A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

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C. S. Bartholomew
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:49 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:I have been listening daily to lectures by Elizabeth Vandiver on Attic Tragedy and Greek Mythology. Vandiver explicitly addresses the question breaking down the barrier between the fictional scenario in the tragic drama and the scenario in the Athenian theater and contemporary culture. She more or less dogmatically asserts that Attic tragedians never crossed that barrier. For this reason I don't think χορὸς in this context refers to the χορὸς in the theater, but rather to a group of singers described in very unflattering terms that represent the Furies. I'm a perennial-first-year-student when it comes to classics so I could have misunderstood what Vandiver was saying.
Yes, probably the calling the Erinyes a chorus here is just metaphorical. But it is a bit funny, when you think that they will actually form the chorus in the last play of the trilogy. I don't think a crossing of the barrier you describe is intended here.

Incidentally, I've seen that barrier crossed several times in Aristophanes' comedies. (Can't give any examples right now). But that's another genre entirely.
On the placement of Ἐρινύων at the end of a though unit larger than a sentence, it seems like postponing a key element in the semantic structure of a complex constituent is a pattern which reappears at different levels of the discourse structure. In other words, the head noun in a noun phrase can be postponed to the end of the phrase, a noun subject can be postponed to the end of sentence, a discourse critical noun can be postponed to the end of a paragraph. By discourse critical noun I mean a noun which is needed to disambiguate the whole paragraph. Ἐρινύων in this context is just such a noun. The phenomenon isn't limited to a noun/substantive but talking about verb placement is a whole different ball game.
I was thinking something along those lines, but couldn't have said it so well...
On Aristophanes' comedies I think Vandiver would totally agree with you. Aristophanes was playing games with the Tragedian tradition and flaunted the rules. I'm rather uncertain about how strict Euripides was about this. I seem to remember Vandiver's focus was on actors making direct reference to someone or something in the theater in a manner such that the fictional frame of reference was broken. I don't have the technical terminology to discuss this clearly.
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by Paul Derouda » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:10 pm

I hope you are getting better now.

I found an example in Aristophanes' Frogs (274 ff.) where (according to the Loeb edition at least) a character in the play reacts to the public:

Διόνυσος. κατεῖδες οὖν που τοὺς πατραλοίας αὐτόθι
καὶ τοὺς ἐπιόρκους, οὓς ἔλεγεν ἡμῖν;
Ξανθίας. σὺ δ᾽ οὔ;
Διόνυσος. νὴ τὸν Ποσειδῶ 'γωγε, καὶ νυνί γ᾽ ὁρῶ.
ἄγε δὴ τί δρῶμεν;

Dionysos: So, you must have seen those father beaters and perjurers that he told us about.
Xanthias: Didn't you?
Dionysos: Sure I did, by Poseidon; (regarding the spectators) and I can still see them. Well now, what's next?

I can't speak about the Tragedians. I wonder about Euripides' Cyclops, which is a satyr play, would it be different in this regard?

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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:38 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:1191-93
ὑμνοῦσι δ᾽ ὕμνον δώμασιν προσήμεναι
πρώταρχον ἄτην, ἐν μέρει δ᾽ ἀπέπτυσαν
εὐνὰς ἀδελφοῦ τῷ πατοῦντι δυσμενεῖς.

"Besitting the chambers of the house, they sing a song of the ruinous folly that first began it all, and one after another they show their abhorrence of the brother's bed that worked harm to him who defiled it." (Sommerstein)

I'm puzzled by the aorist ἀπέπτυσαν that follows a present ὑμνοῦσι - R-T calls it a "dramatic" aorist. Whatever that means. I wonder if this usage here is somehow related to the "gnomic" aorist, maybe the idea is to point out that this is the sort of thing the Erinyes always disapprove of.
Paul,

The verb aspect chosen by an author represents a choice about how to present a certain action/event in the story. The present tense is a marked form used for imperfective action. The singing of the Erinyes is presented as ongoing within the framework of the story. The aorist is an unmarked aspect, all it tells us is that the author had no intention to pointing out anything special about aspect. The action/event is simply affirmed without reference duration or even completion. Some aspectologits would probably argue that completion is a semantic feature of the aorist.

The traditional semantic categories for aroists e.g. gnomic, dramatic make reference to information gleaned from the co-text and context. Were actually talking about context and co-text when we use those terms. The aorist doesn't tell us anything about gnomic, dramatic, rather it simply asserts an event happened.
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote: First, if we agree that ἕπομαι takes a dative argument, in that role προτέροισι appears to be a substantive which refers to the content of a previous speech act. Doesn't προτέροισι also play a role in the subordinate clause ἐφημίσω? Perhaps not. Supplying a relative pronoun coreferential with προτέροισι might resolve the problem.
I would deconstruct/translate it like follows:
ἑπόμενα προτέροισι τάδ’ ἐφημίσω.
According [to what] preceded, that['s what] you uttered. -> You uttered that in accordance with what preceded.
Did you have another rendition in mind?
Paul,

Not being happy with leaving this question unanswered, I took a fresh look at this this morning. My previous analysis was against the grain[1], treating the participle as the main clause and the finite verb as a subordinate clause. It seems better to read τάδ’ ἐφημίσω as the main clause which refers to the most recent speech act by Cassandra. In my previous thinking, I was treating ἐφημίσω as if it referred to what Cassandra said before. This doesn't make much sense. ἐφημίσω -> τάδ᾿ refers to what Cassandra says now, i.e, what she just said. The participle ἑπόμενα modifies τάδ᾿ with the dative προτέροισι which refers to what she said before. Putting it in English, A. H. Sommerstein LCL uses two WH clauses "What ... What", an elegant solution:

ΧΟΡΟΣ
A.Ag. 1173
ἑπόμενα προτέροισι τάδ᾿ ἐφημίσω,

Chorus
What you have uttered now follows on from what went
before,
— Alan H. Sommerstein LCL

[1] typically, participles are used to present supporting material (background) relative to a finite verb in the main clause.
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:02 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:I have been listening daily to lectures by Elizabeth Vandiver on Attic Tragedy and Greek Mythology. Vandiver explicitly addresses the question breaking down the barrier between the fictional scenario in the tragic drama and the scenario in the Athenian theater and contemporary culture. She more or less dogmatically asserts that Attic tragedians never crossed that barrier. For this reason I don't think χορὸς in this context refers to the χορὸς in the theater, but rather to a group of singers described in very unflattering terms that represent the Furies.
Yes, probably the calling the Erinyes a chorus here is just metaphorical. But it is a bit funny, when you think that they will actually form the chorus in the last play of the trilogy. I don't think a crossing of the barrier you describe is intended here.

Incidentally, I've seen that barrier crossed several times in Aristophanes' comedies. (Can't give any examples right now). But that's another genre entirely.

Paul,

I was wrong about Elizabeth Vandiver's treatment of this. Just listened to one of her lectures on Sophocles OT where she points out what she calls a meta theatrical moment where the boundary between the dramatic scenario and the theater is broken in Oedipus Tyrannus 896.

S.OT 895-96
Εἰ γὰρ αἱ τοιαίδε πράξεις τίμιαι,
τί δεῖ με χορεύειν;

E. Vandiver states that in this co-text the reliability of oracles has been called into question by Jocasta's claim that the oracle concerning the son killing his father ... was false and Chorus responds to this breach of faith in oracles of the gods with a question: τί δεῖ με χορεύειν; and according to Vandiver this does not mean exclusively “why should I dance.” It also raises the meta theatrical question “why should I, a citizen of Athens, serve as a member of the chorus in this tragedy at this moment in the theater of Dionysus at this city Dionysia.”

So we have a meta theatrical moment in Sophocles. The lingering question is the semantic significance of χορὸς in this co-text A.AG.1186-87. I would suggest that here we see Erinyes referred to as a χορὸς in a non-technical sense, i.e., no explicit reference to a theatrical scenario; where χορὸς refers to a group of furies. This follows a general principle of not reading a word as a technical term unless the co-text provides compelling semantic constraints in that direction.

An obvious objection: Vandiver as quoted above seems to be imposing a technical meaning on χορεύειν without compelling semantic constraints. I would need to hear Vandive's complete argument in regard to S.OT 896 before I could comment on that.

After looking at Jebb's note on χορεύειν in S.OT 896 I am wondering if χορὸς was ever used in Attic Tragedy without at least some hint of indirect reference to Dionysian worship. If the term is very closely associated with Dionysian worship then perhaps in A.AG.1186-87 we have a complex mixture of metaphors where the Erinyes are compared to a band of drunken revellers (R-T p.194) who wander about singing like a χορὸς but also are a perpetual presence in the house. This sounds a bit confusing but complex metaphors are not trivial to unpack.

Aeschylus Agamemnon 1186-1190 LCL (online edition)

τὴν γὰρ στέγην τήνδ᾿ οὔποτ᾿ ἐκλείπει χορὸς
ξύμφθογγος, οὐκ εὔφωνος· οὐ γὰρ εὖ λέγει.
καὶ μὴν πεπωκώς γ᾿, ὡς θρασύνεσθαι πλέον,
βρότειον αἷμα κῶμος ἐν δόμοις μένει,
δύσπεμπτος ἔξω, συγγόνων Ἐρινύων·

There is a group of singers that never leaves this house.
They sing in unison, but not pleasantly, for their words
speak of evil. Moreover, this revel-band
drinks human blood, thus emboldening itself,
and then remains in the house, hard to send away
— the band of the house’s kindred Furies.
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by NateD26 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:48 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Paul Derouda wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:I have been listening daily to lectures by Elizabeth Vandiver on Attic Tragedy and Greek Mythology. Vandiver explicitly addresses the question breaking down the barrier between the fictional scenario in the tragic drama and the scenario in the Athenian theater and contemporary culture. She more or less dogmatically asserts that Attic tragedians never crossed that barrier. For this reason I don't think χορὸς in this context refers to the χορὸς in the theater, but rather to a group of singers described in very unflattering terms that represent the Furies.
Yes, probably the calling the Erinyes a chorus here is just metaphorical. But it is a bit funny, when you think that they will actually form the chorus in the last play of the trilogy. I don't think a crossing of the barrier you describe is intended here.

Incidentally, I've seen that barrier crossed several times in Aristophanes' comedies. (Can't give any examples right now). But that's another genre entirely.

Paul,

I was wrong about Elizabeth Vandiver's treatment of this. Just listened to one of her lectures on Sophocles OT where she points out what she calls a meta theatrical moment where the boundary between the dramatic scenario and the theater is broken in Oedipus Tyrannus 896.

S.OT 895-96
Εἰ γὰρ αἱ τοιαίδε πράξεις τίμιαι,
τί δεῖ με χορεύειν;

E. Vandiver states that in this co-text the reliability of oracles has been called into question by Jocasta's claim that the oracle concerning the son killing his father ... was false and Chorus responds to this breach of faith in oracles of the gods with a question: τί δεῖ με χορεύειν; and according to Vandiver this does not mean exclusively “why should I dance.” It also raises the meta theatrical question “why should I, a citizen of Athens, serve as a member of the chorus in this tragedy at this moment in the theater of Dionysus at this city Dionysia.”

So we have a meta theatrical moment in Sophocles. The lingering question is the semantic significance of χορὸς in this co-text A.AG.1186-87. I would suggest that here we see Erinyes referred to as a χορὸς in a non-technical sense, i.e., no explicit reference to a theatrical scenario; where χορὸς refers to a group of furies. This follows a general principle of not reading a word as a technical term unless the co-text provides compelling semantic constraints in that direction.

An obvious objection: Vandiver as quoted above seems to be imposing a technical meaning on χορεύειν without compelling semantic constraints. I would need to hear Vandive's complete argument in regard to S.OT 896 before I could comment on that.

After looking at Jebb's note on χορεύειν in S.OT 896 I am wondering if χορὸς was ever used in Attic Tragedy without at least some hint of indirect reference to Dionysian worship. If the term is very closely associated with Dionysian worship then perhaps in A.AG.1186-87 we have a complex mixture of metaphors where the Erinyes are compared to a band of drunken revellers (R-T p.194) who wander about singing like a χορὸς but also are a perpetual presence in the house. This sounds a bit confusing but complex metaphors are not trivial to unpack.

Aeschylus Agamemnon 1186-1190 LCL (online edition)

τὴν γὰρ στέγην τήνδ᾿ οὔποτ᾿ ἐκλείπει χορὸς
ξύμφθογγος, οὐκ εὔφωνος· οὐ γὰρ εὖ λέγει.
καὶ μὴν πεπωκώς γ᾿, ὡς θρασύνεσθαι πλέον,
βρότειον αἷμα κῶμος ἐν δόμοις μένει,
δύσπεμπτος ἔξω, συγγόνων Ἐρινύων·

There is a group of singers that never leaves this house.
They sing in unison, but not pleasantly, for their words
speak of evil. Moreover, this revel-band
drinks human blood, thus emboldening itself,
and then remains in the house, hard to send away
— the band of the house’s kindred Furies.
Such an intriguing discovery! The very first sprouts of "breaking the fourth wall". :)
Nate.

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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:40 pm

The very first sprouts of "breaking the fourth wall".
Nate,

A figure of speech not used in my neighborhood. What does it mean?
ΚΑΣΣΑΝΔΡΑ
1202 μάντις μ᾿ Ἀπόλλων τῷδ᾿ ἐπέστησεν τέλει.
ΧΟΡΟΣ
1204 μῶν καὶ θεός περ ἱμέρῳ πεπληγμένος;

Cassandra
1202 The seer Apollo appointed me to this office.
Chorus
1204 Can it be that he, a god, was smitten with desire?
— H. W. Smyth
Rendering μάντις ... Ἀπόλλων "Apollo the Prophet" or some equivalent might be a little bit too literal and possible misleading. Would it be better the treat μάντις in apposition as virtual genitive like אלהי צבאות, or "Apollo god of seers" C. Collard.
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:15 pm

ΚΑΣΣΑΝΔΡΑ
1202 μάντις μ᾿ Ἀπόλλων τῷδ᾿ ἐπέστησεν τέλει.
ΧΟΡΟΣ
1204 μῶν καὶ θεός περ ἱμέρῳ πεπληγμένος;

Cassandra
Apollo the god of seers set me in this office.
Chorus
Smitten with desire for you, I fear you mean, although he is a god?
— Christopher Collard
There is string particles here which warrant comment. μῶν was at one time a contraction of μὴ οὖν but LSJ suggests that is a lost etymology by the time of Aeschylus:
μῶν, Adv. , contr. for μὴ οὖν, μῶν χαραδριὸν περνᾷς· Hippon. 52 : freq. in Trag., Com., and Pl. ; usu. in questions to which a neg. answer is suggested,
surely not ? μῶν ἄλγος ἴσχεις; you are not in pain, are you ? S.Ph.734, cf. E.Hec.676, 754, Hel.1198, Achae.9, Ar. Lys.69, Pl.Prt.310d .—Its origin from μὴ οὖν was forgotten, hence μῶν οὖν . .; in A.Ch.177, E.Andr.82; μῶν οὖν δῆτα . .; Ar.Pl.845: sts. also μῶν μὴ . .; Pl.Phd.84c, R.505c; also μῶν οὐ . .; suggesting an affirm. answer, A.Supp.417, S.OC1729 (lyr.), Pl.Sph.234a, etc.
G. Cooper (2:69:50.0.A V.4 p3053) "μῶν introduces question which strictly speaking expect a negative answer. But such questions are used so often in a sly, ironic way, or even as expressions of surprised rejection that there can be no fast and hard insistence upon the rule." This tone of irony was popular with Aristophanes with 33 examples in his extant plays.

περ is so flexible that it is tempting to ignore it. However, there some risk in doing so. Cooper[1] says the καὶ ... περ can be used with subordinate participle clauses which are concessive "although ..." and participle can be left out of the construction and he cites A.Ag 1204 μῶν καὶ θεός περ ἱμέρῳ πεπληγμένος as an example.

[1] G. Cooper V.4 p3089, 2:69.67.0.O.
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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:01 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:So we have a meta theatrical moment in Sophocles. The lingering question is the semantic significance of χορὸς in this co-text A.AG.1186-87. I would suggest that here we see Erinyes referred to as a χορὸς in a non-technical sense, i.e., no explicit reference to a theatrical scenario; where χορὸς refers to a group of furies. This follows a general principle of not reading a word as a technical term unless the co-text provides compelling semantic constraints in that direction.

An obvious objection: Vandiver as quoted above seems to be imposing a technical meaning on χορεύειν without compelling semantic constraints. I would need to hear Vandive's complete argument in regard to S.OT 896 before I could comment on that.

After looking at Jebb's note on χορεύειν in S.OT 896 I am wondering if χορὸς was ever used in Attic Tragedy without at least some hint of indirect reference to Dionysian worship. If the term is very closely associated with Dionysian worship then perhaps in A.AG.1186-87 we have a complex mixture of metaphors where the Erinyes are compared to a band of drunken revellers (R-T p.194) who wander about singing like a χορὸς but also are a perpetual presence in the house. This sounds a bit confusing but complex metaphors are not trivial to unpack.
I agree in taking khoros as a non-technical sense here. The idea of an association with Dionysian worship is intriguing. But whether it is so or not, I think the point is that words that are usually apply to a more happy, carnaval-like context is transferred to the horrible Erinyes.

I raided the university library again yesterday and plundered among other books the third part of Fraenkel's commentary. He comments briefly the word khoros there: "In this passage the choir of the Erinyes makes its entry into the trilogy, which it is to dominate until the end. The tale of the monsters who, surfeited with the blood of their victims, chant their sinister song looks forward to the choruses of the Eumenides, in particular to the δέσμιος ὕμνος." I don't think he means that "makes its entry" is to be taken in the concrete sense that the Erinyes are actual actors in the play now.

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Re: A.Ag Κασάνδρα scene 1072-1330

Post by NateD26 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:35 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
NateD26 wrote:The very first sprouts of "breaking the fourth wall".
Nate,
A figure of speech not used in my neighborhood. What does it mean?
I think it generally means to acknowledge the existence of an audience (TV/movie watchers
or theater spectators) thereby acknowledging their own fictionality. This is very prominent
and a tad over-done in the new Netflix series "House of Cards" where Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood
would often interject and speak directly to the camera, revealing his motives for a certain action
he has just done or is about to do.

I see now, however, that it is not quite the case here, and Vandiver's meta theatrical moment
is a more apt definition to this particular kind of breaking.
Nate.

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