to underscore the disastrous consequences of his birth (982 ώμοι μοι κακών). By implication, Laius is pictured as having been fully aware of the terrible repercussions of fathering a child, while his mother, as he states (983 ουκ είδυία), was completely in the dark about the incestuous union with her son. The elaborate retroversion of his past started with a reference to a certain divine intervention (964-965). This was followed by two conditional

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analepses of his birth and the killing of his father (969-973,974-977). The same pattern also concludes the retrospection with a slight narrative twist. The two conditional analepses, which encompass the general reference to divine intervention, offer imaginary versions of events in sharp contrast to the factual character of the previous ones (992-996, 998-999). The recurrent analepsis of the killing of Laius is fundamentally overhauled by Oedipus with a view to turning the narrative tables on his rival narrator, Creon. In defending himself, Oedipus redraws the past to depict Creon as playing his own part in an unreal encounter with an imaginary assailant. In inventing an unreal scenario, he purposely opens up several possibilities, only to conclude with his own reaction in the real event of the parricide. This fanciful parallel to his involuntary crime shows that Creon's invocation of the Areopagus, upon the authority of which the Theban envoy seeks to redesign the events at Athens, can be made to work against him. Without sounding insulting towards his father, Oedipus rehearses the parricide by making some significant modifications of the location and chronology. The actors are distributed in a such a way that Creon takes the place of Oedipus and Laius is hidden behind the anonymity of an unidentified attacker. The alterations notwithstanding, the circumstances of the parricide remain fundamentally unchanged. No reproach comes to the one who has recourse to immediate action in a self-defence case. Oedipus confronts Creon by presenting him with the possibility of a random attack by an aggressor: εν γάρ μ' άμειψαι μοϋνον ών σ' ανιστορώ· εϊ τίς σε τον δίκαιον αΰτίκ' ένθάδε κτείνοι παραστάς, πότερα πυνθάνοι' αν εί πατήρ σ' ό καίνων, ή τίνοι' αν ευθέως; δοκω μεν, ειπερ ζην φιλεΐς, τον αίτιον τίνοι' αν, ουδέ τοΰνδικον περιβλέποις. (991-996) The action is transferred to the here-and-now (992 αύτίκ' ένθάδε) and the two opposing parties are Creon himself and an undefined assailant (992 τίς). Unlike his former analepsis of the killing of Laius, where Oedipus pictured himself as the doer (545 εκανον. εχει δέ μοι-, 547 άτα άλούς έφόνευσ' από τ' ώλεσα), in this case the emphasis is placed on the notion of πάθος which precedes the event. The focus of the narrative shifts to the offensive actions of the opponent, who, after taking up his position, is about to strike the mortal blow (993 κτείνοι παραστάς). In presenting

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Creon with two possible routes of action, Oedipus again plays up the aggressiveness of the attacker, who is set on killing him (994 ο καινών). According to the account, asking your enemy whether he is your father or not is unthinkable in view of the exigency of the situation. Oedipus, when faced with his father, struck him without hesitation. In order to stress the briefness of the period between attack and retaliation, Oedipus employs a significant temporal pointer, ευθέως (994), in particular, allows him to underscore the urgency of taking the right decision, or rather the very improbability of having the slightest qualm about defending your own life. He even anticipates the response of Creon. What he himself did on that past occasion is exactly what Creon would do if faced with a similar situation: retaliate without seeking justification (995-996). In bringing the narrative full circle, Oedipus concludes with a general reference to the rôle of the gods in his life: τοιαύτα μέντοι καύτός είσέβην κακά, θεών άγόντων ώστ' έγώ ουδέ την πατρός ψυχήν αν οιμαι ζώσαν άντειπεΐν έμοί. (997-999) Echoing Antigone's reference (253 εί θεός αγοι), he invokes a higher level of control which underscores the helplessness of the narrator at the divine plan (998 θεών άγόντων). In the light of the preceding narrative exposition of his innocence, the argument of a divine interposition in his destiny comes out with particular force. This is especially so in view of his new-found narrative confidence. By contrast with the former speculative analepsis (964-965 θεοΐς γάρ ήν οΰτω φίλον, / τάχ' αν τι μηνίουσιν ες γένος πάλαι), he is certain that the gods played a crucial part in his downfall. However, this is not quite all. Again, by means of an imaginary situation, Oedipus seeks to solidify his defence. In a conditional prolepsis, he claims that if his father were alive, he would applaud his advocacy (998-999). This hypothetical prolepsis is even more impossible than the previous one (992-996), but has a particular significance, once put into perspective. It is the constant preoccupation of Oedipus to bring into the open his father's share of guilt, without, however, offending his memory. This he does through the employment of such narrative devices as the continuous suppression of narrative information, the displacement of the action to the present and the redistribution of the actors. In his claim that Laius would countenance his defence, he draws attention to his father's share of guilt, which has

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surfaced in the narrative in connection with his foolishness in disobeying the divine command and assailing an innocent passer-by. Multiple echoes of a specific reconstruction of the past by the characters around Oedipus solidify his case. His reconstitution of the past does not go unheeded by the Chorus, who, in yet another gesture of narrational control, eliminate the unfavourable scenario of his expulsion, so eagerly championed by Creon (1014-1015; cf. 294-295), and again push the tragic narrative down a new path. As he is unable to present an equally powerful analepsis, Creon is reduced to speechlessness by the Colonans, who openly recognize the innocence of Oedipus: ό ξεινος, ώναξ, χρηστός· αί δέ συμφοραί αύτοΰ πανώλεις, άξιαι δ' άμυναθεΐν. (1014-1015) Again, the allusion to a legal level of control imbues the narration with special authority, χρηστός (1014), in particular, harks back to Oedipus' claim of being νόμω καθαρός (548), something which Creon was most eager to undermine. The Chorus applaud the new and chronologically broader reconstruction of the past by offering their own implicit analepsis of the parricide and incest, which conforms to Oedipus' notion of undue suffering, συμφοραί (1014) echoes Oedipus' prior reference to his misfortunes, which helped to underscore his unjustified plight (962 φόνους μοι και γάμους και συμφοράς). Regardless of the horrible nature of the events, the Chorus open up yet another narrative possibility in asking the Athenian king to see to the protection of Oedipus against the Theban aggressors (1015). Theseus is keen to set in motion the latest scenario and, in treating himself as the sufferer much in the same manner as Oedipus described himself as the one acted upon (1017 ημείς δ' οί παθόντες εσταμεν), turns to the pursuit of the abductors. Sophocles chooses to mediate the off-stage events into the primary narrative with much effort and difficulty. This is not a case of narrative pieces penned up for instantaneous release. Even though the narrative game elements are planted on the board in the opening moves, the play leaves them until purposely later junctures to be recounted in full. It is Oedipus himself who unlocks the narrative discharge associated with this painful revelation. The pacing of the action is to a large extent shaped by his narrative knowledge. His narratorial control of the past not only contributes to the establishment of his innocence, but also affects the narrative thrust of the play. His analeptic discernment allows him to

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overthrow contrasting scenarios, which, if adopted, would redefine the action to a considerable degree and steer the tragic narrative off his desired course. Essentially, the careful employment of analeptic content constitutes a characteristic example of the significant influence which the secondary narrative level can exercise on the principal narrative level of the play. This is all the more so in the light of intertextual affinities with Oedipus Tyrannus which are not carried out to their anticipated conclusion by virtue of Oedipus' persuasive argumentation. The stage-by-stage revision of events, which gave rise to a violent storm of self-incrimination in the former narrative, brings Oedipus to safety within an Athenian context. Even though the earlier play looms over the action, Oedipus has no equal in debating the moral rules of narrative development. Eventually, the previous narrative is reconstituted in accordance with his own point of view and his horrible actions are gradually brought to light. However, this is not the only instance of his narratorial control over the past. His analeptic insight is again put to use, this time in an effort to determine the future which lies far beyond the span of the primary narrative. To this I now turn.

Controlling the Past: Shaping the Future The long period between the discovery of his horrible actions and his safe settlement at Colonus is repeatedly recalled by Oedipus (337-356, 421454, 761-796, 1348-1396). This time, his narratorial ability is put to use with a view to determining the future. By contrast with the previous effort to overturn unfavourable narrative scenarios, which would occur within the time-limits of the play, here Oedipus recounts past action to redefine narrative possibilities which lie without the chronology of the play. However, in a manner similar to the analepses of his crimes, he employs a wide range of narrative devices. His unrestricted command of the past is made particularly plain in the way he manipulates focalization, underscores the expected, yet deplorably neglected, courses of action with regard to Eteocles and Polynices and exposes the real villains by redistributing the agents of the events according to his will. Especially the persistent use of negative statements, which act as significant pointers to alternative, happier versions, places the events in perspective. Further, a close engagement with the text shows that the employment of a long series of modalities and illocutionary functions (e.g. prophecy, prayer,

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wish, curse) that often shade into one another endows the rhetoric of Oedipus with remarkable diversity. As a homo-diegetic narrator, Oedipus vests the recounting of the past with undisputed authority, which is, to a large extend, predicated on divine favour. The lack of any doubting reactions, not to say major contrasting narratives, allows him not only to dominate the former events, but also to define prospective developments, which form part of the external future of the play. In this case, unrestrained control over the past by a character is a powerful means of shaping the future. The recurring curses of Oedipus upon his sons anticipate the horrible destiny which is in store for Eteocles and Polynices. The exact circumstances of the contest between the two brothers are brought into the open in a progressive fashion. Every time Oedipus recounts the past, he offers a more specific version of the future. In the light of the slow-plotted revelation, throwback narratives are consistently related to proleptic glances. As analepses and prolepses often hunt closely together, the one builds authority for the other thereby giving an oracular tinge to the reported events. Procrastination, excursus, elaboration - whether by expansion or incorporation of by-material - is part of Sophocles' narrative technique. His delaying tactic is not without further significance. The stage by stage unfolding of the terrible character of the maledictions, which reach their climax at the final revelation of the fratricidal deaths, allows Oedipus to argue the case for his harsh prolepses in full. The gradually widening focus on the disastrous feud between the heirs is intimately related to a series of analepses, which retrace the events spanning the period from Oedipus' discovery of his dreadful past to his eventual settlement at Colonus. Thus, the narrative possibilities presented by the relentless denunciation of his sons are viewed against the background of the events of his banishment. Regardless of their awful nature, the prolepses are meant to be a rightful retribution for a pattern of events in which Oedipus is once again the one acted upon.26

26

On the controversial issue of Oedipus' extremely harsh curses upon his sons, see notably Easterling (1967); Rosenmeyer ( 1952). Neither critic lays particular emphasis on the analeptic power of Oedipus (cf. also Mastrangelo 2000). On curses, see West (1999) esp. 42.

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Oedipus and Ismene Some narrative game elements are planted on the board in the opening moves. In general, the use of comparisons is characteristic of a sophisticated narrative.27 The brothers, like their sisters, are constantly treated as a special pair. Both brothers present striking similarities in character and share the same amount of responsibility with regard to their father's plight. In view of the apathy of Eteocles and Polynices, Oedipus sheds analeptic light on a significant part of the period between the day of his downfall and his arrival at the sacred grove. The tender care of Antigone and Ismene is contrasted with the shameless behaviour of the royal heirs (337-356).28 Oedipus associates the listlessness of the brothers with the Egyptian way of life: ώ πάντ' έκείνω τοις έν Αίγύπτω νόμοις φύσι,ν κατεικασθέντε και βίου τροφάς· έκεΐ γάρ οί μέν άρσενες κατά στέγας θακοϋσιν ίστουργοϋντες, αϊ δε σύννομοι τάξω βίου τροφεία πορσύνουσ' άεί. (337-341) He refers to a certain Egyptian custom, which is inconsistent with the Greek sense of proper conduct.29 Further, he elaborates on his initial comparison between the negligence of his sons' filial duty and the unHellenic manners of the Egyptians: σφων δ', ω τέκν', ους μέν εικός ήν πονεΐν τάδε, κατ' οίκον οίκουροϋσιν ώστε παρθένοι, σφώ δ' άντ' έκείνοιν τάμα δυστήνου κακά ύπερπονειτον. (342-345) His analepsis of the happy domestic life of the brothers harks back to the special tasks ascribed to the male members of the Egyptian household (339-340). In similar language, Oedipus envisions his sons having a behaviour analogous to the Egyptians (343). This time, however, the reference to weaving is replaced by a telling comparison of Eteocles and 27 28 29

Cf. de Jong (1991) 87-94. On "natural but frustrated pairings", see Griffith (1999) apud 2-3. Cf. also Said (1993). On the unfavourable depiction of non-Greek ideas in Athenian drama, see Hall (1989). The Egyptian custom is reported as a curiosity by Greek standards in Herodotus (2. 35. 2; cf. also How & Wells 1912 i ad loc.)

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Polynices to maidens (343 ώστε παρθένοι). In the following narratives, Oedipus returns to this same notion of the brothers as maidens, only to stretch it to the limit and re-define the gender identity of his siblings. In order to point up his reproof, Oedipus offers an implicit retrospection of their expected conduct (342). The introduction of narrative possibilities, which indicate an alternative, yet lamentably neglected, version of past events, becomes a familiar means of exposing the duplicity of his opponents. In this case, the royal heirs were expected to endure the toils of the king's lot. Contrary to expectation, they did not succour their father, πονεΐν (342), in particular, gives expression to the painful care that was never given to Oedipus. The same word is used in connection with the analepsis of the sisters' behaviour, only this time the girls are pictured as exceeding their expected share in the burdens of their father (344-345). Harking back to πονεΐν (342), ύπερονεΐτον (345) brings out the contrast between the apathy of Eteocles and Polynices, who failed to carry out their expected filial duty, and Antigone and Ismene, who surpassed what was anticipated of them in their effort to compensate for their brothers' negligence. The passionate denunciation of his sons is offset by the tenderness that unites Oedipus with his daughters. His expression of unconditional love towards his daughters makes abundantly clear that Oedipus is capable of feelings other than anger and bitterness. In the analepsis of Antigone's loving care, he draws attention to the admirable resilience of his daughter in the face of the hostile elements. His presentation of the events leading up to his safe sojourn at Colonus plays up the unnatural reversal of gender rôles, which came about by the womanly behaviour of Eteocles and Polynices: ή μέν έξ δτου νέας τροφής εληξε και κατίσχυσεν δέμας, άεί μεθ' ήμών δύσμορος πλανωμένη, γερονταγωγεί, πολλά μέν κατ' άγρίαν ΰλην ασιτος νηλίπους τ' άλωμένη, πολλοΐσι δ' ομβροις ηλίου τε καύμασι μοχθούσα τλήμων δεύτερ' ήγεΐται τά της οϊκοι διαίτης, εί πατήρ τροφήν εχοι. (345-352) Oedipus begins his retroversion with a general reference to his woeful peregrination in the company of Antigone, thereby reaching his current

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position at Colonus. In this case, the previous κακά (341), which the girl endured with praiseworthy patience, are defined in more narrative detail. Regardless of the vague reach of the analepsis, Oedipus uses a significant temporal pointer, which throws emphasis on the courageous attitude of Antigone (345-346). The girl joined her father in his wearisome wandering, when she became strong in body. Coming of age is an important event in the life of a young maiden. According to Greek custom, marriage is the next step for a girl who reaches womanhood.30 In the case of Antigone, this natural process was distorted on account of another distortion of social rôles brought about by the unmanly behaviour of her brothers. Instead of enjoying a happy domestic life as a married woman, Antigone devoted herself to the toilsome care needed by her ailing father. After having recounted the gruelling circumstances of his peregrination in the company of Antigone, Oedipus turns the narrative focus to the Theban land. He offers an analepsis of Ismene's rôle as a watcher of his destiny at Thebes: σύ δ', ώ τέκνον, πρόσθεν μεν έξίκου πατρί μαντεΐ' άγουσα πάντα, Καδμείων λάθρα, α τοϋδ' εχρήσθη σώματος, φύλαξ δέ μοι πιστή κατέστης, γης οτ' έξηλαυνόμην. (353-356) His exile is used as a meaningful chronological pointer (356 γης οτ' έξηλαυνόμην). This is the first time that the event of the expulsion is recalled by Oedipus, who associates his unfortunate removal from his native land with the loving care of his daughters as distinct from the apathy of his sons. In the recurring retrospections, his exile takes pride of place in the reconstruction of the past, which reveals the heartlessness of the royal heirs in significant narrative detail. Regardless of the wealth of narrative, the telling comparison between the deplorable conduct of Eteocles and Polynices and the devoted care given by Antigone and Ismene is but one instance in a long series of analeptic statements with regard to the past misfortunes of Oedipus. Eventually, the first reference to his exile is placed within a wider temporal context. The account of the women's behaviour, which sets up a specific narrative agenda, is used by Oedipus as a powerful argument in his relentless re-drawing of the future. In view of his cascading rhetoric, 30

Cf. Just (1989) 146, 151; Humphries (1983).

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which makes the narrative focus swing back and forth, the secondary narratives combine a sense of fluidity with a sense of abruptness, the feeling that you are tracing a river to its source while constantly being caught up in its tributaries. In a sense, his analeptic excursions also act as a moral device. They presage the coming pain in the present pleasure, the wound within the conception. Upon hearing Ismene's report of his sons' conflict and the recent oracles speaking of his divine elevation (365-384,389-390,392,402,411), Oedipus unleashes his wrath upon Eteocles and Polynices, who did not succour their father in spite of being aware of the new favourable predictions (418-419). In peering deep into the future, he utters his horrible curse in anger at the ungrateful princes: άλλ' oí θεοί σφιν μήτε την πεπρωμένην εριν κατασβέσειαν, εν δ' έμοί τέλος αύτοιν γένοιτο τήσδε της μάχης πέρι, ης νυν εχονται κάπαναίρονται δόρυ ώς οΰτ' αν ος νϋν σκήπτρα και θρόνους εχει μείνειεν, οΰτ' άν ούξεληλυθώς πάλιν ελθοι ποτ' αΰθις. (421-427) This specific part of the external future, which is here foreseen for the first time, is associated with an event of the external past of the play. The ancient curse of the house of Labdacus is recalled in the implicit analepsis of the fated strife of Eteocles and Polynices (421-422 την πεπρωμένην εριν). The future appears to be inextricably related to the distant past, something which becomes apparent in the recurrent retrospections of the events. Oedipus opens up two possibilities for Eteocles and Polynices. Both narrative scenarios are expressed in negative terms, laying emphasis on the eventual frustration of the brothers' lofty plans. Negative statements are a favourable narrative device for Oedipus in his effort to establish his proleptic authority. Despite his eagerness to stay in power, Eteocles will be deprived of the kingdom he now possesses (425-426). The same applies to Polynices, whose wish to return from exile will never come true (426-427). Still, there is nothing specific about the way the curse will manifest itself. Later in the play, Oedipus becomes less sparing of horrible narrative details. In order to account for his curses, Oedipus takes a long excursion into the past, only to conclude the protracted retrospection by restating his

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damning prediction. It is here that he places the defence of his guiltlessness within a particular chronological context, and accordingly passes judgement on the people behind his exile. His masterly revision of the events, especially through his control of focalization, his uncontested rearrangement of past action and the emphatic demonstration of the brothers' expected, yet lamentably ineffective, reaction, culminates in the comparison between his sons' lust for power and his daughters' unconditional love. In the light of the revealing analepsis, the condemnatory prolepsis of the dismal future of Eteocles and Polynices appears to be a befitting recompense for their repulsive conduct. Oedipus' analepsis focuses on the deplorable behaviour of Eteocles and Polynices in the event of their father's banishment from Thebes. Oedipus draws attention to a particular temporal development between the day of the discovery of his dreadful actions and his eventual realization of his innocence. In his analepsis, he speaks of two different states of mind, one at the time of the revelation of his dreadful past and the other after his initial shock at the monstrous nature of his crimes. According to the retroversion, the eventual appreciation of his innocence took shape during an indefinite period after the disclosure of his appalling deeds. It was not only, Oedipus claims, that his sons failed to act upon the new prophecies, but, as they were completely given to the vain pursuit of royal power, also failed to defend their father at the time of his banishment. He was proclaimed an exile and was driven away from Thebes, while his sons did not lift a hand to protect him: οι γε τόν φύσαντ' έμέ οϋτως άτίμως πατρίδος έξωθούμενον ουκ εσχον ούδ' ήμυναν, άλλ' ανάστατος αύτοΐν έπέμφθην κάξεκηρύχθην φυγάς. (427-430) Naming is a powerful device for the expression of emotions and opinions.31 From the very beginning, Oedipus is eager to throw emphasis on his paternal relation to Eteocles and Polynices. In referring to himself as their begetter, which is stronger than a potential identification as their father (427 τόν φΰσαντ' έμέ), he hints at the brothers' filial duty towards the man to whom they owe their existence. This responsibility was 31

Cf. de Jong (1991) 94f.

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miserably disregarded by Eteocles and Polynices in the event of his exile. Oedipus' focalization of his banishment is especially revealing of his bitter feelings. The fallen king lays stress on the ruthlessness of his expulsion, which passed unnoticed by the princes. As a word which is principally used by Sophocles to denote despicable behaviour, άτίμως (428) plays up the ignominious treatment which was allotted to Oedipus by his fellow Thebans.32 Despite the unfortunate turn of events, the brothers acted in a way which was inappropriate to their intimate relationship with Oedipus. This is indicated by the negative analepses of their actions. It is often the case that the negative form of the presentation reveals the inner sentiments and expectations of the narrator.33 Oedipus anticipated that his sons would honour their filial duty and assist their father in his hour of need, but against all expectation they failed to rise to the occasion (429 ούκ εσχον ούδ' ήμυναν). By contrast with what was expected of Eteocles and Polynices, Oedipus was driven away from Thebes. Manipulation of focalizing techniques by a narrator is a characteristic way of displaying control over the recounted events. This is no less true of Oedipus, who uses this narrative ploy to anticipate the Chorus' focalization in their lyrical dialogue before the arrival of Theseus (534535). There Oedipus takes out of the Chorus' mouths the terrible utterance of his incestuous relation to his daughters and offers a focalization of the event, which mitigates the horror of a potentially direct reference to his person. Similarly, the rhetorical figure of ύποφορά - that is, the suggestion by the narrator of an opposing view with the appropriate reply - serves as a means of checking presumably contrasting focalizations. In suggesting a possible objection, Oedipus anticipates an analepsis of his initial wish to be banished from Thebes on account of his crimes: εϊποις αν ώς θέλοντι τοϋτ' εμοί τότε πόλις τό δώρον ε'ικότως κατήνεσεν; (431-432) Even though his focalization supposedly echoes the opinion of an unidentified narrator,34 he paints a picture of the then desired exile in 32

El. 1181, Ant. 1069, fr. 593. 7 Radt. Cf. also Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 428. " Cf. de Jong (1991) 74. 34 In this case, the use of the second person points towards either Ismene or the Chorus, but the context may well be purely rhetorical.

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accordance with his own narrative strategy. The analepsis is fashioned by him in such a way that it can be deconstructed all the more easily later. As it transpires in his reply, the boon which was granted to him was in fact nothing but doom forcibly imposed upon him. After the suggestion of a contrasting focalization, Oedipus advances his own analepsis, which acts as a reply to the possible objection. In order to refute the rival version of events, he peers deeper into the past, thereby recalling the very day of his undoing (433-436). His own focalization of the desire to be punished for his actions signals an important change from the previous notion of his self-destructive response. The description of his reaction as the product of extreme, yet changeable, emotions foreshadows his change of mind later. When Oedipus came to the discovery of his terrible deeds, his first thought was to ask to be put to death by stoning. However, feelings as powerful as anger and passionate desire more often than not reach their peak and then subside. Moreover, his intemperate request to be put to death by stoning, which is so emphatically recalled through the redundancy of πέτροις (435), draws special attention to the immoderate force of his reaction. Despite the previous repeated references to the sorry circumstances of his exile, Oedipus reveals that his wrath ran riot to the point of his asking for the most excessive punishment. Surely, he was not then in a position to think clearly.35 In the light of his unchecked rage, his eventual volte face presents itself as a welcome recovery of his sanity. Oedipus sheds abundant analeptic light on the gradual realization of his innocence. As expected, his excessive feelings of self-incrimination, which ran amok on the day of his downfall, were assuaged with the passing of time. His ire, Oedipus claims, softened and he realized that he called on himself a much more severe penalty than would have been appropriate (437-441). The mitigation of his anguish is described as the mellowing of fruit (437). The same expression may well be understood in medical terms.36 Like an inflammation, his pain in due

35

36

Oedipus' wish to be put to death by stoning would have been interpreted as particularly extreme by the original audience of Athenians. According to Bonner & Smith (1930) ii 277, "there is no indication that stoning was ever a legal punishment in Athens. The instances of community stoning mentioned can only be classified as lynching". Cf. also Plut. Sol. 12, Σ on Ar. Eq. 447 (Cylon), Hdt. 9. 5, Dem. 18. 204 (Lycidas and wife). See also Barkan (1935). Cf. Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 437.

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time subsided and grew πέπων (437). In keeping with the changeable nature of a wrathful reaction, the initial outburst of his θυμός gave way to sober reflection. In the light of the new analeptic content, so lavishly supplied by Oedipus, the previous focalization of his expulsion, which was advanced as a rival version of the event, is here completely overthrown. Also, the omission of any reason which may have prompted Thebes to drive him away lays further emphasis on the unjustified character of the decision. In view of the added narrative information, Oedipus offers his radically different focalization of his banishment (440-441). In direct reference to the supposedly beneficial act of the Theban city, he lays bare the injustice of the decree. Despite the eventual recognition of his excessiveness, which had already come about prior to his ejection as he emphatically points out through the meaningful repetition of ήδη (437, 440) and τηνίκ' (440), which is a hapax in Sophocles, the Theban state drove him out of the land. His illuminating account of the past puts his following reference to the disgraceful conduct of Eteocles and Polynices into a wider temporal perspective. Once more, Oedipus recalls the despicable part played by the princes in the event of his exile. This time, however, the failure of their filial duty towards their unhappy father is even more pronounced in the light of the preceding excursion into the remote narrative past. When Oedipus had finally realized the immoderate nature of his punishment, the city of Thebes had already decided his long-term banishment. His sons, who had the power to intervene in his favour and put a stop to his removal, failed to come to his rescue and he was driven away from his native land for lack of few words in his defence: oí δ' έπωφελείν, οί του πατρός, τω πατρί δυνάμενοι, τό δράν ουκ ηθέλησαν, άλλ' έπους σμικρού χάριν φυγάς σφιν εξω πτωχός ήλώμην άεί· (441-444) The analepsis is modelled on the previous account of the brothers' deplorable conduct (427-430); only this time, certain significant differences serve to bring out even more strikingly their apathy. Again, Oedipus is at pains to underscore his paternal relation to the princes. In his focalization, the former reference to his capacity as a begetter (427 τον φύσαντ') is echoed in του πατρός (442), a possessive genitive which "comes in with

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peculiar force here".37 The notion of the sons as belonging to the father is enhanced by the repetion of τω πατρί (442), which stands in sharp contrast to the preceding genitive of origin. In a manner similar to his negative retrospection of what was expected of Eteocles and Polynices (429 ουκ εσχον ούδ' ήμυναν), Oedipus looks back on their reluctance to protect him (442-443 τό δράν ουκ ηθέλησαν). Once more his analepsis by negation reveals his bitter feelings at the heirs' indifference. There is, however, an added element which places the action of the brothers in an altogether unfavourable light. Not only does Oedipus allude to the proper course of action, but also offers a possible analepsis of what Eteocles and Polynices should have done in the first place (441-442). Even though there was every chance for the princes to prevent their father from being banned, they did not lift a hand to assist him. Particularly, the emphatic claim of Oedipus with regard to the pettiness of his sons, as underscored by the striking expression έπους σμικρού χάριν (443), brings into the open the abject character of the expulsion. In the second reference to his ejection (cf. 429-430), Oedipus paints an even bleaker picture of the event. With hindsight, he lets slip a proleptic hint at the life of beggary which was in store for him. άεί (444), in particular, functions as a crucial temporal marker at this point in the narrative, since Oedipus looks forward to his indeterminate peregrination, eventually reaching the time of the play in a mixed analepsis. His ex eventu knowledge allows him to describe his banishment as a condition which would turn out to be permanent in spite of the possibility of being revoked by Eteocles and Polynices. The period between Oedipus' expulsion and his eventual arrival at Colonus was first recalled in the mixed retrospection of the sons' disgraceful stay at the Theban palace and the daughters' instrumental rôle in the maintenance of their ailing father (337-356).38 Oedipus looks back once again on the same period with a view to comparing the commendable behaviour of Antigone and Ismene with the abominable conduct of Eteocles and Polynices. According to the brief account, he was doomed to a life of exile and destitution, and it was only because of the sisters that 37

Jebb ( 1900 3 ) apud 442.

38

According to Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 48, "if the period covered by the analepsis begins before the starting point of the first narrative but at a later stage either joins it or goes beyond it, then the analepsis is considered 'mixed'."

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he survived the hardships of his destiny. Unlike the princes, in keeping with their familial duty, the girls provided Oedipus with food, secured a place for him to stay and offered him support: έκ ταΐνδε δ', οΰσαιν παρθένοιν, οσον φύσις δίδωσιν αύταΐν, και τροφάς έχω βίου και γης αδειαν και γένους έπάρκεσιντώ δ' άντί τοϋ φύσαντος είλέσθην θρόνους και σκήπτρα κραίνειν και τυραννεύειν χθονός. (445-449) By echoing the previous comparison of the boys as παρθένοι (343), παρθένοιν (445) throws emphasis on the unusual nature of the situation, resulting in an unnatural reversal of gender rôles. Following the lengthy review of the sorry events which took place before and after his exile, the curse against his sons comes out with particular force. Once more, Oedipus takes an excursion into prospective action which far exceeds the time-scale of the play. This time, however, the external future, which is so assuredly envisioned by Oedipus, is presented as the formidable conclusion of the past. The long retrospection comes full circle in the foreshadowing of the misfortune awaiting Eteocles and Polynices: άλλ' ου τι μή λάχωσι τοϋδε συμμάχου, ουδέ σφιν αρχής τήσδε Καδμείας ποτέ δνησις ήξει- τοϋτ' έγωδα, τήσδε τε μαντει' άκούων, συννοών τε θέσφατα παλαίφαθ' άμο'ι Φοίβος ήνυσέν ποτε. (450-454) Oedipus patterns his prolepsis after his previous prediction (421-427) The only difference is that, at this stage of the narrative, he exudes an unprecedented air of confidence, which allows him to conclude his forecast in the future tense (452 ήξει). The invocation of a divine level of control imbues the proleptic excursions with special significance. Oedipus' former appeal to the gods to grant the desired outcome (421) gives way to his firm belief in his proleptic ability, which is even more strengthened by the consideration of the oracles (452-454). In the following narratives, Oedipus invariably invokes the special knowledge granted to him by the gods. His prolepses are seen as powerful manifestations of divine justice, which was already anticipated of old.

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Oedipus and Creon The duplicitous rhetoric of Creon, who was sent on a mission by the Theban people to see to the return of Oedipus (735-739), gives rise to a forceful rebuttal. Once more, Oedipus takes a long excursion into the past with a view to laying bare the mendacity of his supposedly grieving relative. The narrative pattern, which was previously established by the first analepsis of his expulsion, is taken up by Oedipus in his backwardlooking report. Again, a mixed retrospection of the events which fall before and after his banishment acts as a significant backdrop to the prolepsis of the impending misfortune that is in store for the princes. As his proleptic power is confirmed by profound knowledge of divine will, Oedipus stakes a claim to the future through his remarkable ability to present a version of the past which goes uncontested by the rest of-the characters. The consistent use of certain ploys, which make up an important part of his narrative strategy, allows Oedipus to expose the shameless craftiness of his opponent. In particular, the recurring employment of negative analeptic references has a twofold function: first, it lays emphasis on his capacity to overthrow the plans of his enemies and, secondly, reveals specific routes of action, which were never taken by those in command owing to their self-seeking designs. Another narrative device in the hands of Oedipus is the re-distribution of the agents of the recounted action in order to cast his foes as the main villains. Here, unlike his former analepsis, Oedipus describes Creon as the man who masterminded his ejection. Moreover, the narrative ellipsis of the despicable conduct of his sons helps focus the blame on Creon as the only one responsible for his exile. Again, the ultimate purpose of this unqualified narratorial control is to justify Oedipus' anticipation of the future, however horrible this may seem. Oedipus embarks on a long account of the events culminating in his banishment from Thebes. In keeping with his narrative tactics, Oedipus casts his mind back to the sorry events leading to his expulsion. Again, the analeptic focus is turned to the gradual mitigation of his anger at the discovery of his terrible crimes: πρόσθεν τε γάρ με τοΐσιν οίκείοις κακοίς νοσοΰνθ', οτ' ήν μοι τέρψις έκπεσεΐν χθονός, ουκ ήθελες θέλοντι προσθέσαι χάριν, άλλ' ήνίκ' ήδη μεστός ή θυμούμενος

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και τούν δόμοισιν ήν διαιτασθαι γλυκύ, τότ' έξεώθεις κάξέβαλλες, ούδέ σοι τό συγγενές τοϋτ' ουδαμώς τότ' ήν φίλον (765-771) There is an added narrative element in the analepsis which plays up the cruelty of Creon. By contrast with his initial desire to be banned from his native land, Oedipus offers an alternative possibility, which, as he implies, went unheeded by Creon. The seclusion of the house came to be seen as a most welcome way of existence for the fallen king (769). The analepsis of Oedipus' travails at Thebes is followed by an unreal retrospection in which the characters of the action are distributed by the narrator in such a way as to serve his rhetorical purposes (775-782). The ability of Oedipus to redesign the past in accordance with his narrative policy, which aims at justifying his proleptic ventures into the future, is indicative of his narratorial control. His mastery is such that even his opponents are presented to re-enact comparable situations in which Oedipus himself was previously involved. The same device of a hypothetical analepsis, which presents an imaginary condition with a view to reversing the characters' notion of the past, is employed again by Oedipus in his defence of his guiltlessness (991-996). Once more, Creon is treated as the victim in a similar event, during which Oedipus was the one unjustly maltreated. In this case, he is described as pleading for his own exile: και τίς τοσαύτη τέρψις, άκοντας φιλείν; ώσπερ τις ει σοι λιπαροϋντι μέν τυχεΐν μηδέν διδοίη μηδ' επαρκέσαι θέλοι, πλήρη δ' εχοντι θυμόν ών χρήζοις, τότε δωροΐθ', δτ' ουδέν ή χάρις χάριν φέροιάρ' άν ματαίου τήσδ' αν ηδονής τύχοις; τοιαύτα μέντοι και σύ προσφέρεις έμοί, λόγω μέν έσθλά, TOÏOLV δ' εργοισιν κακά. (775-782) Oedipus recreates the events of his banishment, only this time the impersonal τις (776) takes the place of Creon, the agent of the action, who is here treated as the man acted upon. In order to evoke a real-life situation, he intersperses the imaginary narrative with direct references to the previous focalizations of his exile (431-432, 765-767). λιπαροϋντι (776) echoes θέλοντι (431) and μηδ' επαρκέσαι θέλοι (777) picks up ουκ ήθελες (767). Beside those allusions, Oedipus uses a similar focalization technique to that employed in his foregoing analepses with regard to the

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conception of his banishment as a coveted bonus. Again, he speaks of a certain τέρψις (775), which repeats the initial statement about his longing to quit Thebes following the discovery of his sins (766 τέρψις). The same theme is later elaborated by Oedipus, who wishes to lay emphasis on the inappropriate timing of his ejection. In a like manner to his former account (437-441), he recalls the gradual alleviation of his wrath, which came about before his expulsion (778). Once more, τότε (778; cf. 770, 771) signals the improper circumstances of an event, which occurred at a time when the initial yearning of Oedipus to abandon the land, so emphatically indicated by δωροιθ' (779), ή χάρις (779) and ηδονή (780), had completely subsided. In order to expose the deceptive pomposity of Creon, Oedipus puts to use a powerful rhetorical device. Knowledge of the real intentions of one's enemies can be turned into an important narrative advantage. In using Ismene's informative report about Creon's plan to place Oedipus under his control by planting him near the Theban borders (399-400), he unmasks the duplicity of his relative. In offering an altogether different forecast, he overturns the narrative possibilities, which were opened up in view of the arrival of the Theban delegation: φράσω δέ και τοΐσδ', ώς σε δηλώσω κακόν, ήκεις εμ' άξων, ούχ '¿ν' ές δόμους άγης, άλλ' ώς πάραυλον οίκίσης, πόλις δέ σοι κακών ανατος τήσδ' άπαλλαχθη χθονός. (783-786) In keeping with his familiar narrative strategy of underscoring the expected course of action through the employment of negative prolepses, he first refers to what Creon is not intent on doing (784 ούχ tv' ες δόμους αγης), only afterwards to offer the true objectives of his arrival (785786). The introduction of a diverse group of narrative scenarios, which are frustrated by the suggestion of contrasting alternatives, reveals the uncontested ability of Oedipus to define the future in spite of the wishes of the rest of the characters. His narrative authority is made plain in his emphatic denial of the Theban prospects and the restatement of his terrible curse against Eteocles and Polynices, whose death is referred to here for the first time: ουκ εστι σοι ταϋτ', αλλά σοι τάδ' εστ' εκεί χώρας άλάστωρ ούμός ένναίων άεί·

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εστίν δέ παισί τοις έμοΐσι της έμής χθονός λαχεΐν τοσούτον, ένθανεΐν μόνον. (787-790) The repetition of the imprecation upon his sons, which was twice referred to by Oedipus in his previous narrative (421-427, 450-452), is all the more striking in view of the narrative ellipsis of the princes' actions at the time of his exile. The unexpected character of the forecast, which comes in an account that has focused so far on Creon's doings, throws special emphasis on the novel element of the curse: both brothers are destined to die at Thebes (790). The bitterness of Oedipus is such that, even in a report of Creon's heartlessness, he does not lose sight of the horrible future which is in store for his sons. The confidence with which Oedipus foreshadows the doom of Eteocles and Polynices emanates from his communication with the gods. After having foiled the Theban plans through his proleptic power, he triumphs in his truer knowledge of the future. In a manner similar to his previous invocation of the oracles (452-454), which served as a powerful confirmation of the genuine character of his prolepsis, he claims that his mantic capacity was granted by Zeus and Apollo (791-793). In both his proleptic excursions, he is eager to emphasize his better understanding of the fortunes of Thebes. The explicit reference to the prophecies in his first prolepsis gives way to an implicit analepsis of the oracular pronouncements, which were delivered by the gods before the advent of Creon in Attica. Regardless of the manner of the presentation, the point remains the same: Oedipus does not merely contradict other narrative possibilities. He displays a deeper awareness of what will be with regard to his native land and the princes. Once more, an elaborate retrospective narrative of the events which fall before and after Oedipus' exile concludes with a confident anticipation of the brothers' terrible destiny. The causal analepsis of the banishment was employed by Oedipus to justify his prediction of the death of Eteocles and Polynices. However, the future awaiting the heirs is not fully revealed. The playwright gives another prolepsis, following a protracted analeptic report, to make known the unimaginable horror of the impending fratricidal deaths. Again, the criterion of relevance determines the timing of the suspended revelation.

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Oedipus and Polynices In his address to Polynices, Oedipus offers an account, which is patterned after his two foregoing narratives of his exile (1348-1396). In a similar manner to his previous analepses, his retrospection does not merely focus on the external past of the play, but joins the present time of the action to an account of the telling references to his woeful peregrination. The mixed analepsis of his suffering acts as a significant narrative background to the external prolepses of the mutual slaughter of his sons. Again, a backward-looking report of the events leading up to his expulsion precedes a series of maledictions against the royal heirs. This time, however, Oedipus' familiar device of casting his opponent as the villainous agent is employed to present Polynices as being solely responsible for driving his father away from Thebes. Regardless of the former claim that it was the wish of the city and Creon that he be banned (440-441, 770), Oedipus charges his exiled son with full responsibility for his vagrant life in foreign lands. Moreover, in accordance with his narrative tactics of overturning the narrative possibilities which are presented by the plans of the rest of the characters, he is not sparing of negative prolepses with a view to demonstrating most strikingly his proleptic insight. The frustration of the ambitious designs of the Thebans by Oedipus reveals his mastery of the future, which is predicated on his deeper understanding of divine will. The narratorial control that Oedipus exercises over the past is made plain at the outset of his account.39 It is for this reason that particular attention is given to the status of Polynices as internal narratee, who is here to listen to his father's words and not engage in conversation.40 Oedipus rejects the possibility of rival narratives. His proleptic utterances are presented as unavoidable: άλλ' εί μέν, άνδρες τήσδε δημοΰχοι χθονός, μή 'τύγχαν' αυτόν δεΰρο προσπέμψας έμοί Θησεΰς, δίκαιων ωστ' έμοϋ κλύειν λόγους, οΰ τάν ποτ' όμφης της έμης έπήσθετο· 39

The display of Oedipus' narrative power is intensified by his long silence (cf. Segal

40

Perhaps the dramatic character o f the situation is heightened when the protagonist o f

1986, 133-134). the reported action is visible on stage, as is here the case with ill-fated Polynices.

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νΰν δ' αξιωθείς είσι κάκούσας γ' εμοϋ τοιαϋθ' ά τον τοϋδ' οΰ ποτ' ευφράνει βίον (1348-1353) Oedipus offers a conditional analepsis of what would have been if it were not for Theseus' just claim (1348-1351). The introduction of a different version of the staged action helps to hammer home the fact that the current turn of events is indeed inescapable. Polynices is treated as a mere narratee and not a potential narrator in his own right. This is indicated by the repetition of verbs of perception (1350 κλύειν, 1351 έπήσθετο, 1352 κάκούσας). The banished prince is not granted the right to respond, but only to listen to his father's words, which display an oracular power, ομφής (1351), in particular, a word which is often used for divine and prophetic utterances, gives a certain solemnity to the ensuing narrative. Oedipus turns on Polynices and expresses his deep resentment towards his heartless son (1354-1361). Once again, in order to account for the forthcoming predictions, he offers an analepsis of his exile. This time, however, there is a significant suppression of past action. In his backward-looking report, Oedipus omits the events which span the period from the day of his downfall to his eventual banishment from his native land. The ellipsis of his change of mind, an event which takes centre stage in the earlier retroversions (433-441, 765-771), helps to throw special emphasis on the great responsibility of Eteocles and Polynices. The brothers should have taken the initiative to protect their father regardless of the issue of his innocence. In view of their deplorable behaviour, Oedipus does not try to hide his bitterness: ος γ', ώ κάκιστε, σκήπτρα και θρόνους εχων, α νΰν ό σος ξύναιμος εν Θήβαις εχει, τον αυτός αύτοΰ πατέρα τόνδ' άπήλασας κάθηκας άπολιν και στολάς ταύτας φορειν, ας νΰν δακρύεις είσορών, οτ' èv πόνω ταύτω βεβηκώς τυγχάνεις κακών έμοί. ου κλαυστά δ' εστίν, άλλ' εμοι μέν οίστέα τάδ', εωσπερ αν ζώ, σου φονέως μεμνημένος· (1354-1361) In conformity with his narrative policy, he re-distributes the characters of the events with a view to exposing the real villains. By contrast with the previous analeptic reference to the villainous actions of Creon, who was deemed responsible for his banishment (770), he pins the blame on Polynices (1356-1357). The exiled prince is presented as the sole author

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of his father's removal from Thebes. His son is considered to be accountable for his current miserable existence (1357). Oedipus associates his painful peregrination with the expulsion of his son (1358-1359).41 In this case, an analepsis of a particular event acts as an implicit analepsis of a similar event. In order to lay emphasis on his woeful banishment, he paints a bleak picture of Polynices' predicament. Both πόνψ (1358) and κακών (1359) echo his own feelings of pain and misery, which are now projected onto his son's calamity. Oedipus' animosity knows no bounds. In an impossible analepsis, he even describes the prince as a murderer (1361 σου φονέως μεμνημένος). The retrospective characterization of his exile as a murder is not without further significance. Soon enough, in releasing more narrative information, he will utter his horrible imprecation against the brothers. The notion of Polynices as the vicious killer of his father strengthens Oedipus' mighty claim on the fortunes of the royal heirs.42 Regardless of the imaginary character of the analepsis, Polynices is presented as the agent of an even more serious crime than driving his father away from his native land. He resembles Oedipus in more ways than one. Apart from being an exile himself, as Oedipus was quick to emphasize (1358-1359), he is charged with parricide. By contrast with the narrative reticence about his children in the earlier analepsis of Creon's heartlessness, Oedipus refers to Antigone and Ismene, whose love for their father is contrasted with the apathy of Eteocles and Polynices: εί δ' έξέφυσα τάσδε μή 'μαυτω τροφούς τάς παί,δας, ή ταν ουκ αν ή, τό σον μέρος· νυν δ' αϊδε μ' έκσώζουσι,ν, αϊδ' έμαί τροφοί, αι'δ' άνδρες· ού γυναίκες, ες τό συμπονείν ύμεΐς δ' άπ' άλλου κούκ έμοΰ πεφΰκατον. (1365-1369) 41

42

Martin's κλόνψ, which is adopted by Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 256 and (1997) 133, seems to me an improbable emendation. The manuscript reading is adequately defended by Jebb (1900 5 ) apud 1358f. In a personal communication, Easterling agreed that Martin's reading would be very artificial here. His reference to Polynices as a parricide would have struck a chord with the original audience in view of strict regulations within the context of Athenian law with regard to the duty of the heirs towards the senior members of the household. Most Greeks counted maltreatment of a father by his son among the most heinous of offences, and one against which revenge is fully justified. Cf. Harrison (1968) 77-78; Daly (1986a), (1986b); Garland (1990) 261-262; Strauss (1997) 65; Cox (1998).

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In a conditional analepsis, or what de Jong terms an //«oi-situation,43 he offers an impossible scenario with a view to praising his caring daughters (1365-1366). Eulogy, however, is not the only purpose of the retrospection. Oedipus presents the birth of the girls as of the utmost significance for his survival. By means of the narrative device of denomination, Oedipus made a special point in describing himself as the 'begetter' of the princes (427 τον φύσαντ', 448 του φύσαντος). In the present analepsis, έξέφυσα (1365) makes a similar point in reference to Antigone and Ismene. Eventually, Oedipus breaks down the gender barriers between men and women. He openly calls Antigone and Ismene the males in the family as distinct from the unmanly Eteocles and Polynices (1368 αϊδ' άνδρες, ού γυναίκες). On account of their callous behaviour, he denounces his parenthood in offering an imaginary analepsis of the birth of his sons to an unidentified father (1369). His resentment runs to such heights that he rejects what he repeatedly tried to establish: his paternal relation to the estranged princes. Oedipus concludes the narrative with a score of imprecations against Polynices, which foretell the horrible end that lies ahead for the hapless brothers. In conformity with the familiar policy of presenting an analepsis of his expulsion prior to the revelation of another aspect of the future with regard the fortunes of Thebes, he restates his predictions of the eventual fall of the princes. The final revelation of the fratricidal deaths is not yet brought into the open by Oedipus, who, however, drops broad hints at the terrible outcome of the strife in the following forecast: τοιγάρ σ' ό δαίμων είσορα μέν ου τί πω ώς αύτίκ', εϊπερ οϊδε κινούνται λόχοι προς άστυ Θήβης. ού γάρ εσθ' οπως πόλιν κείνην έρείψεις, άλλα πρόσθεν αϊματι πεση μιανθείς χώ ξύναιμος εξ ϊσου. (1370-1374) The anticipatory references to the eventual showdown between the brothers are vested with divine authority. In a manner similar to his former prolepses (452-454, 792-794), Oedipus assumes that the divine realm endorses the prophesied turn of events. Before offering an explicit prediction of the death of Eteocles and Polynices, he claims that divine retribution is

43

(1987) 68-81. According to de Jong, if not -situations are special types of counterfactuals, which have a wide range of functions, such as emphatic and eulogistic.

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imminent, without, however, specifying the exact circumstances of this manifestation of justice. This is especially so in view of the hypothetical analepsis of his son's campaign, which is seen as a necessary condition for the curse (13711372). The introduction of this presupposition does not undermine the force of the imprecations. On the contrary, the absence of any other condition, which would help to reverse the disastrous situation, makes the downfall of the brothers an undisputed fact. The march from Argos is no longer conditional, but a harsh reality. Polynices himself was earlier more than ready to describe the impressive character of his campaign in the long narrative of his exile (1284-1345). Eventually, Oedipus drops the veil of secrecy and becomes explicit with respect to the impending ruination of Eteocles and Polynices (1372-1374). His control over the future is once more made plain in the sheer force with which he abolishes all other narrative possibilities, only to offer his own forecast. As in his previous demonstration of narratorial knowledge (787-790), he cancels the insolent plans of his interlocutor and delivers his curses. His next step in his powerful advocacy is to disclose in its entirety the horrible truth of the fratricidal killings, which, in the light of the foregoing invocation of relentless deities (1375-1382), comes out with unprecedented force. It is not merely for reasons of emphasis that the narrative detail of the fratricidal deaths is only now revealed by Oedipus. There was a good chance that this crucial bit of narrative information about the unnatural strife would have never been referred to within the time-span of the play. It was the insistence of Theseus, who urged on Oedipus his pious obligation to listen to his suppliant son, that precipitated the disclosure of the horrible truth within the time-limits of the action (1348-1353). Even then, however, it took Oedipus a large number of prolepses and a significant pattern of recurring invocations of divine approval finally to utter his terrible imprecation. The playwright has given him maximum control over the past and the future, and it is only after having recounted the past that Oedipus stakes his mighty, yet unbelievably harsh, claim to the future. His reconstitution of the sad events of his expulsion and the despicable conduct of the brothers as distinct from the loving care of the daughters serves as a powerful argument in favour of his fulmination. Had his narratorial control been weaker, his proleptic utterances would have been seen as a mindless exercise in revenge. At this point in the play, Oedipus deals the last blow on Polynices:

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σύ δ' ερρ' άπόπτυστός τε κάπάτωρ έμοϋ, κακών κάκιστε, τάσδε συλλαβών αράς, ας σοι καλούμαι, μήτε γης έμφυλίου δόρει κρατήσαι μήτε νοστήσαί ποτε τό κοίλον 'Άργος, άλλα συγγενεΐ χερί θανεΐν κτανεΐν θ' ύφ' ούπερ εξελήλασαι. (1383-1388) Once more, he displays his unrestricted proleptic power in discarding narrative possibilities, which are anticipated by his opponents, and advancing his own forward-looking reports. In essence, the recurring prolepses of alternative routes of action are there to be scrapped by Oedipus, who demonstrates most strikingly his truer knowledge of the future. In view of the forthcoming disclosure of the impending fratricidal deaths, he lays emphasis on the unnatural feud between the brothers. As "stronger than πατρφας", 4 4 έμφυλίου (1385) gives prominence to the blood ties of the prince with the land of his race. The prediction prepares the audience for the eventual revelation of the fratricide, which will deprive the prince of his long-awaited νόστος. 45 His craftily-delayed disclosure of the fratricidal deaths imbues the prolepsis with unprecedented power. In a remarkable demonstration of narratorial control, he unveils the bitter truth about the fortunes of Eteocles and Polynices at exactly the moment when the revelation would have been most emphatic. In particular, the antithesis θανειν κτανεΐν (1388) brings out in the strongest way the unusual character of the battle in which both princes are destined to die at each other's hands. The relentless nature of the malediction is, moreover, made plain in the refence to Polynices' banishment, which was brought about by his own brother (1388 ύ φ ' οΰπερ έξελήσασαι). The mention of the exile is significant at this point because it helps to turn the focus to the unnatural conflict between the brothers. Their fortunes are pre-determined and the deep knowledge of Oedipus leaves little room for doubt. In the light of the terrible character of the purposely delayed narrative detail, Oedipus goes on to ratify his external prolepses by means of repeated appeals to the gods (1389-1392). 44 45

Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1384f. There is an epic colouring at 1386-1387 μήτε νοστήσαί ποτε / τό κοίλον 'Άργος which appears to be purposeful. Apart from the idea of νόστος (1386), Jebb ( 1900') apud 378 argues that κοίλον (1387) "has an epic tone", which here would have enhanced the idea of Polynices' unaccomplished homecoming.

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At the outset of the narrative, in eliminating the possibility of contrasting accounts, Oedipus calls attention to the status of Polynices as his internal narratee through the repetition of verbs of perception and hearing ( 13481353). Again, in closing off the account, he does not leave any room for rival narratives. Polynices will depart without being given the chance to defend his position. The words, which he just heard, were uttered with oracular power (1393 και ταΰτ' άκουσας στείχε). άκουσας (1393), in particular, harks back to both κλύειν (1350) and κάκούσας (1352). In view of Oedipus' unrestricted narratorial command, there is no room for doubting reactions. The destructive aspect of the royal privileges, which were allotted to the princes, is destined to manifest itself in the most horrible way. The story-telling impulse of Oedipus allows for a foil-blown presentation of former events. Analepses jump back to earlier narratives and covertly fill causal gaps. This is all the more so in the light of recurrent flashforwards which let the audience glimpse the outcome before they have grasped all the causal chains that lead up to it. Sophocles reveals his discretion by posing as an editorial intelligence that selects certain stretches of time for full-scale treatment. However, he does not rush to give the spectators the narrative core of the situation. While he flaunts the chronological gaps, he does not always plug them. The temporarilystalled narratives allow for a fuller presentation of incriminating evidence with regard to the fortunes of Eteocles and Polynices. Oedipus is granted maximum narratorial power to recount past action in connection with his exile. The ultimate purpose of this generous gesture on the part of the playwright is the establishment of the appropriate narrative background against which Oedipus will utter his horrible curses. In this case, proleptic discernment is inextricably related to analeptic intelligence. It could not have been otherwise. The shocking character of the imprecations, which are so forcefully hurled by a father upon his sons, calls for an equally powerful justification. While Oedipus confronted the incriminating analepses of the Chorus and Creon by means of his narratorial control over the past, here his uncontested narrative mastery is intent on defending his own terrible proleptic force.

Chapter 3

Narration and the Battle Certain techniques dominate the narrative agenda of Sophocles. As in the case of analeptic and proleptic detours, climactic events are plotted into the action without strain or hurry. The stage-by-stage unfurling of the narrative brings out the extremely fine use of detail in the seeding of events. The recapitulation of narrative patterns of action from one stage to the next retards the final intersection of different narrative lines. A close narcological analysis shows that such narrative tactics as emphatic revelation, gradual disclosure, delaying matter and strict secrecy punctuate the cause-and-effect chain of events. More particularly, the cavalry battle occurs within the time-scale of the play and, as in similar instances of internal off-stage events, gives rise to a wide range of analeptic and proleptic practices. The cavalry engagement is the climactic moment in a complex series of narrative patterns in which the issue of the safety of Oedipus and his daughters gradually assumes unimagined proportions. While Sophocles keeps attention on the issue of immediate moment, judicious gaps allow for surprises later. In this case, there is no smooth unfolding of the tragic narrative. At critical points in the action the characters vigorously debate the narrative goals and the specific strategy to attain them. Both Creon and Theseus are drawn into the crisis, whose mounting importance is reflected in their relentless struggle to attain narrative control over the past and the future. In particular, the differing degrees of proleptic reach affect the degree of their narrational command. As a consequence of their narrative tug-of-war, the military occasion assumes greater significance by being associated with a future event, which falls without the chronology of the action. In view of the recurrent flashforwards, an off-stage mass looms over the action. More importantly, as the battle is conveniently displaced to the off-stage world, the Chorus offer a unique prophetic account. Notwithstanding their mantic narrative range, the precise circumstances of the fighting are never recounted. In keeping with the choral secrecy, the analepses display the same unwillingness to grant the audience a narrative insight into the off-stage world. Eventually, the battle is blotted out from

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the play. The unfulfilled narrative momentum, which grinds to a halt before the narratorial discretion of the characters, throws into sharper relief the triumphant aftermath of the cavalry contest. In the light of the play's various games with narrative, the inviolability against enemy invasion of the Attic borders guarded by the Colonans becomes a most important test of the Athenian city's will and strength to abide by its own values and beliefs.

Designing the Battle The narrative is strung on two lines of connection which pass through time. The first is the anticipated military showdown between Athens and Thebes; the second the ever-changing process of human circumstances. The cavalry battle falls within those wider temporal frames. As it triggers an inter-state crisis, which is another episode in the cycle of change with regard to human affairs, the battle is treated as a litmus test of Athenian ideals. The eventual connection between the oncoming fight and the potential war between Athens and Thebes is made in an especially unhurried manner. The slow-plotted revelation confirms the validity of the law of perpetual change in the most emphatic way. This is all the more so in the light of purposeful references to certain Athenian values and beliefs according to which on-stage actions are conveniently revised. The notion of the cavalry engagement as a military occasion of major importance for Athens is built up gradually through the prolepses of a diverse group of characters. The off-stage event is intimately related to a prospective clash of far greater proportions between Athens and Thebes, which is placed beyond the time limits of the play. Direct narrative references to the martial character of this off-stage encounter are delayed until just before the occurrence of the actual battle. In the meantime, the imminent arrival of Creon is treated by Oedipus as a serious threat to his safe sojourn at Colonus. Also, Theseus hints at the possibility of violence if the Thebans forcibly remove the supplicant from the sacred grove. However, it is Creon who, on account of his shameless actions, gives rise to the Athenian military operation, which is designed in strategic terms by Theseus himself. In his proleptic allusions to future reprisals, Creon associates the cavalry battle with prospective war between Athens and Thebes. Ultimately, an event, which occurs in the internal future of the play, is vested with the utmost significance by being viewed as the main

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cause of a far more important event, which is ordained to take place without the chronology of the action.

Oedipus and Thebes The eventual showdown between the Athenians and the Thebans is initially presented as a prospective confrontation between Oedipus and Creon, which develops into a major controversy between the fallen king and the people of Cadmus. In order to heighten the suspense, Sophocles introduces two distinct narrative possibilities into the play, the one being the complete opposite of the other. In a forward-looking glance, Ismene anticipates Creon's imminent arrival at Colonus: και μην Κρέοντα γ' ισθι σοι τούτων χάριν ήξοντα βαιοϋ κούχί μυρίου χρόνου. (396-397) The significant rôle of the Theban envoy in the future events is hinted at here. Both the agent and the time of the action appear to be of particular importance. Ismene singles out Creon of all the Thebans as the man who attaches great significance to Oedipus' forthcoming exaltation, γ' (396), in particular, "throws back a light stress on Κρέοντα".' Further, the girl draws attention to the time of the action, which is emphatically set in the very near future through the striking expression βαιοϋ κούχί μυρίου χρόνου (397). On account of the especially short reach of the prolepsis, the event is likely to fall within the chronology of the action. However, at this stage of the play, all possibilities are open. The impending arrival of Creon is merely acknowledged in the narrative horizon and there is a certain atmosphere of foreboding with regard to the event, which is created by the warning tone of κούχι μυρίου χρόνου (397). Prompted by her father's question (398), Ismene shifts the narrative focus from the advent of Creon in the grove to possible action at Thebes (399-400). Her prolepsis presents the intention of the Theban mission and, unlike the impending arrival of Creon and his retinue, indicates a potential turn a group of events may take, unless certain conditions are met. For the sake of precision, this kind of forward-looking statement will hereafter be termed intentional prolepsis and will denote any narrative 1

Jebb (1900') apud 396.

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potentiality which is presented as the desired outcome of an action. It follows that intentional prolepses are mostly introduced by final clauses.2 The girl speaks of the Theban plan to have her father in their control, something which Oedipus eagerly opposes: ώς σ' αγχι γης στήσωσι Καδμείας, οπως κρατώσι μέν σου, γης δέ μη 'μβαίνης ορων. (399-400) Unlike the former prolepsis (396-397), here Creon is not given special mention. The striking use of the plural (399 στήσωσι), coming after a question which specifically refers to the intentions of Creon alone (398 οπως τι δράση, θύγατερ;), lays stress on the civic significance of the operation, thereby presupposing the involvement of all the Thebans. The ultimate goal of this mission is to have Oedipus in their grasp. In view of the unacceptable possibility of a burial outside his native land, Oedipus overtly expresses his discontent at the Theban plan: ουκ άρ' εμοϋ γε μη κρατήσωσίν ποτε. (408) The previous intentional prolepsis is now met with its complete opposite. The antithesis is also indicated by the emphatic negative μή κρατήσωσίν ποτε (408) which echoes κρατώσι μέν σου (400). As a consequence of his eagerness to decide his own course of action, two contrasting narrative possibilities emerge at this point in the play. There is no room for rapprochement between Oedipus and the Thebans. Either the people of Cadmus will hold sway over their former king, or Oedipus will frustrate their plans and be the master of himself. The audience are left to wonder which branch of the bifurcation the tragic narrative will eventually take. The Theban mission drops from sight during the instruction of Oedipus by the Chorus in the placatory rites in honour of the Eumenides (461-509) and the defence of his horrible actions in the lyrical dialogue with the Colonans (510-548). The imminent arrival of Creon and his retinue again becomes an issue, when Oedipus is accepted as a supplicant by the Athenian king. After giving sanctuary to Oedipus, Theseus is instructed by the newcomer in the beneficial aspect of his settlement at Colonus (576-577). Oedipus refers to the time of his death, when Theseus will perform his 2

It is often the case that a final clause may serve as an implicit embedded focalization that is, "embedded focalization not marked by a verb of perceiving, thinking/feeling or speaking" (de Jong 1987, 118).

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burial (582 όταν θάνω 'γώ και σύ μου ταφεύς γένη). The period between his settlement in Attica and his impending death there may hold a critical test for his Athenian patrons: Οι. ορα γε μην ού σμικρός, οϋχ, άγών οδε. Θη. πότερα τα των σων έκγόνων ή του λέγεις; Οι. κείνοι βαδίζειν κείσ' άναγκάσουσί με. (587-589) Initially, the oncoming crisis is not treated by Oedipus as a physical contest. In view of the ambiguity of the word άγών (587) in this context, he may well wish to alert Theseus to the possibility of a certain problem, which need not be of military nature.3 None the less, the potentially violent character of the event is hinted at in his reference to the intention of the Theban delegation, which is now seen as the wish of Eteocles and Polynices (589). άναγκάσουσί (589), in particular, presupposes the use of force by the royal heirs in order to convey Oedipus back to Thebes. While defending his decision to stay in Athens and never return to his native land, Oedipus explains to Theseus the reason for the Theban urgency to place their former king under control. Here he refers for the first time in the play to a military event, which is set far beyond the time-limits of the action (605). Further, in shedding some proleptic light on the possibility of a martial contest between Athens and Thebes, he expounds a general law of change with regard to human aifairs (607-623). The potential war between the Athenians and the Thebans falls within a recurring pattern of events, which is characteristic of the volatile nature of relationships among men. For the time being, Oedipus' forthcoming confrontation with his fellow-citizens appears to be unrelated to this inexorably recurrent schema. According to the oracles, the people of Cadmus are destined to suffer a major blow in Attica (605 οτι σφ' ανάγκη τηδε πληγηναι χθονί). Oedipus does not specify the time of the Theban misfortune. He does, however, place the event within the context of a wider chronological pattern. The mantic prolepsis is only an episode against a broader background of temporal change, from which only the immortal gods can extricate themselves:4

3 4

Cf. Jebb (19003) apud 587. Cf. also Romilly (1968) 93, 99f.; Budelmann (1999a) 78-80; Easterling (1999) 99ff.

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ώ φίλτατ' Αίγέως παΐ, μόνοις ού γίγνεται θεοίσι γήρας ουδέ κατθανεΐν ποτε, τά δ' άλλα συγχεΐ πάνθ' ό παγκρατής χρόνος, φθίνει μέν ισχύς γης, φθίνει δέ σώματος, θνήσκει δέ πίστις, βλαστάνει δ' άπιστία, και πνεύμα ταύτόν οΰποτ' οΰτ' εν άνδράσιν φίλοις βέβηκεν οΰτε προς πόλιν πόλει. τοις μέν γάρ ήδη, τοις δ' εν ύστέρω χρόνω τά τερπνά πικρά γίγνεται καΰθις φίλα. (607-615) The iterative prolepsis prefigures the cyclical character of human affairs, which are set in sharp contrast to the almost achronic tranquillity of the divine realm (607-609). In particular, the recurring negative statements lay special emphasis on the timeless serenity of the gods (607-608). Oedipus lays down a law, which draws on undisputed authority in the relation of man's destiny to the whole natural order. The ever-changing movement of humanity over the years is perceived as a parallel to natural growth, which never ceases to wax and wane. Indeed, the fickleness of human circumstances in the course of time is but a symptom of this perpetually alternating process. Like the strength of the earth, the strength of the body is liable to decay (610) and suspicion grows in the place of faith (611). In preparing the audience for the prolepsis of the violation of the pledges between Athens and Thebes (616-620), Oedipus does not preclude the cities themselves, which are governed by the same all-powerful rules of constant change (612-613). The peaceful relations among states are not permanent and favour can turn into disfavour and again back into favour, thereby completing the picture of inconsistency. There is also a discrepancy in connection with the duration of each successive phase, which appears hard to predict with any degree of precision. Oedipus allows for an indeterminate period of time between different episodes in his pattern of change (614). However, it is an undisputed fact that sooner or later an event will take place which will fundamentally alter the established state of affairs. It is not on mantic authority that Oedipus explains to Theseus the future developments of Athens' relationship with Thebes. Oedipus draws on proleptic power in his insightful appreciation of the ancient law of nature, something which renders his prediction even more convincing. There is a hidden logic in his forecast - so unlike the irrational and at times equivocal character of prophetic utterances - which emanates from

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an almost deductive ability to anticipate the course of action on the basis of almighty rules. However, the future is often all too unpredictable even for men of Oedipus' perspicuity. The reach of his confident prolepsis proves to be considerably shorter than previously predicted and the cause of the impending change surprisingly turns out to be the very issue of his protection, which has not as yet been given the attention it deserves. After the reference to the volatile relations among cities, Oedipus becomes more specific in his narrative exposition. He draws attention to a particular chronological sequence in the unending cycle of human affairs: the inevitable shift from τερπνά to πικρά with regard to the allegiances of different states. In a forward-looking glance, he envisions the violation of the peace agreement between Athens and Thebes by the people of Cadmus: και ταΐσι Θήβαις εί τανΰν ευημερεί καλώς τά προς σέ, μυρίας ό μυρίος χρόνος τεκνοΰται νύκτας ήμέρας τ' ιών, έν αίς τά νυν ξύμφωνα δεξιώματα δόρει διασκεδώσιν έκ σμικρού λόγου. (616-620) The friendship of the Athenians and the Thebans is no exception to the eternal law of human destiny. It is merely a question of time that the present pacts will be thrown to the winds. The reach of the forecast is particularly long spanning a multitudinous number of days and nights (617-618). Oedipus even refers to the cause of this impending violation, which will come about by reason of an unimportant incident, a σμικρός λόγος (620). The course of events shows that he is indeed accurate in all but one of his predictions. Sooner than expected, his controversy with the Thebans shifts into a major dispute between Athens and Thebes, which in turn paves the way for an all-out conflict between the two previously peaceful states. After the establishment of Oedipus as a citizen in Attica (637), the Theban mission again becomes an issue. Oedipus anticipates the imminent arrival of Creon and his retinue (653 ήξουσιν άνδρες). By contrast with the previous prolepsis, which was not given enough emphasis on account of the prediction of the momentous event of war between Athens and Thebes, Oedipus' forecast is answered by Theseus. He gives the crisis a collective significance by pledging his allegiance and the allegiance of his people to the supplicant. By assuming full responsibility for Oedipus in

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the event of a violent removal, the king of Athens places the dispute of Oedipus with the people of Cadmus in a wider civic context (656-667). At this point in the play, the impending controversy between Oedipus and the Thebans becomes a serious issue between Athens and Thebes. In his prolepses, Theseus defines a future in which he is accountable for Oedipus' safety whether or not he himself is present at Colonus to protect him. In particular, the introduction of two distinct scenarios marks out the beginning of a significant narrative pattern in which Theseus is pictured as the dominant narrator, who is given the privilege of arranging the offstage action. This generous gesture on the part of the playwright aims to present Theseus in a particularly favourable light. This is especially so in view of the popular notion of Theseus, so much favoured in Greek tragedy, as a strong, fair-minded, and compassionate man, acting as the enlightened ruler of an Athenian 'proto-democracy'.5 More specifically, the first scenario presupposes the active involvement of Theseus in the future events, and the second anticipates action without his protective presence. Both scenarios are acted out in reverse order with a significant narrative twist. The second scenario has the opposite conclusion to the one expected. The very fact that the safe position of Oedipus comes under serious threat in spite of the confident prolepses sets in motion the first scenario, which is brought to its desired end through the decisive intervention of Theseus. However, this is not all. After having foiled the Theban plan, Theseus is endowed with remarkable narratorial power, which allows him to define the off-stage events and revise past action (887-890, 897-936, 1019-1035, 1038-1041), much to the displeasure of Creon, who avails himself of his share of narratorial power in the violent confrontation with the Chorus. His presence is deemed crucial in view of the possibility of war between Athens and Thebes, an external event which is associated with the Athenian cavalry mission that he promptly sets under way. The narrative pattern concludes with the introduction of two more scenarios, which, in the same way as the two previous ones (656-667), are determined by the potential participation of Theseus in the off-stage rescue operation (1020-1027). In his proleptic references to a possibly fierce confrontation with the 5

On Theseus, see den Boer (1969); Connor ( 1970), (1996a); Sourvinou-Inwood (1979); Davie (1982); Brommer (1982); Boardman (1982); Neils (1987); Kearns (1989) 120124; Shapiro (1989) 143-149; Calarne (1990); Ryzman (1992); Easterling (1993); Walker (1995); Mills (1997); Gotteland (2001) 259ff.

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Thebans, Theseus foreshadows his own forceful, yet rightful, reaction to Creon's violation of the Athenian laws. He is confident that the Theban assailants will be up against a sea of trouble on account of their haughtiness: οίδ' εγώ σε μή τίνα ενθένδ' άπάξοντ' άνδρα προς βίαν έμοϋ. [...] x e î v o l ç δ' 'ίσως κει δείν' επερρώσθη λέγειν της σης άγωγής, οΐδ' έγώ, φανήσεται μακρόν τό δεϋρο πέλαγος ουδέ πλώσιμον. θαρσεϊν μέν ούν εγωγε κανευ της έμης γνώμης επαινώ, Φοίβος ει προΰπεμψέ σε· ομως δέ κάμοΰ μή παρόντος οιδ' ότι τούμόν φυλάξει σ' ονομα μή πάσχειν κακώς. ( 6 5 6 - 6 6 7 ) In conformity with the above-mentioned narrative design, the first scenario is defined by two predictions (656-657, 661-663), which speak of the possibility of Oedipus' violent removal from the sacred grove by people who remain unidentified, only to conclude with a specific reference to the Theban aggressors. In either case, Theseus will see to the protection of Oedipus. In keeping with the aforementioned narrative pattern, the second scenario, which envisions a safe sojourn for Oedipus without the vigilant presence of Theseus, is introduced by another confident prolepsis of the protection given to Oedipus by the people of Athens as distinct from the Athenian king (664-667). In offering an alternative narrative possibility, Theseus predicts that the authority of his name will secure Oedipus from harm. He repeatedly refers to the prospect of defensive action by the Colonans during his absence (664-665 κανευ της έμής / γνώμης, 666 κάμοΰ μή παρόντος). However, the turn of events will show that the presence of the Athenian king is imperative, since both his name and divine favour are not powerful enough to shield Oedipus from Theban insolence.

Arrival of Creon, 728-886 The unfolding of the second scenario - that is, the protection afforded to Oedipus by the Colonans in the event of an unwilling removal - does not really begin until Creon reveals his hostile intentions. The violent character of the confrontation between the Thebans and the Athenians is gradually brought into the open. This is due to the narratorial knowledge of Creon.

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Throughout the scene with the Chorus, Creon appears to be in control of the flow of the narrative. His stage-by-stage revelation of his past outrage with regard to the off-stage abduction of Ismene and his plans of seizing Oedipus and Antigone casts him as a dominant narrator at this point in the play. This is especially so in view of his ability to take exceptionally long excursions into the fixture. He peers beyond the time-scale of the play in a proleptic reference to the dire consequences of the crisis. The anticipation of an all-out war between Athens and Thebes places the welfare of Oedipus in a broader temporal and spatial perspective, which far surpasses the topical character of the dispute between Creon and the Colonans. Eventually, the crucial intervention of Theseus, who is given access to a broader range of narrative ploys, secures the safe position of Oedipus at Colonus. Theseus' rhetorical stratagems come to be suggestively similar to those which Oedipus himself favours. This is especially true in the case of the prolepses, which are given added force by the accumulation of analepses, and the fanciful scenarios which are readily drawn up to prove a particular point. In essence, the incomplete unravelling of the second scenario makes all the more emphatic the display of physical and political power by Theseus, who not only outstrips Creon in his recounting of the past, but also registers the different narrative strands of the off-stage action. From the outset, Creon demonstrates his control over the past and the future. In withholding essential information about his real intentions, he lays particular emphasis on the non-violent character of his mission, which, he adds, was approved by the Theban city (732-739).6 In the light of his assuring prolepses, the much-anticipated scenario of a violent confrontation between the Athenians and the Thebans seems to drop from sight. However, once faced with the intransigence of Oedipus, he shows his real colours. None the less, Sophocles pulls narrative surprises along the way. The enactment of the scenario of violence takes an unexpected turn. Even though Creon hints at a potentially forcible removal of Oedipus (814) and indeed comes within inches of seizing the blind beggar, Antigone and Ismene are in fact those who are unwillingly removed from the sacred grove. Against all expectation, Theseus not only protects Oedipus from the Theban transgressors, but also launches a rescue operation to restore the girls. However, until the decisive intervention of the Athenian king is deemed essential by the Colonans, Creon displays his 6

On Creon's deception, see Parlavantza-Friedrich (1969) 66ff.

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share of narratorial control in progressively revealing his real motives. Creon possesses narrative information which he employs at will. On account of Oedipus' scathing rhetoric (761-799), he changes his tune and for the first time speaks of taking forcible measures to place the supplicant under his control (813-821 ). However, before turning to downright violence against Oedipus, he lays hands on Antigone and Ismene. In an open display of narratorial knowledge, he recalls his abduction of Ismene and looks forward to seizing Antigone (818-819). His unexpected analepsis turns the tables on Oedipus, who had perfect confidence in the protection of the Colonans. Even though Creon does not shed much analeptic light on his insolent action, he maps out a narrative space, which soon becomes the arena of a far more significant confrontation. The location of the abduction remains unspecified, but Creon's reference to the conveyance of Ismene by his retinue hints at certain off-stage actions which are well under way. His narrative reticence leads the audience to believe that the girl was ordered back to Thebes, but not yet necessarily escorted there given the short reach of the analepsis (818 άρτίως). The prolepsis of Antigone's capture displays a certain shortness of reach (819 τάχα). In the context of the confrontation between Athens and Thebes, τάχα acts as an important temporal marker, which not only brings out the urgency of the situation, but also shows the degree of narratorial control that each character exercises over the future. In particular, both Creon and Theseus - the first less so than the latter - often avail themselves of this particular chronological pointer with a view to demonstrating their narrative authority. Rapidity of action is an essential element of a successful military operation, and this becomes apparent in the rapid response of the Athenians to the Theban hostility. For the time being, however, Creon showers both the Chorus and Oedipus with a string of prolepses, which all have an especially short reach (819 την δ' άξω τάχα, 820 τάχ' εξεις μάλλον οίμώζειν τάδε, 821 τήνδ' τ' ού μακροΰ χρόνου). 7 The prolepses do not stop here. At this point in the play, there is simply no breathing space in the narrative. While Creon narrows the temporal distance of his predictions, he continues to peer into the future. His narratorial 7

It is likely that, in the case of Creon, those various τάχα can be taken by the audience with a hint of 'perhaps' as well as 'soon'. If this is the case, the audience can be encouraged that the recurrent prolepses are not going to work out the way the confident narrator is assuming.

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expedition is such that the Chorus seem unable to put a stop to his aggression. This is well brought out in the following prolepses of Antigone's seizure (826-827 ύμϊν άν ε'ιη τήνδε καιρός έξάγειν / άκουσαν, εί θέλουσα μή πορεύσεται, 830 ούχ άψομαι τοϋδ' άνδρός, αλλά της έμής), where the reach of the predictions is so short that the anticipated action swiftly becomes reality (832 τους έμούς άγω). In fact, it is no accident that Creon avoids determining the reach of his prolepses in view of the rapid succession of the events, which are narrated at a blistering pace (826-832). Even though Theseus could not foresee any event which would trouble the ancient amity of Athens towards Thebes (606), the crisis over Oedipus' safe settlement at Colonus serves as such an event in the most striking way. Eventually, the dispute of Oedipus with the city of Cadmus, which has attracted the attention of the Athenian king, becomes a most significant turning-point in the relationship of the two sovereign states. The law of continuous change, which was so confidently laid down by Oedipus (607620), could not have found here a better confirmation (835-843). Faced with the possibility of a violent contest with the Chorus, who predict an imminent test of blows (835), Creon outstrips the reach of their prolepsis (835 τάχα) by looking beyond the time-span of the action (837 πόλει μάχη γάρ, ει τι πημανης έμέ). His external prolepsis is part of an unhoped-for scenario, which refers to potential war between Athens and Thebes. The introduction of this surprising scenario places the issue of Oedipus' protection within a wider temporal context. With an event of such magnitude looming in the narrative horizon of the play, the capture of Oedipus assumes a political dimension, which was undreamed of before the utterance of the Theban threat. From now on any decision with regard to the safe position of Oedipus at Colonus will be assessed against the background of a potentially devastating martial conflict between the two formerly peaceful states. As Oedipus is quick to note (838), his previous prolepsis of an impending war between Athens and Thebes (605 οτι σφ' άνάγκη τηδε πληγηναι χθονί), which was in agreement with his law of the periodical character of relationships among cities (607-620), finds here a powerful vindication. However, for all its sophistication, his iterative prolepsis of the inconstancy of friendship was in fact far more optimistic than one should allow, given the fickleness of human affairs. By contrast with his confident reference to an extremely long period punctuating each change (617-618 μυρίας ó μυρίος χρόνος / τεκνοΰται νύκτας ημέρας τ' ιών),

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the unexpected prolepsis of Creon reduced that to a minimum. Against all expectation, the σμικρός λόγος (620), which was foreseen by Oedipus as the small cause that would make havoc of the ancient pledges, unpredictably turned out to be the issue of his own protection. This being the case, the gravity of the new situation calls for immediate action on a higher level. In view of the prolepsis of the Theban envoy, the dwellers of Colonus, who are summoned by the Chorus' agonizing cries for help (841-843), lack the authority to deal with so serious a crisis. One would have thought that the surprising prediction of war between Athens and Thebes was indeed the high point of the audacity of Creon. None the less, Creon surpasses himself in anticipating the imminent removal of Oedipus from the sacred grove (860). Initially set outside the time-span of the play owing to the unspecificity of its reach, his audacious scenario is drawn up again and acted out within minutes of its presentation (856-863). Creon speaks of his intention to seize Oedipus. This is no minor matter, since a potential removal of Oedipus from Colonus would overthrow Theseus' authoritative prediction of Athenian protection in the event of Theban aggression (656-657). In particular, the agreeable scenario of a safe settlement, afforded to Oedipus by the name of the Athenian king, would take an unpredictably unfavourable turn. Things could not have been worse for Oedipus and his Athenian patrons. At this stage of the play, it appears that, against all expectation, the capture of Oedipus by the Theban envoy will soon occur within the time-scale of the action. This is especially so in view of the unrestricted force of Creon, who showers the Chorus with a score of prolepses of his insolent action (860, 861-862, 874). As in the case of the seizure of Antigone (819-821, 830, 833), a pattern of recurrent proleptic statements, which invariably concludes with the actual occurrence of the predicted event, is here employed by Creon to demonstrate his undisputed authority. In the light of this striking narrative design, the eventual removal of Oedipus seems to be inevitable. Despite the unshakeable belief in his proleptic power, Creon inserts a crucial condition in the scenario of violence (862 ήν μή μ' ό κραίνων τησδε γης άπειργάθη). 8 Whether we choose to interpret this reference to 8

It is true that the line does not fit well with Creon's confidence. Perhaps both Piderit and Pearson were right to give the line to the Chorus rather than continuing with Creon. But see Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 243 who consider the statement to be ironic in view of "the improbability of the king's presence in the near neighbourhood".

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Theseus as a serious acknowledgement of his authority, or an ironical defiance of his royal power, the introduction of the conditional prolepsis signals a significant change in the as yet unchecked narratorial command of Creon. As the hopeful scenario of a safe position at Colonus, granted to Oedipus by the Colonans, is drawing to a particularly unfavourable close, the restatement of another, equally agreeable, scenario alerts the audience to the fact that the intervention of Theseus is after all imperative. This is especially so in view of the identity of the narrator, who, at the very moment of his triumph over the Athenians, considers Theseus to be the only one who can frustrate his violent plan. The prospect of a violent Creon who, in defiance of Athenian laws, lays hands on Oedipus, makes a mockery of the promise of Theseus that his name will deter all would-be assailants (664-667). Even though Theseus assuredly referred to the readiness of the Athenian state to shield Oedipus from the Thebans (661 κείνους), being confident that only a large score of enemies would pluck up the courage to defy his authority, here Creon challenges the Chorus single-handedly (875 κει μοΰνός είμι). In feeling that the issue of Oedipus' protection has turned out to be of the utmost importance for the welfare of the city, the Chorus push the tragic narrative down a new path. They decide to call out the citizens of Athena and the king himself. Their change of heart signals the commencement of the scenario of Theseus' long-awaited intervention (656-663). The carefullystalled plotline lays special emphasis on the importance of Theseus, who, at this point in the play, is the only one capable of restraining the force of Creon. It appears that only Theseus is able to muster the authority to counter the rapid onslaught of the Thebans. The need for Theseus to reestablish his command is especially pressing in view of the rapidity of the enemy, who are visualized by the Chorus as already on their way to cross the Attic borders (885-886).' συν τάχει (885), in particular, a temporal marker which was so popular with Creon in his confrontation with the Colonans (819, 820, 858), is employed time and again by Theseus in an effort to challenge his Theban opponent.

9

Lloyd-Jones (1994) in his Loeb edition understands the lines differently: "For these men are going too far!".

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Arrival of Theseus, 887-1043 The cries of the Chorus are answered by Theseus, who runs to their rescue (887). This time the narrative unfolds without any embarrassing surprises for the Athenians. In accordance with the prolepsis of Theseus with regard to his protection, which will be afforded to Oedipus in the event of a Theban assault (656-663), the authority of the state is re-asserted. The unrestrained aggressiveness of Creon, who played havoc with the ancient amity between Athens and Thebes, is finally contained. In the face of the uncontrollable violence of the Theban envoy, who was intent on using physical force against the Athenians (874 αλλ' αξω βία), Theseus reaffirms, through his narrative authority, the initial claim that none shall seize Oedipus against the will of the king (656-657 οιδ' εγώ σε μή τινα / ένθένδ' άπάξοντ' άνδρα προς βίαν έμοΰ). In order to carry out the favourable scenario of Oedipus' safe settlement at Colonus, Theseus is granted wide narrative knowledge. His narratorial mastery is revealing of his physical and political power. As in the case of Creon, he asserts his royal authority in a masterly recounting of the past and the future. However, as he is given access to a broader range of narrative ploys, he steals the narrative limelight from his Theban opponent. Not only does he skilfully organize the off-stage cavalry mission in an effort to intercept the rapid escape of the enemy, but also revises the past with a view to laying a mighty claim to the future. Despite the notable proleptic discernment of the king, Sophocles is very careful not to reveal the off-stage action in full. In suppressing all narrative references to the exact military manoeuvres of the Athenians and the Thebans, he prepares the audience for the tantalizingly unspecified prolepses of the Chorus and the incomplete analeptic excursions of Antigone. In the light of the powerful grasp that Theseus has on the narrative, the proleptic ability of Creon is reduced to a monotonous reiteration of his most audacious prediction: all-out war between Athens and Thebes. Regardless of the magnitude of the event, Theseus retains his control over past and future events, which are reported in accordance with a specific narrative design. In particular, he embarks on two long accounts, which aim to overpower the narratorial dominance of Creon (897-936, 10201033). Both accounts are fashioned after the same narrative pattern of proleptic and analeptic references. First comes the proleptic content; then comes the analeptic content, which allows Theseus to offer a powerful

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justification of the prolepses, unlike Creon who was unable to support his predictions with sufficient analeptic information; and the pattern concludes with the addition of more proleptic content. Further, both accounts are pitted against the recurrent prolepsis of the impending military conflict between Athens and Thebes, which is advanced by Creon each time he is harassed by the relentless display of Theseus' narrative insight (956-959, 1037). The seriousness of the threat notwithstanding, the Athenian king stands his ground and, in speedily arranging off-stage action, opens up two distinct possibilities, which are modelled on his previous prolepses of the protection given to Oedipus in the event of an unwilling removal (1020-1024). Once more, his presence in the future events is not deemed essential. However, the Chorus think otherwise and, in offering a narrative insight into the off-stage world, grant Theseus an instrumental part in the rescue operation. As the embodiment of Athenian ideals, Theseus is given a particularly favourable treatment in the play. His control over the past and the future is only one aspect of his άριστεία. After the successful rescue mission his valiant actions are profusely eulogized by the elated daughters of Oedipus. On his arrival, Theseus establishes his presiding authority over the area. His reference to the sacrifice in honour of Poseidon, the tutelary deity of Colonus, indicates his unfailing interest in local affairs. More importantly, for all its fleetingness, his backward-looking glance at an offstage event, which has not as yet been reported, is perhaps the first sign of his narratorial control (887-890). In much the same vein as his opponent's unexpected analepsis of the capture of Antigone (818-819), this new analepsis of an off-stage event may well be revealing of how much Theseus is now in charge of the tragic narrative. It is often the case that a particular set of events is repeatedly filtered by various characters in the course of a play. In view of the varied narrative splashes, on-stage action is set in context. In the play, the audience are made to feel the returning shockwaves of Theban aggression as those are conveniently interpreted in accordance with Athenian ideals. The carefully plotted narrative exposition offers the necessary background against which future developments will soon occur. Upon hearing the insolent actions of Creon (894-895), Theseus embarks on his first narrative with a view to organizing a rescue operation and placing the past events in perspective (897-936). His account is fashioned after a specific pattern of retrospective and anticipatory references. Prolepses precede backward-looking glances,

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only to re-emerge, this time more emphatically, at the end of the narrative. In particular, Theseus offers abundant proleptic information with regard to the off-stage mission and the potential rôle of Creon in the future events (897-910), without, however, revealing the manner of the events in full. Then he casts his mind back to the Theban assault, focusing his narration on the shameless behaviour of Creon, which is even more pronounced if set against the Athenian sense of decorum (911-931). The narrative design comes to a close with the forceful restatement of the prolepses (932-936), which are now seen as fully justified in view of the lavish analeptic presentation. With a new situation in his hands, Theseus asks one of his attendants to go with all speed to the altar and ask the people there to make haste to the point where two highways meet before Creon's henchmen pass through first (897-904). By contrast with the scenario of protection, which is given to Oedipus by Theseus in the event of Theban attack (656-663), the Athenian king is set up against a completely different situation. Against all expectation, Antigone and Ismene are captives of the Theban aggressors and the protection, which was in store for Oedipus, will be afforded to them. As Oedipus stays safe at Colonus under the watchful eye of Theseus, the retinue of Creon are pictured as making a dash to the Athenian borders. In the light of the speedy flight of the aggressors, Theseus swiftly arranges the off-stage action. In particular, his special emphasis on the need for a rapid reaction to the crisis, as is expressed by ώς τάχιστα (897), συν τάχει (904) and the striking phrase άπό ρυτηρος (900), seeks to outstrip the expediency of Creon, which was also manifested in the especially short reach of his predictions (819 τάχα, 820 τάχ', 821 ού μακρού χρόνου, 858 τάχα).10 Indeed Theseus appears to be very much in control of the off-stage events. In arranging the rescue expedition, he defines the actors and the topography of the action. Despite the careful planning of the event, Sophocles does not let Theseus drop any significant narrative hints at what will happen off stage. The audience are prepared for a potentially violent clash between the Athenians and the Thebans, but Sophocles sheds little proleptic light on the exact movements of the men and even less on the progression of the enemy. In the following prolepses of the chase, he is equally sparing of narrative clues. 10

On the urgency of the situation, see Romilly (1968) 20-21.

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Even though Sophocles appears to be unwilling to offer more narrative information about the off-stage operation, let alone come up with a fullblown prolepsis of the event, he shows less restraint about presenting past action. In keeping with the narrative pattern, after which both the accounts are fashioned, the proleptic references give way to a particularly generous analeptic content, which is recounted here to justify the prolepses. By contrast with Creon, who was most economical in his retrospective excursions, Theseus is given the privilege of commanding a wide range of analeptic information. In particular, he not only gives his own incriminating version of the insolent actions of Creon, but also filters the event through a distinctively Theban perspective. As a matter of fact, in certain cases, the perception of Creon and his fellow Thebans is conveniently doctored to serve his rhetorical purposes. In an effort to build up a case for his former prolepses, Theseus casts his mind back to the time of Creon's transgression. Creon's actions are considered to be a disgrace to Theseus, to his family, and to Thebes: έπεί δέδρακας οίπ' έμοϋ κατάξια ουθ' ών πέφυκας αυτός οΰτε σης χθονός, όστις δίκαι,' άσκοϋσαν είσελθών πάλιν τά τησδε της γης κύρι' ώδ' έπεσπεσών άγεις θ' α χρήζεις και παρίστασαι βία· καΐ μοι πόλιν κένανδρον ή δούλην τινά εδοξας είναι, κάμ' 'ίσον τω μηδενί. (911-918) The emotionally coloured analepsis presents the first Athenian version of the insolent deeds of the Thebans. Even though Theseus is not a homodiegetic narrator, his account places the abominable conduct of Creon in an altogether different perspective. In particular, his emphasis on the notion of Athens as a law-abiding state, which never fails to observe justice, throws into sharper relief the Theban transgression (913-914). The violent behaviour looks even worse in view of the conception of the Athenian city as a 'proto-democracy', which is underscored by Theseus in his allusion to certain lawful authorities (915 τά τησδε της γης κύρι'), "a phrase suggestive of constitutional monarchy, in which the citizens have some voice"." The analepsis concludes with the rather unflattering image of Creon who is seen as taking pleasure in snatching his prizes by " Jebb (19003) apud 915. On Theseus' 'proto-democracy', see e.g. Easterling (1997b) 34-36.

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violence (915-916). The use of the historic presents allows Theseus to lay more stress on the audacity of Creon (916 άγεις, 916 παρίστασαι). The advocacy of Theseus reaches a climax at the presentation of the thoughts and emotions of Creon himself (917-918). Theseus reveals what really went through Creon's mind at the time of his transgression, or rather what he wishes us to think went through Creon's mind at the time of the transgression. This may well qualify as an instance of explicit embedded focalization - that is, when the narrator hands over focalization (but not narration) to one of the characters, who thus partakes to a certain degree in the unfolding of the stoiy. However, the decisive narratorial intervention of Theseus complicates the relation of the focalizer to the narrator.12 In exaggerating the hostile feelings of Creon towards Athens and the king, Theseus affects the focalization of his opponent with a view to casting an unfavourable light on his actions. As a verb of perception, εδοξας (918) signals the explicit embedded focalization. According to Theseus, Creon held the Athenian city in absolute contempt in the belief that he was invading a state that was destitute of citizens, or else populated by slaves (917 κένανδρον ή δούλην). However, this is not all. In overstating the true sentiments of Creon, Theseus takes for granted that his enemy thought of him as ϊσον τω μηδενί (918). This could not have been further from the truth. As a matter of fact, after having dropped the semblance of courtesy and embarked on his relentless offensive against the helpless Chorus, Creon considered Theseus to be the only one who had the authority to frustrate his plans (862). In the light of Creon's deference to Theseus at the very moment of his greatest triumph over the Colonans, the focalization of his thoughts and sentiments at the time of his sinful deeds does not

12

On explicit embedded focalization, see the important discussion by de Jong (1987) 102-118. The issue of embedded focalization is a bone of contention among narratologists. According to mainstream notions of focalization, embedded focalization marks the perceptions of a certain character as distinct from the narrator. However, it is often the case that the narrator affects the perception of the focalizer with a view to serving certain purposes. Generally speaking, it is always hard to draw a distinction between the emotions and thoughts of the narrator and the focalizer. My contention is that the relation of the narrator to the focalizer is by definition complex and should stay that way. Drawing a cut-and-dried distinction between narration and focalization would result in unnecessary ambiguity. Cf. also the sobering comments of Rood (1998) 294-296, who offers a critique of Bal's more restricted notion of embedded focalization.

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qualify as an absolutely true presentation of his frame of mind. His disregard of the Athenian king is suggested and conveniently exaggerated by Theseus, who, in his capacity as narrator, seeks to lay special emphasis on the insolence of Creon. Theseus offers more reasons for the harsh treatment of Creon (919923). This time, in an unexpected compliment to Thebes, he takes a long excursion into the past with a view to showing the baseness of Creon, which does not accord with the blameless training that he was afforded by the Theban state:13 καίτοι σε Θηβαί γ' ουκ έπαιδευσαν κακόν ού γαρ φιλοϋσιν άνδρας έκδίκους τρέφειν, ούδ' άν σ' έπαινέσειαν, εί πυθοίατο συλώντα τάμά καί τά των θεών, βία άγοντα φωτών άθλιων ίκτήρια. (919-923) Once more he employs the familiar narrative device of explicit embedded focalization, which, however, is perhaps conveniently tempered to serve his rhetorical tactics. The case of an unreal focalization is harder to prove here. However, in view of the over-generous picture, it can be argued that the Theban opinion of Creon's actions is particularly harsh.14 As in the case of Creon's focalization (917-918), a verb of perception, such as πυθοίατο (921), signals the explicit embedded focalization. Theseus filters the event through a Theban perspective, which comes close to his own incriminating report of Creon's violation of Athenian law. He is confident that the Thebans would view the conduct of Creon as a violent demonstration of power against what belongs to Theseus and the gods, βία (922), in particular, picks up βία (916), which was used by Theseus in his effort to underscore the brutal force of Creon. Also, the especially pathetic periphrasis φωτών άθλιων ίκτήρια (923), which, according to Theseus, reflects the Theban sentiments towards Oedipus and his daughters, casts Creon in an unfavourable light. In using yet another narrative ploy in an effort to expose the villainy of 13

14

Theseus' picture of Thebes' education is over-generous: almost like Euripides' Heracles at HF 134Iff., where the generous assumption is characterizing of the individual more than of the state of affairs that individual is gauging. According to Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 919, "it has been seriously suggested that all these touches must have been inserted by Sophocles the grandson, because in the poet's time Athens and Thebes were not usually on the best of terms."

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Creon, Theseus sets up a premise, much in the same vein as his conditional analepses and prolepses (905-906,921-923). This time, however, he undertakes a more challenging venture, casting himself in the rôle of Creon. The location of the action is displaced to Thebes. More importantly, the fanciful scenario unfolds in direct contrast to the insolent doings of Creon. With a high sense of decorum, Theseus envisages himself treating his Theban hosts with proper respect by doing the exact opposite of what Creon has done in open defiance of common decency: οΰκουν έ'γωγ' αν σης έπεμβαίνων χθονός, ούδ' εί τά πάντων ειχον ένδικώτατα, άνευ γε του κραίνοντος, δστις ήν, χθονός οΰθ' ειλκον οΰτ' αν ήγον, άλλ' ήπιστάμην ξένον παρ' άστοϊς ώς διαιτάσθαι χρεών, σύ δ' άξίαν ουκ οΰσαν αίσχύνεις πόλιν την αυτός αύτοϋ, και σ' ó πληθύων χρόνος γέρονθ' όμοϋ τίθησι και τοϋ νοϋ κενόν. (924-931) In imagining their respective situations reversed, he berates Creon by drawing up an unreal scenario, which, however, displays striking affinities with the Theban invasion of Attica. Specifically, he pictures himself as setting foot on Theban territory, without having any hostile intentions. By contrast with the previous account of Creon's violent entrance (915 έπεσπεσών), έπεμβαίνων (924) "lacks any pejorative suggestions".'5 Further, Theseus points up his reproof by advancing an important presupposition, which would serve as an excuse for unrestrained violence (925). Even in this extreme case, he is confident that his behaviour would have been one of respect in direct contrast to the arrogant manners of Creon, who did not have a just claim. According to Theseus, another significant parameter, again so markedly ignored by Creon, is the permission from the ruler of the land (926). In particular, Theseus purposely avoids advancing any qualificatoiy remarks about the potential ruler of Thebes (926 όστις ήν). His intention is to lay emphasis on the baseness of Creon, who treated Theseus, a perfectly lawful ruler, with disrespect. Theseus is aware that having a legitimate claim would justify an Athenian transgression. However, contrary to expectation, he would never have recourse to violence (927). In view of his reconstitution of past action, Theseus exudes confidence 13

Kamerbeek (1984) apud 924-928.

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in his anticipation of the future. This time, the prediction of the rescue of Antigone and Ismene is restated in more detail (932-936). By contrast with Creon, who was unable to produce any analeptic evidence for his prolepses, Theseus sheds much retrospective light on the base actions of his opponent. In keeping with his rapid reaction to the Theban escape, which was underscored by the particularly short reach of the prolepses (897 ώς τάχιστα, 900 άπό ρυτήρος, 904 συν τάχει), he lays emphasis on the urgency of the situation by placing the event in the very near future (932 ώς τάχιστα). As he is anxious to bring the girls back to their father, the precise manner of the future events is of little importance to him. His insistence on the act is underscored by his indifference as to the agent of the action. In particular, the non-specific τινά (933) brings out the eagerness of Theseus to go to any length to rescue Antigone and Ismene, without giving much thought to the identity of the rescuer. The powerful account of Theseus is pitted against the grave possibility of an all-out war between Athens and Thebes. Creon speaks of future action in retaliation for his captivity. Even though he does not make a direct reference to an armed invasion against the Athenian state, his prolepsis reminds the audience that the Athenian rescue operation will be carried out against the backdrop of a mighty clash of forces (956-959). Theseus appears to be determined to honour his promise to Oedipus in spite of the ominous prolepsis of Creon, and he indicates so. He embarks on his second account, which, in the same way as the first (897-931), abounds in proleptic and analeptic content (1019-1035). In particular, the analeptic excursion of Theseus allows him to restate his prolepses in full. More importantly, in concluding the account with a powerful restatement of his predictions, he opens up two narrative possibilities, which are fashioned after the previous scenario of his potential presence at Colonus in the event of Theban attack (656-667). Either Theseus will participate in the action, or the Athenians will succeed in containing Theban violence.16 In a like manner to the former scenario of protection, which would be given to Oedipus in the face of Theban violence (656-667), he anticipates the two distinct turns that the off-stage events will take depending on his participation in the action (1020-1027, 1034-1035). According to the first scenario (1020-1021), Creon will take Theseus to the hiding-place where 16

The harshness of the orders makes one wonder whether Theseus is ironically here talking like a tyrant.

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his guards keep Antigone and Ismene. As in the case of εκεί (1019), the topography remains unclear (1020 έν τόποισι τοΐσδ'). This geographical vagueness slots in the overall narrative pattern. As the tragic narrative persistently focuses on a time either before or after the rescue expedition, and not on the actual manner of the off-stage event, all the following topographical references will prove equally unclear. By contrast, the presence of Creon and Theseus is well defined, εμοί (1021), in particular, lays emphasis on the rôle of Theseus in the oncoming events. The second scenario envisions the Theban guards in full flight to Boeotia (10221024). If this is so, then it is for others, not Theseus, to intercept the escape of the Thebans. Theseus delivers his analepses and prolepses with notable narrative knowledge, thereby exposing the shamelessness of Creon, who once again speaks of revenge (1036-1037). It appears that, at this point in the play, the prolepsis of an impending martial contest between Athens and Thebes is the only means of defence that is left for Creon, who was forced to cede his narrative prerogative to the Athenian king (1036-1037). His monotonous reiteration of the same event is indicative of his subdued presence. However, this is not the only reason for such a miserable lack of narrative creativity on the part of the Theban envoy, who was all too vociferous in his fierce altercation with the Chorus. The playwright is eager to punctuate the unrestricted display of narratorial force by Theseus with constant reminders of an external event of great significance. As the rescue mission is associated with the threat of a total war between the two previously peaceful states, the off-stage events are filtered through a considerably broader temporal perspective. Against a background of an off-stage mass looming over the action, the open defiance of the ominous prolepses of Creon reveals the high moral character of Theseus, who pledges his allegiance to Oedipus regardless of what the future holds. The safety of Antigone and Ismene has always been a high priority for the Athenian king, who is most eager to honour his pledge to Oedipus and establish his authority over Attica. Even though the confrontation between Oedipus and the Thebans is first treated as an issue of no great concern for the Athenians, the crisis takes unimagined proportions in the course of the play. This is no less due to the narrational control of Creon, who associates the present contest with an important military event, which lies beyond the span of the primary narrative. In view of the new situation, the intervention of Theseus, who avails himself of his share of narrational

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insight, places the crisis within a wider civic context. His lengthy narrative exposition offers a specifically Athenian perspective on the on-stage action. The carefully plotted narrative splashes place heavy stress on the great importance of the oncoming battle which is seen as a critical test of Athenian ideals. Indeed, in arranging a military operation, Theseus displaces the confrontation to an off-stage arena, where the agent and the manner of the action are considered to be secondary to the victorious act.

Praying for Victory: Narration and Prophecy The Ode is not a mere prolepsis of the victorious outcome of the battle, but plays on the boundaries between contemporaneity and expectation. The Chorus communicate narrative information about the off-stage action almost at the very moment the battle is being fought.17 The changing temporal focus on both present and future makes the Ode a strange entity, a proleptic utterance grafted with synchronous narrative references to the off-stage world. Notwithstanding the unrealistic yearning of the Chorus, their prophetic narrative vision manages to break the restriction of movement. By way of their imaginative flights of fancy, they transport themselves beyond the sacred grove and visualize the events in their mind's eye.18 The employment of the medium of prophecy, not solely as a means of determining future action, as in the case of mantic predictions, but as an alternative way of off-stage reporting, is unique in Greek tragedy. There are, it is true, not a few cases of proleptic accounts, which are mediated through the familiar route of oracles or even delivered by the 17

Descriptions of battles are also found at Eur. Supp. 650-730, Heracl. 99-866, Phoen. 1090-1199 and Er. 65.11-21 Austin (a gap in the papyrus deprives us of the narrative, but the introductory dialogue between the Messenger and Praxithea bears witness to the military content of the description; cf. also Collard, Cropp & Lee 1995, 187f.). Similar instances of military engagements are to be found in Soph. Trach. 497-530; Eur.Andr. 1114-1160, Hel. 1589-1612 and Phoen. 1356-1480 (the duel of Eteocles and Polynices). The Iliadic heroic ideal and narrative taste must have been an inspiration for all those poetic battles. Also, the long account of the Messenger in Aesch. Pers. 353-471 must have played a crucial rôle in establishing a long tradition of battle narratives (cf. also Collard 1975a, ii 277ff.; de Romilly 1956, ch. 2; Rich & Shipley 1995).

18

Compare Clytemestra's vision in Aesch. Ag. 320-350 of what the victorious Greeks will be getting up to at Troy. On Aeschylus and narrative, see Fletcher (1999).

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gods on stage. There is, however, no example of a Chorus, who, in mantic enthusiasm, offer an account of off-stage events which fall within the chronology of the play. More importantly, in keeping with the narrative momentum, the Ode does not offer an account of the battle, however threadbare. As it is the constant preoccupation of the playwright to lay special emphasis on the victorious outcome of the fighting, which is brought about by the unflagging determination of the Athenian king, a potentially detailed account of the battle is conveniently shut out of the primaiy narrative. In the light of the incomplete descriptions of Theseus and the Chorus, the narrative momentum is building towards the eventual excision of the offstage event from the play. Soon, the indistinct analeptic excursions will allow the playwright to edit out the cavaliy engagement from the principal narrative. In particular, apart from certain allusions to the noisiness of the fight, the Chorus report only the action which falls either before or after the main event. There are proleptic references to the intense pursuit of the enemy, which are coupled with recurring predictions of a victorious result. However, Sophocles does not allow the Chorus to impart any narrative information about the progress of the fighting. The narrative tactic of secrecy is maintained in every respect but one. Even though the manner of the rescue is never recounted, the agent of the action is given repeated emphasis in the choral narrative. In enriching the narrational agenda of the play, the Chorus picture Theseus as the Athenian champion, thereby preparing the audience for the recurrent analepses of his valiant actions. The first stanza is fashioned after a particular narrative pattern. In expressing their longing to be at the scene of the battle, the Chorus offer two distinct prolepses of the imminent commencement of the fighting. First, they imagine that the Theban captors will soon wheel about when overtaken by the Athenians (1044-1048). Secondly, they describe the Athenian rescuers as charging with all their might in order to deliver the girls from the Thebans (1054-1058). Between those two different prolepses, each of which takes up five lines in the Ode, stands a significant reference to the Eleusinian Mysteries (1050-1053). This is not all, however. As they anticipate the same event, both prolepses have striking similarities. Apart from having the same reach, they lay special emphasis on the visual as much as the aural aspect of the impending fight. According to the narrative design, first the Chorus focus their thoughts on the time when the Thebans will join battle against the Attic pursuers:

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ε'ίην οθι δαΐων ανδρών τάχ' έπιστροφαί τον χαλκοβόαν 'Άρη μειξουσιν, ή προς Πυθίαις ή λαμπάσιν άκταΐς, οΰ πότνιαι σεμνά τιθηνοϋνται τέλη θνατοΐσιν, ών και χρυσέα κλης επί γλώσσα βέβα· κε προσπόλων Εύμολπιδάν· (1044-1053) In uttering their yearning to transfer themselves to where the battle will soon take place, they draw attention to their restricted narrative command. This, however, does not prevent them from professing that they have intimate knowledge of the off-stage events. The location of the action is initially given a vague reference (1044). They visualize the off-stage movements of men, whom they are quick to characterize as the enemy (1044 δαΐων). As in the case of the topography, the timing of the action is left unspecified. However, such a temporal marker as τάχ' (1045), which is frequently employed by both Creon (819, 820, 858) and Theseus (897, 904, 933) creates an atmosphere of urgency.19 Despite the fleeting reference to the fight itself (1046-1047), Sophocles lets slip certain snippets of narrative information about the oncoming event. By contrast with their vague pointer to the topography of the action (1044 οθι), then the Chorus show a new-found interest in the exact location of the battle. In taking two distinct guesses at the possible spots where the Thebans will be overtaken by the Athenians, they refer to certain places in Attica, which they choose to define in religious terms (1047-1048). In general, the evocation of sacred places contributes to the significance of what is happening. This is especially so in view of the striking account of the Eleusinian Mysteries (1050-1053). The first guess suggests the site of Apollo's temple near the shore of the Eleusinian bay 19

The textual suppression of the real duration of the off-stage event and the subsequent establishment of the contracted theatrical time as the only temporal dimension may well accentuate the rapidity of the Athenian response to the Theban affront and the resourceful effectiveness of Theseus and his followers. Rapidity of movement is the main prerequisite in the Athenian rescue operation and it is moreover brought to the fore and made more intense for the audience through the manipulation of real time by the time-compressing faculty of the choral ode. On rapidity as a characteristic virtue of the Athenians, see Loraux (1986) ch. 4.

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(1047);20 the second alludes to Eleusis itself (1048). In describing the Eleusinian coast, the Chorus celebrate certain beliefs and rituals, which are intimately associated with the Mysteries.21 Their account enhances the sanctity of the location of the battle, which is seen, now more than ever, as a special occasion. The well-known annual torch-light procession to the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis is suggested by λαμπάσιν (1048). Also, the Chorus speak of the belief in the prospect of a hopeful afterlife, which is opened up by the Great Goddesses in their capacity as spiritual nurturers of the death rites of the initiands (1050-1051). Their account concludes with the striking image of the golden key, which is laid on the tongues of the mystae by the Eumolpids (1051-1053 ).22 Such a bold metaphor, which refers to the renowned pledge of secrecy that was imposed on the faithful votaries of Demeter and Kore, underscores the sacred character of the place where the Athenians and the Thebans will soon join battle.23 20

21

Another less likely site is the Pass of Oenoa, where there was also a temple of Apollo. In this case, however, άκταΐς (1048) "would have been very freely and zeugmatically used" (Kamerbeek 1984 apud 1048, 1049; cf. also Jebb 19003 apud 1046ff.). Could it be that the striking reference to the Mysteries has a special political significance in such a military context as the approaching cavalry battle? The Eleusinian Goddesses appear to be particularly favourable to the Athenians in the Persian Wars. Both Herodotus (8. 65) and Plutarch (Them. 15) speak of the vision of the torch-lit procession, which made its appearance at the battle of Salamis and was taken as a favourable sign of victory (cf. also Pritchett 1979,25). Also, Herodotus refers to Demeter's unwelcoming response to the Persian invasion in his account of the battles of Plataea and Mycale (9. 57, 65, 69, 97, 101), where the Eleusinian shrine is frequently mentioned. In particular, the emphasis that is given by Herodotus to the favourable stance of Eleusinian Demeter during the battle of Plataea most likely echoes Simonides' Plataea Elegy in which Demeter is associated with the battle (probably also with the battle at Mycale) and there may be a reference to possible reprisals against the Persians, who destroyed the Eleusinian shrine. On the Plataea Elegy, see Parsons (1994); West (1993) 9 who acknowledges a connection between the goddess and the battles; Rutherford ( 1996) 187; Boedeker (1996) 236-238. Cf. also Boedeker & Sider (2001).

22

The special reference to the Eumolpids may well have strengthened the impact of the account of the Mysteries on the original audience in view of the presence of the Hierophant, who came from the Eumolpid clan, in the theatre of Dionysus. The Hierophant (also the Dadouchos and the Iacchagogos) enjoyed the privilege of prohedria in the theatre. His throne was placed near that of the priest of Dionysus. Cf. Mylonas (1961) 230, 236; Clinton (1974); Garland (1984) 96ff.

23

According to Fraenkel (1950) apud 36, this striking expression for keeping silence may well have been part of the Eleusinian Mysteries (cf. also Lobeck 1829 i 36; Casel 1919; Kamerbeek 1984 apud 1050-1053).

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In the second prolepsis, the Chorus filter the event through an Athenian perspective. The shift of narrative focus notwithstanding, the description of the imminent battle harks back to the first prolepsis of the Theban flight, which is cut short by the Athenians (1044-1048). More importantly, the Chorus favour the scenario of Theseus' presence in the fight. Even though Theseus opened up two narrative possibilities of off-stage action depending on whether he participated or not in the rescue operation (1020-1024), here, in omitting the scenario of his absence, the Chorus praise his warlike spirit in the rescue of Antigone and Ismene. In particular, their confidence in the Athenian king is such that they peer deeper into the future to drop the first proleptic hint of the victorious outcome of the battle: ενθ' οιμαι τον εγρεμάχαν Θησέα καΐ τάς διστόλους άδμητας άδελφάς αύτάρκει τάχ' έμμείξειν βοά τούσδ' άνά χώρους- (1054-1058) This is not without special significance. The playwright aims to present Theseus in a particularly favourable light. The Athenian king was endowed with unprecedented narrative power in his confrontation with Creon. Also, he was given a dominant rôle in the arrangement of the off-stage rescue operation. The choral reference to his courageous intervention throws into sharper relief the theme of his αριστεία. This is especially so in view of the narrative uncertainty whether he will participate in the offstage action. By contrast with Theseus' indifference as to the agent of the action (933), which can only be matched by his insistence on the act, the Chorus make a point of praising his bravery in the face of the captors. The second stanza signals an important change in the narrative perspective of the Chorus. The anticipation of the hopeful outcome of the battle gives way to a visualization of the fleeing Thebans (1059-1066), which concludes with contemporaneous flashes of the rapid progress of the Athenian cavalry (1067-1073). In narrowing the temporal scope of the narration, the Chorus envisage the Athenian pursuers charging across the plain. Even though there is no reference to their imminent meeting with the Theban captors, the Chorus are confident in anticipating victory. However, as in the prolepses of the fight, they focus their thoughts on a time either before or after the battle. In keeping with the narrative tone of

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Theseus, who was most eager to restore the girls to Oedipus in any way possible, without giving any thought about the manner of the rescue, the Ode does not impart any narrative details about the event itself. The Chorus make a guess at the possible whereabouts of the rescuers: ή που τον έφέσπερον πέτρας νιφάδος πελωσ' Οίάτιδος εκ νομοϋ πώλοισιν ή ριμφαρμάτοις φεΰγοντες άμίλλαις. άλώσεται· δεινός ó προσχώρων Άρης, δεινά δέ Θησειδάν άκμά. (1059-1066) They speculate about the progress of the pursuit, which is described as a cavalry mission.24 Yet they do not offer any temporal pointers. They surmise that the Athenians will approach a new location, which, in contrast to the sacred places of the Eleusinian bay (1048-1049), is defined in purely geographical terms (1059-1061). 25 Even though the topography of the action does not have the special character of the previous holy locations, the detailed account of the Chorus is revealing of their familiarity with the place. More importantly, the Chorus picture the rescue operation as a cavalry pursuit ( 1062-1063 ).26 By contrast with the notion of a massive

24

25

26

However, if we read the ή (1062) as disjunctive and not appositional, something which is supported by Jebb and Dain, but rejected by Lloyd-Jones & Wilson, the topographical reference may well allude to a new location of the battle. The whole problem is intimately related to the complex issue of the precise topography of the battle and the exact routes of the Athenians and the Thebans; cf. also Jebb (19003) 282ff. If the unattested πελώσι is replaced by Hartung's emendation περώσ', then the prediction of the Chorus with regard to the potential movements of the Thebans is the first indication of the chronological shift from a proleptic depiction of the skirmish to a synchronous sketching of the pursuit. Cf. Jebb (19003) apud 1059ff., who acknowledges Hartung's περώσ', but finds the manuscript reading πελώσ' defensible, since there is evidence, if exiguous, of a present πελάω. Could it be that, apart from practical reasons, the imaging of the pursuit as a cavalry mission would have given added prestige to Theseus as democratic hero par excellence in view of the much-envied status of horsemen in fifth-century Athens? On cavalry in Greece (esp. Athens), see Spence (1993); Bugh (1988); Worley (1994); Camp (1998). Adams (1953) 143 treats the Ode as complementary to the Ode to Colonus. In contributing to the glorification of Athens, together they serve as "a kind of national anthem".

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expedition, which would feature both horsemen and foot-soldiers (898899), they speak of the relentless flight of horses and chariots, which race at full speed. Their narrative emphasis on the cavalry is not without significance. In keeping with the scenario of Theseus' crucial intervention, they wish to distinguish between the en masse pursuit and the distinct mission, which is led by the Athenian king. Indeed, in order to justify the confident prolepsis of victory (1065 άλώσεται), they make a point of referring to the might of Theseus and his followers (1066 Θησειδάν άκμά). The pace of the choral narrative never quite relaxes. In narrowing even more the chronological scope of the narration, the Chorus offer glimpses of contemporaneous action. Regardless of the tantalizing flashes of the pursuit, they impart no information about the impending battle. In conformity with the narrative policy, they anticipate action which falls only either before or after the event. In particular, the account concludes with a striking reference to the present: the image of the Athenians storming across the plain, their bridles flashing, in hot pursuit of the enemy: πας γάρ άστράπτει χαλινός, πάσα δ' όρμάται, |κατ' άμπυκτήρια φάλαρα πώλων·)· αμβασις, οι τάν ίππίαν τιμώσι,ν Άθάναν και τον πόντιον γαιάοχον Τέας φίλον υΐόν. (1067-1073) The omission of any temporal pointers in the previous prolepsis of the pursuit appears to have been purposeful. As the choral narration shifts into zero reach, the chronological vagueness of the former prediction prepares the audience for the oncoming change. In their excitement, the Chorus lay emphasis on the rapidity of the Athenian horsemen, who are pictured as progressing at all speed. In view of the change of tense to the present, both άστράπτει ( 1067) and όρμάται ( 1068) bring out the urgency of the situation. The tension is such that the Chorus convey images of the off-stage action contemporary with their actual account. In breaking down the spatial barriers, they transfer themselves mentally to the place of the pursuit. This is as close as they can get to realizing their wish to be at the scene of the fight. The same narrative vagueness with regard to the particulars of the

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battle carries on in the third stanza. In broadening once again the temporal scope of the narration, the Chorus repeat the prolepsis of a hopeful outcome. In order to bolster their confident claim, they lay emphasis on the mantic character of the narration: ερδουσιν ή μέλλουσιν; ώς προμνάταί τί μοί γνώμα τάχ' άνδώσειν ταν δεινά τλασάν, δεινά δ' εύρουσάν προς αύθαίμων πάθη. τελεί τελεί Ζεύς τι κατ' ήμαρ μάντις ε'ίμ' έσθλών αγώνων. (1074-1081) In introducing a strong break (1074 ώς), which cuts short their questioning,27 they restate the prolepsis of a successful result (1074-1078). προμνάταί (1075), in particular, perhaps introduces a divinatory tone, which is to be echoed in the later claim of the Chorus in which they act as a seer of victory (1080; cf. also 1097).28 Another repetition, this time of a completely different character, is used by the Chorus to draw attention to the divine favour that the Athenians enjoy in their pursuit of the enemy (1079 τελεί τελεί Ζεύς TL κατ' ήμαρ). Especially, in view of the ambiguity of the tense in this context, Zeus may well be succouring the Athenians at the very moment of the utterance of the claim. Regardless of the mantic confidence in final victory, the Chorus are aware that their proleptic discernment is weakened by their lack of firm knowledge. The spatial distance between the sacred grove and the scene of the fight constitutes a significant barrier to information flow, which is not entirely overcome by any prophetic narrative insight. In view of the limitations of their narratorial knowledge, the Chorus restate their wish to be at the place of the battle: εϊθ' άελλαία ταχύρρωστος πελειάς αίθερίας νεφέλας κύρσαιμ' ανωθ' άγώνων αίωρήσασα τούμόν ομμα. (1082-1084) By contrast with their initial wish to witness the off-stage action, they become more specific about the place of observation. In yearning to take 27 28

On the strong break of thought, see Kaimio (1970) 232 n.l. Cf. Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1075f.; Kamerbeek (1984) apud 1074-1078 remains sceptical of any potential oracular connotations.

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wings and fly out of the grove, they offer an impressive image of a dove darting above the fray.29 The emphatic use of ειθ' (1081), in particular, lends more force to their longing.30 Even though the Chorus appear to be confident of final victory, they pray to the gods to come to the assistance of the Athenian rescuers (10851095). It is often the case that prayers serve as powerful means of establishing a narrative link to the off-stage world. In seeking to validate the prolepses, the Chorus are eager to invoke the protection of a higher narrative authority than mantic enthusiasm. As in the previous reference to Zeus (1079), they wish to give an Olympian dimension to the triumphant outcome of the fighting. This is especially so in view of the great significance that was allotted to divine favour before and after martial contests. As in most military operations in Greece, the off-stage battle is also marked by special attention to the gods.31 While transferring the narrative view into secondary time, the playwright was very careful to throw no proleptic light on the off-stage military contest. As will transpire, the gods were not deaf to the prayer of the Chorus. The analepses show that they were indeed accurate, not only in anticipating victory, but also in favouring the scenario of Theseus' crucial rôle in the fighting. However, in conformity with the narrative reticence of the Ode, the analeptic flashes do not develop into a fullblown account of the details of the battle. Apart from what is coded in the tragic narrative itself, the audience will have no idea how the event came to be. The issue of the protection of Oedipus and his daughters is finally resolved in a off-stage arena, where results are considered to be far more important than words.

29

50 31

The wish for wings, whether to escape from where one is, or to get where one is not, is a commonplace of tragic lyric. For similar examples, see Eur. Hipp. 732-734, 12901293 (cf. also Barrett 1964, 299), Andr. 862, Hel. 1478ff., Ion 796, HF 1157f. (cf. also Bond 1981, 360), Med. 1296f„ Hec. 1099ff„ Ρha. 270ff.; Soph. fr. 476 Radt. See also Hdt. 4. 132. 3. Cf. also Padel (1974). Cf. Moorhouse (1982) 23If. Devout appeals to the divinity in a moment of crisis are not something untypical or surprising as is corroborated by similar occurrences in the Peloponnesian War. In a sense, the Ode gives expression to the tensions of the community before a crucial military engagement. On pre-battle ritual, see Lonis (1979); Goodman & Holladay (1986); Jameson (1991); Parker (2000).

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Narration and Concealment The off-stage battle is the climactic moment in a series of narrative patterns, which punctuate the growing importance of the issue of Oedipus' safe position at Colonus. The military episode is a crucial turning-point in the much-troubled relationship between Athens and Thebes, especially in view of the prospect of all-out war between the two formerly friendly states. The rescue of the girls constitutes the highest priority for the Athenian polis, which is eager to protect its sovereignty. It is not so much the way Antigone and Ismene will be delivered from the hands of the Theban captors, indeed it could have been by any means possible, but rather the re-establishment of Athenian authority over the land which is important. Through the mounting significance of the crisis, the playwright hooks the audience with a narrative tone of voice, which is characterized by a certain unwillingness to reveal the off-stage action in full. As the narrative rises to a crescendo through the proleptic excursions of Creon and Theseus, great care is taken by the playwright to conceal the exact parameters of the battle. In particular, the fierce confrontation between Creon and Theseus establishes a bracingly swift pace, which is maintained by the proleptic discernment of the Chorus. In their effort to penetrate the narrative silence of the offstage world through mantic enthusiasm, the Chorus offer tantalizing pieces of information about the oncoming event, without going about the business of narrating the fight itself. Similarly, the analeptic references to the rescue of Antigone and Ismene provide glimpses of off-stage action, which never develop into a detailed image of the fighting. However, there is a repeated narrative emphasis on Theseus, who is presented as the main agent of the action through the recurrent analepses of his valiant deeds. In essence, the ellipsis of the battle underscores the one and only Athenian priority: the safe return of the girls at any cost. Notwithstanding the confidence of the Chorus in the hopeful outcome of the battle, so much strengthened by their oracular excitement, victory is never treated as an accomplished fact. The Chorus make a point of invoking the gods, who will themselves give a favourable conclusion to the crisis (1085-1095). Eventually, it transpires that the Athenians enjoy divine favour. However, it is only when the girls are safely restored to Oedipus that the tension is finally relaxed. Indeed, on seeing Antigone and Ismene, the Chorus are quick to note that their narrative ventures were not in any way misplaced:

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ώ ξεΐν' άλήτα, τον σκοπόν μέν ουκ έρεΐς ώς ψευδόμαντις· τάς κόρας γάρ είσορώ τάσδ' άσσον αΰθις ώδε προσπολουμένας. (1096-1098) προσπολουμένας (1098), in particular, an unusual expression, which by a kind of catachresis describes the escorting soldiers as 'attendants' of the maidens, is indicative of the great care given to the girls by the Athenians.32 This becomes plain in the analeptic references of Antigone in praise of Theseus and his men. Both Antigone and Theseus are unwilling to offer a detailed account of the fight. In particular, the Athenian king makes a point of refusing to recount off-stage action for fear of being seen as unnecessarily boastful. On account of the elusive analeptic references, the battle is blotted out from the principal narrative. Apart from employing the ellipsis of the cavalry skirmish to throw into sharper relief the sucessful result, the playwright allows as much narrative information to emerge in the play as is needed for him to lay emphasis on the instrumental rôle of Theseus in the rescue mission. Even though Theseus himself did not give much attention to the agent of the action, the fleeting analepses of the battle refer to him as the Athenian champion and author of the valiant deed. It is Antigone who offers recurrent analepses of Theseus' courageous actions. As a homo-diegetic narrator, she endows the narration with special authority. More importantly, in offering a significant narrative insight into the off-stage world, she elaborates on the choral description of Theseus' valiant presence: τίς αν θεών σοι τόνδ' άριστον άνδρ' ίδεΐν δοίη, τον ημάς δεϋρο προσπέμψαντά σοι; (1101-1102) It is often the case that certain epithets are used by the narrator to draw attention to a particular point, άριστον (1101), in particular, is a fitting prelude to the following analepses, which all focus on the αριστεία of Theseus. In keeping with the narrative obscurity of the choral report, Antigone does not embark on a full-blown account of the battle. Her analeptic power is only employed with an eye to praising the bravery of Theseus:

32

Cf. Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 249.

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αϊδε γάρ χέρες Θησέως έσωσαν φιλτάτων τ' όπαόνων (1102-1103) As in the previous analepsis, she lays emphasis on the might of the Athenian king, who personally assisted in the rescue. Apart from implying a martial contest, χέρες (1102) underscores the great strength that Theseus brought to the fighting. However, Theseus is not the only one to be described as the author of the deed. His trusty followers are also given credit for the safety of the girls (1103). In response to Oedipus, who wishes to know how the battle was won (1115-1116), Antigone again offers a brief analepsis of the battle, which, however, imparts no narrative information about the event itself: οδ' εσθ' ó σώσας- τούδε χρή κλύειν, πάτερ, οΰ κάσα τοΰργον τούμόν ώδ' εσται βραχύ (1117-1118) Once more, Theseus is treated as the deliverer of the girls. Picking up έσωσαν (1103), σώσας (1117) maintains the theme of the Athenian king as saviour. According to Antigone, Theseus is the agent of the action (1118). A notion that is shared by Oedipus, who restates his daughter's analepsis (1123 σύ γάρ VLV εξέσωσας, ούκ άλλος βροτών 1129 εχω γάρ αχω διά σέ κούκ άλλον βροτών). In particular, the repetition of ούκ άλλος βροτών (1123) lays even more stress on the crucial intervention of Theseus.33 The recounting of the event by Oedipus, who did not have firsthand knowledge of the off-stage action, is not without significance. An analepsis is endowed with particular authority when it is reported by homo-diegetic and hetero-diegetic narrators alike. In a manner similar to Antigone, Theseus refrains from giving a detailed account of the off-stage battle. As a homo-diegetic narrator himself, he offers narrative glimpses of the action, which confirm his crucial rôle in the rescue, without elaborating on the fight. This time, however, the narratorial discretion of the characters about the event is given a certain ideological underpinning. In a Periclean turn of phrase, Theseus gives precedence to deeds over word thus putting an end to the constant drip of narrative clues about the battle: ού γάρ λόγοισι τον βίον σπουδάζομεν λαμπρόν ποιεΐσθαι μάλλον ή τοις δρωμένοις. (1143-1144) 33

Cf. Easterling (1973) 32.

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None the less, his piece of wisdom serves as an implicit analeptic pointer to the lustrous off-stage δρώμενα in which he was the protagonist. Despite his unwillingness to provide an analepsis, however sketchy, in telling Oedipus that he may well learn the particulars of the fighting from the girls (1149 α γ' εϊση καυτός έκ ταύταιν ξυνών), Theseus opens up the prospect of a distinct narrative. At this point in the play, an elaborate account of the battle, which is purposely left to be spelt out to the audience at a later juncture, appears to be a likely possibility. However, this never happens, and Oedipus goes to his death without learning what took place off stage. The unfulfilled prospect of a full-scale report throws into sharper relief the eventual elision of the fight from the primary narrative. What remains an undisputed fact is that the narrational knowledge, that Theseus so liberally demonstrated in the confrontation with Creon, was translated into decisive action. The practice of delaying plotting retards the revelation of narrative information, compelling the audience to suspend questions about the progress of the action. The narration plays a game of gaps with the spectators. It is often the case that in scissoring out events the playwright creates gaping chasms in the narrative. Despite the abortive narrative attempts, some story elements are bound to remain unspecified. In the most unexpected way, the issue of the protection of Oedipus and his daughters shifts into a major crisis. The very notion of Athens as a lawgoverned state with administrative honesty and respect for order and contracts is put to the ultimate test. As the embodiment of Athenian ideals, Theseus seeks to contain the arrogance of Creon. However, the crisis is resolved off stage. The battle turns out to be all the more significant in view of a greater conflict, which looms in the narrative horizon of the play. The prospect of war between Athens and Thebes places the off-stage action in a considerably broader temporal perspective. The paradox of this chapter is that the battle is never narrated. The narrative moves are executed on an off-stage board, which remains almost impenetrable to the audience. The striking ellipsis throws special emphasis on the victorious outcome of the fight, which is brought about by the valiant deeds of Theseus. Still, there is an even broader chronological perspective through which the action is filtered. The mighty law of change that Oedipus lays down accounts for both the present crisis and the impending war. Regardless of the inconstancy of human affairs, thé Athenians can rest assured that in fighting for the safe position of Oedipus at Colonus, they

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secure for themselves an ever-abiding locus of power, which neither time nor human insolence will ever corrupt. Indeed, in his apotheosis, Oedipus attains the achronic tranquillity that he most envied in the gods. In the next chapter, another climactic event, this time of a larger scale, is treated in narrative terms. Similar techniques are employed by Sophocles to build up the narrative momentum of Oedipus' heroic passing. Again normal access to the narrative is blocked through incompatible and insufficient cues. Even though Sophocles represents each action several times by means of repeated recountings in character dialogue, the momentby-moment unfolding of the narrative ends up in a glaring temporal discontinuity.

Chapter 4

Narration and Death As an off-stage event which falls within the time-scale of the play, the heroic death of Oedipus gives rise to a wide range of temporal reshufflings. A close engagement with the text reveals the well-calculated alternation of narrational situations in an immense jigsaw of secondary narrative. In order to give great importance to the miracle, Sophocles stretches the narration to breaking point. Notwithstanding the plethora of detailed accounts, the mysterious event is eventually blotted out from the principal narrative. The heroization of Oedipus is the climactic moment in a complex series of narrative patterns. In view of the repeated communications of Oedipus with the divine, the proleptic excursions imbue the impending event with special significance. However, as the passing of Oedipus seems to be purposely deferred beyond the ending of the play, only to occur more emphatically within the span of the action, the constant suppression of crucial narrative information creates an aura of mystery. At the end, after a spectacular exchange between Oedipus and the god, the momentous event is conveniently displaced to the off-stage world. In the light of the ingenious editorial move, the multiperspectival presentation throws into sharper relief the complexity of the miracle. By contrast with the proleptic clarity of Oedipus, who lays down the narrative rules, the rest of the characters strive to comprehend the wider implications of the heaven-appointed plan. Eventually, as painful analeptic obscurity gives way to hopeful proleptic discernment, the play concludes with a welcome narrative gap, which is all the more emphatic because of a relentless storm of defective retrospections. Further, certain allusions to Sophocles' Antigone cast a purposeful light on the mysterious events. The coming action of the Antigone hangs over the final scenes. The dispute between Antigone and Ismene over returning to the spot of Oedipus' death is a proleptic mirror-scene for the arguments of the earlier play. Regardless of the strong intertextual resonance, the eventual rapprochement between Antigone and Theseus stands in sharp contrast to the terrible outcome of civic disorder at Thebes. In view of the strong

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Athenian background, the close specificity of references to Antigone does not lead to disaster at Colonus.

The Death of Oedipus: Deferral and Secrecy Narration and Deferral The more we know about Oedipus' forthcoming elevation through heroic death, the more we feel that Sophocles is setting puzzles for us by careftilly withholding important narrative clues. As in the case of the cavalry battle, the narration gives the audience essential information piecemeal and retards their complete understanding of the situation. Despite the generous release of narrative, the constant suppression of vital cues for the audience to reconstruct story order creates an aura of mystery. As the narration glides smoothly into a restricted presentation, Sophocles hooks one causal chain to another by satisfying curiosity but not minimizing suspense. In view of the restricted narrational state, only gradually will a coherent narrative crystallize out of these self-conscious images. Divine will manifests itself by means of prophecies, which allow Oedipus to establish some kind of communication with the gods. Oedipus tunes his sensory capacities to certain informational wavelengths and then translates given data into narrative. His communion with divinity results in our gradual instruction in the wider implications of his heroic death. In the light of the oracular proleptic glances, certain rules of narrative play emerge into view. In granting great significance to the impending event, the analepses of his past suffering are repeatedly contrasted with the prolepses of his future reinstatement. However, the prolepses constantly redefine his apotheosis, without describing it in full. The exact circumstances of his heroic passing are zealously guarded. In view of the consistent postponement of crucial narrative information, the occurrence of the miracle momentarily appears to be conveniently deferred to a time after the ending of the play - but only in expectation. The unforeseen character of an event places heavy stress on the significance of the new narrative content. In order to throw into sharper relief the sudden disclosure of narrative information about the impending apotheosis, the playwright avails himself of a familiar editorial practice: he diverts the attention of the audience from the imminent outpouring of narrative clues. In manipulating the expectations of the spectators, he

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builds up a perfectly predictable narrative structure, only to break it in pieces with the blow of a carefully-timed narrative twist. The unanticipated revelation of Oedipus' death comes as a surprise in a play which opens with a purposeful reference to a recurring narrative schema. Even though the repeated scenario implies the enactment of yet another unexciting day in the vagrant life of Oedipus, the unexpected turn of events gives rise to a striking outflow of fresh narrative information (1-6). In particular, the temporal pointer καθ' ήμέραν την νϋν (3-4) alludes to an ever-recurring pattern of wandering and beggary. In benignly turning the narrative tables on Oedipus, Sophocles reveals the special character of this very day in his unhappy life. On hearing the name of the local divine presences, Oedipus peers deeper into the narrative past, only to stake a mighty claim to the future. Oedipus meets with the Stranger. Before directly referring to his prospective death at Colonus, he drops some indistinct narrative hints. In view of the unanticipated revelation, the narrative comes out with particular force. This is especially so in the light of certain narrative ploys, which draw attention to the importance of the predicted events. Specifically, the purposeful narrative vagueness creates an aura of mystery, which is not entirely dispelled by the following forward-looking statements. Also, the 'discretionary dissemination of narrative information', that is, the conveyance of narrative to a selected narratee, heightens the significance of the proleptic excursion. In selecting his narratee, Oedipus lays emphasis on the rôle of Theseus, who will be the recipient of an obscure benefaction. Even though the flow of narrative information is kept to a minimum, he speaks of certain benefits, which will be afforded to the Athenian king in return for a small service (72 ώς αν προσαρκών σμικρά κερδάντ] μέγα). However, he appears to be unwilling to shed more proleptic light on the oncoming event, αρκεσις (73), in particular, which is attested "only in literary texts'", places even more stress on the idea of service. After the departure of the Stranger, Oedipus offers some more narrative information about the gains which will be imparted to Athens. As he is alone with his daughter, he draws an oracle from the past:2 1 2

Kamerbeek (1984) apud 72, 3. Prophecies make up a rather special category of prolepses, which are frequently presented in the form of analepses. Characters often recall oracles, delivered in the past, which anticipate future events. This two-fold character of prophecies - the prolepsis is within the analepsis - amounts almost to achrony (cf. also Altheim 1925; Kamerbeek 1965; Machin 1981, 105-149; Bushnell 1988; Powell 1988).

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ώ πότνιαι δεινώπες, εΰτε νϋν έδρας πρώτων έφ' υμών τήσδ' γης εκαμψ' έγώ, Φοίβω τε κάμοί μή γένησθ' αγνώμονες, δς μοι τά πόλλ' έκεϊν' δτ' έξέχρη κακά, ταύτην ελεξε παΰλαν εν χρόνω μακρώ έλθόντι χώραν τερμίαν, δπου θεών σεμνών εδραν λάβοιμι και ξενόστασιν, ενταύθα κάμψειν τον ταλαίπωρον βίον κέρδη μέν οίκήσαντα τοις δεδεγμένοις, άτην δέ τοις πέμψασιν οί μ' άπήλασαν. σημεία δ' ήξειν τώνδέ μοι παρηγγύα, ή σεισμόν ή βροντήν τιν' ή Διός σέλας. (84-95) According to the unexpected revelation, his passing will come as a rest from his long-suffering life, but indefinite references are made to what will precede and what will follow the event. The repercussions of his death for both friends and enemies are described in general terms and no narrative details are given of his posthumous capacity to help and harm. The prophecy, which Oedipus reveals in his appeal to the Eumenides, does not even identify the precise tokens of the oncoming event. This is the first episode in a long series of extraordinary communications between Oedipus and the divine realm. In finely-timed spurts of narrative, the gods securely lead Oedipus to his miraculous death. Throughout this process of gradual revelation, Oedipus displays his ever growing confidence in recurrent strokes of proleptic power. Restricted narrative control creates an aura of mystery with regard to the reported events. The words of Apollo are purposely presented here in indirect speech (88-93). Some original elements of the divine discourse are employed in order to keep the enigmatic tone of the old prophecy. The oracular obscurity brings out the initial helplessness of Oedipus before the machinations of divine will. It is often the case that representation of speech in a narrative allows the narrator to place stress on a particular point of interest.3 ελεξε (88), which, as a neutral verb, lays emphasis on the then detachment of the oracular god from the hapless mortal, introduces the indirect speech. The unclear chronology and geography deepen the hint of obscurity in the narrative information. The Delphic god spoke of a respite after long years (88). Like a racehorse, Oedipus will reach his goal at a 3

On speech representation, see Rimmon-Kenan (1983) 106-116.

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land that will be his final boundary (89), where he is destined to guide his wretched life round the turning-post (91 ).4 Both èv χρόνω μακρώ (88) and χώραν τερμίαν (89) preserve something of the equivocality of the mantic pronouncement, which did not even specify the name of the Awful Goddesses (89-90 θεών σεμνών). The narrative vagueness of the mantic utterance creates an atmosphere of numinous awe with regard to the oncoming event. In signing off the narrative, Oedipus lays more stress on his restricted narratomi command. Again, the words of Apollo are presented in indirect speech (94-95). By contrast with the previous reference to the oracle, which retained some mimetic elements of the original discourse (88-93), this time Oedipus is quick to supply his own interpretation of the divine speech, without, however, professing to possess any accurate proleptic information, παρηγγύα (94), which introduces the indirect speech, stresses the enigmatic character of the prediction, which will manifest itself through some kind of password. The Delphic god spoke merely of signs, about which Oedipus offers a diffident guess when he identifies earthquake, thunder, or lightning as possibilities (95). τιν' (95), in particular, underscores the limited narrative knowledge of Oedipus, who has no other alternative but to wait for the divine warning, whatever this may be. Faced with the horror-stricken Chorus, who demand his immediate departure from Attica, Oedipus restates the prolepsis of his beneficial settlement at Colonus. Again, the religious context imbues the withheld knowledge with special authority. Also, the discretional dissemination of narrative information underscores the importance of the reported events: ήκω γάρ Ιερός ευσεβής τε και φέρων ονησιν άστοΐς τοΐσδ· δταν δ' ó κύριος παρη τις, υμών όστις εστίν ήγεμών, τότ' είσακούων πάντ' επιστήση- τά δέ μεταξύ τούτου μηδαμώς γίγνου κακός. (287-291) Theseus appears to have an important part in the oncoming event. Oedipus will reveal the benefits to him alone among men (288-290). Perhaps the striking omission of his name in this context, which both Campbell and Kamerbeek found most perplexing,5 is part of Oedipus' 4

5

For similar uses of κάμψειν denoting the end of one's life, see Eur. Hipp. 87 (cf. Barrett 1964, 175), El. 956, Hel. 1666. Cf. also Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 218. Cf. Campbell (1879 2 ) apud 288f.; Kamerbeek (1984) apud 288-291.

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narrative strategy of placing stress on the capacity of Theseus as king. Even though Oedipus is well aware of the name, which was earlier supplied by the Stranger (69 Θησεύς καλείται, του πριν Αίγέως τόκος), he purposely plays down its significance. Later in the play, in establishing a tradition in the line of the Athenian kings, he discloses the essence of the mystery to Theseus alone as lawful ruler of the land. The surprising arrival of Ismene throws into sharper relief the new release of narrative information, which, as it emanates from a divine source, has a special authority.6 Again, the ritual context of the proleptic glances endows the reported events with religious significance. It appears, that, instead of weather signs, the gods prefer to convey more proleptic information. In the light of the oracular gesture, Oedipus relishes his narratorial knowledge. An event is given great importance through striking proleptic glances at its aftermath. The broader temporal scope underscores the wider implications of the narrative information. In this case, the emphatic revelation of the serious repercussions of Oedipus' passing offers a considerably larger chronological perspective. More particularly, the disclosure of the new Apolline prophecies is not carried out in a continuous narrative. At this crucial point in the play, in establishing a bracing swift pace, the skilful use of stichomythia is a powerful means of controlling the information flow (385-413). In the stichomythic narration, the narrative momentum carefully builds towards the progressive revelation of the extraordinary power that Oedipus' grave will exercise on the Thebans in a future event of military might. In view of the adroit postponement of narrative content until it is most relevant, the playwright places heavy stress on the ability of Oedipus to help and harm after death. Ismene offers a string of unspecified prolepses. After the insistent questioning of Oedipus, who is not content with the incomplete forwardlooking statements, she finally discloses the vital information about the way his posthumous power will sway the fate of Thebes (411 της σης ύπ' οργής σοΐς δταν στώσιν τάφοις). The initial suppression of narrative

6

Hero-cults were often established by the Delphic oracle (cf. Lloyd-Jones 1976; Parker 1985; Kearns 1989, 47). On hero-cult, see Farnell (1921); Brelich (1958); Méautis (1940); Andronikos (1968); Coldstream (1976); Bremmer (1978); Humphreys (1980); Bérard (1982); Whitley (1987); Morris (1989); Alcock (1991); Ortiz (1993); Antonaccio (1993), (1995); Bowden (1995); Conolly (1998); Hägg (1999); PirenneDelforge & Suárez de la Torre (2000); Albinus (2000) 57-66.

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renders the eventual revelation all the more emphatic. The cut and thrust of the stichomythic narration finds here its climax. The new prophecies do not in any way cancel the former, but merely confirm them, especially in regard to the prospective doom which is in store for those who banished Oedipus from Thebes (93 ατην τοις πέμψασιν). Even though the event is set at an indeterminate time in the future, far beyond the time-frame of the action, Ismene predicts disaster for the Thebans.7 It appears that, in suffering some kind of misfortune near his grave, the people of Cadmus will taste the implacable wrath of Oedipus. The use of the locative dative, which is frequently employed in Homer,8 gives a certain solemnity to the dismal prolepsis (411 τάφοις). The new prophecies, brought to Colonus by Ismene, complete the tutoring of Oedipus into his destined heroic death. As each communication between Oedipus and the divine is followed by the release of more proleptic narrative, Oedipus offers more hints, without, however, revealing the essential character of the miracle. Now it is the turn of the Athenian king to be instructed into the special circumstances of Oedipus' passing. There are, none the less, a number of things which still escape him. The most important is the precise time of his death. It will take another divine communication, in the ominous form of thunderclaps, for Oedipus to know that he is after all destined to meet his end on the same, rather protracted, day of his arrival at Colonus. After his acceptance as a supplicant, Oedipus tells Theseus of his intention to give his body to Athens, a gift of great importance for the city:

7

Commentators have been uneasy with the obscurity of the phrasing and have attempted to relate the prophecy to certain military incidents, such as the cavalry skirmish between the Athenians and a partly Boeotian force (Diod. 13. 73; cf. also Kamerbeek 1984 apud 411; Calder 1985; Pelling 2000, 173; on other historical connections with regard to Colonus, see David 1995). Also, Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 230 endorse the conjecture δτ' άντώσιν τάφοις which brings forth the desirable military allusion (cf. also Lloyd-Jones & Wilson 1997,121; the emendation is adopted by Lloyd-Jones 1994 in his Loeb edition). However, this is to read far ahead of the text. Here Oedipus simply refers to an encounter, which he leaves purposefully vague in view of his general secrecy with regard to his grave. In a personal communication, Easterling argued in favour of the manuscript reading because of the possible applicability of so general a word to ritual activity.

8

Cf. Jebb(1900 3 ) apud 411.

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δώσων ίκάνω τούμόν αθλιον δέμας σοί, δώρον ού σπουδαιον εις όψιν τά δέ κέρδη παρ' αύτοϋ κρείσσον' ή μορφή καλή. (576-578) However, there is a continued emphasis on the chronological unspecificity of the event, which is skilfully sustained by his lack of firm knowledge. In wrongfooting the narrative expectations of the audience, through a carefully-planned temporal imprecision, the playwright is at pains to throw into sharper relief the oncoming death of Oedipus, which will eventually fall within the time-span of the play.9 The military importance of his grave for Attica is eventually revealed in a confident assertion that Athens is bound to be attacked by Thebes (605 οτι σφ' άνάγκη τηδε πληγήναι χθονί). At some point in the future, the life blood of the men responsible for his expulsion will be drained by his buried corpse (621 -628). Regardless of the terrible nature of the future encounter, there is a distinct aura of secrecy about the manifestation of the grave's malignant power. Here, in treating the narratorial reticence as a pious obligation, Oedipus lays down an important rule of narrative play. His corpse will remain κεκρυμμένος (621) and the 'mysteries' with regard to the circumstances of his protective presence in Attica will be shrouded in silence (624). τάκίνητ' επη (624), in particular, which refers to certain secrets that are banned from access, places heavy stress on the exclusive character of the narrative information. In view of the temporal and topographical vagueness, the occurrence of the miracle appears to be conveniently delayed until after the ending of the play. Even though proleptic references do occur before the unexpected thunders of Zeus, in manipulating the narrative expectations of the audience, the playwright diverts the attention from the imminent mystery. As the new-found power of Oedipus sets in motion the successive arrivals of Creon and Polynices, certain proleptic clues maintain the theme of the extraordinary benefaction. In his fierce retort to Creon, Oedipus exposes the real motive behind the Theban envoy's sudden advent in Colonus, ' In view of similar instances of the establishment of hero-cult in tragedy, the audience may well understand in his allusive phrase that the apotheosis will occur beyond the time-span of the play. It is always the case, especially in Euripides, that aetiologies of hero worship come at the very end of plays and more often than not refer to a time far removed from the staged action. On Euripidean aetiologies, see Dunn (1996) 26-44 with relevant bibliography.

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which is no other than ensuring lasting protection against Athens (785786 πόλις δέ σοι / κακών άνατος τησδ' άπαλλαχθη χθονός). Also, in his emotional appeal to Oedipus, Polynices makes mention of the same oracles, which speak of his father's instrumental part in the civil war (1331-1332 εί γάρ τι πιστόν έστιν έκ χρηστηρίων, / οις αν σύ προσθη, τοΐσδ' εφασκ' είναι κράτος).10 However, neither of these proleptic excursions reveal the timing of the miracle. It will take the terrifying thunderbolts of the supreme god for the audience to know that Oedipus is destined to find the end of his life within the time-limits of the action. In picking up the narrative thread once more, Sophocles purposely releases abundant narrative information, only to withhold the essence of the miracle. As the heroic death of Oedipus gathers narrative momentum on the sound of the thunders, the constant suppression of significant clues eventually results in a most emphatic ellipsis.

Narration and Secrecy In placing the death of Oedipus within the span of the play, Sophocles springs a significant narrative surprise. In the light of the chronological vagueness with respect to the impending death of Oedipus, which appeared to be postponed until after the ending of the primaiy narrative, the catalytic effect of the thunder is all the more pronounced (1456). Contrary to expectation, the much-anticipated apotheosis of Oedipus does not only take place within the time-frame of the tragic narrative, but also becomes the main focus of the remaining action. It is often the case that lyric exchanges between characters give rise to a wide variety of individual narrative threads which weave in and out of a larger tapestry. As different narratives converge at the fulcrum of time, distinct story-lines are thus braided together. This plurality of narrative reorderings and understandings, alerts the spectators to the frequently complex character of past

10

Less probably, the reference is to a separate oracle or set of oracles concerning the war between the brothers. Polynices himself speaks of certain μάντεις at Argos who named his father's Erinys as the cause of the brothers' feud (1299-1300). It is likely that one of those soothsayers is Amphiaraus himself, who, according to Polynices (1314), is matchless in the art of augury. On the vagueness of the Theban past and present, see Scodel (1999) 116-117.

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and future action. The multiperspectival presentation through kommatic narration, which often features a remarkable range of contrasting and complementary views, demands that the mind move over events in their temporal interrelation, setting up patterns of sequence and consequence (1447-1517). As the narrative curtain rises on the mysterious passing of Oedipus, the kommatic narration allows the playwright to filter the oncoming event through a multiplicity of perspectives. In this case, the contradictory narrative strands, which begin to mesh on the terrifying sound of the thunders, eventually develop into a unifying perspective. Even though the horror-stricken Chorus repeatedly anticipate disaster, at the close of the narration they come to share the hopeful outlook of Oedipus, who displays a deeper understanding of divine will. Despite the remarkable wealth of information that is so liberally supplied by the recurrent reports, the special circumstances of Oedipus' apotheosis are never disclosed. From now on, the narrative momentum is powerfully building towards the eventual elision of this specific part of the off-stage action. The purposeful outpouring of proleptic and analeptic statements aims to throw into sharper relief the striking narrative hiatus, which is treated as the most significant parameter of Oedipus' hero-cult. As peal on peal comes down from the sky, the Chorus turn to gods for assistance." However, for Oedipus the sudden storm has a totally different meaning (1447-1461). The same narrative pattern carries over to the next stanza. Once more, the Chorus express their anxiety over the horrifying sound of the thunder and Oedipus, as he is in control of the situation, looks forward to his passing (1462-1476). As the polyphonic narration is gathering momentum, a third thunderclap throws the Colonans into despair (1477-1490). Driven by their uncontrollable fear, they appeal to the god to be merciful (1480). Oedipus at last speaks of the promised requital for the sympathy he received at the hands of the Athenians (14891490). σφιν (1490), in particular, with all its vagueness, places stress on the civic significance of the impending bonus, which will be enjoyed by Theseus and the people of Attica.12 Even though the kommatic narration " On the 'synaesthetic' imagery, see Segal (1977) 95. On meteorological signs, see Albini (1974). 12 Cf. Jebb (1900 5 ) apud 1489f., who argues that "σφιν is most naturally taken here, with the sch., as ούτω", but I see no reason for so restricted a treatment, especially in view

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started out with a splintered perspective, the conclusion is characterized by an unexpected unifying outlook on the prospective death of Oedipus. In view of the converging plotlines, the impending passing of Oedipus is eventually stripped of any ominous connotations. However, as the contrasting perspectives of the characters begin to intersect at this point in time, the previous conflicting visions serve as a painful reminder of how difficult, not to say unattainable, is an unproblematic evaluation of the event. None the less, the Chorus recognize the truer proleptic knowledge of Oedipus and, in a clear demonstration of their agreement, join him in summoning the Athenian king (1491-1499). Theseus arrives at Colonus (1500-1504). The prompt arrival occurs just in time for Oedipus, who is most keen to explain the scenario of his hopeful passing. This is one among many timely events in which the gods show a remarkable kindness towards Oedipus. In keeping with the pattern of new narrative after divine communion, Oedipus releases more information. In this case, he establishes certain strict rules of narrative play. He lays down the regulations of his hero worship in recurrent proleptic excursions (1518-1555). The very events of his miraculous translation to the Underworld and the establishment of his tomb are carefully guarded. Apart from Theseus, no one will ever know the manner of the apotheosis and the location of the grave. The narrative gap, which is eagerly sustained by the Choral ode and the analeptic excursions, is treated as a most significant trait of his hero-cult. In particular, this is the only instance in extant tragedy where a powerful ritual barrier is erected to information flow. The carefully-observed ellipsis, which remains untouched by the recurrent narrative forays to the off-stage world, has a unique character. The great importance of the narrative hiatus is indicated by the outpouring of narrative which follows the event. In this case, in an effort to throw into sharper relief the temporal rift, the playwright avails himself of the oldest narrative ploy in the book: the more the narrative information, the more emphatic the ellipsis. In giving the final instructions to the Athenian king, Oedipus speaks of a place where he is destined to depart from life (1518-1525). διδάξω (1518) underscores the narrative authority of Oedipus, who expounds the special parameters of his hero-cult. As another εξηγητής of sacred law, he of 1496 και πόλισμα και φίλους. In a personal communication, Easterling agreed with my less restricted treatment.

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explains the esoteric knowledge of his tomb to the Athenian king (1520 έξηγήσομαι). He is eager to place particular emphasis on the strictness of the cultic co-ordinates. Neither the exact place of his grave must be revealed, nor even the region in which it is situated (1522-1523). The conveniently obscure τόποι,ς (1523) demonstrates the pressing need for secrecy because "when used in the plural it naturally acquires a wider meaning."13 Further, echoing τάκίνητ' επη (624), έξάγιστα (1526) points up the religious significance of the exclusive narrative information, which cannot be uttered without impiety. None the less, the guarding of the mystery will not be the prerogative of Theseus alone. Even though Theseus is nominated as the lawful keeper of the secret (1530), Oedipus establishes a tradition of secrecy in the line of the Athenian kings, which far surpasses the mythical context of the play (1530-1532). In the light of the extraordinary tradition, the hero-cult extends out of myth into fifth-century Athens. The significant repetition of αίεί (1530, 1532), a chronological pointer which is employed time and again by Oedipus, enhances the diachronic character of the unusual ritual. In particular, the deliberate vagueness of τω προφερτάτω (1531), which may well denote all successive Athenian rulers, including the man who will be made the proper keeper of the secret by the democratic polis, invests the sacred tradition with a distinctively civic meaning for the original audience.14 Perhaps the potential pun on the Spartans gives the prospective hero-cult an even more obvious historical grounding (1534 σπάρτων άπ' άνδρών). Further, κάπ' εύπραξία (1554), an expression which is reminiscent of "the terms of a treaty",15 throws emphasis on the need for the people of Attica to honour Oedipus in death so that their wellbeing will forever abide. This is especially so in view of the timeless character of the protection, which is again underscored by the long range temporal pointer άεί (1555; cf. 1530, 1532). As a fitting conclusion to the narrative, the repetition of άεί (1555) gives the impending event a everlasting significance, which allows Oedipus to stake a claim to the good-fortune of fifth-century Athens and beyond. 15 14

15

Chadwick (1996) 282. In the light of the patriotic overtones, one is tempted to argue that 1532 ó δ' άεί τφπιόνχι δεικνύτω evokes Pericles' reference to the Athenian authorities in Thuc. ii. 37. 3 των τε αίεί έν άρχτ) όντων. It has been suggested that the Periclean phrase perhaps echoes the ephebic oath (Tod 204.11 και εύηκοήσω των άεί κραινόντων; cf. Siewert 1977, 105; Hornblower 1991 apud ii. 37. 3). Jebb (1900') apud 1554f.

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In the light of the achronic prolepsis that is established by the dying breath of the hero himself, both the mythological and the historical future become one and the same.

Praying for Death The Chorus now turn their thoughts to Oedipus in a placatory appeal to the infernal powers (1556-1578). This is typical of the Chorus, who frequently in Greek tragedy wish to establish a special connection with the off-stage world through prayer. In availing themselves of the familiar convention, the Colonans offer recurrent prolepses of potential action. They ask the powers below to grant Oedipus a peaceful passing. However, in view of the nature of the proleptic excursion, their narrative authority is limited. Calling upon a divinity to achieve the desired outcome of an event is not invariably followed by an affirmative response. Often prayers remain unanswered or gods bring the course of events to an opposite end.16 In the light of the obscurity of divine will, the Chorus' propitiatory address does not presuppose a favourable conclusion. This is especially so in view of the unusual character of the appeal. By contrast with the Olympians, underworld divinities are not normally invoked because votaries do not have any special claims on them. Pluto and the other χθόνιοι θεοί are deaf to human prayers on account of their relentless disposition. More importantly, in view of the significance of praying in Greek culture,17 prayer is often employed by the Chorus as a powerful means of establishing a narrative link to off-stage action.18 In offering a valuable insight into the reported world, the Ode sustains a particular narrative tone of voice, which shows a certain unwillingness to reveal the events in full. This is especially so in view of the strict code of narrative reticence, which was introduced through the incomplete prolepses of Oedipus' death, 16 17

18

Cf. Mikalson (1989); Pulleyn (1997) 9ff.; Lateiner (1997) 269. On prayer in Greek culture, see Norden (1913) 143-163; Festugière (1954) 10-18; Brandt (1965); Yunis (1988) 142-143; Mikalson (1991) 49-53, 65-61; Morrison (1991); Aubriot-Sévin (1992), (1994); OCD1 1242-1243 (Versnel); Pulleyn (1997); Lateiner (1997). Notable examples are: Aesch. Supp. 524-599; Soph. Ant. 1115-1154; Eur. Heracl. 608628, Hipp. 732-775, Supp. 598-634, Ion 1048-1105, Phoen. 1018-1066, Bacch. 370-431, IA. 1510-1531.

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and later formally established through the extraordinary secrecy of his grave. As in the case of the cavalry battle, which is conveniently edited out from the choral account (1044-1095), the Chorus show themselves to be an important instrument in the hands of the playwright, who maintains the pacing of the narration through their lack of firm knowledge. However, in this specific case the stakes are even higher. The unfailing observance of narrative silence is a necessary condition for the lasting prosperity of Athens. Once the secret is unveiled through an unwelcome narrative intrusion, the long-term prospect of Athenian good-fortune will be immediately cancelled. Despite the restricted narrational state, the Chorus drop some important hints of development and direction. In a manner similar to the description of the battle, in enriching the narrative agenda of the play, they strike a personal note in the face of the inevitable turn of events. By contrast with Oedipus, who was far more austere in releasing narrative information about his imminent κατάβασις, they repeatedly imagine a peaceful passing. In offering recurrent prolepses of a painless descent to the netherworld, they introduce a narrative theme, which Oedipus was all too restrained to touch upon. This is not without special significance. As a powerful argument against excessive mourning, their proleptic excursions are persistently echoed in the retrospective narratives of the off-stage events. The Chorus focus their thoughts on the critical moment of Oedipus' crossing the great divide between life and death. Alarmed by the recurrent thunders, they fear that his passing will perhaps come about in a violent and distressful fashion.19 Heroization is not always painless and the ominous signs of thunder and lightning do not help much to dispel their fears.20 In the first stanza, the Chorus ask Persephone and Hades to see to the peaceful death of Oedipus (1556-1567). In conformity with the strict code of secrecy, the narrative focus turns away from the action in the inner part of the grove to the murky domain of Hades. However, this is done so with a slight narrative twist. In adopting a far more ambitious narrative strategy, the Chorus spotlight a neglected aspect of Oedipus'

19

20

A tranquil death is most desirable in Greek tragedy. Ajax himself calls upon Hermes to lay him softly to sleep without convulsion (Soph. Aj. 832-833; cf. also Aesch. Ag. 1292 of Cassandra). The cases of Heracles, Hippolytus, Ajax and Eurystheus indicate the terrible aspect of heroic honour. Also, on διόβλητοι heroes (Heracles, Kapaneus, Semele), see Garland (1985) 99-100.

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heroic exaltation. The Chorus call upon the infernal divinities to grant him a passing which is not painful and does not cause sore lamentation (1560). Prolepsis by negation is often used to bring attention to a point of interest. In this case the negative statement implies the possible scenario of an unhappy outcome, which the Colonans seek to avert. Both επιπόνως (1560) and βαρυαχεί (1560), which is a hapax, alert the audience to the precariouness of the appeal. The pious request of the Chorus aims to overthrow a most likely narrative possibility, but the unfolding of the favourable scenario is in the power of the chthonian deities. In the second stanza, the Chorus repeat their request for Oedipus' tranquil death. This time, however, they specify in visual terms the painless manner of his arrival at the netherworld (1568-1578). They call upon the infernal goddesses (1568 χθόνιαι θεαί) and the invincible hound, which is given a strong ά-epithet (1568-1569 σώμά τ' άνικάτου θηρός).21 In asking for a serene passing, they come back to the critical moment when Oedipus goes through the gates of Hades.22 This time, they evoke an impressive image of whining Cerberus, who is referred to in a periphrasis which features yet another ά-epithet (1572 άδάματον φύλακα; cf. 1569). Oedipus is pictured as crossing those very gates of Hades on his way to the plain of the dead, without being harassed by the terrible hound (1575-1577).23 At the close

21

According to Bond (1981) apud 24, "the poets are remarkably shy about naming Cerberus." Before Aristophanes, the name only occurs in Hes. Theog. 311 and Pi. fr. 249 Snell/Maehler. Bond (1981) apud 24 puts forward the suggestion that "serious poets avoid it deliberately, perhaps for some religious reason." I would add that the name does not occur in extant tragedy perhaps because Cerberus is a bit comic. Apart from Stesichorus, who wrote a Cerberus (PMG 206), Sophocles himself is credited with a play named Cerberus. The play is quoted only once and may have been identical with Sophocles' lost Heracles. Cerberus is said to have been brought up from the Underworld by Heracles. The only preserved line refers to the spirits of the dead: άλλ' οί θανόντες ψυχαγωγούνται μόνοι (327a Radt). On Cerberus and the Gates of Hades, see Eur. HF 1277 (cf. also Soph. Track 1098).

22

On Underworld geography, see Garland (1985) 48-76. The Chorus' specific request may have sounded unusual to the original audience. Cerberus is not hostile to newcomers. On the contrary, the hound peacefully fawns the newly arrived dead, while he is implacable to those who attempt to escape (Hes. Theog. 767-774). Possibly the Chorus simply think of the terrible character of Cerberus, which might have alarmed Oedipus. Their invocation of Cerberus shows the special concern of the Chorus for Oedipus. The elders would resent even the slightest displeasure for Oedipus on his way to Hades.

23

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of the prayer, Thanatos, who, according to the choral strategy, is not named in the Ode, but may well appear in both his capacities as son of Earth and Tartarus (1574 ώ Γάς παΐ και Ταρτάρου) and ever-lasting sleep (1578 τον αίέν ΰπνον), 24 is also called upon to make sure that Cerberus leaves a clear way for Oedipus.25 In sustaining the narrative momentum, the Ode prepares the ear for the recurring analeptic excursions into the off-stage world by a wide variety of retrospective narrators. Apart from anticipating their own response, which turns the focus on the hopeful outcome of the miracle, they lay heavy stress on a significant narrative theme. In the light of their distinct narrational strategy, the painless character of Oedipus' heroic elevation becomes an important topic in the narrative agenda of the play. In seeking to flesh out the bones of the off-stage world with ample narrative invention, the characters echo the proleptic excursions of the Chorus. However, the Messenger, Antigone, Ismene and Theseus have an almost indisputable narrative authority, which emanates from their capacity as homo-diegetic narrators. Even though they do not raise the veil of narrative secrecy, they make abundantly clear that Oedipus did indeed meet a peaceful death.

Narrative Tactics: The Messenger The Messenger opens a series of retrospective narratives of rising affective intensity through which the miraculous death of Oedipus is repeatedly filtered. First the messenger-speech (1586-1666) subjects the climax of the stoiy to full narrational control, with scope for all the pacing, viewpoint, and structuring devices otherwise barred from tragic narration. In his blow-by-blow account, the Messenger attempts to make an orderly chain of the disarray of off-stage events. As the action unfolds, his narrative offers a controlled point of view which sharpens or blurs focus, closes up

24 25

Cf. Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1574 and 1578. The Chorus' invocation of Thanatos would have been interpreted by the original audience as a further appeal to the powers below to see to Oedipus' safe passing. Both Thanatos and Sleep are generally associated in the Greek mind with a painless death and are often depicted on funerary lekythoi denoting a peaceful passing to the Underworld. Cf. Vermeule (1979) 145-151; Garland (1985) 56-59; Vernant (1991) 9597; Sourvinou-Inwood (1995a) ch. 5; Wöhrle (1995) 24-41.

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or draws off, concurrently providing occasional commentary on the recounted action. Even though his analepsis has a restricted chronological scope and his interpretative power is curtailed by his limited narrative knowledge, his emotional detachment does not let the report slip into lamentation. By contrast, as they are overwhelmed by their feelings of grief, Antigone and Ismene plunge into an unceasing lament, which is persistently opposed by the Chorus' analeptic reflections (1670-1750). In the play, in the light of momentous events, the narrative line halts to make way for all the debate of narrative goals before the story moves forward. In a manner similar to the ominous thunderclaps, the narrative turmoil of the kommatic narration punctuates this critical point in the action. A lyric dialogue serves as the climactic synthesis of conflicting viewpoints, which supply considerably wider temporal and emotional filters. This uneasy texture of voices, which are in deadly embrace with one another, alerts the spectators to the difficulty in reaching a narrative consensus. As the suspending function of repetition makes clear that the constant unwinding of the narrative can never be reduced to a single-centred circle, the audience are invited to participate in a spectacle that stretches the narrational control of the characters to breaking point. In the light of the relentless narrative tugof-war between the girls and the Chorus to which Theseus is eventually added as a mighty authority, the off-stage events become an interconnection of carefully chosen samples all mutually implied and conditioned in the whole. It is true that contrasting views on the same set of events can coexist without being reconciled by a synthesizing consciousness. However, by the end of the play, there is a certain narrative rapprochement between the girls and the Athenians. The code of secrecy, which is forcefully echoed in the quoted words of Oedipus, finalizes the narrative agenda. In particular, the idea of a peaceful passing, which is persistently recalled, alleviates the ritual distress of Antigone and Ismene. The eventual settlement of the contradictory narrative strands results in what was formerly programmed by reticent Oedipus: the excision of the miracle from the primary narrative. Even though the narrative momentum remains unfulfilled, grinding to a halt before the narratorial discretion of the characters, the secret lies safe in the sacred grove and so the prosperity of Athens. The Messenger, in his capacity as resident of Colonus and attendant of Theseus, offers his own version of the off-stage action, this time, however,

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after the event itself. His analepsis has special authority, since it comes from an eye-witness. The narrative of the Messenger brings out the complexity of the off-stage action. The tension between the distinctively ritual patterning of the events and the restricted interpretative power of the Messenger intensifies the aura of mystery.26 In this case, as he is faced with a religious spectacle he cannot fully comprehend, the Messenger reports rather than interprets. As a homo-diegetic narrator, he is at some pains to show the amazing nature of what happened in the inner part of the holy meadow. This he does through such diverse narrative techniques as an emphatic anticipation of his audience's response, a significant temporal digression, an elaborate descriptive account, a reversal of the chronology of a familiar ritual and a series of hopeless narrative speculations in the face of scanty evidence. By contrast with the psychagogic power of the Messenger, who remains dazed by the miracle, Oedipus appears to be on a higher plane than the rest of the bystanders on account of his communication with the god. His control of the situation and his profound understanding of the divine, which were both evident in the insightful explication of the prophecies, demonstrates his impending heroic status. Again, certain narrative devices are employed to define the ritual pattern of the communion between Oedipus and the divine. In particular, the repetition of significant actions, the ample quotations of his words alongside that of the god and the occasional filtering of the events through his perspective, place Oedipus closer to the divine realm, as indeed his prospective heroic standing presupposes. In view of the full-scale messenger-narrative, the audience are made to feel the returning shockwaves of the off-stage events. However, they will never know what took place at the time of the miracle. As the narrative momentum is carefully building towards the effacing of the mystery from the play, the conclusion of the messenger-speech is puzzling rather than revealing. It is a common practice for the Messenger on his arrival to state as briefly as possible the core message of his narrative.27 This he does here, without, however, letting slip any specific remarks about the special character of the event:

16 27

On the restricted view of the Messenger, see Goward (1999) 183 n.23. Cf. de Jong (1992) 574. It is often the case that the messenger lays particular emphasis on the brevity of his utterance (cf. Soph. El. 673, OT1234-1235).

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Αγ. άνδρες πολϊται, ξυντομωτάτως μεν αν τύχοιμι λέξας Οίδίπουν όλωλόταά δ' ήν τά πραχθέντ' οΰθ' ό μΰθος έν βραχεί φράσαι πάρεστιν οΰτε ταργ' οσ' ήν εκεί. Χο. ολωλε γαρ δύστηνος; Αγ. ώς λελοιπότα κεΐνον τόν αεί βίοτον έξεπίστασο. Χο. πώς; άρα θεία κάπόνω τάλας τύχη; (1579-1585) His purpose is to lay emphasis on the finality of what happened in the recesses of the grove and to arouse the interest of his addressees. In offering a quick retrospective glance, he refers to the death of Oedipus (1579-1580). ξυντομωτάτως (1579), in particular, underscores the extreme brevity of the account. As the Messenger is not comfortable with this most economic analepsis, he quickly adds that the events leading up to Oedipus' passing in the inner part of the grove are far more protracted and complicated than they are explained in a one-line synopsis (1581-1582). His emphasis on the great number of deeds that occurred off stage paves the way for an especially long report. Prompted again by the Chorus (1583), the Messenger restates the gist of the account by confirming Oedipus' death (1583-1584).28 Yet, the Chorus wish to know more. As a tranquil death was a significant part of their narrative strategy, they enquire whether Oedipus was given a safe passing (1585). Echoing the previous prolepsis of his painless death (1561 έπιπόνως μήτ' επί βαρυαχεΐ), κάπόνω (1585) is an unmistakable indication that the peaceful κατάβασις of Oedipus will be high on the narrative agenda of the Chorus.

28

This time, however, his statement is possibly characterized by a significant change of focus. If the manuscript reading λελοιπότα is accepted, as Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 261 suggest, then the Messenger simply restates in elaborate language that Oedipus is in fact dead, adding that he has left behind his wretched 'everyday life' (cf. also Burkert 1985b, 14 who explains how the manuscript reading leaves room for the special character of Oedipus' passing). On the other hand, Mudge's λελογχότα ('allotted', endorsed first by Wilamowitz, who is followed by Dain, Dawe and Kamerbeek) is a plausible emendation, and, if accepted, the Messenger is alluding here to the immortal life in store for Oedipus as this emanates from his heroic status. In a personal communication, Easterling thought that Lloyd-Jones & Wilson may be right here and drew my attention to Burkert's incisive treatment. Also, Günther (1998) 7 thinks that Mekler's ι ό ν άνδρα (1584) is "highly likely" and he adds that "the emphasis on the human status of the deceased is particularly fitting in contrast to θεία in 1585." On other views, see Pötscher (1952); Dietz (1972).

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The Messenger, none the less, refrains from giving a direct answer and, in plunging into an elaborate narrative, postpones the eventual revelation, which occurs at the climactic moment of the account. His ultimate purpose is to heighten the significance of the withheld information. From the very beginning of the report, the Messenger is at pains to set the narrative tone, which is one of amazement at the off-stage events. In restating a certain part of the enacted story, he wishes to place the narrative within a certain chronological context and, more importantly, reinforce the claim about Oedipus' amazing passing." In offering his own interpretation, he establishes a narrative tone of voice which characterizes the account, κάποθαυμάσαι (1586), in particular, indicates the restricted narratomi command of the Messenger. The feeling of wonderment is, moreover, underscored by the use of καί (1586), which is often employed to "bring attention to a specific point of interest".30 Furthermore, instead of starting the tale from the point when Oedipus enters the sacred grove, the Messenger recalls a part of the staged action (1587-1589).His purpose is to throw emphasis on the miraculous transformation of Oedipus from a time-worn beggar into a man who is animated by the gods. The allusion to the previous scene is made plain in the similarity of language between Oedipus' confident statement with regard to his imminent death (1551 ήδη γάρ ερπω τον τελευταΐον βίον) and the reference to his majestic departure by the Messenger (1587 ώς μέν γάρ ένθένδ' ειρπε). After the significant narrative deviation (1587-1589), the Messenger embarks on a full-scale report of what really transpired off stage. The evocation of sacred places contributes to the significance of what is happening.31 The Messenger is quick to map out the setting of the action. In releasing a generous amount of narrative information about the spot where Oedipus took his seat, he establishes a significant background against which the ritual actions leading up to the apotheosis are enacted. Also, in presenting a detailed topographical description, he is again at some pains to show the amazing character of the event. In view of his minute knowledge of the ground, Oedipus is pictured as indeed a man inspired by

29

30 31

For similar feelings of amazement at off-stage action, see Eur. Ion 1142, Bacch. 693, 1063. Jebb (1900 5 ) apud 1585f. Apart from the messenger in HF, all the Euripidean messengers offer geographical pointers at the outset of their narrative (cf. de Jong 1991, 149-150).

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the gods (1590-1597).32 As a frequent pointer to new narrative sections, επεί (1590) signals the commencement of this novel phase in the narration.33 After the elaborate description of the setting, the Messenger focuses the narration on the ritual actions of Oedipus and his daughters. In recounting the swift funerary preparations, which are performed so zealously by Antigone and Ismene at the instigation of their father, he lays special emphasis on how much Oedipus is in control of the situation. This he does through a particular narrative technique, which plays the previous minute description of the sacred places against the restricted topographical knowledge of Oedipus. This is not all, however. As Oedipus and the girls are the constant focus of the narrative, the Messenger places stress on their intimacy, which is made plain in the loving care of Antigone and Ismene towards their father. In particular, the expedient performance of the funerary ritual, which is in itself a striking chronological compression, brings out the strong relationship between Oedipus and his daughters: ειτ' ελυσε δυσπινεΐς στολάς. κάπειτ' άΰσας παΐδας ήνώγει ρυτών ύδάτων ένεγκειν λουτρά και χοάς πόθεν τώ δ' εΰχλόου Δήμητρος εις προσόψιον πάγον μολούσα τάσδ' έπιστολάς πατρί ταχεΐ 'πόρευσαν ξύν χρόνω, λουτροΐς τέ νιν έσθητί τ' εξήσκησαν η νομίζεται. (1597-1603) Oedipus sets the action in motion by giving a series of commands to his daughters (1598-1599). ήνώγει (1598) is his first speech-act and, as a marker of the illocutionary force of the utterance, also the first indication of his decision-making power. The Messenger underscores the paternal relationship of Oedipus to Antigone and Ismene. In this case, παΐδας 32

Perhaps, έν πολυσχίστων μια (1592) recalls Oedipus' other meeting with destiny at the Phocean σχιστή όδός {OT 733). Also, the passing reference to the story of Theseus and Peirithous (1593-1594) functions as an implicit analepsis to the Athenian mythical past, which perhaps may be treated in retrospect as an homology to the off-stage event. The catabasis of Theseus and Peirithous is reminiscent of the imminent removal of Oedipus to the Underworld. In particular, the evocation of the story brings to mind the significant rôle of Theseus in Peirithous' rescue from Hades. The king of Athens respected his pledge to Peirithous as he is to do once more with regard to his pact with Oedipus (1637, 1767).

33

On έπεί as a typical way to start a narrative, see Rijksbaron (1976).

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(1598) brings out the special bond between Oedipus and the girls. This is especially so in view of the mournful context of the scene. According to Greek practice, the funerary preparations were preferably conducted by the next of kin. More importantly, the Messenger places heavy stress on the miraculous inspiration of Oedipus, which allowed him to place himself at exactly the appropriate point in the grove. It is often the case that speech representation underscores a particular topic of interest. In presenting the orders of Oedipus in indirect speech (1598-1599), the Messenger makes a point of preserving some elements of the original words. As ήνώγει (1598) signals the indirect speech, πόθεν (1599) lays special emphasis on Oedipus' restricted knowledge of Colonus, which is set against his previous extraordinary position in the midst of the complex sacred places. In particular, in order to make his topographical ignorance even more pronounced, the Messenger is quick to supply a knowledgeable geographical pointer (1600-1601 τώ δ' εύχλόου Δήμητρος εις προσόψιον / πάγον). In the light of his lack of familiarity with the setting, Oedipus' previous insight, which allowed him to guide himself to the precise spot, is made here all the more emphatic. Moreover, in accelerating the action, the Messenger throws stress on the particular care with which Antigone and Ismene perform the funerary preparations. The orders are carried out willingly (1600-1603). The Messenger does not dwell much on the movements of the girls. The action is compressed into four lines, thereby underscoring the swiftness of Antigone and Ismene in providing their father with the required white garments and funerary ablutions. Again, the special relationship between Oedipus and his daughters is emphasized by the Messenger. In a manner similar to παΐδας (1598), πατρί (1601) reminds the audience of the duty that Antigone and Ismene have towards their father. The girls were quick to furnish Oedipus with the necessary garment and minister to him with washing (1602-1603). In describing the ritual actions, the Messenger focuses the attention on the meticulous character of the preparations. Not only did Antigone and Ismene obey their father's command, but, in a certain case, acted beyond the call of duty. As the repetition of λουτρά (1599) and λουτροΐς (1602) brings out the faithful observance of Oedipus' commands, the redundancy of έσθητι (1603), which was not included in the indirect speech, is yet another indication of the loving care of the girls. As the expediency of Antigone and Ismene is duly emphasized by the

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Messenger, the attentive preparations define a significant reversal of a familiar ritual practice. The extraordinary character of the ritual change lays further stress on the miraculous events. In particular, apart from the the chronological marker ταχεΐ συν... χρόνφ (1602), which signals the compression of the action, there is an even larger temporal concentration. The ablutions and the procurement of the new garments reverse the usual funerary practice of the πρόθεσις, which is normally carried out after death.34 The speedy performance of the mortuary offices stands for the usual two-day prothesis, which is considerably speeded up to allow for Oedipus' imminent passing. In essence, the familiar three-act drama of the Greek funeral - that is, the laying out of the body, the funeral cortège and the interment - is replaced here by an exceptionally shortened πρόθεσις of someone still alive.35 Even though the events leading up to the apotheosis appear to be quite perplexing, there is a specific narrative pattern of significant actions, which defines the deeper communion of Oedipus with the divine. This is not unlike his previous discerning appreciation of the gods' plan, which was progressively brought into the open through recurrent oracles. The internal structure of the events throws into sharper relief their distinctively ritual significance. The twice-repeated pattern takes the form of an attentivelyobserved ritual, which is not without parallels in other religious contexts (1604-1621, 1622-1647). First, there is a certain pause of movement, which is established at the discretion of the god; then a sudden noise shatters the still scene, extreme fear comes upon the bystanders and the action is subsequently filtered through Oedipus, who makes a gesture with his hands towards his daughters; his quoted words follow, and the pattern ends up in lamentation. Throughout this series of meaningful actions, Oedipus stays in control in spite of his overwhelming feelings of grief. In conformity with the narrative sequence of fresh narrative content after divine communication, Oedipus looks back on his life of suffering and forward to the life of his daughters after the apotheosis. In keeping with the ritual schema, the Messenger describes a still scene, which is shattered by the terrifying effect of the thunder: 34

55

Exceptions to ritual purification before slipping away do justify the rule, especially in the case of people on the brink of death (cf. also Kurtz & Boardman 1971, ch. 7; Garland 1985, 14ff.). On prothesis, see Boardman (1955); Ahlberg (1971). According to Pollux (8. 65), prothesis served to confirm a non-violent death.

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έπεί δέ πάσαν εσχε δρώντος ήδονήν κούκ ήν έτ' ουδέν άργόν ών έφίετο, κτύπησε μέν Ζεύς χθόνιος, αί δέ παρθένοι ρίγησαν, ώς ήκουσαν ές δέ γούνατα πατρός πεσοΰσαι 'κλαιον ούδ' άνίεσαν στέρνων άραγμούς ουδέ παμμήκεις γόους.

(1604-1609)

Again, έπεί (1604; cf. 1590) introduces a fresh narrative section. The commanding presence of Oedipus is once more underscored. Even god himself seems to wait until Oedipus is ready before the thundering. Once the funerary preparations, that Oedipus himself enjoined, are performed to his full satisfaction (1604-1605),36 Zeus Χθόνιος pierces the silence with his thunderclap (1606).37

36

The controlling power of Oedipus is most apparent in the problematic remark of the Messenger: επεί δέ παντός είχε δρώντος ήδονήν (1604)

57

Part of the overall difficulty lies with the rather ambiguous use in this context of δρώντος, the subject of which is rather obscure (cf. also Moorhouse 1982, 258). On the other hand, Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 262 opt for πάσαν εσχε and Lloyd-Jones in his Loeb edition (1994) translates it as follows: 'But when he had got all the pleasure belonging to a doer'. In either case, as the peculiar expression is taken to refer to Oedipus' activity (without, however, excluding the possibility that in his action he is unattended by his daughters), then the Messenger emphasizes the remarkable contribution of blind Oedipus in the off-stage events. Despite his incapacity and weakness, his instrumentality in the action is felt so intensely by the eye-witnesses that the Messenger speaks metaphorically of Oedipus as actually carrying out the funerary preparations. The theme of a still scene shattered by sudden movement or sound is frequent in Greek drama, especially in Euripides. A comprehensive account would include: Aesch. Ag. 737-740; Eur. HF 930, Supp. 669-674, Ion 1194, Bacch. 683-691, 1083-1084, Andr. 1144-1145, IA 1564; Ar. Av. 777-778, Thesm. 39-48 (cf. also Od. 12.168-169). In view of the religious character of most of the scenes, the established silence may have a certain ritual significance. In particular, silence is an essential part of the sacrificial pattern (cf. Montiglio 2000, 23ff.). Also, silence is typical in such religious contexts as maenadism (cf. Suda s.v. στεγανόν 4. 427 Adler, Diog. Paroem. 3. 43) and divine epiphanies. In the latter case, the stillness of the natural world supplies a most significant setting, as in the epiphany of the Muses in Ar. Av. 769-784 and perhaps Alemán 89 (cf. also Pi. P. 1.5.12). A fearful reaction may follow the movement or sound (cf. Eur. HF 950, 971). Also Seidensticker (1979) makes a case for the emulation of sacrificial ritual in Eur. Bacch. (on sacrifice, see Bowie 1995). Could it be that there is a similar case in the ritualized events prior to Oedipus' death (cf. also Seaford 1996, 195If., 23 If.)?

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At the first peal of thunder, the girls shudder and, after falling at their father's knees, start wailing and beating their breasts (1606-1609). The Messenger is quick to indicate the presence of Pluton (1606). The reference to the supreme god in his capacity as master of the Underworld reinforces the hieratic tone of the narration. In particular, the evocation of the chthonic aspect of Zeus is relevant to the imminent death of Oedipus. The thunderclap is an unmistakable sign that his life is drawing to an end. By contrast with the unceasing wailing of the girls, Oedipus appears to retain his composure. The Messenger does not indicate his reaction to the sudden noise, but he does recount how he responded to the pathetic lamentation of his daughters. In the light of the emphasis on his feelings, Oedipus is given an especially privileged treatment in the narrative. According to the recurrent pattern, a distinct focalization by Oedipus follows the sorrowful reaction of Antigone and Ismene. Explicit embedded focalization of a character who is about to be cited by the narrator gives more punch to the quoted words.38 The Messenger offers a fleeting glance at Oedipus' emotions and perceptive power before quoting his speech (1610). After describing how Antigone and Ismene fall at their father's knees in tears, he hands over momentarily the interpretation of the events to Oedipus, who in the meantime has sensed the girls' complaint. In this case, explicit embedded focalization places stress on Oedipus' love for Antigone and Ismene. It is not the thunder, an indisputable foreshadowing of his death, but the sound of the girls' mourning that makes Oedipus react and utter his words of farewell: ô δ' ώς άκοΰει φθόγγον έξαίφνης πικρόν (1610) πικρόν (1610) demonstrates how Oedipus himself interprets the sound of the whimper, as is indicated by the use of άκούω, which, together with verbs of perception, seeing and feeling, usually signals instances of explicit embedded focalization. This is especially so in view of the historic present (1610 ακούει) which puts further accent on the sound's strong appeal to the senses. In conformity with the narrative design of ritual actions, the quoted words of Oedipus are also preceded by a meaningful movement. Before expressing his love for Antigone and Ismene in words, Oedipus indicates 38

Cf. de Jong (1987) 102, 107.

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his intimate feelings by a gesture, which is endowed with particular significance in the play. He puts his arms around his daughters in a tender embrace (1611 πτύξας έπ' αύταις χείρας). The use of the hands is an important means of communication for blind Oedipus. Taking Antigone by the hand is one way of overcoming his timidity in movement (180-183, 188-191,200-201). More importantly, embracing both Antigone and Ismene appears to be a symbolic act of familial unity. Ismene embraces her father and sister after a long period of painful separation (329 πρόψαυσον, ώ παι) and Oedipus puts his arms around his daughters after their safe rescue (1104-1105 προσέλθετ', ώ παΐ, πατρί, κ α ΐ τ ό μηδαμά / έλπισθέν ηξειν σώμα βαστάσαι δότε).39 The employment of direct speech allows the Messenger to lay emphasis on the overwhelming presence of Oedipus, which can only be matched by the imposing intervention of the god's voice. It is significant that Oedipus is given three quotations (1611-1619, 1631-1635, 1640-1644) in the narrative, whereas the rest of the characters are not given voice at all.40 Perhaps the very fact that the words of Zeus himself ( 1627-1628), alongside those of Oedipus, are deemed worthy of being preserved indicates that Oedipus is already in a higher realm than his human companions:41 είπεν «ώ τέκνα, ουκ εστ' εθ' ύμΐν τ-ηδ' εν ήμερα πατήρ, ολωλε γάρ δή πάντα τάμά, κούκέτι, 39

40

41

In a different context 'touching' is closely connected with pollution. Oedipus is quick to check his impulse to touch Theseus in saluting him for the safe return of Antigone and Ismene (1332-1136). On direct speech as narrative device, see de Jong (1991) 131-139; Bers (1997). Greek tragedy allows for further levels of nesting with regard to the incorporated direct speech (cf. Soph. Aj. 748-783 in which the boastful words of Ajax and his father's cautious remarks are quoted by Calchas who features in the Messenger's narrative). Notable examples of narratives featuring ample quotations of the main character are: Eur. Hipp. 1182-1184, 1191-1193, 1240-1242 of Hippolytus; El. 779-780, 784-789, 791-792, 805-807, 815-818, 831-833 of Aegisthus and 781-782, 793-796, 831, 834-837, 847851 of Orestes; Hel. 1543-1546, 1560-1564,1581,1584-1587,1593-1595 of Menelaus. Note also the intriguing possibility that the same actor may have played both Oedipus and the Messenger, thereby making the immediacy of his words even more pronounced. A coincidence such as this would not have passed unnoticed by the Athenian spectators on account of their keen sensitivity. Cf. also Pickard-Cambridge (1988 3 ) 167ff. On the distribution of parts in the play, see Pickard-Cambridge (1988 3 ) 142ff.; Ceadel (1941); Bain (1981) 48ff.

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την δυσπόνητον εξετ' άμφ' έμοί τροφήν σκληράν μέν, οίδα, παίδες· αλλ' εν γάρ μόνον τά πάντα λύει ταϋτ' επος μοχθήματα. τό γαρ φιλεΐν ουκ εστίν έξ οτου πλέον ή του δε τ' άνδρός εσχεθ', ού τητώμεναι τό λοιπόν ήδη τον βίον διάξετον.» (1611-1619) The Messenger is at great pains to underscore the self-command of Oedipus in the face of death. This is not without further significance. In the light of his composed stance at the rapid turn of events, the carefully-delayed revelation of his overwhelming sorrow comes out with particular force. In this case, attributive discourse - that is, the introduction and capping of direct speech - is used by the Messenger to bring out in the strongest way the profound feelings of grief that finally reduce Oedipus to tears.42 The words of Oedipus are purposely introduced by ειπεν (1611), which, as a neutral verb, does not reveal the specific tone of the speech. It appears that, in displaying a notable self-restraint, Oedipus is in absolute control of the situation. The dispassionate introduction endows the words with special authority. The analepses and prolepses are uttered without any emotional colouring, as if by an all-powerful god. In general, direct speech marks the introduction of a distinct perspective in the narrative. In citing the words of a character, the narrator momentarily relinquishes his narrative prerogative. It is often the case that, in doing so, he wishes to bring attention to a specific point of interest. In the case of Oedipus, any other form of speech representation could not possibly have equalled the powerful impact of the quoted speech. Anything else but the immediacy of the direct speech would have seriously impaired this deeply moving outpouring of love. This is especially so in view of the remarkable control that Oedipus exercises over the narrative. By contrast with the Messenger, who commands narrative information of a restricted chronological scope, Oedipus infuses the narration with temporal diversity. In playing his life against the prospect of his death, he considerably widens the temporal and spatial field of the action. In yet another prolepsis, he places even more stress on his impending passing (1613-1614). This time, as all that concerns his earthly life has perished, he casts his mind back to

42

On attributive discourse, see de Jong (1987) 195-208.

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his life of misery. In the light of the prolepsis, his oncoming death is filtered through a broader temporal perspective, which has a special significance for Antigone and Ismene. It appears that his passing heralds an important passing of a completely different kind for the girls, who will soon face life without his presence. The loving care that was so liberally given to Oedipus by his daughters will be a thing of the past. As the Messenger was very careful not to let slip any clues about the highly emotional tone of the utterance, the brief signing-off comes out with particular force. By contrast with the dispassionate introduction of the direct speech, the mournful conclusion throws into sharper relief Oedipus' overwhelming feelings of grief. As the narrative design closes with grievous lamentation, the Messenger reveals that Oedipus and his daughters are given over to their private expression of sorrow: τοίΛχϋτ' έπ' άλλήλοισιν άμφικείμενοι λύγδην εκλαιον πάντες. (1620-1621) The striking use of λύγδην (1621), which is a hapax, lays special emphasis on the extreme sorrow of Oedipus and his daughters. In particular, πάντες (1621), which comes last in the brief rounding up, marks most strikingly the eventual shift of Oedipus from a man in control of his feelings to a sorrowful father. This is especially so in view of the impassive reporting, which makes even more intense the mourning of Oedipus and his daughters. The scene is purposely reported somewhat dispassionately by the Messenger, who describes the embrace and lamentation of Oedipus and the girls without offering any personal evaluative comments. In focusing the narrative solely on the mournful trio, the Messenger avoids any emotional involvement. His narration conveys a sense of detachment from the sorrowful tableau of the three foreigners. The second act of Oedipus' communion with the gods is, to a large extent, modelled on the first (1604-1621). The insightful explication of divine will by Oedipus comprises a similar series of meaningful events (1621-1647). Oedipus displays a profound understanding of the heavenappointed plan and retains his power of animating other people to action. Once more, the god appears to wait for Oedipus and the girls to cease from lamentation before manifesting his presence (1621-1630). Again, an unexpected sound shatters the stillness of the off-stage tableau. The peaceful scene is emphatically described in repeated references to the enveloping silence (1621-1623). The heavy stress on the pause indicates the discreet

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presence of the god, who appears to wait patiently until the wails had subsided. This time, it is an unidentified voice that is suddenly heard inside the sacred grove (1623) in the same way as the preceding thunderclap of chthonian Zeus (1606) and the whimper of Antigone and Ismene (16071609).43 In particular, the voice displays an abruptness analogous to that of the mournful complaint of the girls, as is indicated by the repetition of the temporal pointer εξαίφνης (1610, 1623). It is often the case that, in order to lay special emphasis on his initial reaction to the events, a narrator purposely withholds essential narrative information which he is granted in hindsight.44 In this case, the ambiguity as to the exact identity of the speaker is first underscored, but later dispelled by the Messenger. The suppression of the information brings out the helplessness of all those present in the grove before the supernatural sound. The Messenger expresses his uncertainty over the identity of the summoner ( 1623 τινός), whose voice terrified each and every one of the bystanders (1624-1625).45 ευθέως (1625), in particular, throws stress on the terrifying impact of the unexpected voice.46 It is only after drawing attention to the frightening effect of the undesignated sound that the Messenger reveals the divine origin of the calling (1626). Again, the use 43

The theme of the divine voice is frequent in Greek tragedy. A comprehensive list would include: Aesch. Edonians fr. 57. 9 (a terrifying voice from an invisible source); Eur. Andr. 1147-1148, Bacch. 576-595, 1078-1090, IT 1385-1389 (cf. also Hdt. 8. 37; Plut. Timol. 27-28; Ovid Met. 4. 391). In all cases, the undesignated nature of the voice is emphasized either by the narrator, who in the same manner as the Messenger, expresses his ignorance (note the similar use of τις in both Andr. 1147 and IT 1386), or by the fearful reaction of the bystanders (in Bacch. 578-579, the maenads fail to recognize the voice of their master and hurl themselves to the ground in terror).

44

On experiencing vs. narrating focalization, see de Jong (1991) 30-31. According to Mossman (1995) 73, θωύσσω is "a highly evocative, very Sophoclean word, which creates the atmosphere of awe and terror." Cf. also Breitenbach (1967) 48. Also, there is a possible intimation of divine epiphany in the specific use of φθέγμα which is often used to denote a supernatural voice or sound. Cf. e.g. Soph. Aj. 14; Eur. Andr. 1147, IT 1385, Bacch. 1095f.; Plut. Timol. 27-28 (cf. also Burnett 1971, 152 on φθέγγομαι). On the invisible god, see Parker (1999) 13. Note also the manuscript reading έξαιφνης (1625), which, if adopted, would lay more emphasis on the terrifying impact of the voice in view of the striking repetition (cf. 1610, 1623). In the light of the rather fulsome repetition, Easterling (1973b) 33 notes that "the notion of suddenness is thus related to important stages in the passing of Oedipus, and it has greater power and clarity by being expressed on each occasion through the same word in the same position in the line."

45

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of attributive discourse allows the Messenger to call attention to a specific point of interest, καλεί (1626), in particular, which, as a historic present, brings out the the immediacy of the god's calling, introduces the direct speech. By contrast with the previous quotation, which was introduced by a neutral verb (1611 είπεν), καλεί (1626) reveals the illocutionary force of the words, placing stress on the urgency of the summoning. The same urgency is underscored by a certain temporal compression. The Messenger speeds up the action. In an instance of iterative frequency, he communicates the divine message. The voice of the god was heard repeatedly and from a variety of places (1626 πολλά πολλαχη).47 The urgent character of the utterance is plain in the impatience of the divine summoner (1627-1628). In particular, the repetition of οΰτος (1627) "implies that the person addressed is not duly heeding the speaker."48 As each divine communication gives rise to fresh narrative content, in inventing a new scenario, Oedipus is quick to acknowledge the heavenappointed plan. In conformity with the narrative design, once more the action is filtered through his perspective. The employment of explicit embedded focalization lays special emphasis on his perceptive power (1629). This is especially so in view of the following direct speech (16311635). Explicit embedded focalization reinforces the impact of the quoted words. By contrast with the Messenger, who initially failed to identify the divine nature of the calling (1623), Oedipus recognizes the supernatural origin of the utterance without apparent difficulty. In this case, the verb of hearing (1610 ακούει) gives way to a general verb of perception (1629 έπήσθετ'), for it is not so much a question of listening to the voice of the god, but of sensing the divine identity of the summoner. Oedipus' profound understanding of the overriding presence of the god sets in motion further action. As he is well aware that death is drawing near, he asks for the Athenian king (1630). The Messenger accelerates the narration. The words of Oedipus are presented in indirect speech. As Oedipus fixedly looks to the future, he draws up a new scenario with regard to Antigone and Ismene. His love for his daughters is such that even at this critical moment he turns his thoughts to their welfare. In 47

Lloyd-Jones in the Loeb edition (1994) interprets the phrase as "coming from many places". For other interpretations, such as "coming in a variety of tones" and "coming in different forms", see Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1626.

48

Jebb ( 1900') apud 1627. Cf. also Dover ( 1980) apud 172a4; Dunbar ( 1995) apud 1164.

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outlining a narrative topography which lies without the time-span of the play, he prepares the ear for the blocked and aborted proleptic moves of the lament. Theseus is asked to give the time-honoured pledge of his right hand to the girls (1631-1637). In a manner similar to the composed stance of Oedipus, Theseus is presented as a man in control of his feelings. By contrast with the horrified reaction of all those present at the divine voice (1624-1625), his selfconstraint registers a particular response, which takes centre stage in the narrative agenda of the lament. In particular, in a brief summary, the Messenger places special emphasis on Theseus' self-command (1636-1637). The purposely impassive capping of the direct speech casts the Athenian king in an especially favourable light. It is often the case that, in order to justify the action of a character, the narrator supplies more narrative information. Motivation - that is, when the narrator supplies extra nuggets of information to explain a previous point - brings attention to a specific point.49 ώς άνήρ γενναίος (1636) reveals the narrative intervention of the Messenger, who is eager to praise the nobility of Theseus. More importantly, the Messenger offers a passing remark, which, in retrospect, has great importance. He notes that Theseus assented to Oedipus' request without lamentation (1636 ουκ οίκτου μέτα). As the analepsis is purposely presented in negative terms, he is at pains to distinguish the Athenian king from a previous series of sorrowful dirges in which even Oedipus was eventually engulfed (1607-1609, 1620-1621). Contrary to expectation, Theseus controlled his feelings of grief in the presence of the hapless girls. When he returns on stage, he attempts to contain the emotional energy of Antigone and Ismene thereby asserting his narrative authority. Time is running out for Oedipus. After committing Antigone and Ismene to the care of Theseus, he looks forward to his imminent death. In reiterating the strict rules of his cult, he underscores the significance of secrecy with regard to the miracle. His narratorial discretion establishes a powerful barrier to the flow of narrative information. The off-stage tableau momentarily becomes inaccessible to the Messenger, who draws attention to his presence, only to signal his absence from the mystery. His is not the only account that concludes with a glaring narrative discontinuity. As the climax is radically excised from the play, the sorrowful report of Antigone and 49

Cf. de Jong (1987) 91-93. On motivation in Homer and tragedy, see the important discussion by Scodel (1999).

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Ismene closes with the same narrative hiatus. In particular, in keeping with the narrative schema, Oedipus makes a loving gesture with his hands towards his daughters and asks them to depart. His quoted words follow and the pattern concludes with grievous lamentation (1638-1647). As the narrative momentum is powerfully building towards the eventual elision of the mystery from the play, the Messenger concludes the narrative with a description of Theseus' enigmatic response to the holy spectacle. In view of his profound understanding of the miracle, the Athenian king appears to be on a higher plane than the rest of the eye-witnesses. The Messenger feels helpless before the overwhelming character of the mysteiy, and he indicates so through his penchant for speculation. Even though he acknowledges the painless passing of Oedipus by ruling out other narrative possibilities, the report comes to an end in an emphatic expression of amazement. The generous release of narrative information throws into sharper relief the temporal rift. The secret is indeed safe. After the departure of the mourners, the events happen in rapid succession. As the god appeared earlier to wait for a still scene to be established (1604-1605, 1621-1623), here he orchestrates the timing of the mystery. Despite the speculative venture of the Messenger, the secrecy remains unbroken and this is no less due to a speedy divine arrangement (1647-1655). In view of his limited narrative command, the Messenger surmises about the holy spectacle by interpreting another puzzling spectacle. The mysterious event is described in accordance with its effect on Theseus, who performs certain ritual acts (1651-1655). In offering a tentative scenario, the Messenger strives to shed some light on the miracle, but his analeptic attempts are not powerful enough to raise the veil of narrative secrecy (1651-1652). He speaks of a frightful sight. However, the reference remains all too vague. No one will ever learn the manner of Oedipus' passing. At least so the Messenger claims (1656-1666). The secrecy of the miracle appears so far to be inviolate. The obscure movements of Theseus retain the mystic aura of the event, thereby leaving plenty of room for surmise. This is quite evident in the speculative character of the narrative. It is not by a report of action that the account is signed off, but by a series of possible interpretations. The latter, in particular, are ordered in a specific narrative pattern, which lays special emphasis on the amazing nature of the apotheosis. What did not happen is used to describe what indeed happened: negative possibilities of a painful death are ruled out, only to

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be followed by favourable scenarios of a safe passing (1656-1666). 50 The narrative of the Messenger is the first retrospective account of the off-stage events. In filtering the action through an Athenian perspective, the Messenger offers a full-scale analepsis of the mysterious death of Oedipus. The complexity of the event is underscored in view of the discrepancy between the amazement of the Messenger and the careful narrative patterning of the religious actions. Even though the tone of the narration is one of wonderment, the inner structure of the events gives a distinctively ritual significance to the off-stage action. In employing a wide range of editorial devices, the Messenger intensifies the aura of numinous awe which already surrounds the miraculous passing of Oedipus. However, the analeptic excursion has a further significance. As the climax of the story is subjected to the distinct pacing of the messenger-speech, strong emphasis is placed on the eventual excision of the miracle from the narrative. By contrast with the persistent postponement of information, the playwright is at pains to bring attention to another important topic of his narrative agenda. While the manner of Oedipus' apotheosis is constantly suppressed, his peaceful passing is emphatically restated.

Looking Back in Sorrow: The Lament In Greek tragedy, the lament often acts as a framework within which narrative content is incorporated.51 Lamentation is frequently a narrative 50

51

The manuscript reading άλύπητον (1662) is defended by Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1659Í and, if accepted, the Messenger throws more stress on the painless nature of Oedipus' death in a positive analepsis (cf. also 1663-1664). Pace Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 263,1 see no reason for the emendation άλάμπετον (1662). Also, Wilamowitz apud T. v. Wilamowitz (1917) 320 n. 2 defended the manuscript reading. In a personal communication, Easterling agreed that the variant άλάμπετον is less relevant to the context. A select list of laments which serve as narratives of off-stage events that fall within the chronology of the play would include: Aesch. Sept. 961-1004 (Antigone & Ismene); Soph. OT 1307-1377 (Oedipus), Ant. 1261-1276 (Creon), Track 862-895 (Nurse; cf. Davies 1991 apud 874ff.), 983-1043 (Heracles); Eur. Hipp. 1347-1388 (Hippolytus), Andr. 825-865 (Hermione), El. 1177-1237 (Orestes), HF 1042-1088 (Amphitryon & Chorus). On lamentation in general, see Broadhead ( 1960) Appendix; Alexiou ( 1974); Humphries (1983) ch. 3, ch. 5; Garland (1985) ch. 3; Caraveli (1986); Easterling (1988), (1991); Shapiro (1991); Holst-Warhaft (1992); Foley (1993); Sourvinou-Inwood (1995a) 175-178, 190-193.

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version of an event, voiced in a higher emotional key, which signals an array of rather personal reactions. Apart from establishing an emotional filter, the lament is characterized by chronological diversity. In particular, lamentation places off-stage action in a new, and often broader, temporal perspective through the analeptic and proleptic references by the mourners to the past life of the dead and their own future without their loved one. In essence, it is the nature of the lament and the intimacy of the speakers towards the deceased that allow a considerably larger outlook on the events. In the light of the many narrative strands of the lament, a potentially definite reconstitution of the off-stage event is conveniently deferred to a later stage. The kommatic narration offers a significant texture of conflicting voices, thereby making the audience recognize the difficulty in reaching a narrative focus. The wide variety of contradictory plotlines, which are powerfully marshalled in the lament, alerts the spectators to the complexity of the off-stage world. As the narration winds back and forth, the off-stage action gains in resonance from the network of analeptic and proleptic excursions. This is especially so in view of the possibility of an eventual narrative rapprochement, which comes out with particular force after a storm of contrasting accounts. Once again, it is the criterion of emphasis that determines the suspended narrative consensus. What is more, the narrational turmoil brought about by the lament serves an important function of narrative economy. It is often the case that lamentation punctuates the ending of plays. In view of the narrative alternatives slamming endlessly against one another, the last scene continues or closes off cause-effect developments left dangling in prior scenes while also opening up new causal lines for future development.52 The narrative ambiguity of lamentation shows that the ending is not all structurally decisive, being a more or less arbitrary readjustment of that world knocked awry in the previous scenes. Indeed, in certain cases the ending may not be a coda reaffirming the stability of the state arrived at through the preceding causal chain, but a sore spot: even if it resolves the principal causal lines, some comparatively minor issues may still be left unspecified. In the play, as the narration wheels around from the distinct perspective of the Messenger (1586-1666) to the multiperspectival presentation of the 52

On closure, see Kermode (1967); Smith (1978); Torgovnick (1981); Morgan (1989); Nuttall (1991); Dunn (1996); Roberts, Dunn & Fowler (1997).

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lament (1670-1750), different story-lines branch off from the same narrative trunk. Apart from throwing an emphatic and purposeful light on the past, the kommos looks ahead to the future. At this point in the action, the adroitly-sustained analeptic obscurity gives rise to a painful proleptic indeterminacy. As retrospective clarity is constantly postponed, all future developments stand in narrative limbo. Eventually, the plot moves forward, but only when the characters come to terms with the inscrutable past. In view of the wealth of analeptic information, the death of Oedipus is set against the totality of his life. The multivocal character of the narration demonstrates in the most emphatic way how difficult is a definite evaluation of the event. This is especially so in the light of the sharply contradictory perspectives which are braided together in the lament. At the other end of the spectrum, in transferring the action from the world off stage into the centre of the visible tableau, the kommatic narration improves on the narrative seeds that were sown in the messenger-speech. Before the apotheosis, Oedipus suggested a strict code of narrative rules, offering a sense of long-term destination. In the lament, the predicted development of the story is problematized. The characters debate the conflicting goals of the narrative, only to conclude with a timely consensus. As Oedipus defines the narrative agenda, at the close of the play, the interested parties reach an agreement, without the assistance of a cfews-figure playing out his narrative game. In evoking an effective sense of closure, the eventual narrative settlement gives glory to Oedipus, who, through his proleptic glances, determines to a large extent the trajectory on which the play will inevitably move. In accordance with his wish, the momentum of anticipation, which has been building since the thunders of Zeus, remains unfulfilled. Even though Antigone, Ismene, the Chorus and Theseus occupy the transient narrative spotlight, thereby releasing abundant information, the audience are again denied an insight into the miracle. By contrast, in view of the shifting centres of attention, the lament throws special emphasis on the painless passing of Oedipus, which, as a final closural gesture, is restated with absolute narrative authority by the Chorus after the decisive intervention of Theseus. More particularly, Antigone and Ismene register their personal reaction to Oedipus' death through the familiar medium of lamentation. This allows the girls to place the event within an emotional and chronological perspective, which is far broader than that of the Messenger. However, like the Messenger, they seem to ignore the profound significance of the events. Feelings of wonderment and despair punctuate their account.

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The first strophe and antistrophe (1670-1696 = 1697-1723) are fashioned after a specific narrative pattern. In offering analeptic and proleptic excursions, Antigone views the off-stage event in terms of past and future. Her narrative ventures are complemented by Ismene, who, in looking ahead beyond the time-span of the play, seeks to define the future that is in store for them. In the light of their analeptic distress, proleptic insight is constantly deferred. In concluding the pattern, the Chorus invariably shifts the narrative focus to the peaceful death of Oedipus. In view of the recurrent choral analepsis, the emotional energy of the girls is constantly opposed by a hopeful scenario. In the first section, the passing of Oedipus is set against the backcloth of his family history: αίαϊ, φεϋ- εστίν, εστι νων δή ού τό μεν, άλλο δέ μή, πατρός εμφυτον άλαστον αίμα δυσμόροιν στενάζειν, ωτινι τον πολύν άλλοτε μέν πόνον εμπεδον ειχομεν, έν πυμάτψ δ' άλόγιστα παροίσομεν, ίδόντε και παθοΰσα. (1670-1676) In view of the intimacy of the mourners towards the deceased, the lament establishes a significant emotional filter. In a slight analepsis, Antigone refers to the hereditary curse of the Labdacids in which the sisters have a substantial share (1671-1672). According to the narrative agenda of the play, the special conditions of the miracle are eventually shut out of the primary narrative. As in the case of the Messenger, Antigone is unable to shed abundant analeptic light on the off-stage tableau. In releasing more narrative information, she looks back on her wearisome tending of Oedipus. Her purposely conflicting analeptic excursions give expression to her inconsolable sorrow. Even though the various prolepses have built up an optimistic image of the death of Oedipus as an end of his miserable life and a cause of Athenian prosperity, the mournful analepses place heavy stress on its enigmatic character. The painful τροφή is sharply juxtaposed with the miraculous death of Oedipus (1673-1676). According to the backward-looking glance, the girls endured the interminable care that was given to their father (1673-1674). However, in his death, they were faced with a baffling event (1675-1676). In particular, the antithesis of the chronological pointers άλλοτε (1674) and έν πυμάτω (1675) brings out

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in the strongest way the contrast between the former woeful guardianship of Oedipus and his puzzling heroic death. In picking up the theme of wonderment, which was first emphasized by the Messenger (1586 τοΰτ' εστίν ήδη κάποθαυμάσαι πρέπον, 1665 θαυμαστός), Antigone plays the baffling character of the miracle against the calamitous, but at least transparent, life of Oedipus. While their father was alive, the girls endured the continual pain of his misfortune, but now in his death they are left to tell things which transcend human reason (1675 αλόγιστα). The narrative function of the lament is made plain in the sorrowful analepsis. Antigone presents herself as an άγγελος who brings news of the off-stage event. She states that it is for her and Ismene to 'communicate' things which defy reason. The elusive meaning of παροίσομεν (1675) strengthens the double notion of telling the stoiy of the events in all their inscrutability and 'bearing' those things which the girls witnessed and suffered in the recesses of the grove (1676 ίδόντε και παθούσα). 53 In the next section Antigone offers more narrative information about the heroic death of Oedipus, without revealing the manner of the mystery (1677-1688). Her intention is to lay emphasis on the enigmatic character of the event. However, she does not stop there. As analeptic clarity is constantly postponed, her agonizing proleptic excursions are revealing of her overwhelming feelings of grief. In inventing a dismal scenario, she looks ahead to the miserable life that is stored up for her and Ismene. Mourners in their lament often evoke desired ways of passing for their loved ones.54 In the case of Antigone, this traditional aspect of the lament is turned on its head. Sudden and violent deaths are invoked in the kommos, only to be discounted in view of the painless, but incomprehensible, passing of Oedipus. Echoing the negative analepses by the Messenger (1658-1660), Antigone invents certain narrative possibilities, only to discount them in view of the unanticipated outcome (1677-1688). However, by contrast with the 53

54

It is true that παροίσομεν (1675) can also be taken to mean 'carry away' in a literal sense (cf. Lloyd-Jones & Wilson 1990b, 264), but the notion of Antigone experiencing something which is hard to account for, something which she will refer to, is not in any way undermined by the ambiguity. Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1675 explains παραφέρω in this context as 'cite, allege'; cf. also Hdt. 3. 130, 9. 26; Eur. IA 981; Aeschin. 17. 40 (cf. 18. 37). Cf. Alexiou (1974) 178f.

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Messenger who specifically referred to what one would expect to happen in the inner part of the grove, she magnifies the temporal scope of the narration. In assuming a general outlook on the life of Oedipus, she alludes to possible ways of dying, which are not relevant to the special circumstances of the action: death in battle and death by drowning are not what one would anticipate to happen in the holy meadow." This is not without significance. In the light of the inscrutable aftermath, Antigone evokes sudden and violent scenarios, which are none the less far from incomprehensible and, in the case of death in battle, more appropriate for a former king.56 Moreover, Antigone plunges into a series of ominous proleptic excursions (1683-1688). In this case, the inscrutable past does not let a character stake an undisputed claim to the future. It is a stock theme of the lament that the mourners bewail the future life without their loved ones." In general, both sisters speak of the unknown future that is in store for them now that their father is dead. Antigone is set on departing from Colonus, but her plans fail to crystallize into something more specific. Her outlook on the future can be graphically presented as a questionmark, as indeed her prolepses end in a series of agonizing questions. However melancholy those premonitions are, they filter the recent event of Oedipus' death through an even broader temporal perspective. Apart from placing their father's passing within the context of his past life, Antigone and Ismene bring attention to the future of the Labdacid family, which, at this point in time, they seek to define. It appears momentarily that the hopeful hints of continuity that Oedipus confidently dropped were sadly misplaced. As the protagonists of the scenario debate its plausibility on stage, the future of the stoiy is far from certain. Even though, at the close of the play, the balancing suggestions of completion and progression are again marshalled in a terminal gesture of narrative exposition, the 55

56

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Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 265 and (1997) 136 bring attention to Reisig's νοΰσος (1680). If the conjecture is accepted, the alternative scenario of death by drowning must be abandoned in favour of a more mundane cause of death (cf. also Günther 1998, 7 who argues for Reisig's reading). However, the epic νοΰσος is not without problems. Apart from Aesch. Supp. 684, "the Ionic (or epic) form is not attested elsewhere in tragedy" (Friis Johansen & Whittle 1980 apud 684). Death in battle is extolled by Electra in Aesch. Cho. 363ff. as a much-desired way of dying. Cf. Alexiou (1974) 165ff.

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eventual settlement comes after a storm of doubting reactions. Ismene takes a proleptic excursion, only to deny any hints of continuity within closure. As in the case of Antigone, she invents an extreme scenario of imminent death (1689-1692). She wishes that she could share her aged father's death. By contrast, the wonderment of the Messenger and the ritual frustration of the girls wear thin with the Chorus, who are content with the peaceful outcome (1693-1696). This is exactly what they wished for in their supplicatory prayer to the powers below (1561 έπιπόνως μήτ' έπΐ βαρυαχεΐ) and later in their question to the Messenger (1585 πώς; αρα θεία κάπόνω τάλας τύχη;). Their main concern is that Oedipus is received by the infernal divinities in a painless fashion, without presenting any cause for grievous lamentation. Once they are assured that Oedipus eventually did meet this kind of death, they refrain from delving into the precise circumstances of the mystery. In honouring the code of secrecy, that Oedipus so eagerly established, they suspend any speculative excursions into the off-stage world. Their overall stance is one of calm acquiescence towards the all-powerful will of god.58 The first antistrophe (1697-1723) is fashioned after the first strophe (1670-1696). Again, Antigone filters the off-stage events in terms of incomprehensible past and obscure future. Her ritual distress is powerfully echoed in Ismene's desperate proleptic excursions. The pattern concludes with a hopeful analepsis by the Chorus. The lament is not entirely unrelated to the Messenger's report. Apart from echoing similar sentiments of wonderment, Antigone recalls a certain moment narrated by the Messenger in an effort to respond, somewhat belatedly, to her father's quoted words. Her yearning for the past in contrast with the obscure present is made plain in her recurring analepses of the sorrowful life of Oedipus (16971703). This time, her references to a period prior to the mystery are even more specific. She alludes to the scene of her father's departure in the inner part of the sacred grove. The pathetic embrace of Oedipus and his daughters is filtered through the perspective of Antigone. The off-stage tableau of Oedipus and his daughters, who are entwined 58

The variant reading εβη (1696), if accepted, reinforces the notion of Oedipus' death as not at all blameable (cf. Kamerbeek 1984 apud 1694-1696). Oedipus met a painless death according to the wish of the Chorus (1560), and thus his human lot is no cause for discontent. But see Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1695f. who argues against the scholiast's reading. Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1997) 136 find the manuscript reading unsatisfactory.

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in a long embrace inside the grove, is purposely presented in a slightly different light (1699 όπότε γε και τον έν χεροΐς κατεΐχον). The analepsis of so pathetic a scene was first narrated by the Messenger (1610-1621). Antigone overstates her part in the event.59 She describes herself as virtually holding her father in her arms, while the Messenger pictures Oedipus as putting his arms around his bewildered daughters (1611 πτύξας έπ' αύταΐς χείρας). Addressing the dead is a stock trait of the lament, which is employed by the mourners as the only means of communication with the departed.60 In this case, as she is animated by her insight, Antigone addresses her father in an attempt to offer her belated response to his expression of love (1700-1703).61 In the next section, in looking back on the death of Oedipus, Antigone recognizes the peaceful character of the event, only to express her ritual frustration at the mysterious circumstances of the apotheosis (1704-1714). At this point in the action, in view of the unceasing emotional outpouring of Antigone, the possibility of an agreeable conclusion is eliminated from the narrative horizon, only to reemerge later even more emphatically. According to Antigone, Oedipus met his death in a foreign place without his daughter, who would have otherwise performed his burial and offered the due rites at his grave, έρημος, in particular, has been used elsewhere by Sophocles to denote an unhappy, possibly unusual, death, away from the loving care of the dead's relatives.62 Ismene now offers an emotive expansion of the previous analeptic excursions, which is followed by the Chorus' soothing retrospections. Once more, in looking deep into the future, she is reduced to utter hopelessness at the dismal fate that is in store for her and Antigone (1715-1723). This is especially so in view of the echo of έρημος (1714), which was previously employed by Antigone to express her ritual frustration. As in the first strophe (1689-1693), in view of their analeptic perception, the Chorus are eager to contain the 59

On the use of ήν (1697) as "imperfect of new perception", see Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1697.

60

Cf. A l e x i o u ( 1 9 7 4 ) 171-177. The word φίλος and its cognates abound in this context. On the importance of friendship, see Dirlmeier (1931); Adkins (1963); Fraisse (1974); Alaux (1992); Konstan (1997); Belfiore (2000a).

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Cf. Ant. 773, 919. Antigone will be led to her subterranean abode by Creon without the comforting presence of her loved ones. A s she herself sorrowfully complains, her death will be έρημος προς φίλων (919). On the generally negative connotation of the word in Sophocles, see also OT 57, Ant. 739.

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lament of Antigone and Ismene. In offering favourable analepses, they place heavy stress on the hopeful outcome (1720-1721). As the play is drawing to a close, the conflicting goals of the narrative start to take shape. In the light of the apotheosis, Antigone and Ismene rigorously debate the narrative topography that Oedipus so confidently outlined. At the close of the lament, two contrasting narrative possibilities emerge into view. In both cases, Antigone is the driving force behind the scenarios. In particular, the second strophe and antistrophe (1724-1736 = 1737-1750) are modelled on the same narrative sequence. Antigone invents a scenario of future action, which is opposed by Ismene and the Chorus. The pattern concludes with the agonizing questions of the girls, who are reduced to helplessness at the ultimate purpose of the divine plan. In the second strophe, Antigone asks her sister to hasten back to the grove to find the grave of Oedipus. In the second antistrophe, she wishes to return to Thebes. Despite the splintered perspective of the lament, which is at its most acute in view of the conflicting accounts of the girls, the kommatic narration eventually reaches a consensus. Even though the narrative rapprochement lacks analeptic precision, the concordant conclusion paves the way for the peacefiil ending of the play. Both Antigone and the Chorus come to recognize the terrible misfortune that befell the girls. In a final evaluation of the past, all interested parties acknowledge the sea of troubles that beset Antigone and Ismene. This does not mean that there are no hints of sequel. In the light of the defective predictions, the loose narrative ends are adroitly dangled before the audience. The polyphony of the lament reaches its peak at the contrasting voices of Antigone and Ismene (1724-1736). The ritual frustration of Antigone is such that she goes against her father's will in expressing the wish to visit his sacred tomb. In a forward-looking glance, she asks her sister to join her in visiting the resting-place of Oedipus (1726 τάν χθόνιον έστίαν ίδεϊν). In a rather dispassionate fashion, which is revealing of her calm common-sense, Ismene draws attention to the finality of the event (1732 άταφος επιτνε δίχα τε παντός). By contrast with the previous pathetic analepsis by Antigone (1714 έρημος εθανες ώδέ μοι), there is no negative colouring in the idea of Oedipus' slipping away without a proper grave. Antigone was not the only one to be denied the right to perform the customary burial services: her father closed his life without any eyewitness, apart from the Athenian king. Even though the contrasts remain strong, the analeptic reflections of

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Antigone and the Chorus eventually reach a narrative consensus in recognizing the great measure of misfortune that was stored up for the girls. In view of the previous narrative stand-off, the latest focus comes out with particular emphasis. After a long series of contradictory scenarios, the interested parties finally discover a common ground. The Chorus speak of the sea of troubles that befell Antigone and Ismene (1746 μέγ' άρα πέλαγος έλάχετόν τι). Even though the backward-looking glance remains noticably vague, the familiarity of the metaphor underscores their sympathy for the plight of the girls. In the light of the sweeping evaluation, both parties are ready to agree with the analeptic excursion (1747). Contrary to expectation, the fragmented perspective of the lament, which revealed in the most emphatic way the complexity of the off-stage action, closes with a unifying outlook on the past. However, the relentless storm of unfavourable analepses is a painful reminder of the difficulty in reconstituting the event in a terminal narrative exposition. The erratic pacing of the lament makes the audience recognize the great difficulty in reaching a final evaluation of the past, which would give the characters a definite insight into the future. This is especially so in view of the agonizing question of Antigone, which concludes the kommatic narration with an enigmatic note of proleptic distress (1748-1750). Even though έλπίδων (1749) lets slip a ray of hope in the lament, the future stands subject to divine will, as is indicated by the invocation of the supreme god and divinity in general (1749 Ζεΰ, 1750 δαίμων). Immediately, Theseus intervenes to steer the play onto the narrative trajectory that Oedipus so carefully defined. The lament does not explain the past, but helps the characters come face to face with it. However, at the close of the kommos, there are certain loose ends carefully dangled as a narrative agenda for the anapaestic narration to address. As the past is inextricably entwined with the future, the very difficulty in reconstructing the off-stage event gives rise to an acute proleptic indecision, which is resolved by a greater narrative authority. The unwillingness of Antigone to accept the turn of events results in a painful proleptic indeterminacy. Eventually, Theseus brings into the action his first hand knowledge of the off-stage action. Not only does he ask Antigone and Ismene to refrain from lamentation, but also averts the possibility of ritual danger by calling upon the authority of Oedipus. In successive blocks of narrative exposition, the Athenian king brings the narrative momentum to a close. As the miracle of heroic death is

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conveniently shut out of the primary narrative, the future action appears to be programmed in accordance with the narrative rules that were introduced by Oedipus. Apart from giving glory to Oedipus, the narrative settlement comes out with particular force after the proleptic obscurity of the lament. The play inevitably follows the narrative route that was established by the dying breath of Oedipus. The anapaests signal that the play is drawing to a close (1751-1779)." As in the case of the lament, the anapaestic narration is fashioned after a specific narrative pattern. Again, in giving vent to her proleptic frustration, Antigone restates the unlawful scenario of a visit at the secret burial-site of Oedipus, which is opposed by Theseus. In inventing yet another scenario, she wishes to return to Thebes to put an end to the strife of Eteocles and Polynices. Once more, her proleptic venture is answered by Theseus. This time, however, the Athenian king is all too ready to consent to her request. In asking the girls to cease from their mourning, he casts a quick analeptic glance at the welcome passing of Oedipus (1751-1753 ).64 In view of his instruction with regard to the hero-cult, the burial-site is to remain secret: ώ παίδες, άπεϊπεν έμοί κείνος μήτε πελάζειν ές τούσδε τόπους μήτ' έπιφωνεΐν μηδένα θνητών θήκην ίεράν, ήν κείνος εχει. και ταΰτά μ' εφη πράσσοντα κακών χώραν εξειν αίέν άλυπον. ταΰτ' οΰν εκλυεν δαίμων ημών χώ πάντ' άίων Διός Όρκος. (1757-1767) It is an important part of the narrative tactics of the playwright to give glory to Oedipus. As the narrative regulations of the dead hero shape the conclusion of the play, all hints of direction are defined according to his 65 64

Cf. Easterling (1997a) 158. Note Reisig's reading ξύν' απόκειται (1752), which, if adopted, underscores the significance of Oedipus' death for both him and the Athenians (cf. also Jebb 1900' apud 175Iff.; Linforth 1952, 73-75). Seaford (1994a) 135 n. 141 argues for Reisig's emendation (Pace Lloyd-Jones & Wilson 1990b, 266, 1997, 137). Cf. also Segal (1981) 484 n. 57, who argues against Martin's emendation following Kirkwood (19942) 244 n. 24. In a personal communication, Easterling expressed her support for Reisig's reading.

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narrative agenda. His call for silence, which was echoed in the messengerspeech (1640-1644), is here restated in indirect speech. The Athenian king refers to the time when Oedipus expounded the parameters of his hero worship, laying particular emphasis on the secrecy of his grave (15211522, 1526-1532). Observing the. ritual apparatus laid down by the hero himself is essential for the protection of Athens against Theban attack. In calling upon the narrative rules of Oedipus, Theseus is very careful to preserve certain original elements of the solemn utterance. Again the employment of negative statements lays special emphasis on the strictness of the cult. As άπεΐπεν (1757) underscores the illocutionary force of the words, the piling up of the negatives (1758 μήτε, 1759 μήτ', 1759 μηδένα) leaves no room for alternative scenarios. The prolepsis was uttered with absolute authority. This is especially so in view of the repetition of κείνος (1757, 1760), which gives particular significance to the speaker. Perhaps, in direct contrast to πατρός (1754), which added pathos to Antigone's impertinent prolepsis, the neutral κείνος stresses the detachment of Theseus from the dead Oedipus. The secrecy of the sacred tomb will play an instrumental rôle in the lasting prosperity of Athens. Once more, in referring to the long-term prospect of protection, Theseus is keen to maintain certain original elements of the words (1764-1765). In this case, the neutral εφη (1764) indicates that authority of Oedipus, who, as another powerful god, expounded the esoteric knowledge of his hero worship without any emotional wavering. Again, as a long range temporal marker which was repeatedly used by Oedipus in his narrative exposition (1530, 1532, 1555), αίέν (1765) throws emphasis on the diachronic importance of the miracle, άλυπον (1765), an ά-epithet which Oedipus availed himself in laying down his severe rules (1519 άλυπα), reinforces the achronic character of the hopeful scenario. The narrative authority of Oedipus is indisputable. This is especially so in view of the brief signing off. In order to bolster his case, Theseus draws attention to the divine presences, which authorized the proleptic glances (1766-1767). The purposeful references to δαίμων (1766) and Ό ρ κ ο ς (1767) recognize the interposition of divinity in the destiny of Oedipus. As a higher narrative authority, the gods imbue the proleptic excursions with unprecedented power. Perhaps in an effort to eliminate the ominous scenario of Antigone, Theseus allows the audience to catch a glimpse of further ritual action in the inner part of the grove. Unless he refers to his sacred pledge with Oedipus in connection with the protection of his

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daughters (1636-1637), the invocation of Ό ρ κ ο ς may well allude to another pledge forged between him and Oedipus at the time of the apotheosis. If this is indeed the case, his rival scenario is even more powerful. In the light of the narrative regulations of Oedipus, which order, to a large measure, the universe of the story, the narrative momentum remains unfulfilled. Apart from what is coded in the narrative itself, the audience will have no idea how events turned out in the recesses of the grove. After a remarkable outpouring of narrative information, the ellipsis is firmly established. In view of the striking narrative hiatus, the lasting protection of the secret grave is secured for generations to come. Even though the girls debate the rules of narrative play, the reassuring finale caps the mournful climax. In the next section (1768-1779), the mysterious death of Oedipus and its aftermath are given a long-anticipated conclusion. Despite the toils that are in store for Antigone and Ismene at Thebes, the events are inevitably programmed as the play is drawing to a close. In accordance with the wish of Oedipus, the miracle is elided from the principal narrative and Theseus renders his protection to the girls. In honouring his pledge to Oedipus (1631-1637), Theseus wishes to gratify the dead. In the light of his proleptic planning, the Chorus call the girls to cease from lamentation. Their call for silence is now stated with absolute authority. This is no less due to the crucial intervention of Theseus, who brought to the narrative an extremely important control input.65 In order to bolster their appeal, they look back on the past in a closural gesture of final evaluation. According to the concluding analeptic glance, the events have undisputed authority (1779 πάντως γάρ εχει τάδε κΰρος). The secret lies safe in the recesses of the grove and so does the lasting welfare of the Athenian state.66 To conclude then, as the most recounted event in the play, the miraculous death of Oedipus becomes a narrative experiment on a grand scale. The importance of the miracle is such that Sophocles stretches the tragic narration to breaking point. The narrative frame keeps moving, as 65

66

According to Seaford (1994a) 139n.l52, "the emphasis at the end of the OC that there should be no lamentation (1751-3; 1777-9) may be an aetiology of the absence of lamentation in the cult." On the significance of last words in tragedy, see Hester (1973); Roberts (1987), (1988).

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the narration pans, tilts, and tracks or as the theatrical lens zooms or racks focus. However, the narrative agenda of Sophocles remains unaltered. Strict secrecy, gradual revelation, grave silence, poignant complexity and persistent repetition define the narrative threads that weave in and out of a larger tapestry. In the light of the recurrent communications of Oedipus with the gods, the repeated proleptic glances imbue the event with great significance. However, the ambiguous narration changes cues to catch the audience off guard. The constant postponement of crucial narrative information intensifies the aura of mystery. The temporal and topographical vagueness is such that the miracle appears to be purposely deferred beyond the span of the primary narrative, only to occur more emphatically within the time-scale of the action. In a spectacular display of proleptic discernment, Oedipus establishes certain strict rules of narrative play. As the climax of the story is purposely displaced to the off-stage world, his long-term planning is fittingly echoed in the analeptic excursions. Even though he evokes an effective sense of destination, the ending of the play is characterized by narrative turmoil. In particular, the integration of the narrative technique with the enigmatic quality of the ending is extremely important to the mapping of the future. By contrast with the Messenger, whose interpretative power is curtailed by his restricted narrative knowledge, Antigone and Ismene examine alternative possibilities of development and direction. In view of the multiperspectival presentation, the complexity of the off-stage world gives rise to a painful proleptic indeterminacy, which subsides only when analeptic clarity is restored. Eventually, after a great deal of narrative procrastination, the play starts to move on the trajectory that Oedipus so eagerly determined. In a closural gesture of narrative exposition, both the future of the Labdacids and the lasting prosperity of Athens appear to be programmed down the path that Oedipus first defined. Despite the terrible outcome of the Theban strife, the striking ellipsis is an unmistakable sign that the sacred grave lies undisturbed at Colonus. In the light of the welcome narrative gap, the death of Oedipus has indeed an ever-lasting κΰρος. This is all the more so in view of significant echoes of Sophocles' Antigone in the last scenes of the play which put the horrible events at Thebes in perspective. Given the terrible future looming over the action, it appears that Sophocles is eager to infuse the ending with some hope by reversing familiar narrative patterns. To this I now turn.

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Intertextual Reversal: Sophocles' Antigone This section will argue that there is extratextual input from the audience knowledge of the myth, especially at the end of the play. This is a playful narration which keeps shifting the ground under the audience's feet. As the visible tableau grows steadily wider in order to take in other dramatizations of the story, a carefully plotted pattern of intertextual allusions brings attention to the intricate relation between Sophocles' Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus. As in the case of Oedipus Tyrannus, which is constantly evoked and conveniently overhauled within an Athenian context, the Colonan setting is powerful enough to avert an all too similar civic crisis to that treated in the earlier Antigone. By using such a meaningful narrative device as the lament, which plays a pivotal role in the former play, the playwright purposely feeds the audience's expectations, only to run counter to them in the closing scene. As the events are not traced to their anticipated conclusion, the dislodging of audience expectation highlights the significance of Athenian institutions in restricting the sphere of violence. In view of the intertextual reshuffling, the causal chain halts to make way for a happier version - happier in contrast with the less satisfactory way that Thebes was to handle Antigone's unruly lament and response to an irregural burial. Even though the ominous shadows linger over the final scenes, the narrative swerves off the track to shed some hopeful light on the action. Intertextual affinities with Antigone are found in Oedipus' curse upon Creon (868-870) which intimates his horrible downfall, as this is dramatized in the Sophoclean version.67 Moreover, Polynices unmistakably alludes to the difficult issue of his burial at Thebes in his plea to Antigone and Ismene to bury his body and perform the customary services in the event of his death in battle (1405-1413,1435-1436). Polynices remarks that the 67

By contrast in Euripides' lost Antigone, Antigone eventually marries Haemon. Also, at the end of Euripides' Phoen., Antigone expresses the wish to bury Polynices (17441746), but the lines are suspected as spurious (cf. Craik 1988, 53; Mastronarde 1994 apud 1744). On intertextual affinities of the OC with other Sophoclean plays, see also Winnington-Ingram (1980) 274-275; Taplin (1983) 158-163; Miller (1986); Roberts (1988) 187-194; Adrados (1993); Easterling (1996), (1999); Scodel (1984) 118, (1999) 157; Segal (200P) 131-143. On other intertextual echoes, see Bignone (19351936); Letters (1953) 293ff.; Imhof (1970); Eucken (1979); di Benedetto (1979); Buxton (1982) 133ff.; Parsons (1988).

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rendering of the necessary funeral rites will earn his sisters no less praise than their attendance on Oedipus will (1411-1413). Antigone expresses her longing to return to her native polis in the kommos (1742-1743) and asks Theseus to conduct her and Ismene back to Thebes (1769-1772). Her ultimate purpose is to reconcile her feuding brothers (1770-1772). More importantly, the dispute between Antigone and Ismene over returning to the spot of Oedipus' passing is a proleptic mirror-scene for the arguments in the Antigone. At the beginning of the earlier play, where the passionate spirit of Antigone manifests itself, more circumspect Ismene is the sister whose calm common sense is not conquered by extreme sorrow. Even though she remains entirely loyal to her sister, she brings a different perspective on the action. In the final scene of Oedipus at Colonus Antigone shows the same impetuosity and utter devotion to a beloved relative that leads her to death in the Antigone. Sophocles' Antigone tells of the aftermath of the mutual slaughter of Eteocles and Polynices which Antigone fails to stop. Against this background of inevitable destruction, the ending of Oedipus at Colonus has been viewed as problematic.68 By contrast with the hopeful predictions of Oedipus, Antigone exits the stage to meet her preordained death at Thebes. The prophetic vision of Oedipus is not powerful enough to trace the terrible consequences of the strife. Even though his spiritual illumination is manifested in its highest clearness, the entire heavenappointed plan remains beyond his reach. Also, despite the sacred oath of Theseus to Oedipus to see to the wellbeing of the girls (1631-1637), the horrible events in store at Thebes cast an ominous shadow upon the action. Theseus' decision to guarantee the safe conduct of Antigone and Ismene back to Thebes in the hope of gratifying the dead Oedipus appears to be bitterly ironic (1773-1776). Notwithstanding the allegedly painful open-endedness of the play, there is a significant departure from narrative practices which were favoured in the Antigone. The coming events hang over the closing scene, but an all too familiar civic discord is evoked only to be happily averted within an Athenian context. In both Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, Antigone is faced with the same painful issue: her father and her brother are furnished with a rather abnormal death and burial. Oedipus passes 68

Cf. e.g. Segal (1981) 40Iff.; Roberts (1988) 187ff.; Easterling (1996) 174ff„ (1997b) 36.

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away άταφος (1732), as Ismene is quick to remind her sister, and Polynices is denied burial by Creon on political grounds. In both cases, Antigone finds herself entangled in the same intricate web of ritual ordinances and civic regulations. She deals with the same feeling of ritual frustration at the denial by the civic authorities of offering the traditional funerary services to the dead. By contrast with her decision to yield to the king of Athens out of respect for her father's rules (1768-1769), in Antigone she performs the necessary mortuary sacraments in honour of her brother. Owing to her defiant stance against the political power of Creon, Antigone herself is eventually caught up in this cycle of problematic burials: she meets her death killed by her own hand in a hollow cavern beside her future husband. Faced with the ritual abnormality enacted in both the Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus Antigone responds with a violent outburst of emotional energy which is expressed in the familiar mode of lamentation. In the Antigone the threnodic cries of the girl have been rightly treated by Segal as a key-theme of the play: her lamentation over Polynices' corpse (422428) inaugurates a series of grievous funeral laments.69 The kommos of Antigone and the Chorus (806-882) gives vent to her sorrow over her oncoming death. This is an extraordinary instance of a funeral lament voiced by the living dead herself. In the final scenes, lamentation takes centre-stage inside the royal house. The antiphonal lament (1257-1276) between the king and the Theban Chorus over the deaths of Haemon and Antigone is intersected with the news of Eurydice' suicide. The funerary grief of suicidal Eurydice (1301-1305) invades the house of Creon and her curses upon her husband constitute the last but one of this pattern of violent emotions in which Creon is finally engulfed (1306-1346). The last part of Oedipus at Colonus constitutes a powerful response to the death of Oedipus: in the narrative of the Messenger all the characters (apart from Theseus) join in the lament and later Antigone and Ismene engage in vehement lamentation on stage. The stream of emotional energy which is first referred to by the Messenger is given a solid expression in the kommos. The lament of the girls presents the death of Oedipus without the redeeming quality of the hopeful prospect of heroization. It seems that for Antigone and less so for Ismene there is only a sense of irredeemable loss of someone dearest and nearest. 69

(1995) ch. 5.

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In the Antigone the violent emotions of the girl subvert the political order of Thebes and bring about the downfall of the ruling family. In ancient Greek society, women's lament can be disruptive and often dangerous if left unchecked and unrestrained by male-governed social and political institutions.70 Ritual lamentation is considered to be powerful enough to effectively shake up the established social order. Hence, in Athens, strict measures were taken by Solon to prohibit women from lamenting the dead and lacerating their skin at funerals.71 The lament of Antigone and Ismene is initially seen as inappropriate in the context of the polis by the male representatives of civic authority who time and again attempt to curb this emotional outburst. The suppression of the vehement lamentation by masculine authority seems to be bound to fail, since the emotional energy displayed by the girls will soon carry over to Thebes where a new destructive series of lamentations will occur. As a matter of fact, in the lament Antigone refrains from making any mention of the positive aspect of Oedipus' death for Athens; her emotional overflowing appears initially impossible to be transformed into an acceptable form for the polis, despite the repeated requests of Theseus and the Chorus. For a moment, it seems that this rigidly displayed emotional tension intimates the horrible sequel of the stoiy at Thebes where lamentation defines the new state of affairs through the failure of Creon to suppress Antigone's lament over her brother and the eventual integration of Creon into this same uncontrollable expression of emotion. In the light of the subversive force displayed by mourning ritual in the Antigone, the grievous lament of Antigone in Oedipus at Colonus, thrown up by a similar narrative machine, seems to lead to a cracked ending.72 Surprisingly, the well-justified narrative expectations are frustrated by the 70

71 72

Cf. Foley (1993); Segal (1993); Loraux (1998) 9-28; Caraveli (1986). Female lament is also related to maenadlike emotions (cf. Seaford 1993, 119ff., 1994a, 139ff.). Cf. Plut. Sol. 21.5; Loraux (1998) 21f. The ominous prospect of unresolved tension is considerably enhanced by Antigone's allegedly rebellious and unfeminine behaviour in the earlier play. It has been argued that by the standards of Attic ideology the play characterizes Antigone as a 'bad woman', while Creon throughout much of the play represents the interests of the Athenian polis. Cf. Sourvinou-Inwood (1989a), (1989b), (1990a), (1991); Griffith (1999) 28ff.; Syropoulos (1999-2000) For a different view, see Bennett & Tyrrell (1990), (1998); Foley (1995), (1996); (2001). Cf. also Calder (1968); Easterling (1987); Markantonatos (1991 2 ) 32-58; Roisman (1996); Cropp (1997); McClure (1999); Griffith (2001).

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ending of the play. By contrast with the unbridled emotional energy of Antigone at Thebes, her ritual dissatisfaction does not turn into downright unruliness at Colonus. Eventually Antigone is brought to a positive view after the negative emphases of the lament. She accepts the validity of Oedipus' ordinances and the significance of his protective presence in the land ( 1768-1769). The emotions of her mourning grief, which run riot in the kommos threatening the very purpose of Oedipus' heroic elevation, are checked and subjected to reason. Antigone yields before necessity and, out of respect for her father, comes to recognize the idea of his passing as an unbreakable pact between him and the Athenian polis. In the end, there is some sort of rapprochement between hard-grieving Antigone and civic-minded Theseus.73 The threnodic cries of Antigone, which in the Antigone have been treated as a powerful pattern of mourning ritual into which Eurydice and Creon are eventually immersed, create an atmosphere of foreboding. Her alleged unruliness at Thebes may well alarm the audience to the possibility that Antigone is capable of turning her bitterness against civic authority. Her eventual acknowledgement of the importance of her father's promise to Athens and the solemnity of his pledge to Theseus wards off the prospect of unhealed tension. Despite her frustration which is caused by the inadequate ritual offerings in honour of her father, she yields to the civic discourse of Theseus and the Chorus. As she sets out to avert the oncoming civic unrest at Thebes, her spirit is reconciliatory and not belligerent, especially towards a state so helpful and agreeable with her and Oedipus. Antigone can be subjected to reason in a context of a polis which shows consideration for the religious agenda; it is only at Thebes where this agenda is perverted and priority is given to a distorted notion of civic order. In a sense, the last scene of the play is a miniature of the Antigone, but with a happy ending; a rehearsal of controversy between Antigone and civic authority which however does not end up in disaster and dissolution. The passionate spirit of Antigone can be accommodated in a city where justice wins the day.

73

It is noteworthy that Antigone embarks upon a mission which aims at the protection of her own polis (1769-1772).

Chapter 5

'Viewing Colonus In this chapter, the complex relation between the narrow here-and-now of the visible stage and the different narrative worlds εξω του δράματος takes a new turn. Despite the shifting centres of attention, certain narrative practices remain the same. Once more, delaying tactics and slow-plotted revelation are high on the narrative agenda of Sophocles. My argument is that the special features of the play's topography are heavily conditioned by the beliefs and presuppositions of the characters, who each time focalize a specific aspect of the scenery of Colonus. The descriptions present Colonus as a grander place. The viewing of the setting through the perspectives of Athens and Eleusis is expressive of the confluence of political and religious elements at Colonus. The double character of the locale gives a special significance to the events. The employment of a wide range of narrative devices allows the characters to build up an image of the setting, which is also related to certain themes of national pride. The stage-by-stage unfolding of the scenery results in an unexpected transformation. In the light of the striking Athenian echoes, Colonus is treated as a variation on Athens. Further, I want to suggest that the repeated emphasis on both the Olympian and the chthonic aspects of Colonus, through the various descriptions, appears to have a special significance. The introduction of the powerful fifth-centuiy filter of the Eleusinian Mysteries complicates the reception of the focalizations. The mystic echoes of the play are in agreement with the dominant narrative patterns. Silence, secrecy, complexity and delayed revelation set the narrative pace for the heroic death of Oedipus. As a consequence, Colonus assumes a distinctively mystical character, which is inextricably entwined with the mysterious passing of Oedipus.

Description and Focalization Apart from being focalizers of past and future events, characters can also describe the scenery of the action in the same way as a person in a novel

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verbally focalizes his own surroundings without the intervention of an external narrator. Mainstream manuals of narrative analysis treat descriptive segments as introducing a pause in the narrative - that is, the forward motion of the story is interrupted by the audible voice of the narrator. The classification of the descriptive genre as a stop in the narrative thrust has been hotly debated as an unnecessary relegation of description to the subordinate status of ancilla narrationis.' However, it is hardly deniable that a descriptive section does not constitute, in the strictest sense of the word, a forward movement in the narrative, especially in the case of narrated fiction (e.g. novels, short stories and epic poetry). Evidently, when descriptive portions in narrated fiction intersect with the principal narrative through the agency of an external narrator, the unfolding of the plot comes to a halt. This happens because the textual segment of the description corresponds to zero story-time and, in this sense, the 'first' narrative is interrupted to make room for the description to develop. In particular, the narrative motion comes to a stop only in the event of atemporal descriptions; descriptions, that is, which are taken on by either an external narrator or an after-the-fact character-narrator. Conversely, narrative time is never arrested in the case of descriptions which are introduced by a character in dialogue or occur in the privacy of a character's mind.2 It follows that Greek tragedy presents descriptive 1

Genette (1982) 134. On description in general, see Genette (1988) 35-37, 48-49; Chatman (1978) 74; Smitten & Daghistany (1981); Prince (1982) 56; Rimmon-Kennan (1983) 52-53; Baak (1983); Ronen (1986); Toolan (1988) 56, (1990); Barnes & Duncan (1991). Ball (1985) 76-77, 129-134, drawing on Hamon (1981) and (1982) 147-178, offers a brief, but stimulating, analysis of the status of description. Hamon should be given the credit of reinstating the descriptive into the former position which it enjoyed prior to Romanticism and Realism. His insights have sparked off an interesting debate over description, which remains unresolved to this day. The resurgence of interest in the descriptive has brought about a radical reappraisal of description in the light of such controversial issues as the problematic relation of Image and Text, Politics and Description, ecphrasis and the ideology of the viewer. For a brief overview, see Coste (1989) 208-213. The relevant secondary literature is extensive. For recent discussions on word, image and classical literature, see Goldhill & Osborne (1994); Eisner (1995); (1996); Rutter & Sparkes (2000).

2

Generally speaking, drama offers a more restricted range of options with regard to techniques of decelerating or even halting the action than film, which by contrast facilitates potential stopovers of the narrative by means of such conventional ploys as freeze-frame and still-time photo. Cf. Genette (1988) 35f.; Chatman (1990) 44-45.

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instances that can hardly be treated as imposing a temporal pause on the narrative, since dramatic time is unhaltable, and can only be arrested or accelerated by the employment of special conventions, such as change of scene and slight chronological suppleness displayed by certain act-dividing lyrics. Notwithstanding the chronological conformity of the descriptive in tragedy, descriptions never cease to present fascinating textual pieces, which organize the tragic narrative in their own special way. It is not so much their temporal peculiarity, or lack of it, but their character-bound nature, which affects the reception of the play. Descriptions do not display ideological 'purity'. They are every time introduced by an observer, whose message is preconditioned by his own preconceptions and partialities. In the case of the setting of Oedipus at Colonus, this is all the more striking, since landscape, as one of the favourite subjects of description, "participates particularly obviously in social systems of meaning".3 The idea of descriptive pieces as ideological constructs is a far cry from the ancient perception of description or ecphrasis as a highly realistic textual segment.4 This is especially so, if we take into account the fact that descriptions do not take place in a void, but are realized at the level of reception. The presence of particular filters, which are inserted between the descriptor and the audience, makes the interpretation of those pieces far more complicated. Thus, it is not only the focused nature of description, but 3

4

Fowler (1991) 27. Fowler (1991) offers abundant bibliography on description. Recent contributions include Buxton (1994) 80-113; Lopes (1995); Fitter (1995); Becker (1995); Fowler (1996); Barchiesi (1997); Alden (2000) 48-73. I take the term ecphrasis to denote any "self-contained description, often on a commonplace subject, which can be inserted in a fitting place in a discourse" (Lanham 1968, 39; cf. also Preminger & Brogan 19932 s.v.). According to mainstream definitions of ecphrasis, rhetorical description is one of the ten or fourteen exercises treated in the progymnasmata, which were "handbooks delineating exercises in rhetorical and historical composition in the schools of the Hellenistic East" (Bartsch 1989, 7-8; cf. also Rüssel 1981, 59, 158; Trimpi 1983; Bartsch 1989, 9ff.; Kennedy 1989, 198-199, 314-315, 1994). All four of the surviving handbooks of rhetorical exercises refer to the phenomenon of ecphrasis in similar language. Theon, apparently the author of the earliest handbook of progymnasmata (early second century CE), offers a definition of the term which will be later echoed in the rhetorical handbooks of Hermogenes (ed. Spengel 1885, 2: 16), Aphthonius (ed. Spengel 1885, 2: 46) and Nicolaus (ed. Spengel 1886, 3: 491) εκφρασίς έστι λόγος περιηγηματικός έναργώς υπ' οψίν άγων χό δηλούμενον (ed. Spengel 1885, 2: 118).

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also the frequent evocation of significant systems of reference, which invite the spectating body to appraise and re-appraise every descriptive instance in the light of their own contemporary experience. In a play, as in a film, there is an extra twist in the notion of description as a textual segment which is filtered through the perspective of a character. Theatre is a visual medium and thus offers the possibility of representing within the scenic space what is actually being described by the characters. As far as the description of a play's setting is concerned, the relationship between what is being described and what is there for the audience to see may well be variable. In the case of Greek tragedy, however, owing to the scarcity of evidence with regard to the scenic façade, the masks and the costumes of the plays, the potential interplay between the verbal references to material reminders on stage and the visual aspect of the action is to remain an article of belief rather than an investigable hypothesis. The highly speculative nature of any attempt at conjuring up the possible setting of a Greek tragedy, despite the plausible guesses frequently advanced,5 let alone any attempt at establishing a relationship of affinity or disparity between material and verbal representations of the scenery of Colonus, forces us to shun further elaboration.6 It suffices to say that the ensuing discussion of descriptions in the Oedipus at Colonus presupposes a material referent on stage, which provides a tacit descriptive element that is usually submerged in the ongoing action, unless the tragic narrative itself chooses to dwell on it.7

Political ' Viewing': The Athenian Colonus Often a locale becomes the principal stockpile of imagery. In the play, Colonus becomes indefinitely large, elastic, always stretching out to infinity behind whatever the audience see. In the descriptions of the 5

6

7

On scene-painting, see Arist. Poetics 1449a; Vitruvius 7, pref. 11; Pickard-Cambridge (1946) 124; Webster (1956) 14-18; Dale (1956); Arnott (1962) 91-106; Seale (1982) 19; Scullion (1990); Wiles (1997) 134. On the significance of dramatic setting, see Bernard (1985); Jansen (1984); Wiles (1997) ch. 1, (2000) ch. 5. On possible reconstructions of the play's setting, see Pickard-Cambridge (1946) 51; Dale ( 1956); Arnott ( 1962) 79, 98; Melchinger ( 1974) 6ff; Kamerbeek ( 1984) 12; Seale (1982) ch. 5. Cf. Chatman (1990) 38ff.

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locale, the tragic narration opens that phantasmagoric space onto a wider political and religious context.8 The playwright gives great importance to Colonus by aligning the local community with Athens and Eleusis. In view of the descriptive accounts, the setting is filtered through the perspectives of the metropolis and the most important pan-Hellenic cultsite of Attica. The aim of this section is to examine the gradually widening focus on the setting through the lenses of Antigone (14-19), the Stranger (54-61) and the Chorus (688-719), and to identify significant features of Colonus which help to build the Eleusinian matrix in the next section. In general, the description of sacred places establishes a special backdrop to what is happening. The religious character of the setting gives a distinctively ritual significance to the events. This is all the more so in view of the powerful connection between religious and political elements in the pantheon of Colonus. Antigone, the Stranger and the Chorus demonstrate a specific landscapesensibility. Antigone is the first to focalize the landscape, without going so far as to disclose the identity of the place. As a foreigner, she lacks the necessary narrative information to define Colonus in detail and thus her focalization is determined accordingly. By contrast with Antigone's tentative description, the Stranger offers a very different focalization, which is shaped by his intimate knowledge of Colonus. As he is given access to a wider range of narrative ploys, both the sacred and political aspect of the setting becomes plain. The choral focalization constitutes a climactic moment in the series of the descriptions of the scenery of Colonus. In demonstrating remarkable narrational power, the Chorus avail themselves of an even wider range of narrative devices. In order to give glory to Colonus, they relate the sacredness of the setting to certain themes of 8

On the importance of the setting, see Kitto (1961 s ) 393; Sgroi (1962); Knox (1964) ch. 6; Jones (1962) 222- 227; Stoessl (1966) llff.; Gellie (1972) 161; Winnington- Ingram (1980) Appendix E; Segal (1981) 364ff; Leinieks (1982) 179ff; Seale (1982) 113ff; Brault (1987); Easterling (1989); Bernidaki-Aldous (1990) 102-203; Edmunds (1996) 100-111; Wilson (1997) 91-130; Travis (1999) 189-190. Cf. also Kirsten (1973); Wallace (1979); Allison (1984); Birge (1982), (1984); Kirkwood (1986); Slatkin (1986); Kuntz (1991) 83-84; Dunn (1992); Krummen (1993); Blundell (1990) 91f., (1993). Oedipus at Colonus is the only play in the tragic corpus, apart from Philoctetes and Rhesus, which "turns the thematic focus on the setting of the action and subsequently transforms a part of the οψις into a major component of the problematics of the play" (Taplin 1977, 103).

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distinctively Athenian pride. In view of the grand focalization, the setting becomes a transformation of the Athenian city.

First ' Viewing': Antigone In offering a focalization of the sacred grove, Antigone is endowed with minimal narratorial knowledge. The filtering of the setting through a Theban perspective allows the playwright to lay special emphasis on the sanctity of Colonus, which could not fail to impress a non-Athenian. As a foreigner, Antigone lacks the necessary information to appreciate the individuality of the grove. However, in her brief focalization, she draws attention to certain narrative patterns, which come into full view in the descriptions of Colonus by the local residents. More particularly, by describing her surroundings, Antigone roughly delineates the two poles of the action: the grove, whose sanctity is suggested, but is far from certain, and the city of Athens, which is pictured as the obvious military epicentre of the broader area. Further, special emphasis is given to the fertility of the grove, which is manifested in the abundance of certain plants. Notwithstanding the holiness and the notable fertility, the audience have no way of knowing at this stage whether these elements of the setting that Antigone picks out have a special significance. Sophocles is setting puzzles for us. From the very beginning of the play the identity of the setting becomes a central issue with Oedipus, who is most keen on finding out the exact name of the place and its inhabitants (1-4,9-13). It does not escape him that they are near Athens (24-25), but he wishes to know the precise identity of the location they find themselves in. Thereupon, Antigone describes the scenery for the sake of the blind Oedipus (14-18). First, she refers to the Athenian wall-towers, which are supposed to be visible in the far distance: πύργοι μέν οϊ πόλιν στέγουσιν, ώς άπ' ομμάτων, πρόσω- (14-15) The reference to the wall-towers is dependent on her sight and, therefore, possibly non-specific. In particular, ώς άπ' ομμάτων (15) lays emphasis on her lack of exact knowledge. However, the mention of the city establishes Athens as the distant background to the action (15 πρόσω). Perhaps the image of the far-away bastion has as well a military significance, since the Athenian ramparts constituted one of the visual expressions of

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the city's supremacy.9 The protective nature of the fortification is accentuated by the striking use of στέγουσιν (15), whose usual meaning 'cover' may well slip into 'protect' in this context.10 Secondly, Antigone offers a description of the grove (16-18). Again, special focus is given to her lack of narrative information, which makes her confident reference to the sacredness of the setting all the more pronounced: χώρος δ' οδ' Ιερός, ώς σάφ' είκάσοα, βρύων δάφνης, έλαίας, άμπέλοιν πυκνόπτεροι δ' εισω κατ' αυτόν εύστομοϋσ' άηδόνες· ού κώλα κάμψον τοΰδ' επ' άξέστου πέτρου· μακράν γάρ ώς γέροντι προύστάλης όδόν. (16-18) Echoing ώς άπ' ομμάτων (15), ώς σάφ' είκάσαι (16) signals her limited narrative knowledge." Regardless of the tentative description, the Theban girl appears to be impressed by the holiness of the setting. Her focalization, however uncertain, introduces a significant narrative pattern, which emerges time and again in the choral celebration of Colonus. The fertility seems to be associated with the sacredness of the setting. In particular, the exuberance and fertility are treated as powerful, but far from conclusive, evidence of the grove's sanctity. They are both manifested in the profusion of the vegetation (16-17 βρύων δάφνης, έλαίας, αμπέλου) and the nightingales (17-18 πυκνόπτεροι... άηδόνες). The religious aura of the landscape is, moreover, intensified by the telling reference to the sound of the nightingales: εύστομοϋσ' is, like εύφημειν, found in religious contexts, 9 10

Cf. Wycherley (1978) ch. 1. Wakefield's στέφουσιν is reckoned "more natural" by Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 214. But see Jebb's sensible argumentation in favour of στέγουσιν (1900 3 apud 15); Kamerbeek (1984) apud 14, 15 unreservedly retains the manuscript reading. For further uses of σιέγω with πύργος in a military context, see Aesch. Sept. 216, 234, 797 (cf. also Hutchinson 1985 apud 216, 797f.). In a personal communication, Easterling noted that there is some attraction in Wakefield's emendation, especially from the vantage point of someone viewing the Athenian city from afar.

" Note also the variant readings of L άπεικάσαι and άφεικάσαι which point to a "more diffident guess" (Jebb 1900' apud 16) and, according to Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1990b) 214, are not to be simply dispensed with. If the variant reading ώς άπεικάσαι is accepted, any notion of certainty about the sanctity of the grove is to be deferred until the arrival of the Stranger (36), thereby heightening the narrative suspense over the exact identity and subsequent implications of the setting for the action.

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and denotes the observance of sacred silence.12 The general feeling of serenity, which is expressive of the distinctively sacred character of the grove, is also exhibited in the image of the unhewn stone (19 άξέστου πέτρου), where Antigone tells Oedipus to take his seat. This detail of the setting, which Antigone is quick to note, serves as an indication of its peacefulness, which remains apparently undisturbed by human presence. The land of Colonus is represented as both holy and fertile through the eyes of Antigone. As she is a foreigner whose narratorial knowledge is minimum, her positive reference to the sacredness of the setting draws attention to the impressive religious ambience of the area. Notwithstanding the confident guess, the specific character of the grove, which is only appreciated by intimate knowledge of the locality, escapes her. It will take a Colonan to supply the newcomers with sufficient narrative information to appreciate the special significance of the grove and the nearby territory in the context of this polis.

Second ' Viewing: The Stranger As the release of more narrative information about the setting is carefully controlled by Sophocles, from now on all major descriptions of Colonus are delivered by Colonans, who are more than eager to cast the place in a favourable light. In this case, the undisputed narrative knowledge of the Stranger, which is manifested in the confident references to the pantheon of Colonus, endows the description with particular authority. In offering a very different focalization, the Stranger lays emphasis on the holiness of the place by drawing attention to its chthonic nature. However, like Antigone, he does not reveal the greater importance of the setting, which comes into full view in the choral focalization. Again, at this stage the facts that he picks out are little more than facts about Colonus. That it is a significant place is becoming clearer, but how it all works is still uncertain. We have as yet not enough narrative information to give these elements special significance and can only wait until we do to explain them. 12

Cf. e.g. εύστομεΐν Aesch. Cho. 997 and Ar. Nub. 833 (cf. also Garvie 1986 apud 997). Soon Antigone will learn that one of the main cult practices pertaining to the Eumenides' grove, and one eagerly championed by the locals, entails complete abstention from speech whenever one passes the grove (130-133).

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In asking Oedipus immediately to quit his seat at the grove, the Stranger displays his narrative knowledge in the most unexpected way: πριν νΰν τά πλείον' Ιστορεΐν, έκ τήσδ' έδρας εξελθ'· εχεις γαρ χώρον ούχ άγνόν πατειν. (36-37) By contrast with Antigone's speculative reference to the sanctity of the setting, the new focalization is a product of no guesswork.13 The Stranger leaves no doubt about the holiness of the grove (37), which is defined by a somewhat unusual cultic regulation. The grove constitutes ground on which it is unlawful to tread. The use of the negative, which often reveals what is usually expected, underscores the special character of the place (37 ούχ άγνόν πατειν). This same narrative device is used time and again by the Stranger and the Chorus. The Stranger then once more lays emphasis on the inviolate nature of the grove. By contrast with Antigone's confident conjecture about the holiness of the place, he offers conclusive evidence. In avoiding any reference to the fertility of the setting, he associates the sacred grove with certain divine inhabitants: άθικτος ούδ' οίκητός· αί γάρ εμφοβοι θεαί σφ' εχουσι,ν, Γης τε και Σκότου κόραι. (39-40) Again, negative statements serve as narrative pointers to alternative possibilities which are deemed plausible. Picking up ούχ άγνόν πατειν (37), ούδ' οίκητός (39) alludes to the possibility of settlement in the grove, which is emphatically denied by the strict character of the cult. The Stranger is quick to offer the reason for the severe rule. In availing himself of yet another narrative ploy, in this case naming, he underscores the chthonic associations of the divine inhabitants. The place belongs to certain terrible goddesses, who are the daughters of Earth and Night (40), both distinctively chthonic divinities.14 εχουσιν (40), in particular, stresses the special connection between the grove and the as yet unidentified goddesses. 13

14

Since the grove could not have possibly constituted "a space strictly defined, arranged, and organized" (Polignac 1995, 16; cf. also 1994), the display of wide knowledge by the Stranger would have been all the more emphatic. Cf. also Sourvinou-Inwood (1993), (1997). According to Aesch. Eum. 416, the Erinyes are the children of Night. Also, according to Hes. Theog. 183-185, Earth is their mother, who is impregnated by Uranus (cf. West 1966 apud 185).

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The initial unwillingness of the Stranger to name the terrible deities creates an atmosphere of numinous awe with regard to the divinities of Colonus. His narrative reticence throws into sharper relief the subsequent revelation of their true identity. In response to Oedipus' question about their august name (41), he becomes more specific in his exposition: τάς πανθ' όρώσας Εύμενίδας ο γ' ένθάδ' αν εϊποι λεώς νιν άλλα δ' άλλαχοϋ καλά. (42-43) It is often the case that the employment of qualificatory remarks by the narrator brings attention to a specific point of interest, πάνθ' όρώσας (42), in particular, underscores the great power of the goddesses. The proud reference to the "all-seeing" Eumenides concludes with an emphatic pointer to the proficiency of the focalization. The intimate relation of the goddesses to the place is brought out through a narrative device, which is employed a number of times by the Stranger and the Chorus. Apart from serving as a serious cause for local pride, the sacred places of Colonus act as important identifiers of the community. In treating the name of the Eumenides as peculiar to the place, the Stranger displays exclusive knowledge, which allows him to distinguish himself from others (43 άλλα δ' άλλαχοϋ καλά). Despite the knowledgeable references to the divine inhabitants of the grove, Oedipus feels that the Stranger's focalization was incomplete. In asking once more about the identity of the place (52 τις δ' εσθ' ό χώρος δητ' έν φ βεβήκαμεν;), he wishes to know more about its special character. Thereupon, the Stranger obliges and, in widening the scope of the narration, presents the newcomers with a list of the deities, who haunt the grove and the surrounding area: οσ' οίδα κάγώ πάντ' επιστήσει κλυών. χώρος μεν Ιερός πάς οδ' έστ'· εχει δέ νιν σεμνός Ποσειδών èv δ' ό πυρφόρος θεός Τιτάν Προμηθεύς· ον δ' έπιστειβεις τόπον χθονός καλείται τήσδε χαλκόπους οδός, ερεισμ' 'Αθηνών οί δέ πλησίοι γύαι τόνδ' ίππότην Κολωνόν εύχονται σφίσιν άρχηγόν είναι, και φέρουσι τοΰνομα τό τοϋδε κοινόν πάντες ώνομασμένοι. τοιαΰτά σοι ταϋτ' έστίν, ώ ξέν', ού λόγοις τιμώμεν', άλλα τη ξυνουσία πλέον. (53-63)

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First, he is eager to draw attention to his narratorial knowledge (53 οίδα). It becomes plain that, in widening the scope of the narration, he also enlarges the geographical scale of the description. As more deities are added to the local pantheon, the setting appears to have a grander significance. According to the Stranger, the grove is but a part of a wider sacred area. Echoing Antigone's confident guess about the remarkable sacredness of the grove (16 χώρος δ' οδ' Ιερός), he treats the whole place as holy (54 χώρος μέν ιερός πάς οδ' έστ'). In order to justify his claim, he offers more narrative information by naming the divine inhabitants of the broader area (54-61). In view of the local cults, at this point in the play special focus is given to the chthonic character of Colonus, which was first noted in connection with the Eumenides (40). According to the description, the broader area is consecrated to Poseidon, who is associated with the place in his capacity as horse-god. In particular, Pausanias (1. 30. 4) speaks of a κοινοβωμία of Poseidon Hippios with Athena Hippia at Colonus: δείκνυται δέ και χώρος καλούμενος Κολωνός "Ιππιος... και βωμός Ποσειδώνος Τππίου καί 'Αθηνάς Ιππίας, ήρώον δέ Πειρίθου και Θησέως Οιδίποδος τε και 'Αδράστου. Even though Poseidon is Olympian, his connections with the horse have strong chthonic aspects.15 Picking up εχουσι (40), εχει (54) underscores the close ties of the god with Colonus. The Stranger includes Prometheus in the report, although he enjoyed an altar in Athena's sanctuary in the grove of the hero Academus, south of Colonus.16 The Titan Prometheus appears in his power of πυρφόρος θεός (55), which may well allude to his torch-festival.17 His altar in the Academy served as the starting-point for the annual torch-race in honour of the god. More importantly, in treating Prometheus as a divine inhabitant of Colonus, the Stranger introduces an important narrative ploy. In order to give glory to Colonus, he names a deity, who does not belong to Colonus, as a divine presence in the area. Perhaps, in the light of the chthonic

15

16

17

Cf. Burkert (1983) 138f.; Schachermeyr (1950); Dietrich (1962); Siewert (1979); Segal (1986) 200; Simon (1998) 58-79. On the mating of Poseidon with chthonian powers, see OCD3 1230-1231. Paus. 1. 30.3; ApollodorosFGrífof 244 F 147; Frazer (1965) ii 391. Kamerbeek (1984) apud 54-56 argues unconvincingly for "a cult of his on the hill of Colonus itself." On Prometheus as πυρφόρος, see Griffith (1983) 1-4, 282; Vernant (1983) ch. 9. Cf. also Krummen (1993) 195 n.lO. On Prometheus in general, see also Kerényi (19972).

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associations of Prometheus, which are, moreover, underscored by his appellation as Titan,18 the particular narrative legerdemain is especially significant in this context. Colonus appears to have an Olympian as well as a chthonic aspect. The transfer of gods who do not belong to Colonus, is not the only narrative device of which the Stranger avails himself. The establishment of a link to the city of Athens, however tenuous, may serve as a serious cause of local pride. Antigone was the first to refer to the Athenian walltowers, without, however, acknowledging a connection with Colonus (ΜΙ 5). By contrast, the Stranger speaks of a particular spot somewhere near the sacred grove, which is treated as a "religious safeguard" of the city (56-5 8).19 This natural fissure in the rock has strong chthonic overtones. The local tradition is well-known within the region, but remains impenetrable to those outside Colonus. The very existence of a 'brazen-footed' threshold near the meadow of the Eumenides implies the presence of some kind of boundary between the infernal powers and the earth. The threshold might serve as a passageway to the netherworld in accordance with the ancient notion of the χάλκεος ούδός of Hades and Tartarus.20 In keeping with the specifically chthonic character of the account, the Stranger speaks of the local hero, Colonus, to whom the residents trace the name of the area (58-61). Apart from providing a handy etymology of the region's name, the hero Colonus serves as an important identifier of 18

On the imprisonment of the Titans in Tartarus by Zeus, see West (1966) apud 36. On Titans, see RE 6 A (1937) 1491-1508. » Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 57. Cf. also Segal (1981) 369; Vidal-Naquet (1988) 356. The latter has argued for a geographical explanation of χαλκόπους όδός; the deme of Colonus Hippios is situated at the boundary zone of the Athenian asty in accordance with the Cleisthenic division system. 20 Cf. II. 8. 15; Hes. Theog. 811 (cf. 748-750). Cf. also Kirk (1990) II 297; West (1966) 367, 378. The material of which the ουδός is made has a certain religious aura about it, since bronze is often linked to the divine realm. Sacred laws were often inscribed in bronze. Also, bronze was dedicated in temples and even stored in a safe place on the Athenian Acropolis. Cf. Simon (1983) 9; Constantinidou (1992). Also, bronze (together with iron and adamant) is occasionally used in cosmic architecture (cf. West 1966 apud 726). Perhaps Colonus served also as a martial stay for the city, since ερεισμα would have military overtones for an Athenian audience Cf. Kirkwood (1986) 104-105. Athens was once described by Pindar as Ελλάδος ερεισμα, the bulwark of Greece, in a dithyramb composed in honour of the Athenians' part in the Persian wars (Pi. fr. 76 Snell/Maehler).

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the community, ίππότην (59), in particular, is an implicit acknowledgement of the epithet of the place, Hippios. This is not the first time that the Stranger distinguishes himself from others on the grounds of local traditions. In a similar manner to the reference to the Eumenides, whose name is considered to be unique to Colonus (43), he speaks of the Colonans, who bear the name of the hero. The repetition of τοΰνομα (60) and ¿ονομασμένοι (61) brings out the eagerness of the Stranger to lay emphasis on the individuality of the community. Without exception, all the Colonans are brought together under one name (61 κοινόν πάντες). Harking back to the promise to tell Oedipus all that he knows about Colonus (53), the Stranger rounds off the narrative with an emphatic reference to his true knowledge of the area (62-63). However, this time he treats the facts about Colonus as an important sign of intimacy with the holy places, something which he apparently shares with the rest of the residents. In using once again a negative statement (62-63 ού λόγοις τιμώμεν'), he draws attention to the exclusive character of the narrative information, ξυνουσία (63), in particular, brings out the special connection of the Colonans with the unsung, but much revered, sacred places. As in the case of Antigone, the Stranger offers an image of Colonus, which is to a large measure defined in religious terms. However, unlike Antigone, his narratorial standing is endowed with notable authority. The intimate knowledge that he professes to possess allows him to offer a detailed description of the setting. The sanctity of Colonus, which is evident in the chthonic character of the local cults, alerts the audience to the greater significance of the scenery. Later Oedipus refers to his impending death at Colonus (84-95). In view of the close association of Oedipus with the place, the playwright offers more narrative information. This time, it is the Chorus who endow a celebratory account of Colonus with their collective authority. In displaying maximum narrative power, they take the Stranger's allegiance to the city of Athens and turn it into a complex relationship of interdependence (67 έκ του κατ' άστυ βασιλέως τάδ' άρχεται).

Collective 'Viewing: The Chorus In the great Ode, the Chorus embark on a detailed focalization of the place, but in their reaction to Oedipus' presence in the sacred grove they offer significant fragments of narrative information about the setting. The

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incomplete descriptions act as a prelude to the climactic display of narrative knowledge in the Ode to Colonus. Alarmed by the presence of Oedipus, the Chorus lay stress on the specifically sacred character of the grove. As in the case of the Stranger, who was eager to draw attention to the especially strict rules determining the chthonic cult of the Eumenides, they refer to the inviolability of the holy meadow. The repeated narrative emphasis on the austere character of the local cult creates an atmosphere of numinous awe with regard to the setting of the action. Again, certain narrative devices are employed by the Colonans with an eye to serving their rhetorical purposes. Soon the narrative virtuosity of the Chorus will manifest itself mightily in the celebration of Colonus. In releasing some narrative information about the setting, the Chorus give their first focalization of the grove: προσδέρκου, προσφθέγγου, προσπεύθου πανταχα. πλανάτας, πλανάτας τις ό πρέσβυς, ούδ' εγχωρος· προσέβα γάρ ουκ αν ποτ' άστιβές άλσος ες τάνδ' άμαιμακετάν κοράν, ας τρέμομεν λέγειν, και παραμειβόμεσθ' άδέρκτως, άφώνως, άλόγως τό τάς εύφήμου στόμα φροντίδος ίέντες· (121-133) They are quick to draw attention to their accurate narrative knowledge of the place. In treating Oedipus as a foreigner (122-124), they prepare the audience for the brief reference to the especially strict set of regulations, which are known to the Colonans (124-133). In order to play up the inviolate character of the setting, they avail themselves of certain narrative tactics, which reemerge in the Ode to Colonus, only this time they serve a far more ambitious narrative policy. As in the case of the Stranger, who repeatedly laid stress on the inviolability of the scenery (37 ούχ άγνόν πατεΐν, 39 άθικτος ούδ' οίκητός), the Chorus turn the thematic focus on the untrodden grove. Echoing άθικτος (39), άστιβές (125) is the first in a long series of ά-epithets, which are employed by them with an eye to showing the special character of the setting. In outstripping the Stranger's narrative reticence about the name of the fearsome Eumenides (39-40), they refrain from naming the terrible goddesses who reside at the

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grove (126 άμαιμακεταν κοράν). The elision of the name of the divine inhabitants intensifies the atmosphere of numinous awe with regard to the setting. The feeling of fearful veneration is even more emphasized by a string of ά-adverbs, which throws into sharper relief the unusually severe rules that define the chthonic cult (131 άδέρκτως, άφώνως, άλόγως). Contrary to normal practice, the Colonans are not allowed to invoke the Eumenides audibly. According to the special local ritual, the τέμενος (136) should remain undisturbed by human presence. As it is the continuous preoccupation of the playwright to present the setting in religious terms, the Chorus offer yet another focalization of the sacred grove. In line with the previous description, they throw emphasis on its inviolate character. However, they not only focus on the cultic significance of the place, but also drop important narrative hints at the notable fertility of the landscape through fleeting references to certain ritual actions that are carried out inside the grove. In the celebratory focalization of Colonus, they elaborate on the same narrative clues with a view to painting a particularly favourable picture of the place. For the time being, however, as they are fearful of Oedipus, they lay stress on the undisturbed holiness of the setting: άλλ' ού μάν εν γ' έμοί προσθήσεις τάσδ' άράς. περάς γάρ, περάς· άλλ' ίνα τωδ' έν άφθέγκτψ μή προπέσης νάπει ποιάεντι, κάθυδρος ού κρατήρ μειλιχίων ποτών ρεύματι συντρέχει, των, ξένε πάμμορ' - εύ φύλαξαι μετάσταθ' άπόβαθι. πολλά κέλευθος έρατύοικλΰεις, ώ πολύμοχθ' άλατα; λόγον ει τιν' οισεις προς έμάν λέσχαν, άβατων άποβάς, 'ίνα πάσι νόμος φώνει. (154-169) Once more, in employing yet another ά-epithet, they turn the attention on the austere rules governing the chthonic cult of the terrible goddesses, άφθέγκτψ (156-157), in particular, refers to the local custom of not making an audible prayer to the Eumenides. None the less, apart from the

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emphasis on the strictness of the cultic regulations, the Chorus drop certain hints at the element of exuberance of the sacred grove, which come into view in the far greater choral celebration of Colonus. Specifically, νάπει ποιάεντι (157-158) alludes to the vegetal fertility of the place, which was first noted by Antigone in her speculative description (16-17). Also, in speaking of particular drink-offerings (158-160), the Chorus make reference to the abundant water, mixed with honey, which is poured in honour of the goddesses. Soon they will extol the unceasing streams of Cephisus, which never fail to water the land. However, in the meantime, they sign off the narrative with another ά-epithet, which turns the descriptive focus back to the inviolate character of the setting (167 άβατων). The Chorus make no secret of their intimate feelings for Colonus. As they hold the holy places in great reverence, they are most eager to embark on a long focalization of the area. In view of the establishment of Oedipus as citizen of Attica, they offer a sophisticated description of Colonus, which far surpasses the previous focalizations of the setting in both geographical and ideological scope. Again, the gradual disclosure of critical information and significant clues introduces the audience to the scale and issues of the problematics of the play. As all Colonan narrators employ similar narrative stratagems, some more subtle and complex than the others, the recurrent descriptions become narratively linked. In a long-range foreshadowing, the commingling of political and religious elements establishes an important fifth-century apparatus, thus bringing past, present and future tenses to bear at one juncture. In reconsidering the relationship of Colonus with Athens, the Chorus elevate the divinely-protected fertility of the landscape to a symbol of national continuity. This remarkable outpouring of narrative, which is again conveniently filtered through a favourable Athenian perspective, has the effect of making Colonus a grander place. Certain intertexts with the Athenian city facilitate the close relation between Athens and Colonus. In view of the choral description, the setting steadily becomes a transformation of Athens. Perhaps the employment of a lyrical medium as a narrative vehicle reinforces the narratorial authority of the Chorus: the musical accompaniment to the dancing Chorus would have made their display of narrative knowledge all the more pronounced. By contrast with the Stranger's report, in the first pair of stanzas of the Ode to Colonus (668 - 680 = 681 - 693), the Chorus do not present the divine inhabitants in the form of a list. This time Dionysus, Demeter and Kore, Aphrodite and the Muses are inextricably associated with the extremely

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lavish landscape, and it is through the celebration of the phenomenal agricultural fertility that they are invoked by the Colonans. More importantly, the Chorus introduce a significant narrative pattern, which punctuates their long description. The greater significance of Colonus is brought out through a strong emphasis on the close association of the gods with the timeless plantation. The eternal relationship of the divine presences with the fertile landscape makes Colonus a grander place of an almost achronic character. Unlike the Stranger, who agreed to offer narrative information about the setting after Oedipus' insistent questioning, the Chorus voluntarily embark on a detailed account of Colonus. Their narrative openness throws into sharper relief the revelation of the extraordinary features of the place. Indeed, by describing the area as the fairest dwellings in Attica (668-670), they are quick to set the celebratory tone of the narrative: εΰίππου, ξένε, τασδε χώρας ϊκου τά κράτιστα γάς επαυλα, τον άργητα Κολωνόν, ενθ' ά λίγεια μινύρεται θαμίζουσα μάλιστ' άηδών χλωραΐς υπό βάσσαις, τον οίνωπόν έχουσα κισσόν και τάν αβατον θεοϋ φυλλάδα μυριόκαρπον άνήλιον άνήνεμόν τε πάντων χειμώνων· ΐν' ό βακχιώτας άεί Διόνυσος έμβατεύει θείαις άμφιπολών τιθήναις. (668-680) ευ ίππου (668), in particular, suggests the equestrian fame of Colonus. In addressing Oedipus as ξένε (668), the Chorus make a point of distinguishing themselves from the newcomer, who does not have accurate knowledge of the area. As a matter of fact, Antigone and the Chorus themselves earlier mentioned the fertility of the setting, and in the Ode, they take the brief descriptions a considerable step further. They turn the attention to the immanent feeling of inexhaustible vitality which is prominent in the fertile landscape. Here again, as in Antigone's focalization, nightingales abound in the leafage of the grove (672).21 The nightingale is described as 21

Segal (1981) 273 lays emphasis on the melancholy aspect of the nightingale's singing on account of the funereal connotations of μινύρεται (671). There are, however, happy

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an important presence, which haunts the lavish plantation. Perhaps, in view of the special focus given to the bird, the nightingale is treated as yet another divine presence in the grove, έχουσα (674), in particular, which is also used of the Eumenides (40 εχουσι) and Poseidon (54 εχει), lays emphasis on the close connection of the nightingale with Colonus. It appears that Antigone's reference to the nightingales' sound, which intensified the religious aura of the landscape (18), was in no way misplaced. Further, the Chorus associate the nightingales with the vegetal fertility of the setting. In offering repeated references to the abounding vegetation (673 χλωραΐς υπό βάσσαις, 674 τον οίνωπόν... κισσόν, 676 φυλλάδα μυριόκαρπον), they draw special attention to the lavishness of the landscape. As in the case of the Stranger, who was most eager to underscore the inviolability of the grove (37, 39), they refer to its inviolate character through another ά-epithet (675 αβατον), which they also used in their previous focalization (167 άβατων). More importantly, in order to give glory to Colonus, they describe the exceptional fertility as the product of divine protection, θεοΰ (675), in particular, for all its vagueness, establishes the first link between the rich plantation and divine favour, a narrative theme which carries over to the next stanzas.22 By contrast with the previous focalizations, which did not feature any temporal markers, the Chorus lay emphasis on the perpetual strength of Colonus. Even though Antigone and the Stranger offered no temporal markers, the Chorus are more than ready to supply a good number of chronological pointers. As another indication of the wondrous vitality of

22

nightingales! Cf. e.g. Theogn. 939f.; Eur. fr. 558 Nauck2. Besides, according to Dain & Mazon ( 19652) 107 η. 1, μινύρεται may simply mean 'sing' in this context. On μινυρίζω in a happy context, see e.g. Ar. Vesp. 219, Av. 1414. There is a possibility that the non-specific θεοί (675) refers to Dionysus, or, less likely, to the local hero Colonus (cf. Jebb 19003 apud 675). Lloyd-Jones (1994) in his Loeb edition takes the obscure reference to the divine realm as "goddess". Still, if the divinity has to be be identified, the reference to the ivy, tellingly characterized as "wine-coloured" points to Dionysus (cf. Kemerbeek 1984 apud 674-678). One of the plants that Dionysus loved most in Greece appears to have been the ivy, which is mentioned in the Ode as τον οΐνώπα... κισσόν (674-675). Religious thought identifying the god with the plant also gave rise to the cult of Dionysus Κισσός at Acharnae; and as the ivy spreads round the pillar, the god himself is called Περικιόνιος at Thebes. Also, Dionysus was often worshipped in "a cool, well-watered, rural locality" (Tomlinson 1972, 213). On Dionysus in general, see principally Henrichs (1982), (1987), (1990), (1993), (1994); OCD> s.v.

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Colonus, special focus is given to the imperishability of the foliage, which is impenetrable by the sun and unvexed by the storm winds (676-678). As an emphatic temporal indicator, πάντων χειμώνων (677-678) introduces the theme of the grove's perpetuity, which punctuates the choral focalization. The piling up of more striking ά-epithets again reinforces the notion of Colonus as an extraordinary place of almost everlasting strength (676-677 άνήλιον άνήνεμον). The local cults, which were so proudly listed by the Stranger (39-40, 54-61), give way to a celebration of major Olympian gods. The invocation of Olympian divinities, some of whom are conveniently transferred from the Academy and elsewhere, has the effect of making Colonus a grander place. The Chorus are eager to describe the area not just as the site of some chthonic local cults, but rather as the abode of great Olympian deities. Against a backdrop of agricultural bountifulness, Dionysus and his entourage of Nurses are the first deities to be named by the Chorus (678680). In this case, βακχιώτας (678), which is a hapax, intensifies the celebratory tone of the focalization, which was first established by the Chorus in their proud reference to the incomparable beauty of Colonus (668-670). In their enthusiasm, the Chorus call upon Dionysus in his capacity as reveller. Such an invocation is particularly relevant in this context, since they wish to paint a picture of Colonus as a place of notable vitality and merriment. Echoing the chronological pointer with regard to the timeless character of the vegetation (677-678 πάντων χειμώνων), the Chorus offer another temporal marker. This time it is not the foliage, but an Olympian god, Dionysus, who is considered to be an ever-abiding source of protection in the land (679 άεί). Further, the allusion to the Nymphs, who nursed the infant god, throws more emphasis on the prominent theme of fertility, which is closely associated with divine favour. Again, naming in this context is significant, τιθήναις (680), in particular, underscores the nourishment that was provided to Dionysus by the Nymphs. In the second stanza (681-693), the theme of the exceptional fertility of the area continues to be prominent. Once again, the Chorus celebrate the happy relationship of the divine presences with the lavish landscape, which enjoys an eternal vitality: θάλλει δ' ούρανίας ύπ' άχνας ó καλλίβοτρυς κατ' ήμαρ αίεί νάρκισσος, μεγάλαιν θεαΐν

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άρχαϊον στεφάνωμ', δ τε χρυσαυγής κρόκος· ουδ' αυjtvoL κρήναι μινύθουσιν Κηφισού νομάδες ρεέθρων, άλλ' αίέν επ' ή μάτι ώκυτόκος πεδίων επινίσεται άκηράτω ξύν δμβρω στερνούχου χθονός· ουδέ Μουσάν χοροί νιν άπεστύγησαν, ούδ' αΰθ' ά χρυσάνιος Άφροδίτα. (681-693) In singling out two plants, the narcissus (681-684) and the crocus (684685), they celebrate their limitless fertility. Echoing both πάντων χειμώνων (677-678) and αεί (679), κατ' ήμαρ αίεί (682) underscores the imperishability of the narcissus and the crocus, which, as they are assisted by "the dew of heaven" (681-682), defy the withering effect of time. Further, the Chorus establish a connection between the narcissus and the Great Goddesses (683-684). According to their account, some of the divine inhabitants of Colonus are not only favourable presences, but also are specifically linked with the landscape. As they are major Olympian deities, the inclusion of Demeter and Kore in the description allows the Chorus to give the setting a greater significance. This is especially so in view of the not so obvious connection between the narcissus and the goddesses. The Chorus treat the narcissus as a special attribute of Demeter and Kore, when in fact other plants, such as the corn, the poppy and the pomegranate, are closely connected with their cult. Again, naming is significant in this context. In an effort to enhance the association of the narcissus with Demeter and Kore, the Chorus refrain from naming the goddesses. As a rare appellation of Demeter and Kore, μεγάλαιν θεαΐν (683) throws emphasis on the great importance of the divinities who are related to Colonus. After extolling the special affinity of the place with the gods, the Chorus turn the descriptive focus to the river Cephisus, whose unceasing waters contribute to the exceptional fertility of the landscape (685-691 ).23 23

Perhaps Cephisus should be treated here as another divinity of the pantheon in view of his beneficent nature, and not as a mere topographical reference. The river-god was among the ancestors of the Athenians through his relation to Erechtheus (Eur. Ion 1261; Apollod. iii. 15. 1). Cephisus was Creusa's great-grandfather and was described

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In using a negative description (685-688), they present a plausible scenario, only to offer an emphatic denial. One would have expected that the little river Cephisus would have become dry, at least in the hot summer months. Contrary to expectation, the streams of the Cephisus never fail to irrigate the land, άυπνοι (685-686), in particular, which echoes άνήλιον (676) and άνήνεμον (677), is another ά-epithet that underscores the limitless power of the scenery of Colonus. Moreover, in this case, άυπνοι (685686), which is purposely set in sharp contrast to the possibility of dryness, looks forward to the following positive account (688-691). Indeed, the Chorus are quick to offer a positive description, which comes out with particular force after the negative focalization (688-691). As άλλ' (688) signals the change, once more an emphatic chronological marker draws attention to the imperishability of the setting. Picking up κατ' ήμαρ αίεί (682), αΐέν έπ' ήματι (688), which is "a very rare use in Attic",24 underscores the inexhaustible vitality of the Cephisus. Again, an ά-epithet is employed by the Chorus, this time to lay emphasis on the inviolate streams of the river. Harking back to άυπνοι (685-686), άκηράτω (690) serves as another indication of the sacred character of the landscape. Like the Stranger, the Chorus employ the same narrative device of including certain divinities who do not belong to Colonus. In enlarging the geographical scale of the description, they name the nine Muses and Aphrodite as divine presences at the grove (691-693) The Stranger was the first to treat a deity of the nearby Academy as a divine presence at Colonus. This time, the Muses, which, according to Pausanias, enjoy an altar in the Academy (1.30.2 εστι δέ και Μουσών τε βωμός), are included in the choral account.25 The image of the dancing Muses, not unlike that of revelling Dionysus and his entourage of Nymphs (678-680), creates an atmosphere ofjubilation, which is relevant to the general theme of vegetal

as ταυρόμορφος (Eur. Ion 1261) after the fashion of other river-gods, such as Achelous (Soph. Track 11, 509), Oceanus (Eur. Or. 1378) and Alpheus (Eur. IA 275). Cf. also Owen (1939) apud 1261; Easterling (1982) apud 10-14; Willink (1986) apud 13771379. On river gods in general, see Brewster (1997). Rivers have special significance in the context of Greek religion, especially the rivers of one's own community (cf. West 1966, 259ff.) » Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 688. 25 Cf. also Papachatzis (1974) 393-395; Casevitz, Pouilloux & Chamoux (1994) 233.

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fertility. The Chorus make a point of acknowledging the unexpected inclusion of the Muses in the description. Once more the use of a negative statement alludes to a plausible scenario, which is set in sharp contrast to the present state of affairs (691-692). άπεστύγησαν (692), in particular, which is rather strong in this context, lends more force to the unexpected presence of the nine Muses at Colonus. The same can be said about Aphrodite, who is also included in the choral focalization as a divine inhabitant of the local grove. However, in this case, the Chorus enlarge even more the geographical scale of the narration. Apart from giving a distinctively Olympian significance to the setting, Aphrodite is, like the Muses, a deity who does not belong to Colonus (692-693). In fact, she is not among the divinities of the Academy either. The Chorus invoke a major Olympian goddess, who does not have any obvious connections with the place and the nearby territory. Perhaps the mention of her godhead in the Ode alludes to her temple by the Ilissos, to which the Chorus recognize their own allegiance. If this is indeed the case, at this point the focalization embraces a far broader area. This may well have a special significance in view of the forthcoming praise of Athens. In particular, in the following two stanzas (694-706, 707-718), the Chorus considerably widen the geographical scope of the narrative to establish an important link with the Athenian city. For the time being, however, they limit themselves to a celebration of Aphrodite. The invocation of the goddess is again presented in negative terms (692-693). Picking up ουδέ (691), ούδ' (692) underscores the surprising presence of Aphrodite, who is duly honoured by the rare epithet χρυσάνιος (693), which, as in the case of the χρυσαυγής crocus (685), gives greater significance to the goddess in view of the importance of gold.26 In the second pair of stanzas (694 - 706 = 707 - 718), the narratorial knowledge of the Colonans rises to its zenith. After a carefully plotted release of narrative information, the close connection between the setting and Athens comes into full view. The Chorus turn the descriptive focus onto the intricate relationship of Colonus with the Athenian city. In the celebration of the olive-tree and Poseidon, in his dual capacity as sea-god 26

Gold is rare in Greece. Particulary large auriferous areas were located in Macedonia and Thrace. Also, the great wealth of such places as Mysia, Phrygia, and Lydia is attested by the well-known stories of Midas, Croesus and the river Pactolus. Cf. Quiring (1948); Higgins (1980 2 ).

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and horse-tamer, they acknowledge the interdependence of Colonus and the asty. In particular, they associate Colonus with features of specifically Athenian mythology, such as the olive-tree, the bit and the oar. In giving Colonus the same myths as Athens but with a variation privileging Poseidon, its main deity, they make the place much more important than it truly was. In view of the strong intertexts with the Athenian city, especially through certain discoveries which are ascribed to Poseidon, not Athena as was usual, Colonus is presented as a significant transformation of Athens. As the praise takes a larger narrative range, the Chorus celebrate the special character of the olive-trees, which constitutes a serious cause of Athenian pride (694-706). In skilfully knitting the local theme to the national theme, they establish an important connection with the city of Athens. Again, in an effort to give Colonus a grander significance, they avail themselves of certain narrative devices. This time, however, they do so on a considerably greater scale. The narrative schema of sacredness through timeless fertility, which punctuates the previous stanzas, is linked to certain Athenian myths of political importance. Antigone was the first to be struck by the abundance of olive-trees in the grove (15-16), which she took as a sign of sacredness. By contrast, in the choral focalization, the presence of the olive-trees assumes a characteristically political significance. The Chorus evoke the myth of the miraculous rebirth of the sacred olive after the Persian invasion, which was commemorated on the Acropolis, the main cult-site of the asty. At the other end of the narrative spectrum, in offering important clues about the olive-tree, they solemnize the continuity of their community, which is predicated on the infinite existence of the city. Athens is eternal through divine protection, but so is Colonus, which, as an integral part of the polis, enjoys the same inexhaustible energy. The Chorus associate the exceptional fruitfulness of the holy grove with the supernatural vitality of the olive-tree, which in its capacity as the life-tree of the state signified the city's undiminishing power: εστίν δ' οίον εγώ γάς 'Ασίας ουκ έπακούω, οΰδ' έν τα μεγάλα Δωρίδι νάσω Πέλοπος πώποτε βλαστόν φύτευμ' άχείρωτον αύτοποιόν, έγχέων φόβημα δαΐων, δ τάδε θάλλει μέγιστα χώρα, γλαύκας παιδοτρόφου φύλλον έλαίας·

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τό μέν τις ού νεαρός οΰτε γήρα σημαίνων άλιώσει χερί πέρσαςó γάρ αίέν όρων κύκλος λεύσσει νιν Μορίου Διός χά γλαυκώπις Άθάνα. (694-706) As in the case of the Stranger, who treated the local lore as an important identifier of the community, they seek to distinguish Attica from the rest of the world.27 In a celebration of the olive-tree as a remarkable presence in the land, they pride themselves on having a plant that flourishes so securely under divine protection (694-701). They considerably enlarge the geographical scale of the focalization. According to the account, neither Asia, nor the Peloponnese ever featured an olive-tree that enjoyed unconditional divine favour (694-697). In particular, both ουκ (695) and ούδ' (696) underscore the exclusive character of the particular tradition. Contrary to expectation, it was only Attica that was privileged by possession of such a wondrous tree. Further, in order to play up the significance of the Athenian olive-tree, the Chorus make a point of presenting the Peloponnese as an important place, which none the less does not boast of such an amazing plant. Again, naming is used by the Colonans with an eye to serving their rhetorical tactics. Apart from the obvious celebratory function of an epithet such as μεγάλα (696), the emphatic periphrasis Δωρίδι νάσω Πέλοπος (695) establishes a connection with the most powerful contemporary occupants of the Peloponnese, the Spartans. The allusion to Sparta may well be significant in the light of the characteristically political turn that the choral focalization takes with regard to the extraordinary olive-tree, whose exclusive presence in Attica is, moreover, stressed by the strong chronological marker πώποτε (697). Apart from distinguishing Athens from the rest of the world, olivetrees are treated as a powerful symbol of Athenian longevity. In order to praise the olive-tree, they use certain epithets which evoke a nexus of familiar traditions. The strong echoes of specific themes of national pride allow them to reinforce the connection of Colonus with Athens, βλαστόν (697) is such an epithet, which "refers to the miraculous creation of the

27

On the glorification of Athens in tragedy, see Schroeder (1914); Butts (1942); Tarkow (1977).

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olive by Athena".28 In employing yet another striking ά-epithet, the Chorus aim to give an even grander significance to the olive-tree, άχείρωτον (698), in particular, which probably means "unconquered" in this context," acts as a prelude to the military character of the olive-tree. The military connection emerges into view through another meaningful epithet, which may well hint at a well-known Athenian tradition, αύτοποιόν (698) alludes to the extraordinary self-renewal of the primal olive in the Pandroseum just west of the Erechtheum after the Persians burnt it.30 The supernatural rebirth of the olive-tree's hallowed prototype immediately after the destruction of the Athenian acropolis served as a powerful symbol of Athena's re-authentication of her 'guarantee' to the city.31 The miraculous stoiy, related by Herodotus (8. 55), of the culture plant of the goddess on the Acropolis which allegedly sprouted out new shoots after the sack of the city by the Persians, graphically illustrates the spiritual compact between the goddess and the polis. This matrix of ideas, which are closely related to Athens and duly celebrated by the Colonans, reaches a climax in the notion of the olive-tree as έγχέων φόβημα δαΐων (699). In describing the olive as a terror to the enemy spears, the Chorus overtly acknowledge the military protection that is afforded by the wondrous plant, which springs from the earth at a divine command. Apart from the distinctively political significance of the olive, they are quick to lay emphasis on the vitality of the tree, which contributes to the general fertility of Attica. As in the case of the narcissus, which was said to bloom in the sacred grove (681-683 θάλλει... νάρκισσος), the olive-tree is described as mightily flourishing in the land (700 δ τάδε θάλλει μέγιστα χώρα), τάδε... χώρα (700), in particular, a purposely indistinct topographical pointer, allows the Chorus to treat both Colonus and Athens as interchangeable. In order to give glory to Colonus, the Chorus focus their thoughts on another aspect of the same relationship between the local community and

28

Jebb (1900 5 ) apud 698. " The less likely meaning "not cultivated by human hands" is rejected by Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 698. 30 Cf. Paus. 1. 27. 2; Frazer (1965) ii 343-344, 393f.; Papachatzis (1974) i 240-241; Casevitz-Pouilloux-Chamaux (1992) 218; Andronikos (1992) 37. 31 Cf. Detienne (1973) 295; Parker (1987), (1996) 138, 144; Sourvinou-Inwood (1988), (1990b) 306.

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Athens. Apart from laying emphasis on the special character of the olivetree, they draw attention to yet another tradition with regard to the miraculous plant. This time, the reference to divine favour, which is liberally afforded to the olive, aims to explain its inviolability. The Chorus claim that neither young nor old can ravage the sacred trees (702-703). τις (702), in particular, with all its purposeful vagueness, allows them to avoid any personal reference to the would-be assailant. It appears that the olive-trees of the Attic countryside stand safe from generation to generation. Perhaps πέρσας (703), as a potential pun on the Persians, gives a more obvious historical grounding to the celebration of the undisturbed presence of the olives in the land, especially in view of the previous evocation of the rebirth of the sacred olive after the Persian invasion (697). More importantly, in seeking to account for the safe position of the miraculous trees, the Chorus evoke the Athenian tradition of the Morian olives, which, according to the story, had been propagated by the primal olive on the Acropolis. In calling upon Morian Zeus and Athena, who see to the maintenance of the olive-trees (704-706), they offer an explanation for the inviolability of the sacred trees. The employment of the temporal pointer αίέν (704), which was repeatedly used earlier to underscore the timeless fertility of the setting (679, 682, 688), throws even more emphasis on the gods' undiminished attention to the olives. In particular, the invocation of Morian Zeus connects the motif of the olive-tree with the legal system of Athens. The moriae, the olive-trees set under the protection of the state, were sacred and any attempt at uprooting a Morian olive was treated as a public offence, which was heavily fined.32 The direct line between the hallowed prototype of the olive-tree on the Acropolis and the olive-trees of the Athenian countryside strengthens the close relation of Colonus to central authority, which legally protects the olive-trees of the area. We have come a long way from Antigone's tentative description and her unsuspecting remark on the abundance of olive-trees in the grove. Beside the important reference to the tradition of the Morian olives, the invocation of such major Olympian divinities as Zeus and Athena strengthens the distinctively Olympian character of the choral focalization. 32

The unauthorized removal of sacred olive-trees from a sanctuary led to a fine of 200 drachmae, half for the city and half for the informer (Dem. 43. 71). Like many other laws, this one provides what seems to be "a generous incentive for volunteers who bring offences against the state's interest to public notice: half the fine" (Hall 1996, 76).

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By contrast with the Stranger, who was eager to lay emphasis on some chthonic local cults, the Chorus wish to give Colonus a grander significance by linking the place to great Olympian deities. Apart from Zeus, who is related to the olive-tree in his capacity as Μόριος, they make a point of associating Athena with her sacred tree. Echoing γλαύκας (701), γλαυκωπις (706), which, in view of the epic colouring, gives solemnity to the invocation, throws more emphasis on the strong connections between Athena and the Attic olive-trees. Further, in keeping with the familiar narrative policy of including divinities of the Academy in the focalization, the Chorus may well allude to the altar of the Morían Zeus in the Academy, "where there was also a shrine of Athena close to the μορίαι." Perhaps, in the light of the special reverence that was given to Zeus and Athena in the Academy, the Chorus are ready to invoke both deities in the same context.34 In the second antistrophe (707-719), the Chorus overtly recognize the dependence of their community on the city and, at the same time, draw attention to the significance of Colonus for the welfare of Athens. In essence, the choral eulogy works both ways: the praise of the asty is simultaneously a praise of Colonus, given the strong political and religious affiliations between the city and Colonus established in the previous stanza: άλλον δ' αινον εχω ματροπόλει τάδε κράτιστον, δώρον του μεγάλου δαίμονος, ειπείν, αΰχημα μέγιστον, εΰιππον, εΰπωλον, εύθάλασσον. ώ παΐ Κρόνου, σύ γάρ νιν ές τόδ' είσας αΰχημ', αναξ Ποσειδάν, ϊπποισιν τον άκεστηρα χαλινόν πρώταισι ταΐσδε κτίσας άγυιαίς. ά δ' εύήρετμος εκπαγλα χοροΐσιν παραπετομένα πλάτα

33 34

Jebb ( 190(F) apud 706. Could it be that, in view of the special connection of the Academy with the olive-tree (Paus. 1. 30. 2; an olive-tree was shown, said to have sprung up next after the primal olive on the Athenian Acropolis), the special reference to the olives is another instance of inclusion of a non-Colonan tradition by the citizens of Colonus?

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θρωσκει τάν έκατομπόδων Νηρήδων άκόλουθος. (707-719) In view of άλλον (707), the praise of Poseidon is meant as an αίνος (707) in the same way as the preceding glorification of Athena's sacred olivetree (694-706). ματροπόλει (707), in particular, lays special emphasis on the close connection of the local community with Athens. However, in the celebration of Poseidon's gift of the bit and the oar, the Chorus lays emphasis on the instrumental rôle of Colonus in the wellbeing of the city. In using such narrative devices as naming and analeptic excursions of considerable reach, they give a far greater significance to Colonus. Apart from characterizing the following account as a κράτιστος αίνος (707-708), they speak of the gift of a great god, without, however, offering more narrative details (709). In a like manner, they make an unclear reference to a most high glory of the land (709-710). In becoming more specific about this important cause of national pride, they use a familiar narrative device. A string of epithets throws emphasis on the might of the horses, the foals and the sea (711 εΰιππον, εΰπωλον, εύθάλασσον). In this case the ά-epithets shift into εύ-epithets. Harking back to εύίππου (668), εΰιππον (711) brings the choral focalization full circle. In welcoming Oedipus to Colonus, the Chorus boasted that their area was the most beautiful place of Attica, which is famed for her noble horses (668-670). Here, in supplying more narrative information, they offer the explanation for their proud claim. In a direct address to Poseidon (713 αναξ Ποσειδάν), again they speak of the αΰχημ' (713; cf. 710 αΰχημα μέγιστον) in which the god established the city. They make a long excursion into the mythical past to refer to the gift of the horse-taming bit, which was first granted to the Colonans among all the people in Attica (714-715). Because they are eager to underscore the exclusive character of the divine boon, they refrain from offering any distinct temporal markers. As a vague chronological pointer, πρώταισι (715) underscores the one and only temporal sequence that the Chorus so eagerly wish to establish: the Colonans were the first among all men to have been privileged with such a glorious benefaction. More importantly, the Chorus overstate Colonus' crucial rôle in the prosperity of Athens. Even though the invention of the bit was not usually ascribed to Poseidon, they make a point of localising the myth at Colonus by privileging their main deity. The gift of horsemanship is unusually

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assigned to Poseidon. The votaries of Poseidon celebrate a tradition, which is peculiar to Colonus alone, and, by doing so, they affirm their own particularity.35 There are few examples of Poseidon as horse-tamer through technology. His prominent characteristic with regard to horses in Athenian mythology remained elemental.36 By contrast with Athena, whose province was that of control over the horse through technology, Poseidon was constantly presented as creator of the horse, who could at will command his creature's fiery spirit or release its violence in a 'non-technical' way.37

35

Cf. Krummen (1993) 193-203. Through the exaltation of the gift of the olive-tree by Athena and of the horse-taming adeptness of Poseidon, the two previously rival deities are seen as contributing to the glory of Athens. There is no obvious sign of the ancient hostility over the protection of the city; each one is eulogized for the special gift bestowed to the Athenians and, in the case of Poseidon, to the privileged Colonans. As a matter of curiosity, the presentation of Poseidon in a particularly favourable light alongside his former rival, Athena, might have been taken as a political message of civic unity by the Athenian audience of 401 BCE - perhaps unwittingly by Sophocles himself who was five years dead in 401 BCE. It seems that the tale of the ancient contest on the Acropolis had come to be seen in Greece as a mythical model of the Peloponnesian War, hence the Spartan initiative after Athens' submission in abolishing every festal occasion, including the celebration of Athena's victory over Poseidon, which might serve as a reminder of the recent dreadful events (cf. Loraux 1998, 83-109). Also in the wake of the disastrous war (403/2 BCE), the Athenian city asked her citizens to leave aside their former rivalries and grant amnesty to all the opposing parties. In this manner the polis ensured the peaceful continuation of her existence by putting a curb on civic memory. This conception of social cohesion through massive oblivion constituted part of the the historical background in 401 BCE when the play was probably staged for the first time. On Athens after the war, see also Mossé (1973); Lévy (1976); Strauss (1986); Burke (1990); Kukofka (1992); Krentz (1995) 152f.; Tritle (1997); Müller (1999a), (1999b).

36

Poseidon's skill in taming is found in certain contexts, most of them insignificant; cf. Poseidon Δαμάσιππος at schol. on Ar. Nub. 967; at Corinth Poseidon was worshipped as δαμαιος, and Athena as χαλινΐτις (Pi. Ol. 13. 65f.; cf. Farnell 1932 apud 65 who treats δαμαΐος as a poetic invention without cultic significance). In Syria Poseidon was called ΐμψιος, that is, ζύγιος ("horse-yoking"; cf. Hesych. s.v.). Even in the above cases, the connection of Poseidon with the bit remains tenuous. There is an obvious difference between the taming capacity of Poseidon and the use of the bit as an effective instrument.

37

Cf. Detienne & Vernant (1978) 192ff. who draw a distinction between Athena as the taming power behind the horse and Poseidon as the basic force. It is worth noting that they admit that Soph. OC 714-715 constitutes the only indication against their thesis. It seems that they did not take into account the power of the citizens of Colonus to manipulate mythological tradition (On Athena Hippia, see Heintze 1993, 1994).

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The praise of Poseidon as giver of the oar now completes this especially favourable presentation of Colonus' main deity (716-719). The previous non-specific reference to the might of the sea that is granted by a great god finds its exposition (711 εύθάλασσον). Poseidon is glorified for his gift of the oar, which is again a great cause of Athenian pride. In employing yet another εύ-epithet (716 εύήρετμος), the Chorus praise the oar, which is aptly fitted to men's hands. Also, the notion of the oar as follower of the Nereids (719-720) reinforces its connection with the divine realm. More importantly, the Chorus evoke the gift of seamanship, which gave unprecedented honour to Athens.38 Once again, Poseidon is credited with an invention elsewhere attributed to Athena: Poseidon expressed the more elemental force of the sea, whereas Athena, a goddess especially associated with the civilized skills of art and technology,39 invented the oar which symbolized the victory of culture over chaotic nature.40 As they are endowed with maximum narratorial knowledge, the Chorus give a far greater significance to Colonus. In availing themselves of an especially wide range of narrative devices, they build up a celebratory description of the place, which stands out among the focalizations of the setting. In particular, the repeated emphasis on the notion of Colonus as the abode of major Olympian divinities brings into the open the specifically Olympian aspect of the sceneiy of Colonus, which is set in sharp contrast to its distinctively chthonic associations. Apart from the religious importance of Colonus, the Chorus establish a strong link between the local community and the Athenian city. In the light of the striking mythological affinities, which are conveniently overstated through a skilful narrative legerdemain, the perception of Colonus as a variation on Athens allows the Chorus to make the area far more important than it was. This has a distinctive purpose in view of the imminent arrival of Creon, who will challenge the Athenian authority over the land, a theme so eagerly praised by the Chorus. As Antigone is quick to observe in recognizing the celebratory character of the grand focalization (720-721 ώ πλεΐστ' έπαίνοις εύλογου μενο ν πέδον, / νυν σοι τά λαμπρά ταϋτα δει φαίνειν επη), it lies with the Athenians to translate the ideological apparatus of the Ode into decisive action. 38 39 J0

On Athens as sea-power, see Jordan (1975); Rhodes (1985); Strauss (1996). Cf. Detienne & Vernant (1978) 187-213; Detienne (1981); Herington (1955) 54 n. 1. Cf. Bremmer (1987) 35-41; Parker (1987) 198ff.

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As the playwright is eager to control the flow of information about the scenery of Colonus, the Colonans filter the narrative through an especially favourable perspective. Even in the case of Antigone, whose narratorial command is minimum, the sacred grove is conveniently described as a place of notable fertility. In view of the abundance of narrative, the largely indistinct material referent on stage is progressively endowed with layer upon layer of meaning. The visible stage grows steadily wider in order to take in significant Athenian intertexts. This is no less due to the narrative sophistication of the focalizations. In employing a broad range of rhetorical devices, the characters seek to strengthen their distinct narrative policy. Regardless of the difference in emphasis among the descriptions, the narrative focus is fixedly turned to the sacred character of the setting, which is inextricably entwined with important political issues. In giving Colonus a greater significance through telling references to its sanctity, Antigone, the Stranger and the Chorus not only build up a considerable background to the action, but also pick out certain elements which would serve a particular narrative function in a different context. As a site of both chthonic and Olympian cult, Colonus has a distinctively double nature.41 The conjunction, which is carefully established through the different descriptions, suggests ritual significance and religious importance of the place. This is especially so in view of the uncertainty about whether Oedipus goes to heaven or Hades, something which is duly underscored by the Messenger (1661-1662) in his effort to explain the double adoration of earth and Olympus by Theseus (1654-1655). As a place where Hades, earth and the world of the Olympians meet, Colonus served as a transformation of Eleusis, which was a similar kind of place of specifically liminal character.

Mystical ' Viewing: The Eleusinian Colonus In the light of the mystic filter, the image of Colonus, which is built up by the various descriptions, is endowed with yet another layer of meaning. This is all the more so in view of the narrative agenda of the play. Such recurrent narrative patterns as strict secrecy, delayed revelation and complexity in the braiding of causal lines allow for the mystical leads to 41

On Olympian and chthonic, see Schlesier (1991-1992); Scullion (1994).

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develop into a major theme. Especially, the distinctively ritual patterning of the full-blown messenger-speech brings to mind certain initiation ceremonies. As a consequence of the affinities of Colonus and Eleusis, Colonus would have served as a variation on Eleusis. A good number of attributes that are highlighted by the focalizations would have facilitated a possible link between Colonus and Eleusis. Both the geography and the local pantheon are reminiscent of Eleusinian topographical and cultic coordinates. In particular, the merging of Olympian and chthonic motifs, or rather the emphasis on those aspects of the Olympians which had a chthonic touch, indicates the double nature of the setting. As in the case of the complex relationship with Athens, Colonus is not another Eleusis, but a transformation of it. The mysterious death of Oedipus, which is enacted in initiatory terms, fits the Eleusinian schema. The concept of the setting as a variation on Eleusis would have thrown into sharper relief the hopeful character of his mystic άφηρωισμός. In his capacity as a fellow mystes, Oedipus would have been seen as expressing some of the aspirations and anxieties of the initiates themselves. His peaceful passing at a mystic place would have relieved some of the mystical concerns of the original audience.

Colonus and Eleusis There is a direct reference to Eleusis in the play: ή προς Πυθίαις ή λαμπάσιν άκταΐς, οΰ πότνιαι σεμνά τιθηνοϋνται τέλη θνατοΐσιν, ών και χρυσέα κλής έπί γλώσσα βέβακε προσπόλων Εύμολπιδών ( 1 0 4 7 - 1 0 5 3 ) In speculating about the potential locations of the cavalry battle, the Chorus visualize the Athenians as pursuing the Theban captors through the pass of Daphne towards Eleusis. According to the imaginary account, one possible scene for the fight would be Eleusis itself (1048). In order to define the Eleusinian bay, the Chorus evoke certain aspects of the mystic ritual. Also, they refer to significant mystical ideas, which were closely related to the Mysteries (1049-1053). In particular, λαμπάσιν άκταΐς (1048)

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alludes to the annual torch-light procession of the initiates along the Sacred Way from Athens to Eleusis. The use of torches, and light in general, was an important part of the Eleusinian ritual. Apart from a παννυχίς of torchbearing initiates at the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, the climactic moment of the mystic ceremony was characterized by an abundance of light.42 More importantly, the Chorus celebrate the very essence of the Mysteries (1050-1051). Demeter and Kore acted as the spiritual nurturers of the death rites of the initiates, who, through initiation, were promised the enjoyment of a blissful existence after death.43 In imposing a pledge of secrecy on the mystae, the Eleusinian cult treated the initiates as guardians of a secret, which they were not allowed to communicate to the uninitiated. This significant aspect of the Mysteries is hinted at by the Chorus, who, in order to place particular stress on the renowned Eleusinian secrecy, avail themselves of a striking metaphor (1051-1053). Apart from evoking the strict rule of secrecy, the emphatic reference to the golden key of the Eumolpids, which is laid on the tongue of the mystae, may indeed have been part of the Eleusinian ceremony.44 Before examining the wider implications of the mystic code with regard to Colonus and the passing of Oedipus, it is essential to review the external indications of such an Eleusinian connection. If indeed an Eleusinian matrix became at some point part of the stoiy of Oedipus, this perhaps would have predisposed the original audience to filter the arrival of Oedipus at Colonus through a mystical perspective. It is true that in view of the scarcity of evidence the mystical association of Oedipus, Colonus and Eleusis can be established with some degree of certainty in no other play than Oedipus at Colonus.*5 However, it has been convincingly 42

43 44 45

Cf. Richardson (1974) 27; Burkert (1983) 288ff. On the ritual significance of light, see Parisinou (2000). Cf. Richardson (1974) 29; Burkert (1983) 293ff. Cf. Kamerbeek (1984) apud 1050-1053; Fraenkel (1950) ii apud 36; Lobeck (1829) i 36. Cf. the incisive discussion of Seaford (1994b). It is noteworthy that the Sophoclean play was produced by two men of the deme of Eleusis in 402/401. The mystic ambience of the play might have necessitated the production of the play by the two Eleusinian demesmen. Cf. Foucart (1895); Dain & Mazon (1967 2 ) 69. Also, in one of the hypotheses of the play, which is drafted in verse, Oedipus is said to arrive at Athens: ές χθόνα Κεκροπίης και τάς Δήμηχρος άρούρας. Could there be an indication here of the Eleusinian connection, which was hinted at by the scholar, who drafted the hypothesis and was conscious of the mystic matrix of the play?

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argued that Oedipus' initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries after his arrival at Athens was treated by Aeschylus in the second play of his Oedipodea, Oedipus.'''' There is an intriguing possibility that Colonus received Oedipus in the Aeschylean play.47 Also, according to a well-known tradition, on account of Oedipus among other plays an accusation for the profanation of the Mysteries was brought against Aeschylus, who was tried and acquitted by the Areopagus.48 It is plausible to argue that fr. 387 Radt (εφριξ' ερωτι τοϋδε μυστικοΰ τέλους) and, less so, fr. 386 Radt (λαμπραΐσιν άστραπαΐσι λαμπάδων σθένει) refer to Oedipus' initiation in the play. Further, apart from possible literary evidence, certain traditions establish an important link between Oedipus and Demeter. In particular, according to Androtion, when Oedipus came to Athens he became a suppliant in the temple of Demeter and Athena Poliouchos (καΐ ικέτευεν έν τω ίερω των θεών, Δήμητρος και Πολιούχου Αθηνάς). Again this story is related to Aeschylus' Oedipus.*9 In addition, according to a Boeotian legend (Σ on OC 91 de Marco quoting Lysimachus of Alexandria), when Oedipus met his death at Thebes, his closest friends wished to buiy him there, but the Thebans fearfully resented the prospect of burial in Theban ground. Then his friends tried at Boeotian Ceos but with no success. Finally, a spot was chosen next to the frontier between Boeotia and Attica. Oedipus was buried there by night. The ground turned out to be sacred to Demeter and the people of Eteonus alarmed at the prospect of miasma asked the assistance of the Delphic god. Apollo replied that the suppliant of the goddess must on no account be disturbed (ό δε θεός είπεν μή κινεΐν τον ίκέτην της θεοϋ). The people of Eteonus followed the advice of Apollo and allowed Oedipus to rest in peace. His burial place was called the Oedipodeum,50

47

48 49 50

Cf. Seaford (1994b) 287; (1994a) 398. [Androt.] FGrHist 324 F 62 (ό δέ Οιδίπους έκπεσών ΰπό Κρέοντος ήλθεν εις τήν Άττικήν και ωκησεν Κολωνόν καλούμενον). T93b2-3 Radt! FGrHist 324 F 62 (p. 288 Radt); Seaford (1994b) 398 n. 126. As Seaford (1994a) 397-398 and (1994b) 287 maintains, in view of the similarities between Sophocles' Ajax and Oedipus at Colonus, in particular Ajax's Trugrede and Oedipus' long exposition of the mutability of fortune (607-623), certain mystic elements can be traced in the death of Ajax and Oedipus. Seaford (1994a) 398 argues that "herocult and mysteries sometimes occur together and in myth heroes are initiated into the mysteries." Heracles is a well-known example (cf. also Lloyd-Jones 1967; Boardman 1975). See also Brelich (1958) 118-124; Seaford (1994a) 123ff„ 129-139, 287ff.

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Colonus comprises a set of traits, both geographic and cultic, which are also found in an Eleusinian context. First and foremost, the presence of the grove constitutes a significant Eleusinian identifier. Apart from the obvious connection of the fertile grove with the agrarian nature of the Mysteries and the notion of Persephone's return as a description of the agricultural cycle, the holy meadow is a standard piece of Eleusinian infernal topography and, furthermore, a prominent part in underworld geography.51 Further, the presence of the threshold, which constitutes a passageway to the netherworld, demarcates a frontier between life and death, not unlike that of Eleusis.52 In particular, the same spot was first referred to by the Stranger as the 'Brazen-footed Threshold', which gave its name to the broader area and was of great religious importance for the Athenian city (56-58). According to the Messenger, the rather obscure χαλκόπους οδός (57) is defined by more specific chthonic references of a strictly topical character: έπεί δ' άφϊκτο τον καταρράκτην όδόν χαλκοΐς βάθροισι γηθεν έρριζωμένον, εστη κελεΰθων εν πολυσχίστων μια κοίλου πέρας κρατηρος, οΰ τά Θησέως Περίθου τε κείται πίστ' άεί ξυνθήματαάφ' οΰ μέσος στάς τοϋ τε Θορικίου πέτρου κοίλης τ' άχέρδου καπό λαΐνου τάφου, καθέζετ'· (1590-1597) Both καταρράκτην (1590) and γηθεν έρριζωμένον (1591) lay emphasis 51

On the rôle of the meadow in Eleusinian cult, see Pi. fr. 129. 3; Ar. Ran. 326, 373f., 449f.; [Pl.] Axioch. 371c; Diod. 1. 96. 5; Plut. fr. 178; also Orph. fr. 32f6, 222; Philodamus, Delphic Hymn to Dionysus 3. 29f. and the Ni(i)nion tablet (Graf 1974, 46-50, 90f.); cf. also Bowie (1993a) 229, 231. The meadow is again present in the latest discovery from Pherai with regard to mystic initiation: Εϊσιθι Ιερόν λειμώνα αποινος γαρ ό μύστης (Chrysostomou 1991, 372ff.). On flowery meadows and the underworld in general, see Od. 11, 539, 573, 24. 13; cf. also Dietrich (1967) 19ff.; Richardson (1974) apud 7.

52

Perhaps the conception of the grove as a boundary between life and death is reinforced once we consider the action in performative terms. Wiles (1997) 165-166 agues that the skene door as a geographical marker signals not only the grove of the Semnai but also the brazen threshold taken to be an entry to the Underworld. Oedipus' final entry into the skene enhances the perception of the skene door as the gates of Hades.

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on its close association with the Underworld. For lack of information about local topography and Colonan folklore, the Thorician stone poses a difficult problem. However, the chthonic connotations of the particular spot have been acknowledged.53 The same is true for both the hollow peartree and the λαΐνου τάφου (1596), which are recognized as specifically infernal markers.54 In particular, the καταρράκτης οδός evokes a similar spot at Eleusis, where a grotto, dedicated to Pluto, the so-called Plutoneion, served as a passage to Hades.55 The cavernous rock was situated in the

53

The Thorician stone has been associated with the deme Thoricos. According to Smith (1870) ii s.v. Thoricos, drawing on a conjecture by C. Wordsworth, which was later taken up by Jebb (19003) apud 1595, the ancient community of Thoricos has an unusually rich mythology, on account of which the name Thoricos may have been associated in the mind of the Athenians with the "translation to the Olympian gods or another world in general". In particular, Thoricos was the home of Cephalus, who was carried off as a youth by Dawn (cf. Apollod. 2. 4. 7; Eur. Hipp. 454-6; cf. also Barrett 1964 apud 453-6). Green (1996) 26 notes that the scene of young hunter Cephalos carried off by Eos constitutes an example of the theme of a handsome mortal seized by a god. The scene is depicted in a lekythos in Richmond, Virginia and there is a reduced version on a loutrophoros in Kiel. It is of particular significance that both those vases were designed for the grave and the loutrophoros has a naiskos scene on the other side. On Thoricos, see also Daux (1983); Whitehead (1986) Appendix; (1986b); Osborne (1985) 186f. Furthermore, Lloyd-Jones & Wilson (1997) 134-135 argue that the Thorician rock presumably took its name from the eponymous hero of Thoricos (cf. also Pfister 1909, 363-364). On possible sexual connotations of the Thorician rock, see Nagy (1990) 237.

54

The ancient λάΐνος ουδός in Hes. Theog. 811 may be relevant, since the manuscript reading χάλκεος ουδός is associated with Tartarus (cf. West 1966, 378). Also, it appears that λάϊνος is associated with the divine realm in view of its connection with Olympian architecture. It is used of Apollo's shrine at Delphi in II. 9. 404, Od. 8. 80 and Hymn Horn. Ap. 296. Parmenides has it at the gate of the paths of Night and Day (1. 12). Further, could the stone grave be the actual tomb of hero Colonus in view of the religious character of the specific spot, which was particularly pertinent for the establishment of hero-cult? More particularly, λάϊνος may be associated with herocult. In Eur. HF 1332, Theseus speaks of the heroic honours paid to Heracles after his death. Even though λαΐνοισιν έξογκώμασι (1332) could mean a simple tomb, it may refer to such important memorials as the metopes of the Athenian treasury at Delphi and the sculptures of the Hephaesteum ('Theseum') in the Agora at Athens (cf. Bond 1981, 396). Also, in Eur. El. 328, the tomb of Agamemnon is described as λάίνον μνήμα.

55

Cf. Mylonas (1961) 104, 146-149; Richardson (1974) 219ff.; Burkert (1985a) 287.

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middle of the precinct court and the mystae, on entering the sanctuary, were thus confronted with the very Gates of the Underworld.56 With extreme caution I will argue that the chthonic places which define the precipitous threshold were possibly closely related to the myth of Demeter and Kore and, on one occasion, there may well be a significant link to a specific spot at the Eleusinian sanctuary. This is not to say, however, that the traditions, some of which were only known to the Colonans, would have played a crucial rôle in the mystical interpretation of Colonus. Perhaps the Eleusinian overtones would have alerted some of the audience to the greater chthonian significance of the brazen threshold. In particular, the reference to a κρατήρ in the rock (1593), which was the actual cavity in which the threshold began, would have strengthened the identification of the καταρράκτης οδός with the Plutoneion. This is especially so in view of a local tradition, preserved by the scholiast (Σ on OC 1593 de Marco), according to which Persephone descended to Hades through the cavity in the rock (λέγει δι' οΰ [i.e. μυχοΰ] καταβήναι φασί την Κόρην). More importantly, there is an intriguing possibility that the same cavernous rock, which bore the marks of the covenant of Theseus and Peirithous, was known in Attica as the άγέλαστος πέτρα. The scholiast on Ar. Eq. 785a Köster speaks of a Mirthless Rock where Theseus took his seat before his descent to Hades (εστι δέ και άγέλαστος πέτρα παρά τοις Άθηναίοις, οπου καθίσαι φασί Θησέα μέλλοντα καταβαίνειν εις Άιδου). 57 As Jebb argues, "the scholiast's phrase, παρά τοις Άθηναίοις, would cover Colonus".58 A similar place called the "Mirthless Rock" was located near 57

58

Perhaps the myth of Theseus and Peirithous has an Eleusinian aspect. In Eur. [or Critias; cf. TrGF i. 43 Fl-14] Peirithous, either Theseus and Peirithous offer libations to the divinities of the Underworld before their katabasis or the Chorus of Eleusinian initiands enact mystic rituals (592 Nauck- or TrGF i. 43 F2): ϊνα πλημοχόας τάσδ' εις χθόνιον χάσμ' εύφήμως προχέωμεν. Πλημοχόαι is the last part of the Eleusinian ritual when two vessels are filled and then emptied, one towards the east and the other towards the west in front of the Telesterion (cf. Ath. 2. 496 A; Henrichs 1983, 1984, 1991; Clinton 1988, 74ff„ 1992, 74; Sourvinou-Inwood 1997, 141). On account of F2 Dover (1993) 54 argues that "the chorus represented people who had been initiated at Eleusis". On the legend of Theseus and Peirithous, see Gantz (1993) i 291-295; Sommerstein (1996) apud 142. Cf. also Eur. Heracl. 218-219, HF 619, 1169. (1900 3 ) apud 1594.

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the Plutoneion at the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.59 The Eleusinian landmark was said to have been the locality where unhappy Demeter was found by the daughters of king Celeus. Perhaps the hollow pear tree, which is singled out by the Messenger as another topographical marker (1596), was also associated with the myth of Persephone. Again, in view of the local myth about the descent of Persephone (Σ on OC 1593 de Marco), Jebb maintains that the hollow pear-tree "may have been pointed out as the spot whence she was snatched".60 Apart from the notion of the fertile grove as a significant boundary between life and death, the Eumenides, who hold a prominent position at Colonus and reside at the holy meadow, display certain affinities with Demeter and Oedipus.61 Even though there was no strong link between the Eumenides and the Mysteries,62 the local goddesses have important 59

60 61

62

Cf. Mylonas (1961) 104; Sourvinou-Inwood (1997) 136ff. Clinton (1992) 14ff. discusses the exact location of the 'Αγέλαστος πέτρα at Eleusis, on which Demeter is said to have sat after her long peregrination. He argues (p. 27) that the scholiast on Ar. Eq. 785a Köster refers to the Mirthless Rock of Eleusis which was "a very old landmark within the mystic cult, because it was by the gate of Hades, the very realm on which the cult was focused". Also, Oedipus sits on an unhewn stone (19 άξεστου πέτρου; cf. also 101 βάθρον... άσκέπαρνον, " an untooled seat") after his peregrination. According to Clinton ( 1992) 26, "the Eleusinian 'Αγέλαστος πέτρα has the same unworked character as this Colonan natural seat". (1900 3 ) apud 1596. On Erinyes in general, see Sommerstein (1989) 6-12; Lloyd-Jones (1990); Henrichs (1991), (1994) and, with caution, Brown (1983), (1984). On the most recent archeological finds in the area with regard to the Semnae, see Karagiorga-Stathakopoulou (1988) 98. Demeter is known in certain contexts as Demeter Erinys, and she has as her consort Poseidon Hippios (cf. Lloyd-Jones 1990; Lardinois 1993). Also, Erinyes may have had a part in the mystic ritual. Empousa can sometimes be identified with Erinys in the context of the Mysteries (cf. Brown 1991). Further, according to Thomson (1935), the Unwritten Laws (perhaps respect for the gods, parents and guest or, in some sources, dead; cf. also Hirzel 1900; Lloyd-Jones 19832; Kearns 1995, 515ff.; Sommerstein 1996 apud 145-153) were probably first expounded at Eleusis, or were associated with the Eumolpids and Eleusinian cult in general. One of the tasks of the Erinyes was to safeguard those Unwritten Laws. In the Sophoclean play, Oedipus calls upon the Furies to bring disaster on Polynices (1375, 1391), who failed to show respect to his father. This is especially so in view of 1379-1382 where there is a significant mention of the άρχαίοις νόμοις (1382). Less likely, it has been argued that propitiatory ritual in honour of the Eumenides (466-492), may well be viewed as parallel to a familiar part of Eleusinian ritual (cf. Henrichs 1983, 1984, 266ff.). On the significance of the ritual,

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similarities in character and function to Demeter. As they are benevolent chthonian powers, not unlike Demeter herself, the Eumenides are related to Oedipus, who himself eventually develops into a benevolent hero benefiting the Athenian polis.63 In a sense, the Eumenides function in a similar way to Demeter, who, having been received into the household of Celeus, imparts her benefits to the community. As Seaford maintains, "whether or not he [i.e. Oedipus] was associated with the Furies in cult at Kolonos, it is entirely appropriate that his heroic transformation should occur at their shrine. For this transformation, like that of the Furies in the Eumenides is from an agent of reciprocal violence within an (alien) family to an honoured place under the earth from which he will benefit the entire polis".64 Even though the above-mentioned geographical and cultic affinities between Colonus and Eleusis would have been powerful enough to facilitate the notion of the setting as a transformation of Eleusis, perhaps there is more room for further mystical echoes in the local pantheon. The invocation of Demeter and Kore and the telling reference to the goddesses' sacred flowers (681-685) might constitute an Eleusinian axis, especially in view of the preceding celebration of Dionysus and his entourage of Nurses (678-680). Agricultural fertility is one of the gifts of Demeter. In general, flowers play a significant rôle at Eleusis, and flower-gathering may have been part of the rites, as is principally suggested by the Sicilian Anthesphoria and the festival at Hipponium,which are both held in honour of Persephone.65 In particular, both narcissus and crocus are related to Eleusinian myth and ritual. In myth the narcissus was the last flower that Persephone was plucking when she was seized by Pluto.66 The specific flower is often referred to in connection with funerals and the Underworld, and on account of its soporific qualities and golden colour came to be

see Burkert (1985b). In discussing the Derveni Papyrus Henrichs (1984) argues that the wineless libations of water and honey which the Eumenides receive at Colonus are associated with the Eleusinian πλημοχόαι that take place on the last day of the Mysteries. « Cf. Bakewell (1999) 52ff. 64 (1994a) 132-133. 65 Cf. Pollux 1. 37; Strabo 2. 256; Richardson (1974) 141; Foley (1994) 34. On plants and Eleusis see, Nixon (1995) 85-88. 66 Cf. Hymn. Horn. Cer. 6-18. In the Pamphos version, narcissus is also used to deceive Persephone (Paus. 9. 31. 9).

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viewed as a symbol of death.67 The narcissus is presented here as the ancient crown of the Great Goddesses (684), which alludes to mystic initiation: the crown is an important sign of a successfully concluded mystic passing.68 Similarly, the crocus is especially associated with Demeter and Kore as again one of the flowers picked up by Persephone before her abduction by Hades.69 According to Σ on 685 de Marco, the flower's strong association with Demeter is acknowledged by Sophocles himself, who in his Niobe τον κρόκον αντικρυς τη Δήμητρι ανατίθεται (451 Radt). Once more, in the scholiast's reference, there is a specific mention of the crowns of Demeter (ώστε και vijv τον λόγον είναι περί των Δήμητρος στεφανωμάτων). The crocus is compared to narcissus in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter possibly because of its similar fragrance and golden colour, which made both flowers suitable for symbolizing underworld deities.70 The associations of crocus with Demeter continue in the realm of women's clothing in the context of the Thesmophoria, one of the most popular festivals of Demeter and Kore in the Greek world,71 where the krokotos, a saffron-coloured robe, is worn by the participant women.72 More importantly, the crocus is evocative of the κροκοϋν, the purificatory ceremony performed by the descendants of Crocus, which was carried out before the arrival of the procession of the initiates in Eleusinian territory.73 Further, the very solemn and rare appellation of Demeter and Kore as μεγάλαιν θεαΐν 67

68

69 70 71

72

73

Cf. Nie. fr. 74. 70; Artemid. Oneirocr. 1. 77, 2. 7. Also see Richardson (1974) apud 8; Foley (1994) 34. Narcissus is, moreover, attributed to the Eumenides (Σ Soph. OC 681, Euphor. fr. 94. 3) and appears as one of their properties in art. Cf. Seaford (1994a) 380, (1986) 23-24; Mylonas (1961) 238; Deubner (1969 3 ) 76; Graf (1974) 44 n. 27; Ar. Nub. 255-57; Ran. 330; Plut. fr. 178 Sandbach; Theon Smyrn. Math. p. 14 Hiller; the gold leaf A. 1. 6 Zuntz (1971) 301. Note that at the mystic scene of Strepsiades, a chaplet is used as a sign of initiation (Ar. Nub. 255256), which makes Strepsiades apprehensive (again a desired effect of initiation practices, which is here induced for comic purposes). Socrates, however, forcefully remarks that this is part of the initiation process (259). Cf. Hymn. Horn. Cer. 6; cf. also Soph. fr. 451 Radt. Hymn. Horn. Cer. 428; cf. Richardson (1973) apud 6, 8, 19, 428; Foley (1993) 60. On Thesmophoria, see Deubner (1969') 50-60; Parke (1977) 82-88; Detienne (1979); Brumfield (1981) 70-103; Parker (1983) 81-83; Simon (1983) 17-22; Burkert (1985a) 242-246; Sfameni Gasparro (1986) 223-283. Ar. Thesm. 138; cf. also 253, 951. On krokotos and Thesmophoria, see Bowie (1993a) 215 n. 51. Cf. Photius s.v.; Mylonas (1961) 231.

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(683) in connection with the narcissus and the crocus may well evoke the Great Mysteries (μεγάλα μυστήρια).74 The same descriptive designation of the Two Goddesses is found in the mystic rituals of Megalopolis, Messenian Andania and Arcadian Trapezus, which are all closely associated with Eleusis.75 The Eleusinian connections of both the narcissus and the crocus with Demeter and Kore in the context of the Ode may well constitute a mystical pattern. It should be noted, however, that it is not obvious and labouring the point would look as special pleading. It suffices to say that the chthonic overtones of the association of the goddesses with the Colonan plants might have been picked up by some of the audience in the light of the Eleusinian colouring of the play. I am even less confident about a possible mystic link between Dionysus and Demeter and Kore. Jebb seems confident enough in recognizing such a connection.76 In view of Dionysus' association with the Mysteries, there may well be a potentially Eleusinian code in the juxtaposition of the image of ecstatic Dionysus and the meaningful invocation of Demeter and Kore in reference to the narcissus and the crocus (683-685). Dionysus, who is described in his capacity as βακχιώτας, overseer of mystic celebrations (678-679), is associated with Demeter and Persephone through his identification with mystic Iacchus. Iacchus is a deity worshipped alongside the Great Goddesses in the context of the Mysteries and his cult becomes increasingly prominent at Eleusis in the fourth century.77 In the light of the existing evidence, a potential identification of the two deities at Eleusis appears to be reasonable, given, moreover, the enormous popularity of the Dionysus-cult in Athens in the fifth century, especially that of the Dionysiac mysteries.78 Thus, Dionysus is present in the Eleusinian ritual under the name of his avatar,

74

75 76 77

78

Cf. also Σ on Ar. Plut. 846, Plut. Phoc. 6, Farneil (1907) iii 352ff. On the adjective μέγας of a divinity, see also Bissinger (1966) 64-79; Mueller (1913) 281-411; Stiglitz (1967); Hadzisteliou Price (1971); Hopkinson (1984) 174 on μεγάλα θεός of Demeter. Cf. Farneil (1907) iii 200-213; CIG 3194, 3211. (1900 3 ) apud 68Iff. On Dionysus and Eleusis, see Graf (1974) 40-78; Metzger (1944-1945); (1992); Mylonas (1961) 275-278; Richardson (1974) apud 489; Burkert (1983) 279 n. 23; Simon (1983) 32; Segal (1990); Bowie (1993a) 230-234. On Dionysiac Mysteries, see Cole (1980), (1993); Seaford (1981), (1994a) ch. 8; Burkert (1985a) 290-295; (1987) 22 n. 49, 34 n. 17; Graf (1993).

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Iacchus. In addition, the allusion to the childhood of Dionysus and his divine nurture by the Nymphs (680)79 belongs to the broader intimate relation of childbirth and fertility which is prevalent in the Mysteries.80

Oedipus and Eleusis The affinities of Colonus with Eleusis create an important backdrop to the mystic passing of Oedipus. The specific co-ordinates of Oedipus' death would have been interpreted as a rite of initiation, not unlike the ceremony which was attended by a large body of Athenians and foreigners every year at the Mysteries.81 This is not to say that the initiation ritual alluded 79

Could there be a further link between Dionysus and Eleusis in the telling reference to the god's entourage of divine nurses (680), which echoes the Iliadic passage of the pursuit of infant Dionysus and his nurses by Lycurgus, king of Thrace (6.132-133)? The myth had it that the Nymphs of the mythical mountain Nysa, which was reputed as the legendary birthplace of the god, nurtured the infant god (cf. Hymn. Horn. Cer. 1. 8f.; 26. 5; Hdt. 2. 146, 3. 97; cf. also Hedreen 1994,49ff.). The Nysian plain, which is variously see located, is moreover alleged to be the mythical location of Persephone's Rape (cf. Hymn. Horn. Cer. 17 f.; also Richardson 1974, 148f.; Foley 1994, 36) The introduction of Nysa, a place specially connected with Dionysus, to the story of Persephone in the context of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter may well have been influenced by the increasing prominence of the Dionysus-cult at Eleusis (Richardson 1974, 149). Moreover, the word τιθήνη, which is found only four times in Homer (//. 6. 132, 389, and 467; 22. 503) and always in passages with a strong Dionysiac character, is specially associated with maenadism (cf. Privitera 1970, 61 n. 18; Seaford 1993, 115-119, 1994a, 330-338). The maenadic overtones of τιθήνη may well play on the notion of Demeter and Persephone as spiritual nurturers in the play (1050-1051; cf. also Leaf 1900 I apud 6. 132).

80

Cf. Simon (1983) 94; Henrichs (1990) 261. On the Eleusinian Mysteries, see Foucart (1914); Deubner (1969 3 ) 69-91; Mylonas (1961); Boyancé (1962); Graf (1974); Bianchi (1976); Dowden (1980); Simon (1983) 24-35; Burkert (1983) ch. 5, (1987) passim; Bérard (1989) 114-120; Clinton (1974), ( 1980), ( 1988), ( 1992), ( 1993); Parker ( 1991 ), ( 1996) 97-101 ; Sourvinou-Inwood ( 1997); Simon (1998) 85ff.; Albinus (2000) 153-199. The mystic character of the play has been noted by Colchester (1942); Bernidaki-Aldous (1990); Zeitlin (1993) 165f.; Seaford (1994b); Caíame (1998) who argues that Oedipus' hero-cult is purposely associated with significant paradigms of autochthony and the Mysteries. Cf. also WinningtonIngram (1954); Henrichs (1990). Richardson (1974) 304 observes that the passing of Oedipus is presented as a 'mystery'. Kerényi ( 1967) xxxv, 84-85 (cf. also 99 on Aeschylus and the Mysteries) argues for an Eleusinian connection between the final scene of Oedipus' passing and the use of the ήχεΐον at the Mysteries (cf. also Kerényi 1963).

81

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to here is not found in other contexts, say Dionysiac, but it is the very Eleusinian ambience of the scene that brings together all the mystical elements under one heading.82 Undoubtedly, certain groups of the original audience would have projected this kind of event onto their own mystic experience, which may well be other than Eleusinian. None the less, the unmistakable thread of allusions to the Mysteries with regard to the passing of Oedipus is decisive of the presence of a significant Eleusinian perspective at this point in the action. Certain Eleusinian patterns are associated with the wanderings of Oedipus and his passing at the sacred grove. The Eleusinian echoes would have given a possibly mystical structure to the life of Oedipus. More particularly, the toilsome procession of the initiates to Eleusis, which most of them must have likened to the wanderings of Demeter in search of her daughter, is comparable to the wearisome peregrination of Oedipus until his arrival at Colonus, the terminal place of his journey (89 χώραν τερμίαν).83 The prospective elevation of Oedipus at Colonus (394 νυν γάρ θεοί σ' όρθοΰσι, πρόσθε δ' ώλλυσαν; cf. 1565-1567) - that is, the idea of his impending death as some sort of exaltation from his previous misery - brings to mind the basic schema of the Mysteries. The mystic passing from sorrow to joy, which is modelled on the transformation of Demeter's mourning for Persephone into happiness at their reunion, would have been seen by some of the audience as a metaphor for Oedipus'

8!

83

This is especially so in view of the powerful status of the Eleusinian ritual in Athens. The Mysteries, as the most important mystery cult of Attica, had taken on over the years important elements from Orphic and Dionysiac religion. Cf. Graf (1974); Burkert (1985a) 296-301; Bowie (1993a) 230ff. Oedipus' meaningful reference to the watchword of his destiny (46 ξυμφοράς ξύνθημ' έμής) is significant in the context of the Mysteries. According to Richardson (1974) 22, the Eleusinian σύνθημα is "a 'token' by which the initiate proclaimed that he had performed the necessary preliminaries to initiation". Further, Colchester (1942) 26 associates the successive sittings of Oedipus (19 ο ί κώλα κάμψον τοΰδ' έπ' άξεστου πέτρου, 100 κάπί σεμνόν έζόμην βάθρον τόδ' άσκέπαρνον, 195-196 Οι. ή έσθώ; / Χο. λέχριός γ' έπ' άκρου λαός βραχύς όκλάσας) with Demeter's sitting on the Mirthless Rock and the sitting of the candidate of initiation during the mystic ceremony (cf. also Ar. Nub. 254 in which Socrates orders Strepsiades to sit: κάθιζε τοίνυν). Also, the strange claim of Oedipus that he comes νήφων ( 100) to wineless Eumenides is perhaps associated with the initiates' abstention from wine during the Mysteries (cf. also Henrichs 1983, 1984; Tsantsanoglou 1997, 102-3).

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fate.84 Perhaps the notion of Oedipus' crimes as "more experienced by him rather than actually carried out by him" (266-267 έπεί τά γ' εργα μου / πεπονθότ' εστί μάλλον ή δεδρακότα; cf. also 271,274, 521-523,538-541, 964) is also evocative of the significant concept of πάθος in the Mysteries.85 Further, instruction is a significant, not to say compulsory, stage before the final revelation. Initiation ceremonies precede the actual ritual.86 Instruction plays a central rôle at the Eleusinian ritual, in which prospective initiates participated in the Lesser Mysteries held in the spring at Agrae, a suburb of Athens near the river Ilisos. During the course of this, the candidates were prepared to receive initiation into the Great Mysteries. Each of the would-be initiates was escorted to the Eleusinian sanctuary by a μυσταγωγός, who was responsible for the candidate's preparation. A similar schema of preparation through instruction is employed in the narrative of Oedipus with reference to the ritual etiquette of his hero-cult (1518-1555). Acting as something very like an Eleusinian μυσταγωγός for Theseus, Oedipus deems it necessary to expound the special character of his cult and, at the same time, finds time to place emphasis upon wider issues, such as the continuity of Athens, which is predicated upon the city's proper conduct towards the gods. Honouring the secret character of the Eleusinian cult was an important factor in the unhindered function of

84

85

86

In Eleusis the soteriological feeling emanating from the prospect of mystic salvation is particularly prominent (cf. Seaford 1986; Bowie 1993b, 24f.). According to Oedipus, he will be a saviour hero for the Athenians (459-460 ττ)δε μέν πόλει μέγαν / σωτήρ' άρεΐσθε) and will be saved by them (724-725 έξ ύμών έμοί / φαίνοιτ' αν ήδη τέρμα της σωτηρίας). Cf. Arist. fr. 15 (= Synesius, Dion 10). As Bowie (1993b) 24-26 maintains, in Aeschylus' Oresteia the Eleusinian Mysteries facilitate the integration into the Athenian polis of polluted Orestes. As a passive Orestes, much-suffering Oedipus is accepted into Athens on account of the magnanimous attitude of the Athenian people and central authority (cf. Jebb 19003 xxviii). As in the case of Orestes, the question of Oedipus' miasma is rather complicated in the play (287-288, 944-946, 1132-1135). Participation in the Mysteries is precluded on the basis of pollution. It appears that in the Aeschylean trilogy and the Sophoclean play this major issue can only be resolved by the city herself and divine will. On the Eleusinian tone of the Aeschylean trilogy, see Thomson (1934); Tierney (1937). The analogy between initiation into mysteries and instruction in complicated matters is exploited, sometimes lightheartedly by Aristophanes in Nub. 143 and Plato in Tht. 155E, at other times quite seriously again by Plato in Smp. 209E (cf. Dover 1970 apud 143).

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democracy and any violation was treated with utmost severity - capital punishment. In establishing a mystic tradition down the line of the Athenian kings,87 Oedipus lays equal emphasis on the privacy of his tomb, the safekeeping of which has extensive implications for the wellbeing of the polis (1530-1532). Upon the urgent arrival of Theseus after the rumblings of thunder, Oedipus declares that he will teach him how to keep Athens free from suffering (1518-1519), provided that the secrecy of his tomb is honoured: (a) τοϋτον δέ φράζε μήποτ' άνθρώπων τινί, μήθ' οΰ κέκευθε μήτ' έν οις κείται τόποις· (1522-1523) (b) α δ' έξάγιστα μηδέ κινείται λόγω αυτός μάθηση, κεΐσ' δταν μόλης μόνος· (1526-1527) έξάγιστα (1526), in particular, which refers to things that cannot be uttered without impiety, intensifies the mystic tone of the scene. Throughout his speech, Oedipus is conscious of the fact that he is letting Theseus into some important secret, not only for the king himself, but also for the safekeeping of Athens. Theseus is about to witness a mystic spectacle, the secrecy of which will protect his city against Theban invasion. In rounding off his narrative, Oedipus lays more emphasis on the idea of instruction. He states that he is instructing someone who is already aware of the importance of secrecy for the welfare of Athens (1539 τά μέν τοιαΰτ' οΰν είδότ' έκδιδάσκομεν). In particular, an event which is associated with mystic ritual is the disconcerting effect of Zeus' thunder, the rumblings of which make the Chorus apprehensive of what the future holds for Oedipus and Athens (1464-1466, 1469, 1480-1485). The same thunders give a clear sign to Oedipus that his end is drawing near (1460-1461, 1472-1473, 1486-1487; 87

According to Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1522f., the descent of the secret concerning Oedipus' tomb in the line of the Attic kings may have been, in fifth-century Athens, "claimed by the gens of hereditary priests" (perhaps Eleusinian clans?). Particular emphasis should be given to the male character of the priesthood at Eleusis. By contrast with the other major festivals in honour of Demeter, say the Thesmophoria, it was only males who were charged with handing down the secret from one generation of priests to the other (cf. also Toepffer 1889, 24-112). A similar schema can be seen in Oedipus' request to his daughters (1640-1642) to depart from the place of his passing. It is only Theseus, the king of Athens, who is given permission to witness the mystic event and, when the appropriate time comes, to pass it to his male successor.

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cf. 94-95).88 Thunderous sounds were a feature of Eleusinian ritual. The effect of the thunderbolt was simulated by a special device called the βροντεΐον, which, according to Pollux 4. 130, was placed underneath the Skene*9 A similar device (more of a kind of gong) for the production of comparable sound effects is said to have been used in the context of the Mysteries. According to Apollodorus FGrHist 244F 110(b), the hierophant made use of the ήχεΐον at the time when Persephone was either calling out for help on being dragged into Hades90 or being summoned back from Hades.91 An element of surprise and confusion appears to be part of initiation practices. The ήχεΐον in the Anaktoron must have contributed to the fear and suffering experienced by the initiand in the mystic ceremony. In order for the μύστης to distance himself from his previous identity and achieve the mystic transition, the employment of the ήχεΐον may well have created a particularly unsettling effect.92 Despite its terrifying nature, there is a positive side to the thunderbolt. As Seaford maintains, "lightning can kill, but is also not dissimilar - as a bright, unpredictable divinely-created light - to the light that brings salvation in the mysteries."93 Perhaps this ambivalence is enacted in the initial terror of the Chorus at the thunder (1464-1466,1469-1470,1483-1484), which they take as an ominous sign, 88

89

90

On thunder and lightning, see Barrett (1964) apud 1201; Guépin (1968) 47-51; Griffith (1983) apud 1082-1083. Cf. Seaford (1996) 195ff„ (1997). The use of the βροντειον is in all probability attested in the initiation scene at Ar. Nub. 290-292 and the disappearance scene of Prometheus at [Aesch.] PV 1082-1083. The initiation of Strepsiades is particularly interesting, since the imitation of thunder occurs in a mystic context and the desired effect of terror and apprehension are here again produced in spite of the comic vein of the scene (294295; cf. Dover 1970 apud 292). Also the initiation scene is followed by a lengthy laus Atticae (298-313) where the Eleusinian Mysteries are given pride of place and their secrecy is celebrated (302-304).

Cf. Foucart (1914) 34; Seaford (1996) 197. " Cf. Deubner (1969 3 ) 84; My lonas (1961) 264, 282. 92 Drums and bull-roars were employed by the Dionysiac thiasos to create the effect of thunderbolt (cf. Seaford 1997, 145f.; Bowie 1993a, 123; on confusion, see Seaford 1987, 1996 apud 918-9). According to Seaford (1996) 195ff, (1997) 141, 146-148, who takes thunder, lightning in Eur. Bacch. 576ff. as signs of mystic initiation, there are striking affinities between the passing of Oedipus and the divine epiphany of Dionysus in Eur. Bacch 1078-1090. Seaford (1996) 236 speaks even of direct influence of the Euripidean treatment on Sophocles. 93 (1997) 148.

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but, in signifying god-sent deliverance for Oedipus, has a beneficent side (1460-1461, 1472-1473).94 Furthermore, Eleusinian echoes are found in the reversal of funerary ritual before Oedipus' death. Oedipus casts off his sordid garment (1597 ειτ' ελυσε δυσπινεϊς στολάς) and is furnished with a new white raiment, appropriate for his imminent passing (1603 έσθήτί τ' έξήσκησαν fj νομίζεται). Apart from exceptional cases, donning mortuary garments before death is certainly unusual. The emphasis on the funerary raiment that is worn by Oedipus is perhaps reminiscent of the particular care taken by the initiates with regard to their linen garments. According to Seaford, "because the initiand undergoes a kind of death, his dress is funerary."95 Often linen garments acquired a lasting significance for the initiands, who dedicated them in temples or were even buried in them. Evidence of a mystic filter is found at the climactic scene of Oedipus' passing. Before taking his leave, Oedipus asks his daughters to depart so that he and Theseus alone will witness the mysterious events: ώ παϊδε, τλάσας χρή-f τό γεννάϊον φέρειν| χωρείν τόπων έκ τώνδε, μηδ' α μή θέμις λεύσσειν δικαιοΰν, μηδέ φωνούντων κλύειν, άλλ' ερπεθ' ώς τάχιστα- πλην ό κύριος Θησεύς παρέστω μανθάνειν τά δρώμενα (1640-1644) The request and the specific phrasing of the passage evoke the most important part of the Eleusinian ritual: the initiates and only they can witness the mystic δρώμενα which, as is the case of Oedipus' passing (1642), consist of things heard and seen.96 The conception of Oedipus' w

The hieratic spirit of the scene is reinforced by the rumblings of thunder which sound three times (1456, 1463, 1478). Number three is significant in the context of the Mysteries. Three is a component part of Τρυιτόλεμος, the Eleusinian king; three granaries were built at Eleusis (cf. IG i3 276; Nilsson 1955% i 473). Also, according to Hes. Theog. 971, Demeter gave birth to Plutus at a thrice tilled field (νειψ ενι τριπόλω). Perhaps relevant here is the triple harvest of the heroes as attested by Hesiod in WD 171-173.

95

(1996) 222. Perhaps a more specific phase of the ritual is echoed here. The εποπτεία, the highest stage of the initiation ceremony, could only be attained by those who had already been initiated in the Mysteries in the previous year. During the εποπτεία, the Hierophant in silence showed the initiands the greatest mystery: "a reaped ear of corn". Only the έπόπται were allowed to take part in this particular phase of the ceremony. See Hipp. 5. 7. 34; Proci, ad PI. Tim. Ill p. 176.28 Diehl. Cf. also Burkert (1983) 293; (1985a) 287f.

96

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imminent death as δρώμενα, which are to be seen only by Theseus, evokes the Mysteries' tripartite character - that is, τά δρώμενα (certain ritual actions), τά δεικνύμενα (sacred objects which were shown), and τά λεγόμενα (brief ritual sayings).97 δρώμενα, in particular, is frequently used of the Eleusinian Mysteries.98 Also, the hieratic tone of Oedipus' request reinforces the Eleusinian character of the passage. Because they are used of divulging secrets to those who have not undergone rites of initiation, the expression μή θέμις (1641) and other similar formulations (e.g. οι) θέμις and ού θεμιτόν) evoke mystic terminology.99 Mystic allusions are, moreover, to be detected in Theseus' enigmatic response to the miracle. Theseus shades his eyes (1650-1651). This is an ambiguous gesture, which is interpreted by the Messenger as denoting fear at a terrible sight (1651-1652). Perhaps Theseus is portrayed here as an Eleusinian μύστης, that is, "one whose eyes are shut". According to Clinton, pain can cause one to shut his eyes in the course of medical treatment, a process which can be reminiscent of mystic initiation.100 Also, according to an epigram by Antiphilus (AP 9.298), a blind mystes is cured at the Eleusinian Mysteries. In general, both seeing and blindness constitute important parameters of the play. Even though Oedipus is blind, he possesses inner vision (74 oo' αν λέγωμεν πάνθ' όρώντα λέξομεν) and is eventually granted a miraculous insight that allows him to lead Theseus and his retinue to the spot where he is to meet his death (1543-1546).101 More importantly, initiation into the Mysteries had a profound effect on the lives of the mystae. Mystic initiation offered the initiands the comforting prospect of a prosperous life and a blissful existence in the

97

Cf. Richardson (1974) 302ff. Cf. Paus. 2. 14. 1, 5. 10. 1, 8. 15. 1, 8. 31. 7, 10. 31. 11; Plut.^fc. 34.4; Ael. Arist. 22 §2; Sopater 8. 1 W. 99 Cf. e.g. Ar. Nub. 140-143, 295. See also Dover (1970) apud 140. With regard to the secrecy surrounding the place of Oedipus' passing, similar expressions are employed (1728 θέμις δέ πώς τάδ' έστί; 1758 άλλ' ού θεμιτόν). 100 (1992) 86 η. 122. Cf. also Clinton (1992) 86 η. 127. Theseus shades his eyes and the Messenger interprets this action as the king's instinctual reaction at something terrible which none might endure to behold. Shading one's eyes might also result from a sudden exposure to bright light. Apart from being a stock trait of the Mysteries, light often features in divine epiphanies (cf. Richardson 1974, 28 n. 3; Seaford 1996 apud 1082-3). See also Colchester (1942) 26. 101 Cf. Shields (1961); Buxton (1980). 98

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Underworld.102 However, Eleusinian ritual did not pass over the inevitability of death. Apart from the beneficent character of hero-cult, Oedipus himself is also described as enjoying the benefits of initiation. In the Chorus' assertion that Oedipus ended his life in happiness, we can catch a glimpse of the idea that the act of initiation, and especially the witnessing of the mystic όργια, makes the initiates όλβιοι, that is, both prosperous in the worldly sense and happy in the afterlife: άλλ' έπεί όλβίως ελυσεν τέλος, ώ φίλαι, βίου, λήγετε τοΰδ' άχους· (1720-1722) όλβίως, in particular, is evocative of the traditional formula of μακαρισμός, in which όλβιος is used in proclaiming the blissfulness of those initiated into the Eleusinian or other mystery-cults.103 The Eleusinian colouring of the passage is reinforced by the word τέλος, which often denotes initiation ceremonies, especially the Mysteries.104 The daughters of Oedipus are also described as suffering an unbearable αχος (1722; cf. also 1712 αχος), which is perhaps reminiscent of Demeter's anguish over the loss of Persephone.105 Apart from elements which are associated with the ritual aspect of the Mysteries, there is a good number of references to Demeter and Kore in connection with Oedipus' death. The invocations of the Great Goddesses in a distinctively mystic context, at a time of critical significance for Oedipus, enhances the Eleusinian colouring of the events. The identification of the divinities, who are called upon in the course of the mystic procedure, is not always certain, but even in ambiguous cases the Eleusinian goddesses present an attractive possibility. More particularly, conscious of his imminent passing, Oedipus claims that he is led to the particular spot where he is destined to die by a divine presence: 102 103

104

105

Cf. Burkert (1983) 295; Clinton (1993) 116. Hymn. Horn. Cer. 480-482; Pi. frr. 129-131; Soph. fr. 837 Radt; Isoc. 4. 28; cf. also PI. Rep. 2. 365a, Phd. 69c. For initiates celebrating their rites in Hades, e.g. the Hipponion gold-leaves and Plut. Mor. 27p. 1105b. Also see, Lobeck (1829) i 69ff.; Foucart (1914) 36Iff.; Graf (1974) 79-94; Richardson (1974) 310ff. The formula τρισόλβιος must have been part of the Eleusinian ceremony; cf. Burkert (1985) 289; Zuntz (1971) 342f. on the gold tablets. Aesch. fr. 387 Radt; Eur. Hipp. 25; PI. Rep. 8. 560e; P. Oxy. 2622 fr. 1 (a) 5; cf. also Seaford(1981) 261 n. 75 who adds to the above list Pollux 1. 36 and, with reservations, Eur. Med. 1382. On Demeter Άχαιά, see Richardson 1974 apud 40.

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τηδε γάρ μ' άγει Έρμης ό πομπός ή τε νερτέρα θεός. (1547-1548) According to Oedipus, both Hermes in his familiar capacity as ψυχοπομπός and the infernal goddess act as escorts. It is plausible to argue that Persephone is meant here as accompanying Oedipus to the grove.106 The same goddess is perhaps invoked by the Chorus as τάν άφανη θεόν alongside Hades in their placatory address to the Underworld powers (1556).'07 In the same prayer, the Chorus appeal to the so-called χθόνιαι θεαί (1568), who will see to the safe passage of Oedipus to the netherworld. There is great probability that those subterranean divinities are indeed Demeter and Kore, even though the Eumenides, as goddesses of the grove, present appealing alternatives.108 Further, the reference to Demeter in her capacity as Εΰχλοος' 09 moments before the passing of Oedipus (16001601 τώ δ' εύχλόου Δήμητρος εις προσόψιον πάγον) would have helped maintain in the mind of the audience her presence in the mysterious events.110

106

Cf. Jebb (1900 3 ) apud 1548 who is confident that the goddess is Persephone. Cf. Jebb (1900 1 ) apud 1556 who, despite "the unusual title", is again confident that the goddess is Persephone. 108 Cf. Σ in OC; Jebb (1900) apud 1568; Kamerbeek (1984) apud 1568-1573; but see, Campbell (1879 2 ) apud 1568 who leaves room for doubt and dismisses the idea that Persephone, together with Demeter, cannot be invoked twice in the context of a prayer. In any case, the reference to χθόνιαι θεαί is meant to be ambiguous and both interpretations are open to the spectators. The Chorus may invoke Hades in his capacity as Plouton together with his consort Persephone (1556-1559). They were both worshipped as Theos and Thea at Eleusis and Plouton was often identified with Eleusinian Plutos. I0 ® Could there be an additional reason for the mention of the temple of Demeter Εϋχλοος in connection with the events of Oedipus' passing at Colonus, and, if so, could there be an allusion to Eleusinian ritual? More particularly, in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter the grieving goddess bids the Eleusinians build a temple in her honour èm προΰχοντι κολωνφ (272). According to Richardson (1974) apud 272, "the temples of Demeter were commonly built on a hill or eminence", as is exactly the case with the temple of Demeter Εΰχλοος which is located on a nearby hill in the area of the Academy. In view of the above evidence, it is possible to argue that the reference to Demeter' s temple may as well play upon the goddess' wish to have a temple on 'a jutting hill', according to the phrasing in the Homeric Hymn, which moreover talks of a κολωνός, thereby evoking the Athenian Colonus. 107

110

On a possibly direct link between Demeter Εΰχλοος or Χλόη and Eleusinian ritual, see Farnell (1907) iii 33-34, who treats Eleusis as the parent city of the cult of Demeter

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Even though there cannot be any exact correspondence between certain aspects of Oedipus' death and specific Eleusinian practices, the unmistakable mystic echoes would have encouraged some of the audience to filter the action through an Eleusinian perspective. This is especially so in view of the religious affinities between Colonus and Eleusis. As Colonus serves as an important place where the world of the Olympians meets the Underworld, not unlike Eleusis itself, Oedipus is eventually granted a mystical passing against what some of the spectators would have felt as a specifically Eleusinian backdrop. Especially, the notion of the fertile grove as a significant passageway to the Underworld and the potential Eleusinian connections of the divine presences would have allowed some of the spectators to filter the timeless landscape through a mystical perspective. In essence, Colonus offers an appropriate place for Oedipus to meet his mysterious death. In view of the initiatory nature of his death and the mystical scenery of his final exit, the initiates in the audience were invited to treat Oedipus as a powerful example of their own mystic experience. Even though the rest of the spectators would have been capable enough of recognizing an Eleusinian schema and feeling sympathy at the agreeable turn of events, it was the mystae who, on account of their special insight into the cult, would have greatly empathized with the final elevation of Oedipus after years of torment at a mystical place. In correlating their own, often agonizing, anticipation of blissful happiness in the afterlife with the eventual reinstatement of dejected Oedipus in heroic death, they would have seen in the blind beggar a part of their own suffering selves. On a large scale, the story of Oedipus and his indefatigable determination to go on living in the face of the utmost distress would have had a soothing effect on the initiates in the audience, who would have projected their own condition on the extreme, but happily concluded, version of a fellow mystes. This is especially so in view of certain misgivings which are

Chloe. For other indirect references to Demeter and Kore in the play, see Blundell (1990) 82, who finds a less probable allusion to Persephone in the divine voice (16261628), calling Oedipus to his death (cf. also Lesley 1960). Also, the invocation of Zeus Χθόνιος (1606) may well be significant, given the association of the god with Persephone (cf. 11. 9. 457 Ζεύς τε καταχθόνιος καί έπαινή Περσεφόνεια; also chthonian Zeus was invoked together with Demeter in the prayer of the countryman at the moment of sowing at Hes. WD 465; cf. Jebb 1900 3 apud 1606; West 1978 apud 465).

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expressed by Oedipus himself and the Chorus with regard to his impending heroization. The pessimism of Oedipus and the Colonans does not appear to be misplaced given the enormous suffering that Oedipus had to endure before the rehabilitation to his former honour. Perhaps the dark thoughts of the characters would have been treated as echoing the melancholy views of some of the audience. However, the remarkable tenacity of Oedipus and the miraculous nature of his mystic death at a mystical place would have tempered the pessimistic view of human destiny with some gladness and some hope. As has been pointed out, the woeful peregrination of Oedipus and his final apotheosis at Colonus is evocative of Demeter's wandering in search of her daughter and their eventual happy reunion, which is reflected in the ritual transition from sorrow to joy in the Mysteries. The schema is not unproblematic: Persephone is to stay part of the year in Hades and the initiand is to experience life's relentless cycle of change and tribulation, before enjoying the rebirth that negates death in a blissful afterlife.111 This aspect of initiation does not go unheeded in the play: Oedipus laments the triviality of his elevation after years of suffering (395 γέροντα δ' όρθοΰν φλαΰρον ος νέος πέση) and the Chorus, in the most extravagant way, deem it better never to be born, or, in the misadventure of being born, take it as second-best to go back where one came from as quickly as possible (1224-1228). The pessimistic reflection of the Chorus is not without special significance in the context of the Eleusinian tone of the play. Easterling has brilliantly suggested that there is perhaps a powerful connection between this radical insight into the human condition and "the aspirations and anxieties of the mystic initiand, who seeks the rebirth that abolishes death but at the same time knows that death itself has to be experienced.""2 111 112

Cf. Richardson (1974) 28-29. (1997a) 53. Cf. Hes. Theog. 425-428; Hdt. 1. 31, 8. 138; Arist. fr. 44 Rose3 (Εΰδημος ή Περί Ψυχής) apud Plut. Mor. (Consol. ad Apoll.) 115b; cf. also Ross (1952) 18-19. Similar sentiments are expressed by the Theban Chorus in Soph. OT 1186-1188 (cf. 1391-1392). See also Zborowski (1956) 105; Seaford (1984) 7, 33; Silk & Stern (1981) 14If. The same pessimistic theme is perhaps found in Aeschylus' Oedipus fr. 466 (401) Radt, if indeed the following dubious passage is rightly attributed by Härtung to a play closely associated with Eleusinian ideas (Weir Smyth & LloydJones 19712, 502):

ζόης πονηρός θάνατος αΐρετώτερος0

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The story of Oedipus displays striking affinities with this piece of (Dionysiac) wisdom."3 Oedipus' birth was a major transgression in the face of divine will. Indeed, it would have been better for everybody (including Oedipus), if he had not been born at all. Still, in the unfortunate event of his birth, Oedipus was sent to a quick death by his fearful parents, who made sure that their infant son returned as soon as possible to where he came from. In the play, the Chorus echo the Apolline wish of avoiding Oedipus' disastrous birth. None the less, they go farther than this. The elders associate this piece of extravagant discernment into mortality with their own experience. As they ruefully maintain, once youth is gone, what is left is nothing, but φόνοι, στάσεις, ερις, μάχαι / και φθόνος (12341235) and, to cap it all, old-age comes last in the life of men, the most fearsome bane (1235-1238)."'' They cite Oedipus' misfortunes alongside their own as a powerful example of human suffering by someone, who, against divine expectation, was born and managed to reach old-age in spite of catastrophe (1239 έν ω τλάμων οδ', ουκ εγώ μόνος). This is not the first time in the play that a character associates his mortal lot and the anguish, which such an existence often presupposes, with the misfortunes of Oedipus. In view of his former toilsome peregrination (560-568), Theseus also recognizes in the blind beggar a similar example of torment. However, Oedipus rebuffs the melancholy idea of life's futility and by means of his courageous demonstration of equanimity in the face of calamity, nobility of spirit and a profound understanding of mortality, which comes with old-age, is granted a peaceful passing (7-8). Even though god himself, in summoning Oedipus to his death, protests about his delay in returning to where he should have gone long ago at the time of his birth (1627-1628), Oedipus is eventually elevated to divine status by virtue of what some of the spectators would have felt as a mystic reinstatement. In

t ò μή γενέσθαι δ' έστίν η πεφυκέναι κρεΐσσον κακώς πάσχοντα. Further, the Muse in [Eur.] Rhes. 989-990 gives voice to similar feelings about the human condition in a strongly orphie - and perhaps Eleusinian - context: ώς όστις ΐιμάς μή κακώς λογίζεται, απαις διοίσει κού τεκών θάψει τέκνα. On the centrality of death in Greek tragedy, see Steiner (1996). 113

On the story of Silenus and Midas, see Easterling (1997a) 52. On old-age, see Richardson (1933); Nortwick (1989), (1998) 93-155; Falkner (1995).

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the light of the hopeful rehabilitation to his former honour, the initiates in the audience were assured that they themselves shared a similar blissful prospect in the face of human anguish on account of their initiation. Essentially, in their eyes, Oedipus, a man inescapably caught in the eye of the tragic hurricane, would have become another mythological example of a mystic initiand, who finds something that comes close to happiness at the Eleusinian Colonus. There is a multiplicity of narrative worlds off stage which are adroitly focalized into the play. The channelling of the narrative into the on-stage tableau is regulated in accordance with particular principles. Delayed disclosure and careful procrastination punctuate the dominant movement of the play from a stage of ignorance to a stage of revelation. In conformity with the slow-plotted presentation of internal and external events, the audience are presented with a setting that reveals its truths without strain or huny. In this case, as the narrative information about the setting is invariably filtered through a favourable perspective, the descriptions progressively focus on Colonus as a place of great religious and political significance. Antigone, the Stranger and the Chorus throw abundant descriptive light on different aspects of the scenery of Colonus. The focalizations of the setting reach a climax in the choral description in which, through a remarkable outpouring of narrative, the Colonans establish an important link between their community and the Athenian city. In view of the striking intertexts with Athens, Colonus is transformed into a kind of Athens. This is not all, however. In presenting the setting as a boundary between the world of the Olympians and the Underworld, the descriptions establish a significant background against which the mysterious death of Oedipus is finally enacted. In the light of the Eleusinian echoes, Colonus undergoes yet another transformation. The spectators were encouraged to view the setting in accordance with a mystical schema, which would have had an especially soothing effect on the initiates in the audience. In essence, in having a protean character, Colonus serves as an extremely important backdrop to the mysterious ending of the play.

Conclusion

In the first chapter, I discuss the possibility for an application of narratology to drama. My contention is that narrative is not an adjunct to dramatic technique but part of its very essence. Therefore, the tools of narrative theory can be put to good use in the analysis of Greek tragedy. The notion of a play as narrative without external narrators allows for a wider outlook on what playwrights are doing with stories. The interpretation of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus in narcological terms is a case in point. This is a play that deftly uses the figure and history of the blind Oedipus to explore and thematise with unprecedented directness some of the basic narcological concerns of tragedy: the relation between the narrow hereand-now of visible stage action and the many off-stage worlds that have to be mediated into it through narrative, including the past, the future, other dramatizations of the myth, the world of fifth-century audience and their Athens. In order to present the story, Sophocles stretches the tragic narration to breaking point. The play unfolds quietly. It takes its time, allows for long periods of narrative uncertainty, averts its eye from crucial moments. Without strain or huny, the audience are inducted into a narrative that reveals its truths slowly and with effort. As the characters progressively move from a state of limited understanding to a state of heaven-appointed revelation, the audience witness the sharp limits that have been imposed upon their knowledge throughout. In the play, Sophocles shifts from channel to channel at any moment to reveal or conceal narrative information. As the end of Oedipus is not hastened to its fulfilment, delaying matter is most welcome. Secrecy, silence, confusion, consistent repetition, gradual revelation and painful complexity are the order of the day. The playwright is not sparing in chronological detours. His narration is built from smaller narratives and from summaries of events that appear to be peripheral to his main concern. However, these smaller narratives go temporarily backwards, forwards or move sideways to take in events elsewhere which throw abundant light on the principal line of the story. Indeed, in view of the tightly-spaced waves of the characters' arrivals, the dramatic momentum lies in the carefully designed release of successive fragments of story in an immense jigsaw of secondary narrative.

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As Sophocles stages the action at Colonus around powerful barriers to information flow, the audience witness the extremely fine use of unflagged detail in the seeding of events. In the light of the startling endgame, the tragic narration consists of a number of closely-plotted episodes whose overall pattern is delayed in coming into view. In tragedy, the playwright does not listen in on the thoughts of the characters. He is not like God playing with a radio: the audience do not tune into one character's innermost thoughts, then another, then another. The only means of knowing the past and the future is through the storytelling impulse of the characters. Their narrative disposition facilitates an extremely wide range of temporal reshufflings. As the plot moves along, the tragic narrative can arrange events so as to block or complicate the construction of causal relations. In view of the often complicated structure of the narrative, the narration will inform the audience of initiation of a chain of action and then skip over some time or move to another line of action. It is the placement of narrative information in a highlighting context that cues and channels the audience's understanding of the situation. In order to cue and channel the audience's construction of the narrative, flashbacks might jump back to an otherwise unremarked interval and sharpen their sense of what information might fill the gap, and flashforwards create diffused gaps with respect to future events. In this case, the story is not a straightforward narrative, but interweaves disparate, sometimes apparently unconnected strands into a pleasing multitextured piece. What is remarkable about the play is that most of the narrational burden is taken up by Oedipus himself. The tragic narrative is not a reminiscence-rotation, as the reins of the narration are not in any way handed from one character to the next. As one memory after another, connected only by the receding figure of the past, pirouettes spectrally through his head, Oedipus rolls out his painful story to full length. By launching into a sustained defense of his own innocence, he systematically takes charge of the narrative past recasting it in terms of agent as victim, antecedent πάθη, involuntary deeds. In his advocacy of self-exculpation, he offers narratives which are provocative and far-ranging presentations of circumstantial evidence. The confluence of past and future reaches a climax in the denunciation of his sons. As the narrative curtain flaps in his head and then whisks back again, Oedipus answers with a withering attack on Eteocles and Polynices. In order to justify the frighteningly harsh revenge on his sons, he consistently unearths analeptic pieces buried deep

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in the narrative past. His scathing rhetoric affects the rise and fall of the narrative. The rebus-like syntax of the narrative is particularly apparent in two instances of internal off-stage events. The narrative development of both the cavalry battle and the heroic passing of Oedipus gives rise to a long series of editorial practices. The carefully designed repetition of narrative patterns screws up the suspense to a high pitch. A close narcological analysis reveals the narrative profile of these climactic events, that is, the dynamics of the narrative process as well as the rhythm derived from the alternation or predominance of particular situations. In both cases, the cause-and-effect chain is composed of discriminable events performed by certain agents and linked by specific narrative principles. Apart from the instrumental rôle of Oedipus in the unfolding of the action, Sophocles is back to another crop of talking heads, which he examines with his customarily frank close-ups. Especially, the agon of Creon and Theseus expands the narrative view into wider political issues. Further, the play indulges in various games with narration that result in discontinuities or irregularities, spaces or hiatuses between segments of the narrative line. As the narrational pacing never quite relaxes, Sophocles hooks the audience with a narrative tone of voice which sets up powerful barriers to information flow. In eliding the narrative centre of both the cavalry battle and the heroization of Oedipus from the play, he composes a startling narration full of impressive set-pieces and unexpected twists. In view of the narrative tug-of-war between the characters, loose narratives hinge on chance encounters and political crises. In his effort to build up a narrative momentum, Sophocles avails himself of a wide range of standard narrative equipments. The plotting application of such intrinsic narrative designs as the messenger-speech, the lament, the choral ode, the lyrical dialogue and the stichomythic dialogue constantly recomposes the relation between primary and secondary action. More often than not their employment results in a complex knot of many narrative crossings. This large assemblage of narrative data is extremely difficult to organize into logical sequences leading to a commanding centre. In cases such as these, the signs of narrative order and form are more or less continuously presented, but always with a sign of cancellation. This is a play about lifestories converging at the fulcrum of time. The plot is tightly framed in time and space. The tragic narrative falls into certain movements with a deliberately guarded sense of long-term destination. In

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the final scenes, the audience see the trailing of sequel, the loose ends carefully dangled before them as an agenda for other plays to address. As a number of less than fully worked out suggestions are floated towards the end, the prophetic players expand the narrative view into secondary action. However, the finale complicates the construction of causal relations. In the case of Oedipus, all flashforwards perform a quick fly-past. But they never quite link up: the audience attempt to join the narrative dots and get to the bottom of the matter, only to realise that the play does not want them to and is scorning them for the effort. This is all the more so in view of his excised heroic death. Despite the bulk of narrative information, which is so amply provided by a large group of characters, the mysterious events remain out of reach. In the light of the narrative chasm, the narrative line simultaneously moves forwards and backwards, incessantly begging for new nuances of meaning in a wealth of repetitive echoes. However, the deferral of an unequivocal narrative exposition, which is rendered all the more poignant by the agony of Antigone and Ismene, does not in any way invalidate the narrational state arrived at. It is one of the remarkable features of the play that the prosperity of Athens is secured by means of a glaring narrative discontinuity. The impasse in the narrative exploration is equally defended by Oedipus and the Athenian authorities. Even though no one narrative thread can be followed to a central point where it provides a means of overseeing, controlling, and understanding the whole, the audience remain happy with this extraordinary development. The particular phenomena identified slot into the larger process. The close specificity of intertextual references to Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone is another significant example of what the play is distinctively doing with narrative. The narration feeds the audience's expectations and then runs counter to them. Some fairly static fabula situations are dynamized by the narration's consistent manipulation. It is the constant preoccupation of Sophocles to revise all too familiar narrative situations treated in former plays with a view to showing the significance of Athenian institutions. Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus emphasizes the act of unearthing what already occurred in the distant narrative past, Oedipus at Colonus relies on a firm primacy effect, while not playing down curiosity about the past, maximizes the audience's urge to know what will happen next. The richlyinverted narrative of the earlier play, which is systematically revised through the story-telling impulse of Oedipus, points up the force of his rhetoric. In a manner similar to the Oedipus Tyrannus, Sophocles' Antigone is

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powerfully evoked in the closing scene. The prospect of unhealed tension is conveniently averted within an Athenian context. In both cases the narrative reversals are acted out in well-calculated movements. Despite the agreeable conclusion, the complexity of the events makes reporting difficult. By suspending a welcome rapprochement of the interested parties, the narrative creates unfocused gaps and less stringent hypotheses about upcoming actions. In the play, every narrative settlement is the outcome of great effort and difficulty. The same applies to the presentation of the scenery, which is closely connected with the dominant narrative practices of secrecy, complexity, confusion, surprise and gradual revelation. In the light of the single strategy in which all the narrative sleights discussed are integrated, unmistakable allusions to a particular Athenian political and religious matrix create a space of great scope, coherence, and solidity. As in no other play before, Sophocles imbues Colonus with unprecedented importance by aligning the local community with Athens and Eleusis. Through the adroit use of a large pattern of descriptions, the setting is presented as a variation on the metropolis and the most significant pan-Hellenic cult-site of Attica. Especially, in the case of the Eleusinian filter, the mystical echoes are inextricably implicit in the narration itself. As the story is shaped to present the mystic proposition, the audience are inducted into a narrative that reminds one of initiation practices. In view of the various narrative games, the predominant movement from ignorance to revelation is intimately related to the stage-by-stage presentation of the scenery. Against a background of such depth, the carefully paced narration leads the audience to an unforgettable finale. The Eleusinian transformation of Colonus facilitates the mystic passing of Oedipus. In the light of the welcome narrative chasm, which is brought about by the strict secrecy of heroization, the emotions of relief that the Athenian audience would have experienced are not unlike the comforting feeling of initiation. Narratology allows one to understand the special ways in which playwrights construct their fictional narratives. It is my contention that narrative theory, fittingly formulated to suit the specific nature of the theatrical medium, can be uniquely applicable to ancient and modem plays. In the hope of offering more than abstract theory, I seek to show how my concept of tragic narration can aid in the critical analysis of a particular play. I am fully aware that there is much to be done in the context of tragic narratology. The value of a narratological approach

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would be clearer if there were a wider range of work on narrative methods in the field of theatre studies. Sadly, the literature on the problem remains extremely thin, while other narratorless media have enjoyed special attention in recent years. In view of the sophisticated narrative tools now available, narratologists can examine a single play, find important connections in a group of plays, distinguish underlying similarities in seemingly unrelated plays or even define the dominant modes of tragic narration as they vary historically. The main purpose of this book is to generate interesting new questions. If I am right in thinking that a modified theory of narrative in drama is something fruitful, then it is for narratologists to provide the answers.

Bibliography

Abbreviations Austin CIG DGE FGrHist IG LIMC LSJ

Mette Nauck2 OCD3 OCT ΡMG P. Oxy. RE TLG Tod TrGF

C. Austin, Nova Fragmenta Euripidea in Papyris Reperta (Berlin) 1968 Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum Diccionario Griego-Español, eds. F. R. Adrados & E. Gangutia (Madrid) 1980Fragmenta der griechischen Historiker, ed. F. Jacoby (Berlin & Leiden) 1923-1957 Inscriptiones Graecae (Berlin) 1873Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, eds. H. Ackermann & J. -R. Gisler (Zurich) 1981-1997 A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th edn. rev. by Sir H. S. Jones & R. McKenzie (Oxford) 1940 (with rev. suppl. by P. G. W. Glare 1996) H. J. Mette, Euripides: die Bruchstücke, Lustrum 23/4 (1982); 25 (1983) 5-14; 27 (1985) 23-26 A. Nauck, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta (Leipzig) 18892 (with suppl. by B. Snell) The Oxford Classical Dictionary, eds. S. Hornblower & A. Spawforth (Oxford) 1996 (3rd ed.) Oxford Classical Text Poetae Melici Graeci, ed. D. L. Page (Oxford) 1962 Oxyrhynchus Papyri (London) 1898Paulys Real- Encyclopädie der klassischen Altertumwissenschaft (Stuttgart) 1894Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (CD-ROM E [latest copy], University of California at Irvine) Μ. N. Tod, Greek Historical Inscriptions 2 vols. (Oxford) 1946, 1948 Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, eds. B. Snell, S. Radt & R. Kannicht (Göttingen) 1971-

228

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Dindorf (I8603) Easterling Ferrari (1982) Festa (1926) Hogan(1991) Jebb (19003) Kamerbeek (1984)

Lloyd-Jones (1994) Lloyd-Jones/ Wilson (1990a) Pearson (1924)

Ammendola, G. (1953), Sofocle. Edipo a Colono (Turin). Blundell, M. W. (1990), Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus (Newburyport, MA). Campbell, L. (18792), Sophocles. Οιδίπους έπί Κολωνφ vol. i (Oxford) 257-441. Colonna, Α. (1983), Sophoclis Fabulae. Philoctetes, Oedipus Coloneus, Indices iii (Turin). Dain, A. & P. Mazon (19672), Sophocle. Philoctéte-Oedipe a Colone voi. iii (Paris). Dawe, R. D. (1979), Sophoclis Tragoediae voi. ii Track, Ant., Phil., OC (Leipzig). Del Corno, D„ M. Cavalli & R. Cantarella ( 1982), Sofocle. Edipo Re, Edipo a Colono, Antigone (Milan). Dindorf, G. (I8603), Sophocles. Oedipus Coloneus vol. i (Oxford). Easterling, P. E. (forthcoming), Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus (Cambridge) Ferrari, F. (1982), Sofocle. Antigone, Edipo Re, Edipo a Colono (Milan) Festa, Ν. (1926), Sofocle. Edipo a Colono (Rome). Hogan, J. C. (1991), A Commentary on the Plays of Sophocles (Carbondale & Bristol) 79-125. Jebb, R. C. (19003), Sophocles. The Oedipus Coloneus (Cambridge). Kamerbeek, J. C. (1984), The plays of Sophocles: commentaries. Part VII: The Oedipus Coloneus (Leiden). Lloyd-Jones, H. (1994), Sophocles ii (Cambridge, Mass.). Lloyd-Jones, H. & N. G. Wilson (1990a), Sophoclis Fabulae (Oxford). Pearson, A. C. (1924), Sophoclis Fabulae (Oxford).

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Schneidewin/Nauck/ Radermacher (19093) Schneidewin, F. W., A. Nauck & L. Radermacher (19093), Sophokles. Oidipus aufKolonos (Berlin).

Works Cited The text of Sophocles used is the OCT (Lloyd-Jones & Wilson 1990a). The abbreviations of journals normally follow the conventions of L' Année Philologique or will be obvious. Needless to say, I have profited greatly from the constant use of LSJ, DGE, Ellendt (18722), Rigo (1996) and the TLG. Adams ( 1953)

Adams, S. M. ( 1953), 'Unity of Plot in the Oedipus Coloneus', Phoenix 7: 136-147. Adkins ( 1960) Adkins, A. W. H. (1960), Merit and Responsibility: A Study in Greek Values (Oxford). Adkins (1963) Adkins, A. W. H. (1963), "'Friendship" and "SelfSufficiency" in Homer and Aristotle', CQ 13: 30-45. Adorno/Eisler (19942) Adorno, T. & H. Eisler (19942), Composing for the Films (London). Adrados (1993) Adrados, F. R. (1993), 'Personnages et structure compositionnelle de Γ Antigone, /' Oedipe Roi et Γ Oedipe à Colone', in Machin & Pernée (eds.) (1993)143-153. Aélion (1984) Aélion, R. (1984), 'Songes et prophéties dans la tragédie d'Eschyle: une forme de mise en abyme', Lalies 3: 133-146. Aélion (1987) Aélion, R. (1987), 'Système Actantiel et Structure Narrative dans deux Séries de Tragédies Grecques', Lalies 5: 215-254. Ahlberg (1971) Ahlberg, G. ( 1971 ), Prothesis and Ekphora in Greek Geometric Art (Göteborg).

230 Alaux (1992)

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Indexes

(I) General Index Aeschylus Ag. 11 n. 27, 12 n. 31, 100 n. 18 Cho. 12 n. 31, 152 n. 56 Eum. 175 n. 14 Pers. 100 n. 17 Sept. 12 n. 29, 48 n. 25 Supp. 127 n. 18 [PV] 212 n. 89 Antigone 161 ff., 172 ff. Aphrodite 188 Aristophanes 9 n. 19 Av. 183 η. 21 Eq. 204 η. 59 Nub. 174 η. 12, 195 η. 36 Plut. 207 η. 74 Ran. 201 η. 51, 206 η. 68 Thesm. 206 η. 72 Vesp. 183 η. 21 agon, in OC 86 f., 91 f. Athena 192 f. Athens 190 f. audience response 19 ff. author 5 η. 10, 6 Bacchus see Dionysus barbarians 55 beginnings see endings causality 14 character & characterization 14 Chorus 128 closure 148 comedy 22 Creon 44 ff., 85 ff. dance 28

Demeter 205 ff. deus ex machina 6 η. 13 dialogue 8 η. 17 diegesis 2 f. Dionysus 184 f., 205 ff. drama 3 ecphrasis 168 η. 1, 169 η. 4 ekkyklema 9 ellipsis & tragedy 8 f. endings 148 epic see Homer Eteocles 55 ff. Euripides Ale. 13 n. 31 Andr. 11 n. 28 Bacch. 16 n. 37, 212 n. 92 El. 12 n. 31, 202 n. 54 Hec. 12 n. 31, 16 n. 37 Hel. 140 n. 140 Heracl. 12 HF 12 n. 31,202 n. 54 Hipp. 12 n. 31 Hyps. 27 n. 57 IA 12 n. 29, 16 n. 37, 151 n. 53 Ion 8 n. 16, 12 n. 29 Med. 8 n . 16, 12 n. 31 Or. 12 n. 29, 12 n. 31 Phoen. 11, 12 n. 29 Supp. 12 n. 29 Tro. 16 η. 37 [Rhes.\ 13 η. 31, 219 η. 112 fabula 2 η. 2 film 3, 5 flashback 10

292 focalization 14 formalism 2 n. 2 frequency 14, 49 games, narrative 13 ff. gods 23 n. 52 hero-cult 120, 122 historiography, ancient 2 n. 4 Homer 6 intertextuality 24 f. Ismene 55 ff. knowledge, narrative 30 ff. Kore 197 ff. lament 147 ff. locations 7 lyric, as narrative mode 100 f f , 127 if. marriage, in tragedy 57 messenger-speech 14f. mimesis 2 motivation 145 music 26 ff. Mysteries, Eleusinian 208 n. 81 myth 2 n. 2 narrattees 20 f., 117 narrative 2 narratology 1 ff. narrator 4 ff., 15 narrators, unreliable; in tragedy 35 n. 5 Oedipus attacked 85 ff. defense 30 ff. death of 115 ff. heroization 130 ff. off-stage see secondary narrative pause 8

Indexes Plato 2 point of view see focalization polis and tragedy 21 f. Polynices cursed 69 ff. rhetoric of 69-70, 75 Poseidon 193 ff. possible worlds 22 ff. power, narrative 77, 86 prayer 127 f. primary narrative 2 prolepsis 3, 79 prologues: in tragedy 6 n. 13 reader-response see response rules, narrative 123 ff. Russian formalism 2 n. 2

audience

satyr-play 11 n. 27 scene (as narrative tempo) 7 secondary narrative; in tragedy 2 short stories 3 sjuzhet 2 n. 2 slowdown 8 Sophocles Aj. 13 n. 31 Ant. 161 ff. El. 12 n. 31 OT 32 ff., 39,40 Phil. 171 n. 8 Track. 8 space in narrative; tragic 167 ff. stichomythia 120 story 2. n. 2 summary 7 supplication 36 tempo, narrative 7 f. theatre; narratology and 1 ff. time; in drama 7 ff. tragedy; character in 14 myth, in 2 n. 2; space in Theseus; & Athens; & Athenian 'proto-democracy' 84, 94

Indexes viewpoint see focalization women

in audience 20 Xenophon 41 n. 16

(II) Index of Greek Words άγών 81 άεί 126,158,185 άθικτος 180 άκηράτφ 187 άκούω139 άλυπον 158 αμαρτία 47 άναγκάσουσι 81 άντέδρων 37 άπείπεν 158 άπεστύγησαν 188 άπωλλύμην 38 άριστον 110 άρκεσις 117 άστιβές 180 άστράπτει 106 άτίμως 60 άυπνοι 187 αΰτοποιόν 191 άχείρωτον 191 βακχιώτας 185 βίςι 96 βλαστόν 190 φ. γ' 79 γλαυκώπις 193 δαίμων 158 διδάξω 125 δύστηνος 48 εδοξας 95 εδρών 49 εϊθ' 108 ειπεν 141 ελεξε 118 έμοί 99 έμφυλίου 74

έξάγιστα 126,211 εξαίφνης 143 έξέφυσα 72 επασχον 38 έπεί 138 έπεμβαίνων 97 έρημος 154 έσθητι 136 ευθέως 51,143 εύστομοΰσ' 173 έχει 175,177,184 ήδη 62 ην 154 ν. 59 ήνώγει 135 θώυξεν 143 η. 45 ίππότην 179 καί 134 καλεί 144 κάμψειν 119 η. 45 κείνος 158 κοίλον 74 η. 45 λαμπάσιν 103 λελοιπότα 133 λουτρά 135 λΰγδην 142 μινύρεται 183 η. 21 ξυνουσία 179 ξυντομωτάτως 133 όμφης 70 όρμάται 106

294

Indexes

ούδ' 188 ούτος 144

συμφοράς 46 σφιν 124

παρηγγύα 119 παρθένοιν 64 παροίσομεν 151 πατρός 62,158 πέρσας192 πέτροις 61 πικρόν 139 πόθεν 136 πονειν 56 προμνάται107 προσπολουμένας 110 προφερτάτω 126 πρώταισι 194

τάφοις 121 τάχα 87,102 τιθήναις 185 uv' 119 τις 143 η. 43 τόποις 126 τότε 67 ΰπερπονείτον 56 φθέγμα 143 η. 45 φίλος 154 η. 61 χέρες 111 χρυσάνιος 188

στέγουσιν 173

(III) Index of Principal 1-6 117,132 7-8 33,172 14-15 172 15 173 16-18 173 f. 16 173 η. 11 36-37 175 39-40 175 42-43 176 52 176 53-63 176 f. 67 179 69 120 72 ff. 117,214 84-95 118 121-133 180 154-169 181 f. 220-226 34 237-240 35 266-269 37,210 266-274 36 270-272 37 273-274 38

Passages 287-291 119 292-295 36 294-295 38 337-356 53 337-341 55 342-345 55 345-352 56 353-356 57 385-413 120 394 209 395 218 396-397 79 399-400 80 408 80 421-454 53 421-427 58 427-430 59 431-432 60 433-436 61 437-441 61 441-444 62 445-449 64 450-454 64

Indexes 510 41 510-548 39 513-514 41 516 41 521 41 522 41 η. 17 527-535 42 531 41 η. 16 539-541 43 542 ff. 43 547-548 43 576-578 122 582 81 587-589 81 605 81 607-615 82 616-620 83 653 83 656-667 84,85 668-680 183 ff. 671 183 η. 21 675 184 η. 22 678-680 185,207 681-693 185 ff., 205 f. 694-706 188 ff. 707-719 193 ff. 714-715 194 720-721 196 761-796 53 765-771 65 f. 775-782 66 783-786 6 7 , 1 2 3 787-790 67 f. 813-821 87 826-832 88 826-827 88 830 88 832 88 835-843 88 837 88 841-843 89 860 ff. 89 862 89 874 91 885-886 90

887-890 92 897-904 93 911-918 94 919-923 96 924-931 97 932-936 98 944-949 45 f. 962-999 44 962-964 46 964 46 964-965 4 6 , 5 1 966-968 47 969-973 48 974-977 48 982-987 49 991-996 50 997-999 51 1014-1015 52 1019-1035 99 1035-1036 99 1044-1095 11,100 ff. 1044-1048 101 1044-1053 1 0 1 , 1 0 2 , 1 2 8 , 1 9 8 1054-1058 101,104 1059-1066 104,105 1067-1073 104 1067-1070 11,106 1074-1081 107 1082-1084 107 1085-1095 108 1096-1098 110 1101-1102 110 1102-1103 111 1117-1118 111 1123 111 1129 111 1143-1144 111 f. 1149 112 1234-1235 219 1235-1238 219 1239 219 1331-1332 123 1348-1396 5 3 , 6 9 1348-1353 69 f. 1354-1361 70

296 1365-1369 71 1370-1374 72 1375-1382 73 1383-1388 74 1389-1392 74 1393 75 1405-1413 161 1411-1413 162 1435-1436 161 1447-1499 124 1464 ff. 124,211 f. 1500-1504 125 1518-1555 125 f. 1522-1523 126,211 1526-1527 126,211 1547-1548 216 1556-1578 12 1556-1567 128 f. 1568-1578 129 1579-1585 130,133 1586 134 1587-1589 134 1592 135 n. 32 1590-1597 210 f. 1597-1603 135 f. 1600-1601 136,216 1604-1609 136 f., 138,143 1610 139 1611-1619 140 f. 1620-1621 142

Indexes 1621 ff. 142 f., 219 1630 ff. 144 f., 159,162 1638-1647 146 1640-1644 146,213 1647-1655 146,214 1655-1666 146 f., 197 1670-1676 150 f. 1675 151 1677-1688 151 f. 1689-1692 153 1693-1696 153 1697-1703 153 f. 1699 154 1704-1714 154 1720-1722 155,215 1724-1736 155 1732 155,163 1742-1743 162 1746 156 1747 156 1748-1750 156 1751-1779 157 1752 154 n. 64 1757-1767 157 f. 1764-1765 158 1766-1767 158 1768-1779 159,162 1768-1769 165 1769-1772 159,162,165 n. 73 1779 159

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