Koen De Temmerman

in Crafting Characters

Published in print February 2014 | ISBN: 9780199686148
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191766381 | DOI:

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This chapter shows how characterization in Heliodorus’ novel is inextricably bound up with its notably labyrinthine narrative structure (important characteristics are gradually reconstructed by the reader when reading the story) and at the same time challenges the widely-accepted view that Heliodorus’ protagonists are marked by idealizing depiction. This chapter favours a psychologically more realistic approach, for example by demonstrating that important characteristics of both hero and heroine are presented not merely as topical entities but as concepts consciously shaped and controlled either by themselves or by others, and as amalgams of skills that have to be taught and morally negotiated in strategies of self-preservation and self-defence. Secondly, this chapter also explores the inherent elusiveness and ambiguity of Heliodorus’ (de)construction of his protagonists, which makes virtually impossible any unproblematic and straightforward reading of them as character types. It identifies self-presentation as a main site in which such ambiguity is explored.

Keywords: narrative structure; performance; self-presentation; paradigms; rhetoric; evolution; ambiguity; psychological realism; deconstruction of character

Chapter.  33072 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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