Simon Goldhill

in Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199796274
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932870 | DOI:

Series: Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture


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This chapter explores the language of lusis – undoing – in Sophocles’ tragedies to reveal how the search for an answer is always undercut in the plays. Each character who prays or searches for “release” obtains it in the most ironic and destructive form. It then explores a new model of irony, where the audience is not in a position of secure knowledge, but is forced by Sophocles’ “flickering irony” to recognize its own insecurity.

Keywords: Sophocles; tragedy; irony

Chapter.  12889 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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