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The Hidden ChorusEchoes of Genre in Tragic Lyric$
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L. A. Swift

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577842.001.0001

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(p.241) 6 Hymenaios
The Hidden Chorus

L. A. Swift

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how Greek tragedy evokes hymenaios. The chapter begins with a discussion of the role that choral song played in the Greek wedding, and a discussion of Sappho's hymenaioi and poetry by other authors which imitated hymenaeal forms. The second part of the chapter looks at how tragedy makes use of hymenaios, including the so‐called ‘marriage‐to‐death’ motif, whereby a young girl's death is described as a form of marriage. The chapter also investigates mixed‐sex choral performance as a hymenaeal trope, and examines two plays (Euripides' Hippolytus and Aeschylus' Suppliant Women) where mixed‐sex choruses are used to highlight themes of marriage and of dysfunctional sexuality.

Keywords:   tragedy, hymenaios, wedding, Euripides, Hippolytus, Aeschylus, Suppliant Women, sexuality, ‘marriage to death’, mixed chorus, Sappho

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