A Tragic Landscape
This chapter explores the different ways in which Euripides and Greek tragedy in general creates a ‘sense of place’, and the ways in which dramatic setting contributes to the meaning of these works. It explores the startlingly exotic settings of the escape-tragedies (Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Black Sea), but shows that the plays make little attempt to describe these settings accurately or distinctively. It examines the plays' paradoxical presentation of cultural and ethnic identity, and shows that the traditional polarity between ‘Greeks’ and ‘barbarians’ is destabilized. It argues that the ‘sense of place’ in the escape-tragedies is metaphorical rather than literal: the plays rely on an idealized ‘imaginary landscape’ which reflects the characters' own identity and situations.
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