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Tradition, Translation, TraumaThe Classic and the Modern$
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Jan Parker and Timothy Mathews

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199554591.001.0001

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The Abject Eidos

The Abject Eidos

Trauma and the Body in Sophocles’ Electra

Chapter:
(p.229) 12 The Abject Eidos
Source:
Tradition, Translation, Trauma
Author(s):

Jane Montgomery Griffiths

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199554591.003.0015

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

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