Satyric nostalgia in the Aeschylean tetralogy

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This article examines the role of the satyr play in what appears to have been the distinctly Aeschylean form of the thematically connected tetralogy. In all known cases, Aeschylus’ satyr plays move backwards in time, dramatizing episodes that occur either before or within the time frame of their accompanying tragedies. I argue that this chronological dislocation means that the ‘happy endings’ of satyr play must be understood in the light of the events of the preceding trilogy, and can usually be seen as brief interludes of joy within a wider tragic arc. As a result, the satyr play, instead of erasing the effect of its accompanying tragedies, is capable of generating a nostalgic response that intensifies the emotional effect of both genres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-28
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2019


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