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Abstract

This paper examines how nondramatic lyric genres were evoked, appropriated, and combined within fifth-century Athenian tragedy. I show how transitions from one song type to another within a tragedy could guide the audience’s reception of the dramatic action and help to shape the narrative arc of the play. The merging of multiple lyric genres within one choral song also demonstrates how broad the generic scope of tragedy could be, and how that breadth could be exploited in performance. I argue that, contrary to the myth of tragedy’s generic purity, which we see most clearly in Plato’s Laws, tragedy was by its very nature a hybrid or “super” genre, gathering together multiple song types within its choral odes.

Open Access
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
Author:

Abstract

This paper examines how nondramatic lyric genres were evoked, appropriated, and combined within fifth-century Athenian tragedy. I show how transitions from one song type to another within a tragedy could guide the audience’s reception of the dramatic action and help to shape the narrative arc of the play. The merging of multiple lyric genres within one choral song also demonstrates how broad the generic scope of tragedy could be, and how that breadth could be exploited in performance. I argue that, contrary to the myth of tragedy’s generic purity, which we see most clearly in Plato’s Laws, tragedy was by its very nature a hybrid or “super” genre, gathering together multiple song types within its choral odes.

Open Access
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models
In: Genre in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models