Witnesses and Evidence: Information and Decision in Drama and OratorySecond International Conference on Drama and Oratory
Day 1 – Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Central Auditorium "N. Politis" / Αμφιθέατρο "Ν. Πολιτης"
15:00 – 16:00
Opening and Greetings by Organizers
Keynote Lecture: Drama
Τhe Rhetoric of Chrysothemis
By Patrick Finglass, Henry Overton Wills Professor of Greek, University of Bristol
This paper looks at the language of Chrysothemis in Sophocles' Electra, and in particular
Drama and Poetry I
Chair: Chris Carey
Witnesses and Narratives of displacement in Attic Drama and Oratory
By Adele Scafuro, Professor of Classics, Brown University
In his important discussions of recognition (ἀναγνώρισις) in Poetics 11 and 16, Aristotle, with
The Torture of Prometheus
By David Mirhady, Professor of Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
Aristotle identifies torture among the atechnoi pisteis, which the orator does not himself
since the free are supposed to be able to resist torture, as Prometheus does. However, some passages from oratory also reveal that torture (basanos) is sometimes identified with compulsion (ananke), and some other characters in tragedy do seem at critical moments to act on the basis of such compulsion, engaging in slavish behaviour unworthy of free citizens.
Calling for Witnesses, Role-Playing and Metatheatre: Dionysus And Xanthias in
Aristophanes, Frogs 494-533
By Andreas Fountoulakis, Associate Professor of Ancient Greek Literature, Faculty of Education, University of Crete
As soon as Dionysus, dressed as Heracles, arrives in the Underworld in Aristophanes’ Frogs
The aim of this paper is to explore various aspects of Xanthias’ call for witnesses from formal, dramatic and social points of view in order to highlight its associations with similar, rather conventional, calls is drama as well as in society. Considering especially the legal function of such calls occurring during violent incidents in social contexts in the ensuing presentation of testimonies and evidence at court, attention will be drawn to the, often differentiated, handling of those calls in drama. Xanthias’ call for witnesses will subsequently be considered as part of dramatic conventions echoing social practice, while emphasis will be placed upon its examination in connection with the dramatic context of the Frogs and the metatheatricality of the entire scene, which mainly stems from the exchange of costumes between Dionysus and Xanthias, and the construction of the role of Heracles. It will be argued that calling for witnesses is, along with disguise, part of the metatheatrical devices pertaining to role-playing, which are employed in this scene in order to underline tensions between social reality and dramatic action, distinctions of status such as those between gods and mortals or masters and slaves, and processes relating to the fabrication of dramatic character and the power of dramatic representation. These aspects of the scene are echoed in the contest between Aeschylus and Euripides later in the play in wider patterns of action and thought relating to the construction of a dramatic world and its function within its social context.
False messengers and false witnesses: rhetorical effects of false testimony in Attic Drama αnd Oratory
By Manfred Kraus, AOR (Akademischer Oberrat) Dr., Universität Tübingen
In Attic tragedy, messenger speeches played an important role for the disclosure of off-stage events
The motif of false testimony was taken up and discussed with special respect to judicial cases by the sophists, especially so in Gorgias’s Palamedes and Antiphon’s Tetralogies, and made its way into Attic law and oratory, in which reconstruction of narratives of past events based on testimony by eye-witnesses is equally paramount, and is theorized in rhetorical context by Aristotle and the Rhetoric to Alexander.
Fear of judicial errors owing to false testimony appears to have alarmed democratic Athenian society, so that precautions were taken by introducing the instrument of dike pseudomartyrion, which enabled litigants to impeach and legally sue witnesses produced by their opponents, if suspect of false testimony. Yet this instrument soon proved to be less of a means for guaranteeing the truthfulness of witnesses than, if masterly handled by a skilful orator, a powerful rhetorical tool for channeling and controlling the development of a trial. Accordingly, it plays a decisive role in speeches by Antiphon (Or. 6), Lysias (Or. 23), Demosthenes (e.g. Or. 29, 45, 46, 47, 49), Isaeus (Or. 2, 3, 4) or Hyperides.
The paper will compare and analyze the role and structure of false information in both tragedy and judicial oratory and the rhetorical effects to which it may be put. In the course of this analysis both similarities and differences will emerge.
‘Information and decision in Sophocles’ Trachiniae and Euripides’ Medea and Ino. Thinking and arguing about monogamy/polygamy in Greek Tragedy
By Smaro Nikolaidou, Assistant Professor in Ancient Greek Philology, Department of Greek Philology, Democritus University of Thrace
Marriage in classical Athens was monogamous, which protected the wife’s position and influence in her
Data exist in Sophocles’ Trachiniae (which remains undated but was probably written between 440 and 430 BC) and in Euripides’ two tragedies, Medea (performed in 431 BC) and the fragmentary Ino (performed before 425 BC). In all three tragedies a central heroine, after having received the information of her husband’s infidelity,
makes her decision by organizing a plan. In Trachiniae, Deianeira attempts to deter
Heracles from loving his young captive, Iole, but unwillingly causes his death. In
Euripides’ Ino (according to Hyginus’ Fabula 4), jealous Themisto, Athamas’ most
recent wife, plans to kill Athamas’ children born by his previous wife, Ino, but she unconsciously kills her own children, due to Ino’s plot against them. And Medea
consciously kills her own children, at the culminating point of her jealous agency
against the unfaithful Iason.
What is interesting for the aim of our Conference is that in all three plays, in
order to make their own decisions about loyalty and responsibility to their monogamous marriage, the dramatic heroines fight with witness and evidence.
Particularly, Euripides’ Ino combines the role of a witness (as Themisto’s devoted
servant) with that of a central heroine, who plans her plot after having been informed
by her mistress (and rival) Themisto. But, unfortunately, Ino’s exceptional paradigm
belongs to a lost play.
Δείπνο / Dinner
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