Spoken Like a Woman: Speech and Gender in Athenian Drama
A Paperback edition by Laura K. McClure in English (Jul 26, 2009)
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Short Description: In ancient Athens, where freedom of speech derived from the power of male citizenship, women's voices were seldom heard in public. Female speech was more often represented in... Read more
In ancient Athens, where freedom of speech derived from the power of male citizenship, women's voices were seldom heard in public. Female speech was more often represented in theatrical productions through women characters written and enacted by men. InSpoken Like a Woman, the first book-length study of women's speech in classical drama, Laura McClure explores the discursive practices attributed to women of fifth-century b.c. Greece and to what extent these representations reflected a larger reality. Examining tragedies and comedies by a variety of authors, she illustrates how the dramatic poets exploited speech conventions among both women and men to construct characters and to convey urgent social and political issues.
From gossip to seductive persuasion, women's verbal strategies in the theater potentially subverted social and political hierarchy, McClure argues, whether the women characters were overtly or covertly duplicitous, in pursuit of adultery, or imitating male orators. Such characterization helped justify the regulation of women's speech in the democratic polis. The fact that women's verbal strategies were also used to portray male transvestites and manipulators, however, suggests that a greater threat of subversion lay among the spectators' own ranks, among men of uncertain birth and unscrupulous intent, such as demagogues skilled in the art of persuasion. Traditionally viewed as outsiders with ambiguous loyalties, deceitful and tireless in their pursuit of eros, women provided the dramatic poets with a vehicle for illustrating the dangerous consequences of political power placed in the wrong hands.
- Laura K. McClure
- Princeton University Press
- Publication date
- Jul 26, 2009
- Product dimensions
- 165 x 233 x 17mm
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix NOTE ON ABBREVIATIONS xi CHAPTER ONE The City of Words: Speech in the Athenian Polis 3 Speech and the Construction of Civic Identity 8 Speech in the neater of Dionysus 15 The Silence of Athenian Women 19 Women as Speakers in Athenian Drama 24 Summary of Chapters 29 CHAPTER TWO Gender and Verbal Genres in Ancient Greece 32 Ancient Observations about Women's Speech 38 Lamentation 40 Aischrologia 47 Choruses of Girls and Women 52 Gossip and Volubility 56 Seductive Persuasion 62 Conclusion 68 CHAPTER THREE Logos Gunaikos: Speech and Gender in Aeschylus' Oresteia 70 The Male Chorus as Internal Audience 72 Gender and Performance: Clytemnestra's Shifting Verbal Genres 73 Clytemnestra's Binding Song 80 The Lament of Cassandra 92 Clytemnestra's Heroic Speech and the Feminized Chorus 97 Speech and Gender in the Choephori 100 Orestes and judicial Speech 104 Women's Speech in the Pairs: The Eumenides 105 Conclusion 111 CHAPTER FOUR At the House Door: Phaedra and the Politics of Reputation 112 Phaedra's Concern for Reputation 116 Eros and Illusion: Aphrodite's Prologue 119 Hippolytus and the Language of Prayer 121 Women's Traffic in Speech.- The Chorus 123 Phaedra's Shameful Speech 125 Eros and Rhetoric: Phaedra's Great Speech 127 The Nurse's Charm of Speech 135 Hippolytus' Invective against Women 142 The Agon and judicial Discourse 146 The Song of Girls and the Laments of Men 153 Conclusion 157 CHAPTER FIVE Women's Wordy Strife: Gossip and Invective in Euripides' Andromache 158 The Status of Speech in the Andromache 161 Spartan Women and Their Speech 164 Hermione's False Accusations 168 Female Nature on Trial: The First Agon 170 The Male Intruder: The Second Agon 183 Helen and the Education of Women: The Third Agon 186 Hermione's Invective against Women 193 Slander: The Male Disease 198 Rescuing Marriage: Peleus and Thetis 201 Conclusion 203 CHAPTER SIX Obscenity, Gender, and Social Status in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae and Ecclsiazusae 205 Gender and Comic Obscenity 206 Ritual and the Origins of Comic Obscenity 215 Comic Masculinity: The Relative in the Thesmophoriazusae 218 Rendering the Female: The Relative's Flawed Performance 226 Rhetoric and Obscenity at the Thesmophoria 228 The Scythian Archer and the Recovery of Masculinity 235 A Female Rhetor: Praxagora in the Ecclesiazusae 236 Blepyrus' Scatological Obscenity 246 Speech in the Gynaecocracy 248 The Speech of Older Women 253 Conclusion 258 CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusion 260 BIBLIOGRAPHY 265 INDEX 285