The Abject Eidos

Jane Montgomery Griffiths

in Tradition, Translation, Trauma

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199554591
Published online April 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191808258 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

The Abject Eidos

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Literary analyses of Greek tragedy tend to ignore the correlation between the text that is performed and the actor’s performance of that text. This chapter takes that interconnection as its starting point in the analysis of the play, Electra. The actor’s reconfiguration of the body image runs parallel to Electra’s own, and provides the pathway to a reading of the play that places trauma at its centre through its protagonist’s somatic response to suffering. It shows that Electra uses her body as a victim to be pitied, an enemy to be disciplined, and, under the regime she defies, a tool for realpolitik. Through her use and abuse of her body, we see how closely linked her somatic performativity is to her condition as melancholic and sufferer of trauma.

Keywords: Electra; body image; trauma; somatic performativity; Greek tragedy

Chapter.  5711 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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