"Ringer, who actually produces plays, has shown us what it might have meant to an ancient audience to hear Tecmessa speak in the same voice that Odysseus or Athene had a bare sixty lines earlier: she would combine in her very voice the roles of sympathizer and revealer of Ajax."Barbara Hughes Fowler, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Electra and the Empty Urn: Metatheater and Role Playing in Sophoclesby Mark Ringer
Metatheater, or "theater within theater," is a critical approach often used in studies of Shakespearian or modern drama. Breaking new ground in the study of ancient Greek tragedy, Mark Ringer applies the concept of metatheatricality to the work of Sophocles. His innovative analysis sheds light on Sophocles' technical ingenuity and reveals previously unrecognized facets of fifth-century performative irony.
Ringer analyzes the layers of theatrical self-awareness in all seven
Sophoclean tragedies, giving special attention to Electra, the
playwright's most metatheatrical work. He focuses on plays within plays,
characters who appear to be in rivalry with their playwright in "scripting"
their dramas, and the various roles that characters assume in their attempts to deceive other characters or even themselves. Ringer also examines instances of literal role playing, exploring the implications of the Greek convention of sharing multiple roles among only three actors.
Sophocles has long been praised as one of the masters of dramatic
irony. Awareness of Sophoclean metatheater, Ringer shows, deepens our appreciation of that irony and reveals the playwright's keen awareness of his art.
Originally published in 1998.
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What People are saying about this
This superb book is so well-elaborated, cogent, and revealing that my jaw would drop every few pages as I marveled at how well Ringer's approach illuminates the play. I especially liked the analysis of the three-actor convention, which has never before been so well handled. Also impressive is the way Ringer gracefully analyzes both dialog and action in considerable detail with great skill and insight.Richard Hornby, University of California, Riverside
Meet the Author
Mark Ringer is assistant professor of theater history and literature at Denison University. He has also worked extensively as an actor, director, dramaturg, and critic in the United States and Europe.&27;
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