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The Alexandra of LycophronA Literary Study$
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Charles McNelis and Alexander Sens

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199601899

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601899.001.0001

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The Divine Plan of the Alexandra

The Divine Plan of the Alexandra

Justice, Peripeteia, and Tragedy

(p.218) 9 The Divine Plan of the Alexandra
The Alexandra of Lycophron

Charles McNelis

Alexander Sens

Oxford University Press

The final chapter considers the poem’s treatment of the gods, including its version of the problematic “plan of Zeus” mentioned at the outset of the Iliad and elsewhere in the epic tradition and its handling of divine justice. It argues that the poem’s representation of the operation of the cosmos is closely connected to its structure: the first part of Cassandra’s prophecy is a diptych in which the apparent success of the Greeks gives way, as a consequence of their own misdeeds, to ruin, while the disaster soon to befall the Trojans is compensated by the greater glory to come. In this the poem’s debt to tragedy is both formal and thematic: both the Trojans and the Greeks are brought to misfortune through improper behavior at a moment of success. More specifically, the Alexandra seems to evoke the ideas that run through the Cassandra-scene of Euripides’ Trojan Women.

Keywords:   justice, epic, tragedy, Zeus, Euripides, Cassandra

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