Trachiniae and Its Dramatic Reception: Identities and Ideologies in Transition, Crisis and Transformation.

Sofia Alagkiozidou

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Sophocles’ Trachiniae has suffered from a long tradition of negative criticism. Although recent scholarship has rejected the view that the play is not equal to the other plays written by Sophocles, the impression that the Trachiniae is the most problematic play of the Sophoclean corpus is still dominant. Previous interpretative attempts have offered new insights into problems of form and meaning, but not a coherent interpretation, which could encompass the play as a whole. What makes the case of Trachiniae even more interesting is that, despite the neglect and the negative criticism the play has been creatively translated and adapted by a number of preeminent poets and playwrights. Their versions open a dialogue with Trachiniae as a means of expression of their own ideological output, always in relation to the ideological framework of Sophocles’ original. So far there has been no comprehensive study of this complex ideological discourse between the Trachiniae and its significant versions.
The purpose of the thesis is the revision of the conception of Trachiniae as a ‘problematic play’ through the exploration of this ideological discourse. Sophocles’ Trachiniae are compared with two significant versions of it, Ezra Pound’s Women of Trachis and Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Dianeira. The argument is that in Trachiniae as well as in these two subsequent versions a process of crisis and transformation, a process of transition, occurs with significant ideological implications. Trachiniae and its successors are read as plays about identities and ideologies in transition, which encompass a twofold movement of challenging the traditional ideological background and suggesting new ideological perspectives or at least the necessity for them. In this respect, many of the interpretative difficulties of Trachiniae and many preconceptions about the two versions are seen in a new light.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Kahane, Ahuvia, Supervisor
Award date1 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • Sophocles
  • Trachiniae
  • Ezra Pound
  • Women of Trachis
  • Timberlake Wertenbaker
  • Dianeira
  • Greek Drama
  • Reception
  • Identities
  • Ideologies
  • Transformation
  • Crisis
  • Performance
  • Democracy
  • Aristocracy
  • Patriarchy
  • Fascism
  • Humanism
  • Individualism
  • Translation
  • Radio Play
  • Heracles
  • Deianira
  • Cantos

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