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Tragic Rhetoric

An Interpretation of Sophocles' <i>Trachiniae</I>

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Bruce Heiden

This innovative study of Sophocles' Trachiniae deepens our appreciation of the enigmatic nature of Sophoclean tragedy and its place in the Athens of the Sophists. By carefully examining the play's narrative and rhetorical strategies, Bruce Heiden shows that the plot of Trachiniae must be constructed by the creative interpretation of the spectator or reader, and he demonstrates that Sophocles' extensive use of speeches reporting offstage events dramatizes the very problems that arise when rhetorical claims of knowledge conceal acts of interpretation. Tragic Rhetoric will interest both classicists and students of literary theory.