Lycophron’s Alexandra, at its core, takes up a question that runs through Greek literature from its inception: what is the relationship between poetic artifice and the truth? By exploiting the formal features of a tragic messenger speech and by having the messenger report verbatim a lengthy prophecy uttered by the traditionally unbelievable but accurate Cassandra, the poem claims over-determined authority for its reconfiguration of the history of the Trojan War. In doing so, the poem rewrites the literary tradition, particularly that of Greek epic and tragedy. Inasmuch as the poem fuses the voices of the poet, the messenger, and the prophetess whose words he repeats, its use of obscure language and mythology forms part of a broader engagement with the capacities and limitations of language.
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.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.