Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Strangeness of Tragedy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Paul Hammond

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572601.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021




(p.63) 3 Sophocles
The Strangeness of Tragedy

Paul Hammond

Oxford University Press

Sophocles' Electra is shadowed by the past of the house of Atreus. In particular, in a departure from the emphasis in the Oresteia, the tragic milieu is the mind of Electra. Though memory plays its part, more than memory is at work here, for the very way that the characters exist in time is determined by the death of Agamemnon, which remains present throughout in its own dimension, and is restaged at the end of the play when Orestes kills Aegisthus on the same spot where Aegisthus had killed Agamemnon. The central character, Electra, lives in a version of the past, not only never forgetting the murder of her father, but having her whole life and way of thinking, from moment to moment, compelled by it. She seems to exist tangentially to the time and space shared by other characters. Here we have both tragic and non-tragic forms of displacement, some destructive, some recuperative. This is the estranged territory of tragedy, and here in Electra we have a tragedy within a tragedy.

Keywords:   Sophocles, Electra, Agamemnon, death, murder, Orestes, time, space, displacement, tragedy

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .