The paper aims to show that ancient writers and critics discussed the plausibility of the events that were not narrated or shown onstage. The Andromache of Euripides presents notorious problems in the reconstruction of off-stage events: does Orestes return to Delphi to kill Neoptolemus? Or was he in Thessaly with Hermione, Neoptolemus’ wife, when Neoptolemus was killed by his associates? Could Orestes cover the distance to Delphi in time? Modern interpreters offer different reconstructions of the off-stage events: some accept Orestes’ alibi, others do not. This paper argues that Euripides’ text purposely created two possible parallel narrative worlds and played on the ambiguity in order to downplay Orestes’ culpability. The paper also shows that ancient critics, especially Didymus, noticed some of the incongruities of the off-stage action presupposed by the play. Finally, the paper argues that an ancient writer, Dictys of Crete, in his Ephemeris belli Troiani, was aware of the narrative difficulties noted in the scholia as well as others that are not discussed in the extant scholia (and were possibly discussed in other sections of ancient commentaries that are now lost). Dictys chose to narrate the events of the play in a way that shows awareness of both versions and of the logistic difficulties of Orestes and stressed that Orestes’ alibi was false.

L’alibi di Oreste: l’Andromaca di Euripide, Didimo Calcentero e Ditti Cretese

Battezzato, Luigi
2020

Abstract

The paper aims to show that ancient writers and critics discussed the plausibility of the events that were not narrated or shown onstage. The Andromache of Euripides presents notorious problems in the reconstruction of off-stage events: does Orestes return to Delphi to kill Neoptolemus? Or was he in Thessaly with Hermione, Neoptolemus’ wife, when Neoptolemus was killed by his associates? Could Orestes cover the distance to Delphi in time? Modern interpreters offer different reconstructions of the off-stage events: some accept Orestes’ alibi, others do not. This paper argues that Euripides’ text purposely created two possible parallel narrative worlds and played on the ambiguity in order to downplay Orestes’ culpability. The paper also shows that ancient critics, especially Didymus, noticed some of the incongruities of the off-stage action presupposed by the play. Finally, the paper argues that an ancient writer, Dictys of Crete, in his Ephemeris belli Troiani, was aware of the narrative difficulties noted in the scholia as well as others that are not discussed in the extant scholia (and were possibly discussed in other sections of ancient commentaries that are now lost). Dictys chose to narrate the events of the play in a way that shows awareness of both versions and of the logistic difficulties of Orestes and stressed that Orestes’ alibi was false.
Settore L-FIL-LET/02 - Lingua e Letteratura Greca
Racconto nei testi, racconto nelle immagini : la narratologia come approccio alla letteratura e all’arte antiche : atti della Giornata di Studi
Roma, Museo dell’Arte Classica
18 maggio 2018
Racconto nei testi, racconto nelle immagini : la narratologia come approccio alla letteratura e all’arte antiche
Quasar [per conto di] Sapienza Università di Roma, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità
978-88-549-1091-1
Euripide; narratologia; Andromaca; Didimo Calcentero; Ditti Cretese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/101618
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