Mourning Endless: Female Otherness in Statius' <i>Thebaid</i>

Antony Augoustakis

in Motherhood and the Other

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199584413
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723117 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Classical Literature and Gender Theory

Mourning Endless: Female Otherness in Statius' Thebaid

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This chapter discusses several female figures from Statius' Thebaid, a poem on the civil war between the two brothers Eteocles and Polynices. Hypsipyle is portrayed as an exiled foreigner, a displaced mother with misplaced affections, while Antigone and Ismene are transformed into the abject other, by regressing into their personal, yet unsafe space. Finally the poem ends with the appearance of the captured Amazons in Athens and the lament of the Argive widows, which brings the poet to an impasse and to his confession of utter powerlessness. Generic boundaries are reset, and gender hierarchies are crystallized, as the women remain alien and marginal.

Keywords: Statius' Thebaid; Hypsipyle; Antigone; Argive widows; Hippolyte; Amazons; gender hierarchies

Chapter.  23575 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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