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The cyclic nature of crime and the notion of heredity in Agamemnon, Troades and Thyestes

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Claxton, Anne (1990) The cyclic nature of crime and the notion of heredity in Agamemnon, Troades and Thyestes. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis argues that the plays
Agamemnon, Tkoades and Thyestes are thematically
related and also that there is sufficient
alternative evidence to support the system of
dating by sense-pauses advocated by J.G. Fitch.
The unifying thread of these three a
Senecan tragedies is the Tantalid line with its
ongoing cycle of crime and revenge. In each play we
find a family feud with the members of each present
and successive generation setting out to surpass in
bloodshed both their ancestors and their
contemporaries. There are modified echoes of the•
atavistic crime of Tantalus in varying degrees but
the dominant motif remains that of revenge.
I argue that there are important
parallels between the Greek and the Trojan royal
families, and between the races before, during and
after the war at Troy, not the least in the
contexts of crime and suffering.
I also examine the dramatic tensions and
the psychological development of the characters
within these three tragedies, and conclude that any
development in Agamemnon is minimal. However, in
Troades and in Thyestes in particular, there is a
tightening in dramatic form, while the
psychological progressions and emotional tensions
become more fully realized. I argue therefore that
these plays are not static rhetoric but contain
sufficient thematic evolution to deserve a higher
reputation than hitherto.
Seneca uses imagery with telling effect,
drawing on the example of Vergil, in particular in
the stock portrayal of passion and anger. However,
he adds his own philosophical doctrine, which
whilst not contributing greatly to Agamemnon, has
more relevance in Troades and Thyestes which I
suggest lends more weight to Fitch's thesis. I
discuss the role of the gods in these tragedies,
and show that in this world of Tantalid revenge,
that the gods have little relevance and that there
can be little optimism for divine benevolence.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D, Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D, Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D, Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D, Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca. 4 B.C.-65 A.D
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1990 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 145-154). Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1991

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:45
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:55
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