Nach der Katastrophe: Exit-Strategien in der griechischen Tragödie

In: Poetica
Author: Susanne Gödde1
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  • 1 Institut für Religionswissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland

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After briefly outlining the vocabulary of closure and endings in Greek tragedy, this article analyses three possible features of closure: (1) lament (kommos), (2) deus ex machina combined with an aetiological myth (almost exclusively in Euripides), and (3) a gnomic coda spoken by the chorus. All three types of ending remain external to the plot and do not resolve the dramatic conflict. The paper then looks at two case studies from dramas centered on the same myth, i.e. the campaign of the Seven against Thebes in Aeschylus’ play of the same name and in Euripides’ Phoenissae. The endings of these tragedies have provoked much discussion regarding their textual transmission and reconstruction. I discuss how and when the action seems to be ‘fulfilled’, and contrast the strong closure of Aeschylus’ play with the “hypertextual mythical continuity” (Lamari) of Euripides’ drama.