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A New Language for Heroes: Odysseus, Ajax, and Sophistic Language in Attic Tragedy

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A New Language for Heroes: Odysseus, Ajax, and Sophistic Language in Attic Tragedy

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Title: A New Language for Heroes: Odysseus, Ajax, and Sophistic Language in Attic Tragedy
Author: Barnard, Scott
Advisor(s): Cyrino, Monica
Cyrino, Monica
Committee Member(s): Cyrino, Monica
Garcia Jr., Lorenzo
Nocentelli, Carmen
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Subject: Homer
Odysseus
Ajax
Sophocles
Rhetoric
LC Subject(s): Odysseus (Greek mythology) in literature
Ajax (Greek mythology) in literature
Sophists (Greek philosophy) in literature
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: My objective in this project is to explore the ways in which the Homeric figures of Odysseus and Ajax are reinterpreted for the tragic stage by Sophocles and Euripides, with particular emphasis on the presence of marked sophistic modes and values of speech. My thesis begins with an overview of the sophistic movement and a discussion of the philosophical and stylistic tenets of sophism. Based on these, I theorize that during fifth century Be a civic anxiety over the power of sophistic rhetoric develops in Athens and finds unique expression in tragic poetry. Next, I define the particular rhetorical styles and traditions for depicting Odysseus and Ajax in the Homeric epics; I then explore the ways the playwrights redeploy these tropes to render tragic characters that reflect contemporary concerns and questions about the power and responsible use of civic speech. In doing so, I identify strategies employed by both figurers in Homer to persuade a variety of audiences and the specific manners in which these strategies are engendered in the tragic re-imaginings of both characters.
Graduation Date: May 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12822


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