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Decoding Senecan innovation to tragic genre tropes through anagrams, the failure of passion-restraint,… Brady, Christian 2014

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 Decoding Senecan Innovation to Tragic Genre Tropes through Anagrams, the Failure of Passion-Restraint, and a Broken Play  by   Christian Brady  B.A., Middlebury College, 2012     Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of   Master of Arts  in  The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies   (Classics)     The University of British Columbia (Vancouver)   October 2014   © Christian Brady, 2014   ii Abstract  In this thesis, I show how changes to conventional tragic structure and stories—like the number of acts, the victor of the passion-restraint scene, or the characters’ foreknowledge about future actions in the play—affects the play’s content, influence outcomes, and shape characters’ worldviews.  In Hercules Furens, I examined how the Caesars’ darling hero Hercules manages to upset the tragic plot in two ways: by failing to properly express his motivations for falling into madness (in other plays explained explicitly by god characters) and failing to die honorably in just self-punishment. The play profiles a hero with divine lineage, whose power is suddenly rendered questionable by a coup in Thebes, and a town full of people who are similarly skeptical about the extent of their hero’s powers.  Phaedra, in contrast, turns the lens away from the deeds of the hero and to the collateral damage wrought against the family in the process. The dissolution of the house of Theseus and the transmogrification of Phaedra into an incestuous, adulterous mother, are prompted by the Nurse’s hyperconscious remarks about the barriers to bad behavior. The Nurse ultimately undermines her own advice and instructs Phaedra on how to get away with crimes without being held morally accountable. In Phaedra, the failure of the passion-restraint scene rapidly catalyzes action on the part of the play’s protagonist.  Phoenissae’s multiple stylistic idiosyncrasies signal a unified artistic vision that Tarrant implies is diluted through the process of adaptation in the other Senecan tragedies. In this play, characters’ heightened knowledge about their future allows them to formulate advice for their children with a high degree of ironic self-referentiality.  What unites the three plays discussed throughout this thesis is the heightened level of consciousness that characters have about their own stories and the dramatic tropes of telling their story, and further, the ultimately skeptical conclusions that are implied by these unifying principles: the failure of reason to contain passion, the impotence of the world-conqueror, the tragic inevitability of fratricidal war.  iii Preface  This thesis is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Christian Brady.    iv  Table of Contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ……………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………... iii Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………….…………………………………. iv List of Abbreviations……………………………………………………………………….…………………………….. V Introduction................................................................................................................................... ii Critical Reception of Seneca: Orienting Issues ....................................................................................1 Seneca and Stoicism..............................................................................................................................2 Performing Seneca? ..............................................................................................................................3 Innovating Tragic Genre Expectation ...................................................................................................4 Chapter 1 - A Wrong in Whose World?: The Failure of Passion-Restraint in Phaedra and Innovations on the Type Scene .....................................................................................................9 Defining the Passion-Restraint/Reason Scene Trope in Tragedy .....................................................13 Passion-Restraint Scenes in Senecan Drama and Phaedra................................................................17 Chapter 2 - The Curse of Consciousness: When Characters Know Their Own Legend in Hercules Furens ...........................................................................................................................27 Critical Reception to the Protagonist’s Ambiguous Characterization in Hercules Furens............31 Metathetic Formations and the Ambiguity of Hercules ....................................................................40 Chapter 3 - Theban Poetics: Teaching the Lessons of Tragedy from Within One in Phoenician Women.......................................................................................................................47 The Completeness Question .................................................................................................................52 Hyperconscious References to Tragic Tropes in the PW ..................................................................56 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................61 Selected Bibliography..................................................................................................................63 Appendix.......................................................................................................................................65   ii List of Abbreviations   Abbreviations for the plays are as follows:  Ag = Agamemnon HF = Hercules Furens Med = Medea Oed = Oedipus Pha = Phaedra PW = Phoenician Women Thy = Thyestes TW = Trojan Womenv   1 Introduction  The introduction will cover the broad outlines of the thesis, that Senecan drama in small ways and large subverts audience expectations about tragic conventions. These conventions include expectations about the protagonist’s clear broadcasting of his intentions to the audience, the hero’s symbolic or actual death at the end of the play, the outcome of the passion-restraint scene, and the use of metatheatrical references to the tragic genre itself. I will begin by discussing generally the state of our knowledge about Roman tragedy and Seneca’s central place in it, Seneca’s relationship with Stoic philosophy and the critical perspectives on performance of his plays. The thesis will focus on three plays, Hercules Furens, Phaedra, and the Phoenissae, and includes in the appendix a list of word counts for relevant words in Senecan drama.  Critical Reception of Seneca: Orienting Issues  Roman Drama: What We Know What we don’t know about tragedy is just as important as what we do know: for instance, every example of tragedy is lost during the period of about five hundred years between the Attic tragedies of the 5th century and Seneca. What is known is that tragedy persisted in Athens in the 4th c. and then migrated to Alexandria in the 3rd c. At the same time in early republican Rome, Roman dramatists were at work creating Latin adaptations of Greek originals, much in the same way that Roman comedy developed. By the Augustan age, however, the goal of Roman tragedians was to create original content rather than adaptations though they followed 5th c. conventions such as the use of iambic trimeter and the structural framework of the five-act play. Imperial writers like Seneca followed in this manner as well. Accius (170-86 BCE) was the last professional tragedian, at which point the writing of tragedies was so widespread among upper class gentlemen, even Julius Caesar and Augustus are said to have written plays. Writers of other genres dabbled in tragedy, including Varius Rufus and Ovid.1   Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4-65 CE) seems to have fallen into the category of upper class gentlemen playwrights. Born in Spain and brought up in the Roman elite, Seneca served as the personal tutor to the young prince Nero, and then as his advisor and speechwriter from 54-62                                                 1 Fitch 2002, 14-15.   2 when Nero rose to power. An adept politician and talented playwright, Seneca was also a leading philosophical thinker in Rome (more on this below in “Stoicism and Seneca” below).  Seneca and Stoicism Seneca himself was a—self proclaimed—eclectic thinker and artist.2 Yet, up until the second half of the 20th century, various scholars had written off Senecan drama as either a mere distillation of Stoic orthodoxy or an unimaginative, inept translation of Greek originals.3 William H. Owen described the situation well, characterizing Senecan criticism as being preoccupied with “rhetoric and the influence of Stoicism,” saying,   Yet caught between these two forces, both looking toward a strong tradition outside the poet, Seneca himself as a creative writer seems often to vanish among his influences. The surface of verbal style has so bemused many critics that they assume a fundamental emptiness in content, while for others these curious plays have seemed merely a pseudo-dramatic camouflage disguising unashamedly prosaic, philosophic, pedagogic, or historical impulses. These approaches, therefore, in attempting to relate Seneca to his tradition, may easily lose sight of the remarkable individuality with which he approached conventional diction and Stoicism (292).  Since the resurgence in his reputation in the 1980s scholars have argued that Seneca was artistically competent and have evaluated his art on its own merits rather than as a fungal growth of some (more dominant) philosophical agenda on Seneca’s part. Thus I will try to do the same, by explaining the motivations for characters’ actions and decisions without making explicit reference to Stoic philosophy, except where it is entirely necessary in order to explain a possible solution to a problem in the text that cannot be easily explained otherwise.                                                  2 In the introduction to her expansive concordance of Senecan prose, A.L. Motto describes Seneca as an intellectual pragmatist, cf. Ep. 12.2, Epicurus’s words as “common property” (Ep. 8.8), “‘Ede,’ inquis, ‘auctorem.’ Ut scias quam benigni simus, propositum est aliena laudare; Epicuri est aut Merodori aut alicuius ex illa officina. Et quid interest quis dixerit? Omnibus dixit” (he says it for all of us) Ep. 14. 17-18. For just a small sampling of the academic literature that treats Seneca as a literary rather than philosophical artist: CJ Herington (1966) is chiefly responsible for recovering Seneca’s reputation as a dramatist; W.H. Owen "Commonplace and Dramatic Symbol in Seneca's Tragedies" (1968); Anna Lydia Motto, Seneca, TWAS 268. (1973), xix–xx; R.J. Tarrant, "Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents" (1979); Fitch, "Pectus O Nimium Ferum: Act V of Seneca's Hercules Furens" (1979) and Seneca’s Hercules Furens (1987); Shelton, Seneca’s Hercules Furens (1978); Anna Lydia Motto and John R. Clark, “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” Classical Philology 76, no. 2 (1981): 101–17; Thalia Papadopoulou, “Herakles and Hercules: The Hero’s Ambivalence in Euripides and Seneca,” Mnemosyne 57, no. 3 (2004): 257–83. In “Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca,” Eliot cheerily describes Seneca as the artistic equivalent of the magpie, gathering up shiny material from any and everywhere to make his tragic nest. Eliot’s interest is in Seneca as “the literary representative of Roman stoicism” (131). Eliot, Selected Essays. 3 N.T. Pratt TAPA 79 (1948) and B. Marti, TAPA 76 (1945) 216-45. Beare, The Roman Stage (1955); Ogilvie, Roman Literature and Society (1980); see Owen for a full bibliography of Seneca's 20th century detractors, “Commonplace and Dramatic Symbol in Seneca’s Tragedies,” 291.   3 Performing Seneca? In M.D. Grant’s 1999 article “Plautus and Seneca: Acting in Nero’s Rome,” Grant nicely summarizes a wide swath of the scholarship over the last six decades on the controversial issue of how or if Senecan drama was performed:  Anyone who has ever read the tragedies of Seneca must have wondered at the intention of the author. In the absence of any external evidence for their staging this is not surprising. W. Beare argues for declamation before a select audience who would have appreciated the sparkle of the rhetoric. G. E. Duckworth, whilst stressing that presentation on stage cannot be proved, suggests tentatively that they were at least written with an eye to performance. C. D. N. Costa holds out for solo virtuoso recitals, with perhaps extracts or a few scenes being performed. F. Ahl recalls the emperor Domitian's enactment forbidding plays to be presented anywhere except indoors, and thus the large houses of the aristocracy may have been home to tragic theatre. V. Sorensen feels that a public performance of Seneca's tragedies would have been a notable public occasion, and with his ample means to fund such events, Seneca may have been trying to entice a large audience towards the benefits of Stoic philosophy.4  M. Frank identifies Léon Herrmann as the major early proponent of stage performance of Seneca in the 20th century,5 and cites Otto Zwierlein as the most persuasive argument for public recitation rather than performance in Die Rezitationsdramen Senecas (1966). Frank describes how in more recent years, the case for recitation has become complicated. For instance, delivery of certain performative aspects of the tragedy would seem to lose their effect from a single poet or actor’s reading. “There is no external evidence to suggest that Seneca’s plays were performed in the theatre in his lifetime,” Frank writes, though contemporary sources indicate that Roman tragedy was performed in the Augustan period, e.g. Varius’ Thyestes, Pomponius Secundus (a tragic playwright contemporary to Seneca).6 By Vespasian’s time (ruled 69-79 CE), the playwright Maternus seemed to have performed his plays chiefly as recitations.7 Frank says that with relation to the issue of performance or recitation and Seneca, “the only external evidence there is, is too slight to be conclusive” (citing Quintilian’s Inst. 8.3.31), but concludes,   The question which has vexed scholars for nearly two centuries has concerned the method of presentation intended by Seneca when he wrote his plays. Recently Hine has observed that ‘one must get away from intentionalist talk of writing “for the stage” or “for reading”, because in all probability Seneca simpy thought in terms of writing tragedies’. And tragedy was, by definition, a stage play. This does not mean that at all periods tragedies were presented on the stage or                                                 4 M. D. Grant, “Plautus and Seneca: Acting in Nero’s Rome,” Greece & Rome (Second Series) 46, no. 01 (1999): 27–33. 5 Léon Herrmann, Le Théâtre de Sénèque (Paris 1924).  6 Plin. Ep. 7.17; Tac. Ann. 11.13. 7 Tac. Orators 2.1-3.3.   4 exclusively on the stage; recitation was clearly a popular alternative and was perhaps more popular than theatrical performance at certain times. 8  On the issue of the performance of Seneca I am largely agnostic as to whether the plays were staged or read aloud to large or small audiences, because the form of performance would not diminish or change the expectations an audience would have for the genre conventions of tragedy. For reasons that will become apparent, I am partial to the notion that audiences and readers would have been closely engaged with the plays on a phonic level (see discussion of metathetic formations in the Hercules Furens chapter), but I do not think that examples of performance in Senecan reception can explain performance practices in Seneca’s own time (discussed at length in the Phoenissae chapter).  Innovating Tragic Genre Expectation Senecan drama is particularly sensitive to the genre expectations of tragedy and oftentimes reverses a key element of a tragic play in order to subvert the audience’s expectations based on their familiarity with conventional stories (Hercules or Oedipus) and storytelling techniques like the passion-restraint scene or the five act rule. These dramatic conventions came to define the tragic genre and became built in to the construction of plays. Conventional passion-restraint scenes gives character’s time, generally early on in the second act, to articulate their major problems and to wax poetic about their moral worldviews while sparring with an equally intelligent proponent of an opposing ethical philosophy. The structural framework of the conventional five-act play gives the audience a blueprint for pacing the action and the arc of characters and their problems. The title character’s conventionally early appearance on stage gives the audience time to develop a familiarity with the protagonist and build an ethical paradigm for understanding their actions. When these conventions are tampered with and the audience’s expectations are disrupted, as they are in Senecan drama, the effects are dramatic. There are lots of different variables to manipulate and play with within the tragic genre’s tropes. The rigid Attic tragic structure sets up a number of audience expectations about the progression of action and inaction throughout the play. Delays in the appearance of key characters delays the audience’s ability to assess the moral issues at stake, and these delays and                                                 8 For a subsequent bibliography, cf. Marica Frank, Seneca’s Phoenissae (BRILL, 1995) 37-39. Hine’s review of Fantham, Pratt, Boyle, Zwierlein, Tarrant, Bishop, and Henry and Henry) in JRS 77 (1987), 256-8.    5 chronological disruptions leave the play in ethical limbo. Even passing references to tropes of the tragic genre from the characters themselves can complicate the audience’s understanding of a scene, or add an extra layer of metaphoric parallels between the story and the artist’s program. For instance, Hercules’s demand to know the “author of this savage destruction,” (saevae cladis auctorem indica, 1166) opens up a parallel between Hercules the hero and the role of the artist or poet; when Jocasta warns her sons who are about to take arms against one another, “Now your father should come to mind, by whose judgment punishments are sought even for a mistake,” (occurat tibi / nunc Oedipus, quo iudice erroris quoque / poenae petutntur, 554-55), I will show later, she is alluding as much to the concrete exemplum of their father’s actions as to the generic exemplum of the tragic storyline. Tragedy is a well-tilled genre by the time of Seneca and his adaptations reflect new interests and anxieties in the early Roman Empire.  The disruption of genre conventions of Attic tragedy in Seneca’s adaptations reflects Roman anxieties about the morality of force (Hercules Furens), the sophistication of Romans’ darkest desires to rationalize bad behavior (Pha.), and the double-edged nature of common Roman values like pietas and virtus when they come into conflict with one another or compete for primacy (Pho.). Structural and plot deviations from Greek tragic conventions in Senecan drama reflect an artist and society grappling with new cultural and moral problems and adapting old stories to discuss those problems.  This thesis will address those issues through an examination of three Senecan tragedies, featuring very different protaganists, in the following order:  Chapter 1 A Wrong in Whose World?: The Failure of Passion-Restraint in Phaedra and Innovations on the Type Scene.   This chapter will examine how the reversal of an outcome from a passion-restraint (in this case featuring Phaedra and her nurse) scene transforms a common rhetorical battle with potentially little implications for the plot into a major scene that catalyzes later action of the play. Each Senecan play takes the passion-restraint scene in a different direction with some general rules that others have noted, like the tendency for characters to confront tyrants in the scene directly   6 following the passion-restraint scene. The novelty of Phaedra’s passion-restraint scene has to do with the failure of the Nurse to effectively articulate a cohesive argument for restraint. The play disrupts the conventional outcome of the passion-restraint scene by letting the impassioned Phaedra successfully persuade her restrainer, the Nurse, and in doing so, the play shows the extraordinary level of intelligence with which the impassioned can rationalize evil. The corrupted course of the passion-restraint scene is mirrored in the flawed logic and situational ethics of both the Nurse and Phaedra faced with Phaedra’s passion for her step-son Hippolytus. This famous tale of sexual impropriety9 maps onto the many scandals of the imperial family at this time, but also reflects a general distrust with the morality of rhetoric and the goodness of man.  Chapter 2 The Curse of Consciousness: When Characters Know Their Own Legend in Hercules Furens.   Hercules was a popular character in Roman culture, on stage and off, in philosophy and the arts. The many variations on his myths opened his ethical code up to a wide array of interpretations, and the Stoic school was especially keen on adopting Hercules as a poster boy for their philosophical tenets of endurance and rigid adherence to a virtuous life. Seneca’s play explores what it means when a stage character has awareness of their own legend and story. Seneca’s Hercules Furens tells the story of a Hercules newly returned from the Underworld, who, after slaying a would-be tyrant of Thebes that has cropped up in his absence, is afflicted suddenly with madness that leads him to murder his wife and children. Critics are divided by the outcome of the play, which defies genre conventions by sparing Hercules’s life when he regains consciousness and realizes what he has done.  The tension of the play is ratcheted up by the lack of clarity about Hercules’s motivations and intentions. I will argue that the Roman audience is unable to gather sufficient information to                                                 9 There are three plays from Greek tragedy having to do with the myth, which Seneca might have had access to: a fragmentary play by Sophocles called Phaedra and two by Euripides both called Hippolytus, one (the earlier) fragmentary. (The surviving play by Euripides won first prize when it was presented in 428 BCE.) In the many variations of the Phaedra story in tragedy, what is often variable is the confidence with which Phaedra reveals her secret to Hippolytus, “directly” and more “forthright” in a fragmentary Euripidean play, later rewritten into the tragedy we now have, and more hesitantly in Ovid’s Heroidies 4. The reason for Theseus’s absence in the Underworld as opposed to elsewhere is also sometimes changed, as in Sophocles’s fragmentary Phaedra.   7 decisively understand the famously ambiguous protagonist, in part because the play itself leaves open questions about his pride, virtue, and use of strength. That ambiguity creates a lag between Hercules’s actions and the audiences’ emotional reactions as they process new information. Ambiguity about the use of force and the diminishing realm of the famous world-conqueror  (vindex mundi)10 plays on imperial Rome’s perceived diminishing involvement in foreign campaigns and a focus inward on the individual. Using wordplay and artistic metaphors Seneca dramatizes the role of the tragic poet and put his creation on par with Hercules’s labor.  Chapter 3 Theban Poetics: Teaching the Lessons of Tragedy from Within One in Phoenician Women.   After Oedipus determines the true origin of the plague in Thebes, he goes into self-exile accompanied by his daughter-sister Antigone and contemplates taking his own life. Meanwhile at Thebes, Oedipus’s son-brothers Polynices and Eteocles arrange a power-sharing agreement that goes awry when one brother fails to leave at the end of his appointed term. Jocasta, who has “not committed suicide as in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Seneca’s Oedipus”, tries to reason with her sons before the battle.11  By looking into R.J. Tarrant’s thesis about the unity of what has been called a “palpably incomplete” play, we can find the most extreme examples of changes to conventional Attic tragedy tropes in Senecan drama: the dissolution of the five act play, the lack of a clear setting, and the preference for monologues over dialogue between characters. The play is the most dramatic example in Senecan drama of discordant form following moral dysfunction attested to in the previous chapters on Phaedra and Hercules Furens. In the final chapter, we look at the quintessentially Senecan play to see how changes to conventional tragic structure and stories is able to affect the play’s content, influence outcomes, and shape characters’ worldviews.   In the appendix, I will include word counts for terms I deemed important from the Senecan corpus. I began my research into this topic via lexicographical work, examining the Senecan corpus looking for words that had a certain cultural, political, or literary significance and tallied                                                 10See lines 931-36 for an example of Hercules’s self-identification as an “enforcer of universal law and order” Fitch 2002, 40.  11 John G Fitch, Seneca, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 278.   8 the number of times that these words showed up in each play. The lexicographic work was geared toward finding themes outside of the general moral exempla themes of virtus, pietas, iustitia, etc. that are generally cited by Senecan scholars as the thematic nexus of plays. This work helped to move my thinking toward discussions about the focus of specific plays and how they differentiated themselves from one another. I ordered the plays chronologically by Fitch’s dating method so that one can look at the development of a word over time, when it is used often, a little, or not at all. Early Seneca constitutes the first three plays on the list (Ag., Oed., Pha.), Middle Seneca the next three (Hercules Furens, Med., TW), and the final pair of plays make up Late Seneca (PW and Thy.).12 The play that has the most uses of a particular term is marked with an asterisk (*) and where two plays have the same number of occurrences of a term, the shorter play is given the asterisk. The word count of each play is specified to the right of a play. Plays where there is no occurrence of the specific term are marked with an “x”. If a term is deemed to be thematically important in a certain play or plays, the abbreviated title of the play is written after the term in parentheses. The words are ordered in thematic clusters: moral exempla, sexual terms, metatheatrical terms, etc., and where applicable terms are placed next to synonyms to ease thematic comparisons. Sometimes, when specified, the word counts of two terms (the verb and noun forms or noun and adjectival forms, etc.) are combined to make it easier to see the significance of the concept that both terms represent in any given play.                                                  12 For more on Fitch’s dating, widely accepted among scholars, see “Sense-Pauses and Relative Dating in Seneca, Sophocles and Shakespeare.” American Journal of Philology (1981), 289-307. See also R. J. Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978), who agrees with Fitch’s dates and offers a complementary bibliography for dating Seneca.   9 Chapter 1  A Wrong in Whose World?: The Failure of Passion-Restraint in Phaedra and Innovations on the Type Scene                Desdemona: Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong  For the whole world.   Emilia: Why the wrong is but a wrong i’ the world: and   having the world for your labor, ‘tis a wrong in your  own world, and you might quickly make it right.  - Othello, Act 4.3 78-103    10 Chapter 1 A Wrong in Whose World?: The Failure of Passion-Restraint in Phaedra and Innovations on the Type Scene   Dramatis Personae The play has five characters and a CHORUS: HIPPOLYTUS, son of Theseus and the Amazon Antiope; PHAEDRA, daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae of Crete, wife to Theseus and stepmother of Hippolytus; the NURSE of Phaedra; THESEUS, king of Athens; and a MESSENGER.   Play Synopsis The main elements of the myth of Phaedra: “[T]he married woman, Phaedra, is the young man’s, Hippolytus’, stepmother; he rejects her advances (or another’s on her behalf); Phaedra accuses him to her husband; the husband curses Hippolytus and invokes Poseidon’s (Neptune’s) aid; Hippolytus is killed, while driving his chariot, by a monstrous bull from the sea; Phaedra kills herself”.13  In the many variations of the story, what is often variable is the confidence with which Phaedra reveals her secret to Hippolytus, “directly” and more “forthright” in a fragmentary Euripidean play, later rewritten into the tragedy we now have, and more hesitantly in Ovid’s Heroidies 4. The reason for Theseus’s absence in the Underworld as opposed to elsewhere is also sometimes changed, as in Sophocles’s fragmentary Phaedra.14  Influences in Greek and Roman Literature There are many examples of stories in the Mediterranean world that were influenced by the common folk-tale formula of the treacherous and unfaithful wife plot on which Phaedra is based: Joseph and Potiphar from Genesis (39.7-20), Bellerophon and the wife of Proetus (Anteia in Homer, Iliad 6.160; Stheneboea in Juvenal 10.327); Peleus and the wife of Acastus (Hippolyte in Pindar Nemean 4.456ff., 5.25ff., Astydamea according to others). Pausanias (1.22.1f.) in the second century CE declares that Phaedra’s myth is known to all who can read Greek.15                                                  13 Anthony James Boyle, Seneca’s Phaedra (F. Cairns, 1987), 15. 14 Fitch, Seneca, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 445. 15 Boyle, Seneca’s Phaedra, 15.   11 There are three plays from Greek tragedy having to do with the myth, which Seneca might have had access to: a fragmentary play by Sophocles called Phaedra and two by Euripides both called Hippolytus, one (the earlier) fragmentary. (The surviving play by Euripides won first prize when it was presented in 428 BCE.) Seneca may have also been influenced by lost Hellenistic plays like Lycophoron’s Hippolytus (fl. C.280 BCE).16  Modern commentators take care to mention that Seneca’s play is not simply a (poor) copy of a Greek original, challenging prevailing scholarship from the early 20th century.17 They suggest that each of the many versions of the play each put a new spin on the myth, an agonistic rereading of an old story.18 As part of his innovation Seneca takes advantage of a shift in dramatic performance spaces—“the retreat of drama from the public stage to the salon” where, Mayer writes, the cultural taboos against portraying incest from the Republican period had eroded.19 Though there are examples of transgressions against Mayor’s so-called incest taboo in both prose and poetry predating Seneca (notably Catullus, Livy, Cicero, and Ovid, as well as in the plots of much older stories in Roman comedy, Circulio and Epidicus), Mayor’s point in mentioning a cultural taboo seems to be to assert that the popular appetite for plays about incest in Rome was not nearly as voracious as in 5th century Athens.20 Though the sample size for discussing the thematic trends of Roman tragedy are limited, in general one could say that incest and the language of incest, which are fundamental to the fabric of Attic tragedy, are less widespread and classified as non-native behavior and subject matter when they are discussed by                                                 16 Ibid., 16. 17 Coffey and Mayer, Seneca: Phaedra (Cambridge University Press, 1990), 65–67. 18 Boyle, Seneca’s Phaedra, 16–17; Coffey and Mayer, Seneca, 5–10, 65–74; Fitch, Seneca, 444–45. 19 Coffey and Mayer, Seneca, 39:“…so deep-rooted was the taboo at Rome that no Latin dramatist of the early period had put the myth of Phaedra (or of Oedipus, for that matter) on to the stage, since the prospect of incest between stepson and stepmother (or between mother and son) was an unacceptable topic in that moral frostpocket, Republican Rome.” See also n.3 p 144, where Mayer refers to a Freudian study of incest in literature in Otto Rank’s 1912 The Incest Theme in Literature and Legend (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), trans. Gregory C. Richter, esp. the brief treatment of the “Phaedra Scheme” p. 128. See also, Segal’s Language and Desire (1986) which revives the psychoanalytical approach on Phaedra.  20 For a small sampling, for Cicero: cf. Pro Caelio. Catullus: cf. Catullus 79; David Wray, Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood (2001); Elena Theodorakopoulos, “Review of Cicero, Catullus, and the Language of Social Performance by B. A. Krostenko; Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood by D. Wray,” The Journal of Roman Studies 93 (2003): 359–61. Livy 8.15 on the vestals condemned for incest. See also, Ovid’s Myrrha story, Met. 10. 431-502; Philip Hardie’s “Approximative Similes in Ovid: Incest and Doubling.” Dictynna, Revue de Poétique Latine (2004).    12 Roman authors and poets.21 Further, in the Roman imperial context, incest gains new traction as the republican institutional power structure collapsed into the much smaller unit of the imperial family. Seneca adapts Phaedra for this new cultural context, one in which there is popular anxiety about excessive sexuality and heredity’s contributing role to this moral blight, especially within the imperial family unit, because of the newfound fusion of family and national politics.22 Though the play’s focus on incest is not unique, the particular equivalence of the political ruling family and the mythical Theban family is especially apt at the time of his writing. Boyle notes regarding influences from Roman literature and other sources in Roman culture that reflected knowledge of and artistic engagement with the Phaedra myth in Seneca, “In Roman tragedy there is no record of a dramatization of the Phaedra myth until Seneca. The story was of course well known.” For example, we have: Ovid’s Fasti 6. 737-8: “Famous is Phaedra’s love, famous Theseus’ wrong: / Credulous he cursed his son to death” two references to Phaedra in Virgil’s Aeneid (6.445, 7.761ff.); Horace talks about Hippolytus’s chastity (Odes 4.7.25f); and, again, Ovid, influenced by Virgil, refers to Phaedra in the Fasti, Metamorphoses, and Heroides.23 Many commentators credit Ovid’s Heroides 4, a piece of elegiac poetry in which Phaedra addresses Hippolytus through a letter, as the major influence to the style and imagery of Seneca’s Phaedra: “Almost every line of Heroides 4…is echoed in some way in Seneca’s play.”24  Historical Context Lexicographic dating puts Phaedra in Early Seneca period: “The metrical evidence suggests that Phaedra had an early place in Seneca’s sequence and, if a date of about A.D. 54 or earlier be accepted for Hercules Furens, it would seem to belong to the later years of the reign of Claudius.”25                                                 21 Freud’s Totem and Taboo (1913) for early study of the concept of the prohibition against incest and for recent work on studies of structuralism in Greek tragedy, see Charles Segal’s Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles (1999).  22 Massimo Rivoltella, “Il motivo della colpa ereditaria nelle tragedie senecane: una ciclicità in ‘Crescendo,’” Aevum 67, no. 1 (1993): 113–28. 23 Boyle, Seneca’s Phaedra, 16. 24 Fitch, Seneca, 444–45, where Fitch breaks down line by line Ovid’s Heroides and Metamorphoses 15.497-529 (Euripides’s Hippolytus plays to a far lesser degree) for Seneca’s literary influences. 25 Coffey and Mayer, Seneca, 4–5.   13 If the 54 CE date is credible, it would tap into the popular zeitgeist of court intrigue and the Roman celebritization of the imperial family. “Mythological tales of uncontrolled passion in Roman literature,” write Coffey and Mayer, “had counterparts in real life. The adulteries in the family of Augustus caused grave scandal. In the time of Claudius Messalina, the nymphomaniac wife of the emperor was forced to die because of a shameless adultery, and the marriage of the emperor to Agrippina, the daughter of his brother, was saved from the stigma of unnatural union only by a special decree of the senate.”26   Defining the Passion-Restraint/Reason Scene Trope in Tragedy   Having laid the groundwork in talking about Seneca’s literary influences and the cultural and political milieu within which he composed the Phaedra, I want to discuss in more depth the ways in which Seneca appears to innovate on a particular structural trope of tragedy, the “passion-restraint” scene. And in discussing the ways in which Seneca reconfigures this trope for his own purposes, I will try to bring together at the end a few reasons why Seneca appropriated the trope from Greek models to fit with moral and cultural anxieties of his contemporary circumstances. I wish to argue that the “passion-restraint” or “passion-reason” scene in Phaedra, lines 129-273, plays with genre expectation of tragedy by reversing the normal role of the character doing the restraining. In a scene where, according to the rules of the passion-restraint scene (on which, see below), the Nurse should be giving good advice to Phaedra to curb her unnatural incestuous desires, she is ultimately persuaded to give very bad advice and assist Phaedra in committing her crime. The Nurse’s decision to become an accomplice to Phaedra’s crime upsets the natural order of the events in the tragic plot. Seneca’s reversal of the passion-restraint scene in Phaedra differs from instances of the scene in Greek tragedy and marks the play out as unique from its Greek predecessors, but it also sets itself as distinct from occurrences of passion-restraint in other Senecan tragedies.                                                  26 Ibid., 25–26. N. 84, 26: “For the disgrace of the family of Augustus see R. Syme, The Augustan aristocracy (Oxford 1986) 90-2, 121-2. On Messalina’s final excesses see Tac. Ann. 11.26-38 and for Claudius’ marriage to Agrippina 12.5-7.”   14 First, I will make some general observations about what passion-restraint scenes are and how they operate in Greek tragedy to see how they contrast with Senecan tragedy’s use of the scene. Passion-restraint scenes are scenes in which, as Senecan scholar C.J. Herington puts it, “a character [meditates on] a passion or a crime, and [argues] with another character … as to whether or not he should give in to the temptation.”27 Just as a semantic warning: there are some commentators, like John Fitch, who are wary of the tendency to define and categorize certain scenes as “passion-restraint” scenes, because of its associations with Stoic readings of Senecan plays, readings which interpret the plays purely through the lens of Stoic philosophy. Fitch suggests reading the plays as distinct from Stoic philosophy and as more akin thematically and philosophically to the tragic genre.28 That is to say, it is important to be aware that talking about passion-restraint scenes in the genre prior to Seneca is in some sense a back projection of a modern categorization of scenes based on a dated reading of the play. That said, however, there are some useful stylistic similarities between earlier Greek and Senecan passion-restraint scenes (discussed below), and I think that their dramatic function is similar, and, as a result, I think it is likely that the audience would have expected similar outcomes for the characters in these interchanges.  In Greek tragedy, these scenes generally serve to build tension by giving opposing characters equal speaking time to articulate their governing principles and the motivating philosophy behind their actions. The audience is sensitized to the ideological gap between the two characters and, generally, both characters argue from equally formidable moral high grounds (i.e. there is no clear strawman argument or villain). Two great examples from Greek tragedy of prototypical passion-restraint scenes come from Sophocles, Oedipus (Act III, lines 535-635) and Antigone (Act IV, lines 634-765).  In Act III of Oedipus, Creon, the brother of Oedipus’s wife Jocasta, returns after an embassy to Delphi to find that he has been accused of wrongdoing by Oedipus. Oedipus and Creon meet on stage, Creon attempting to convince Oedipus of his innocence and Oedipus questioning Creon’s motives:                                                  27 C.J. Herington, “Senecan Tragedy,” Arion 5, no. 4 (December 1, 1966): 422-71, 453. 28 For more on John Fitch’s division of literary and “misleading” and “distorted” philosophical readings of Senecan tragedy, see Fitch (2002) 21-27 on Stoicism and Tragedy; “Pectus O Nimium Ferum Act V of Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 1979: 245-46; Fitch, Seneca’s Troades in a New Edition: A Review Article [of Elaine Fantham]. Classical Views xxix, n.s.4 No.3, 1985: 435-453.   15  OEDIPUS: You! How did you get here?       Has your face grown so bold you now come       to my own home—you who are obviously       the murderer of the man whose house it was,                                  a thief who clearly wants to steal my throne?       Come, in the name of all the gods, tell me this—       did you plan to do it because you thought       I was a coward or a fool? Or did you think       I would not learn about your actions       as they crept up on me with such deceit—       or that, if I knew, I could not deflect them?       This attempt of yours, is it not madness—                                          [540]       to chase after the king’s place without friends,       without a horde of men, to seek a goal                                             which only gold or factions could attain? CREON: Will you listen to me? It’s your turn now       to hear me make a suitable response.       Once you know, then judge me for yourself. OEDIPUS: You are a clever talker. But from you       I will learn nothing. I know you now—       a troublemaker, an enemy of mine. CREON: At least first listen to what I have to say. OEDIPUS: There’s one thing you do not have to tell me—       you have betrayed me. CREON: If you think being stubborn                      and forgetting common sense is wise,       then you’re not thinking as you should.                                              [550] OEDIPUS: And if you think you can act to injure       a man who is a relative of yours       and escape without a penalty       then you’re not thinking as you should.29  Oedipus opens with a hostile accusation, Creon replies with a calm, levelheaded suggestion. Oedipus resorts to suspicion and name-calling (“clever talker”) and Creon patiently tries to talk him down. They both engage in a bit of verbal sparring, where one character co-opts the style of the other in attempt to dominate the argument using the logic of the opponent: for example, Creon spits out a conditional statement about Oedipus’s state of mind and Oedipus responds with a conditional statement about Creon’s suspect motives.  The conclusion to this scene, and this is important to my overall argument about what the audience would expect from a passion-restraint scene and how Seneca reverses this expectation, has the restrainer (Creon) conclude the scene by firing off a last piece of advice for the impassioned (Oedipus), which Oedipus ignores:   OEDIPUS: But you’re a treacherous man. It’s your nature.                                                 29 All Sophocles translations are by Ian Johnston.    16 CREON: What if you are wrong? OEDIPUS:                                     I still have to govern. CREON: Not if you do it badly. OEDIPUS:                                           Oh Thebes—       my city! CREON: I have some rights in Thebes as well—                                     [630]       it is not yours alone.  Even though Creon fails to rein in Oedipus’s irrational suspicions, he remains committed to his position that Oedipus is acting out of irrational anger and that his claim to the throne is not absolute. The two sides go away entrenched in their own dogmas.  Similarly, in Antigone, when Creon, the newly crowned king of Thebes, and his son Haemon vie over the fate of Antigone, Haemon is able to conclude their argument maintaining his belief that Creon is acting irrationally and that a good leader ought to listen to the voice of reason:  HAEMON: What do you want— to speak and never hear someone reply?  CREON: You’ll never marry her while she’s alive. [750] HAEMON: Then she’ll die—and in her death kill someone else.  CREON: Are you so insolent you threaten me?  HAEMON: Where’s the threat in challenging a bad decree?  CREON: You’ll regret parading what you think like this— you—a person with an empty brain!  HAEMON: If you were not my father, I might say you were not thinking straight.  CREON: Would you, indeed? Well, then, by Olympus, I’ll have you know you’ll be sorry for demeaning me with all these insults.  Go bring her out— [760] that hateful creature, so she can die right here, with him present, before her bridegroom’s eyes.  HAEMON: No. Don’t ever hope for that. She’ll not die with me just standing there. And as for you— your eyes will never see my face again. So let your rage charge on among your friends who want to stand by you in this.    Haemon confronts his father about his unwillingness to listen to others’ good reason and Creon forbids him to marry Antigone. Haemon threatens ambiguously that if Antigone is put to death, someone else will die too. Creon appears to take this threat personally. Haemon vows a double condition: that he will not let her die without acting and that his father will never see him again, leaving the possibility open for a murder or a suicide or an escape into exile of some sort.    17 In each of these two examples, the passion-restraint scene leaves the restrainer and the impassioned in similar mental states as they were in were prior to the scene. The impassioned person requires a restrainer in order to display the full extent of his or her lust or rage, etc., while the restrainer is similarly unmoved by the arguments of the impassioned.    Passion-Restraint Scenes in Senecan Drama and Phaedra  Senecan scholars have commented on the passion-restraint scene pattern, both how it fits into the play structurally and how the outcome affects the course of the plot. C. J. Herington (1966) notes that every passion-restraint scene in the Senecan corpus occurs in Act II (with three anomalies in Act V of Hercules Furens and at Medea 380-430 and 891-1027.).30  Herington does not see an exact analogue for the passion-restraint scenes in Seneca’s plays with their corresponding Greek tragic sources: “It is important to notice that the corresponding Greek dramas, Seneca’s alleged models, either do not contain such a situation at all, or handle it in an entirely different way.”31 It is the phrase “in an entirely different way” that makes Seneca’s use of the passion-restraint scene so particular in style and distinct from his Greek predecessors.  Senecan passion-restraint scenes are distinctive because of their style as well as their location in the second act:  [Passion-restraint scenes contain] dialogues in the passion-restraint scenes basically consist of a sort of verbal duel which is fought between the passions of one character and the reasons offered by the other; similarly, the second category of dialogues presents a verbal duel between two opponents (Medea’s and Creon’s in the Medea; Medea’s and Jasons in the Medea).32  Senecan passion-restraint scenes are typified by “stichomythia, rapid-fire responses, and sententiae (a codified system of set meanings easily understandable and universally applicable),”                                                 30 Liebermann adds to Herington’s observations of the structural pattern Act V of Hercules Furens and Med. 891ff, 59 m 181. 31 Herington, “Senecan Tragedy,” 453; Fitch, Seneca’s Hercules Furens: A Critical Text with Introduction and Commentary, Cornell Studies in Classical Philology, v. 45 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), 183; Sander M. Goldberg, “Reading Roman Tragedy,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 13, no. 4 (2007): 571–84. 32 Alessandra Zanobi, Seneca’s Tragedies and the Aesthetics of Pantomime (A&C Black, 2014), 82.    18 so they are recognizable on the page and in the ear. This is not typical of Greek passion restraint scenes.  Aside from the patterned location of the passion-restraint scene and its style, Herington notes that the restrainer is often a servant, as opposed to an equal as in Greek tragedy, in Medea, Phaedra, Agamemnon, and Thyestes, but a named character in Troades as in Hercules Furens. Most importantly for my argument, Herington notes the instances in which “passion leads to the catastrophe,” as opposed to the restrainer being successful: Troades 203ff., Medea 150ff., Phaedra 129ff. (actually Act I, but after Hippolytus’ monody), Agamemnon 108ff., Thyestes 176ff.33 This gets at the way in which the passion-restraint scene contributes to the overall plot, but it does not address how “entirely different” these scenes are from their Greek predecessors, where restrainers are oftentimes unsuccessful in their persuading, or the fact that these scenes are remarkably variable in tone and outcome even within the Senecan corpus. As I discussed in the introduction, I believe that each play takes the passion-restraint scene in a different direction with some general rules that others have noted, like the tendency for characters to confront tyrants in the scene directly following the passion-restraint scene.34 In particular, I want to suggest that the failure of the Nurse to effectively articulate a cohesive argument for restraint is Seneca’s attempt to take the passion-restraint pattern in a novel direction. The failure of the Nurse to persuade Phaedra uniquely catalyzes the action of the rest of the play.  Phaedra is distinct as a play that features a passion restraint scene where the restrainer is converted to the impassioned person’s point of view and contributes willingly in the “catastrophe.”   Phaedra’s monologue at the beginning of the play sets up a number of signposts for our understanding of her characterization as the impassioned person in the passion-restraint scene. Phaedra bitterly recounts the broken state of her marriage and house (Phaedra 85-98),35 asking the island of Crete her homeland, why she was given as a hostage (obsidem) to a “hated home” (invisos penates) and married to an enemy (hosti). In this speech and elsewhere, she, like Pyrrhus in Trojan Women, recognizes the power of custom and habit on moral development. Behavior                                                 33 Fitch, Seneca’s Hercules Furens, 183 n. 50. 34 Ibid. 35 There is a resemblance between Phaedra’s family situation and Juno’s complaints at the beginning of HERCULES FURENS. Cmp. “always elsewhere Jove” semper alienum Iovem, HF 2; “I have given my place in the sky to whores,” locumque caelo … paelicibus dedi, HF 4; and with an eye to Phaedra’s worse fears, “how often he made me a step-mother,” quotiens novercam fecit, HF 21.   19 that has been sanctioned in the past is assumed to be the rules of engagement in the present as well.36 She calls Theseus’s journey to kidnap Proserpina from the Underworld, the “usual”—along with implying that the kidnapping is just a prelude to other extramarital dalliances (stupra et illicitos toros / Acheronte in imo quaerit Hippolyti pater, Hippolytus’s father seeks sex and illegal violations of the marriage bed in deepest Acheron, 97-98). Phaedra provides no evidence to back up her claims, so it’s hard to tell if she’s legitimately upset about repeated instances of infidelity or if they are just accusations made in the heat of the moment based on this particular business trip of her husband, though the specter of Theseus’s sexual dalliances and betrayals from earlier Roman poets hangs over Phaedra’s accusations. After outlining the broken state of her marriage, allusions to a house in disrepair emotionally, socially, and ritually come next (99-111). Phaedra describes a dolor (pain) that is nourished, grows, and burns deep inside of her (alitur et crescit malum, et ardet intus, an evil is nourished and grows and burns inside her, 111-12). The affliction brings an end to household work (Palladis telae vacant, the cloths of Pallas lie unworked, 103) and ritual worship (non colere donis templa votivis libet / non inter aras … nec castis precibus, it is not permitted to worship the temple with votive gifts, nor among the altars, nor with chaste prayers, 105-08). Instead, what makes Phaedra happy in the absence of her no good cheating husband is the “hunting of beasts and the tossing of erect javelins with my soft hand” (iuvat excitatas consequi cursu feras / et rigida molli gaesa iaculari manu, 110-111).37 It is under these conditions, her abandonment by her husband and the affliction that has spurred her to give up her duties in the household, that Phaedra self diagnoses the origin of her affliction. Phaedra cites her mother Pasiphäe’s “overbold” love (audax amasti 117) for the Minotaur. She notes that her mother’s love for the Minotaur turned her into not a different person, not someone else, but something else (aliquid, 119), alluding, as Fitch says, to the cow disguise that Daedalus fashioned Pasiphae, but also to the dehumanizing nature of her love for                                                 36 Phaedra: solet fidem “the faith that [my husband] is accustomed [to show]” 92, quisquis … semper insolita appetit “those who always seek out unusual things” 205; Nurse, contigat stupro / negata magnis sceleribus semper fides “[can you imagine that] filial obligation can be touched by sexual perversity when it’s always been exempted from such grave crimes?” 160-61; in her advice to Phaedra, the nurse suggests she “expel this horrible outrage from her pure mind, and mindful of/remembering (memorque) her mother fear new bedfellows; portenta … insueta “unaccustomed portents” 175. 37 The hunting reference hearkens back to the opening speech by Phaedra’s step-son Hippolytus, who spends the first eighty lines of the play shouting orders to his hunting party and invoking Diana, Virgin Goddess (diva virago, 54), with a lengthy list of her quarry (“beasts,” feras 54-72).    20 monstra (monsters). Phaedra identifies herself through her lineage, as “offspring” (stirpem, 124) of the Sun and the “clan” (genus, 126) of Phoebus, referring to Phaedra’s heritage as the daughter of the Sun and Perse the Oceanid—her name means, literally, “wide-shining.” As far as Phaedra is concerned, her Minoan heritage is a genetic predisposition for some kind of nymphomanic disorder.  This notion of thinking of Phaedra’s love as a disease, and not just any disease but a “genetic” disorder is helpful, I think, because it gives us a way of working through an issue of interest to the philosophical and literary discourse of Phaedra. Calling her desire a disease evokes a concept in Stoic philosophy about reasoned voluntary and involuntary action. As Seneca writes in Ep. 124 “On the True Good as Obtained by Reason”:  a child is as yet no more capable of comprehending the Good than is a tree or any dumb beast. …But why is the Good non-existent in a tree or in a dumb beast? Because there is no reason there, either…. There are animals without reason, there are animals not yet endowed with reason, and there are animals who possess reason, but only incompletely; in none of these does the Good exist, for it is reason that brings the Good in its company. Trans. Grummere.38  The concept of reasoned voluntary action boils down to this: one who is incapable of reasoning is incapable of distinguishing good from evil. The way it is expressed here, it seems to take for granted that man is an animal marked by reason, but as becomes increasingly clear in Phaedra, the non-rational man, who is like a “child” in making moral distinctions raises major problems. What Phaedra represents to some extent in the play is a person with child-like understanding of morality, and the Nurse advocates claiming a kind of prototypical “insanity defense”. What scholars like Rivoltella pick up on is the way in which Seneca seems to be tapping a literary tradition of the Minoan royalty to talk about the inheritance of immorality across generations, an idea that was on the minds of contemporary Roman audiences who were familiar with all of the scandal and intrigue going on in the imperial family (and also the minds of earlier Romans who were familiar with republican invective and Ovid’s version of the Myrrha myth and Livy’s account of the history of Rome). Rivoltella (1993) dissects the theme of inherited “moral scelus” from Minoan stock and suggests that Hippolytus and Theseus serve as the new Minotaurs in a new iteration of the old myth, commenting on the difference between characters who are in a                                                 38 Ep. 124.8-9: et non magis infans adhoc boni capax est quam arbor aut mutum aliquod animal. Quare autem bonum in arbore animalique muto non est? quia nec ratio. Ob hoc in infante quoque non est; nam et huic deest. Tunc ad bonum perueniet cum ad rationem peruenerit. (9) Est aliquod inrationale animal, est aliquod nondum rationale, est rationale sed inperfectum: in nullo horum bonum, ratio illud secum adfert.   21 position to make choices and those who are disposed by “the pernicious legacy of the race” (117) to behave badly.39 Rivoltella makes the point that the inheritance of moral “residue” is unique to Seneca’s version of the tragedy and unlikely to have been in the lost plays of Euripides and Sophocles.40 Rivoltella is not the only critic to inquire into the extent of Phaedra’s moral agency, Coffey and Mayer discuss in a note the concept of will and “wrong judgment by the intellect.”41  What begins as a fairly standard passion-restraint scene transforms into a troubling and innovative variation on the type scene. The scene gets off to a rocky start. In line 129 the nurse acknowledges and addresses Phaedra for the first time in the play. She does not use Phaedra’s name. Instead, she defines her—probably very unappealingly to Phaedra—as the “wife of Theseus.” The association with her married status after Phaedra has clearly articulated her revulsion with Theseus doesn’t seem promising, but the nurse seems caught off guard by her mistress’s revelation in the first place. As we will see, she adapts her speech to the circumstances in much the same way that she will adapt her morality to the circumstances when she learns that the alternative to her being an accessory to incest is her mistress’s death.42 So, though the nurse begins unsuccessfully by misidentifying Phaedra’s chief problem in the familial realm, as indicated by her poor choice of salutations, she’ll find her bearings shortly. She begins with an argument that hinges on timing: deal with this problem “right this instant” (in primo, 132), because if you wait “too long” (sero, 135), you’ll only strengthen it (nutrivit malum, 134).  But here, there is an odd turning point in the nurse’s speech. She cuts off what might be thought of as a persuasive argument based on appropriate timing. She excuses herself, saying “freedom” (from life, understood, i.e. old age and the imminence of death) makes her bold, and then she launches into a new argument which seems unusually pragmatic. She lays the framework for a kind of system of ethical fail-safes. Look, she says, to do nothing wrong in the                                                 39 “The past repeats itself in the present, but not without a significant climax. The fault of the son is actually even graver than that of the mother, in that his responsibility is unequivocal. The monstrous part, through which shone the scelus of Pasiphae, was an ambiguous symbol, interpretable even as a fatal event. The incestuous attempt in which the furor of Phaedra manifests must be the result of a conscious ethical choice.” Trans. AK Linsky. 40 Rivoltella advances the notion that Theseus at the end of the play suffers on account of the moral “residue” of his legacy of amor-mors (fancy construction there that we might translate as something like “Desstraction,” Destruction and Attraction), with previous loves (Ariadne and Hippolyta), but now with Phaedra and Hippolytus.  41 Coffey and Mayer, Seneca, 26, n.85–87. 42 Cf. Prohibere nulla ratio periturum potest, / ubi qui mori constituit et debet mori (“No reasoning is able to stop someone prepared to die, when he has planned it and finds it fitting to die, 265-66).    22 first place (honesta primum, 140) is the best-case scenario, but in case that is not enough, Plan B is to know shame (pudor est secundus nosse, 141). The nurse calls pudor a kind of stopgap for compounding errors (peccandi modum). This definition of pudor as a moral stopgap pairs nicely with the OLD’s definition for the word: “2. Consciousness of what is seemly, sense of propriety or restraint, decency, scrupulousness, etc. b. regard for the decencies in sexual behaviour, dress, language, demeanour, etc., modesty; (spec.) chastity. c. shyness, reserve, or sim.”43 The nurse’s advice seems forgiving: everyone makes mistakes, what we need to do is try to the limit the number of mistakes we make.44  After outlining Plans A (don’t make mistakes) and B (if you do, try to make as few as possible), the nurse makes a distinction between aberrant behavior that we have no control over and criminal activity: “This outrage (nefas),” says the nurse, “is worse than monstrous, for the monstrous is attributable to fate, but crime to character” (143-44, Trans. Fitch).45  The nurse seems to suggest a two-tiered system of responsibility,46 arguing that there are some things in our nature that we have no control over, the monstrous, but that when we make                                                 43 Pl. St. 322; Ter. Ad. 57; Lucil. 1048; Ov. Point. 1.2.66; Mart. 3.46.10; Stat. Theb. 10.710; (humorously) Petr. 47.3; (personified) Hor. Saec. 57; Carm. 1.24.1; (colloq.) Verg. Ecl. 7.44; Ov. Am. 3.2.24; Mart. 2.37.10; Juv. 3.153; b) Prop. 1.13.18; Phaed. 4.14.5; Mart. 1.35-39; 2.45.7; Juv. 2.110; Ov. Met. 6.616; Stat. Ach. 1.671; Verg. A.4.27; c) Hor. Ep. 2.1.259; Suet. Nero 23.3.  44 No one has put a specific name to the “mistake” yet. It’s been called dolor (pain, 99), malum (bad thing, 101), amor (love, 114), flammas (flames, 120), anthropomorphized as Venus (124), and linked with nefas (infamy, 128). This last euphemism, “infamy” or “unspeakable thing,” shows up twelve times in Phaedra, occurring more often in Phaedra than in all but one play, Thyestes. Nefas will become especially relevant in terms of the argument that Hippolytus and Phaedra have about the value of silence (603-608). For the Nurse and Phaedra, trying to talk about a confusing, painful, and embarrassing problem that Phaedra has is nearly impossible. They cannot even call incest by its name; it’s literally “unspeakable.” How can they hope to arrive at a satisfying remedy for the situation when the thing they are talking about cannot or will not be properly named? 45 Just as an aside, we might want to think about how to treat this statement, whether it is true on its own, whether it is representative of Stoic philosophy or put into the nurse’s mouth ironically. What can be said is that this statement bears some resemblance to a famous mischaracterization of the Stoics, which they complain about often, and it has to do with the Stoic conception of determinism. Basically, the Stoics were sensitive to claims by people who would shirk responsibility for their actions by blaming whatever they did on fate, since the Stoics have a kind of complicated view of the interconnectedness of voluntary action and destiny. Zeno and Chrysippus liken it to the relationship between a dog tied to a moving wagon (Hippolytus, Refutation of all heresies 1.21). One of the famous heads of the Stoic school (Chryssipus) is on the record criticizing these sorts of people: “[Chrysippus] denies that those who, whether through laziness or through wickedness, are harmful and reckless, should be tolerated and given a hearing, if when caught red-handed they take refuge in the necessity of fate, as if it were the shrine of a temple, and say that their worst misdeeds are attributable to fate, and not to their own recklessness (quae pessime fecerunt, ea non suae temeritati, sed fato esse attribuenda dicunt, Gellius 7.2.6-13). 46 Characteristically Senecan in terms of the extraordinarily high level of forgiveness that those proximi to the main characters are willing to show. Cf. Amphitryon after the killing spree of his adopted son Hercules in HERCULES   23 bad decisions that are within our control (moribus), these are real crimes. From the context of the scene, it seems as if this is meant as prescriptive advice for Phaedra: submitting to temptation once is an accident, twice is a crime—and twice is not just a “crime,” but it makes a crime “the usual,” to bring back Phaedra’s preoccupation with habit and its deleterious effects on character. For those like Fitch who want to compartmentalize Seneca the artist and Seneca the philosopher, we can see the variety of ways in which Seneca is able to invent and allude to philosophical concepts: Seneca the artist adapts the Minoan literary tradition to talk about the genetic inheritance of immorality, while Seneca the philosopher can analyze Phaedra’s preoccupation with habit’s deleterious effects on character. In Epistle 7, On Crowds, Seneca explains how habit is the chief origin of poor character: Nihil vero tam damnosum bonis moribus quam in aliquo spectaculo desidere, “Nothing is more damaging to good character than the habit of sitting down at any gladiatorial show. Here, Seneca shows how repeated behavior can eventually harm good behavior (moribus).  The sophistication of the nurse’s system of stopgaps increases with her description of the three (or four, depending on how you count them) natural checks on crime for Phaedra: the human; trans-human; and internal. Each of these natural checks is undermined in some way by the Nurse: 1) implied is Theseus’s moral influence on Phaedra as her husband (maritus 145), but only insofar as the nurse warns Phaedra that even if he’s dead there are others who fill his role; 2) Phaedra’s father (sagax parentum est cura, 152), but he is out of the picture; 3) after the mortal disciplinarians come the trans-human agents of justice, Jove, ironically identified with his hypersexual identity, sator deorum (“seed-spreader of the gods,” 158); 4) finally, the nurse cites the “conscious fear of the mind” and “a spirit filled with guilt” (162-63) as the last line of defense against wrong-doing. But the play deconstructs only the last stopgap measure, a healthy body in a guilty mind, with any vigor to show the audience how to get around its redundancies.    By the end of this dialogue, there are so many inconsistencies in Phaedra’s logic, it is hard to make sense of the nurse’s advice at 143-44 in quite the same way. The prescriptive moralizing sounds much more abstract, like a semantic hurdle that must be got over: “This outrage is worse than monstrous, for the monstrous is attributable to fate, but crime to character”.                                                                                                                                                        FURENS, or Antigone’s extreme loyalty to her father Oedipus even after he’s gone off into self-exile for incest and parricide.    24 If you are in control of yourself, then you are in the wrong, with emphasis on the “if.”47 Phaedra and the nurse, once they resolve that Phaedra has no control over her incestuous desires, become the perfect articulators of moral relativism, by exploiting a logical loophole in their own rule.48  This discussion about Seneca’s innovation on the passion-restraint scene leads to broader questions about why Seneca deviates from past models of the scene and what he is doing in changing a critical element of the tragic tropes, in this case structural, to achieve an overall affect. There are a few different ways to approach these questions, which are informed by Seneca the artist, the philosopher, and an individual embedded in the cultural and political context of his time. From an artistic/dramatic standpoint, Phaedra is an unusual play even without talking about Seneca’s tropic innovations on passion-restraint scenes. It portrays a woman as a major character and dramatizes her moral anguish without neutering the nature of her moral issues. Phaedra’s moral issues are clearly gendered and the voices of those issues are very much female: the concern over the loss of pudor (consciousness of doing the right thing) is addressed almost exclusively by women. Of the twelve appearances of the word, it is used by the female characters nine times, the exceptions being Theseus at 914 and 920 and the Chorus at 988. The adjective pudicus is used exclusively by Phaedra (three times), and impudicus is used twice by a male (Hippolytus) and once by a female. It should also be noted that pudor occurs more times in Phaedra than in all other plays in the Senecan corpus combined (cf. notes 31 and 32 for more on pudor). Furthermore, the adjectival forms of pudor (pudicus and impudicus) occur in Phaedra alone of the Senecan corpus. Phaedra dramatizes a crisis of consciousness, a crisis of feminine consciousness, and focuses the audience’s attention to the way in which women attempt to work through this problem while the male characters flit in and out of the action.49                                                 47 Cf. 698-99: “I too recognize the fate of my family: we seek what should be shunned. But I am powerless over myself,” (sed mei non sum potens), also, 878. 48 Cf. The nurse shrewdly remarks, Fama vix vero favet (“Rumor scarcely favors the truth,” 369); Phaedra expresses her inability to stop the thing she’s started: Serus est nobis pudor: / iam movimus nefanda. si coepta exequor, / forsan iugali crimen abscondam face: / honesta quaedam scelera successus facit (an early formulation of “the ends justify the means,” 598); the nurse suggests that Phaedra can escape blame by accusing her son of the very affliction she is suffering from because scelere velandum est scelus (“crime must be masked by crime,” trans. Fitch, 721. 49 The thematic relevance of pudor’s link to “consciousness” will become more apparent in discussions of Senecan drama’s interest in the consciousness of the play’s protagonist about their own heroic storyline, the characters about their double roles as actors, and the audience about the expectations of the tragic genre.   25 As we have discussed earlier (see page 2), Phaedra refashions culturally offensive themes of sexual promiscuity and incest by wedding them indirectly with the political situation in Rome at the time. The tropic innovation on the passion-restraint scene complements other less concrete anxieties within the play, like the audience’s expectation of the story’s pacing.  Innovation of the passion-restraint scene is ultimately about the audience’s perception of building dramatic tension. In a scene that an audience would have thought of as essentially filler, something rhetorically pleasing but non-essential to plot, how disruptive would it be to watch this scene influence later events and affect outcomes? It is hard to tell how much the Nurse’s assistance is innate to the Phaedra myth, or how much Euripides’s version of the story affects Seneca’s version. However, Seneca’s decision to make the Nurse such an essential catalyst of the later action of the play can be explained independent of the Greek originals. The effect of the impassioned Phaedra’s victory over her restrainer must have been jarring. Possibly, it suited the times, the sense that rhetoric had lost its moral compass in early imperial Rome and oratory had become a plaything for the wealthy, a vehicle for flattery.50   There is also a way in which, from a cultural perspective, Seneca’s adaptation of the Greek story says some things about contemporary politics in Rome. Seneca shifts the focus of the play from the family unit (oikos), so important in Hippolytus’s abstaining from sex and from creating his own family in the Euripidean version, to a more specific family unit in Rome, the Roman imperial family. Rivoltella gives us a way of marrying the idea of moral miasma in classical Greek culture with the notion of inherited immorality in imperial Rome.  But there is also a way in which Seneca’s criticism of inherited morality is more cosmopolitan and universalist than this: in his letter on the “Degeneracy of the Age,” (Epistle 97) Seneca counters his contemporaries’ arguments about how the Rome they live in is the worst it has ever been. “Luxury, vice, and negligence of good behavior,” he says, “are part of men, not part of the times. No age is free from guilt.”51 Seneca lists the Caesars and Cato and Cicero as examples from the past and present, but then generalizes, explaining, the reason why people do bad things is because it feels so good:                                                  50 Cf. Tacitus’s Dialogue on Orators esp. 19, 24, 29, 35-36 and Quintillian’s Institutio Oratoria (Education of the Orator) 2.3, 2.6, 2.17. 51 Ep. 97.1: Erras, mi Lucili, si existimas nostri saeculi esse vitium luxuriam et neglegentiam boni moris et alia quae obiecit suis quisque temporibus: hominum sunt ista, non temporum. Nulla aetas vacavit a culpa.   26 We degenerate easily, because we lack neither guides nor associates in our wickedness, and the wickedness goes on of itself, even without guides or associates. The road to vice is not only downhill, but steep; and many men are rendered incorrigible by the fact that, while in all other crafts errors bring shame to good craftsmen and cause vexation to those who go astray, the errors of life are a positive source of pleasure. The pilot is not glad when his ship is thrown on her beam-ends; the physician is not glad when he buries his patient; the orator is not glad when the defendant loses a case through he fault of his advocate; but on the other hand every man enjoys his own crimes. (Trans. Richard M. Gummere)52  Phaedra gives us an intimate account of this phenomenon, by challenging optimistic assumptions about the fundamental goodness of every man and woman’s motives and showing the extent to which even the most intelligent people are able to rationalize the worst behavior. Phaedra’s ability to drag the Nurse to her corner, for them both to find ways to rationalize monstrous action, and in doing so, her ability to redirect the course of a trope scene in tragedy is a way for Seneca to coordinate discordant form with dysfunctional morality.                                                  52 Ep. 97.10-11:Ad deteriora faciles sumus, quia nec dux potest nec comes deesse, et res ipsa etiam sine duce, sine comite procedit. Non pronum est tantum ad vitia sed praeceps, et, quod plerosque inemendabiles facit, omnium aliarum artium peccata artificibus pudori sunt offenduntque deerrantem, vitae peccata delectant. [11] Non gaudet navigio gubernator everso, non gaudet aegro medicus elato, non gaudet orator si patroni culpa reus cecidit, at contra omnibus crimen suum voluptati est.   27 Chapter 2  The Curse of Consciousness: When Characters Know Their Own Legend in Hercules Furens                 “When it’s Batman or when it’s Gotham, I’d take either answer.”  - The answer to the Riddler’s question “When is a man a city?” from Neil Gaiman’s When is a Door in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader   28 Chapter 2 The Curse of Consciousness: When Characters Know Their Own Legend in Hercules Furens   Dramatis Personae This play has seven characters and a CHORUS: JUNO; AMPHITRYON, the husband of Alcmene and mortal stepfather of Hercules; MEGARA, the wife of Hercules and daughter of the former king of Thebes King Creon; the CHILDREN of Hercules; LYCUS, the murderer of King Creon and tyrant of Thebes; HERCULES, son of Alcmene and Jupiter; and THESEUS, king of Athens.  Play Synopsis Hercules is characterized by his role as the victor mundi (world conqueror).53 Though the play is about Hercules, he is absent from the action until Act Three. In Act One, the goddess Juno is unhappy with what she sees as Hercules’s pride and his constant foiling of all of her labors for his own self-aggrandizement. She resolves to let Hercules “conquer himself.” When Hercules returns from the Underworld successfully in Act Three, he is confronted by the tyrant Lycus, who is attempting to usurp the kingdom of Thebes by murdering its king (Creon) and trying to marry Hercules’s wife, the princess Megara. Hercules dispatches Lycus offstage and suddenly goes mad and kills his wife and children. When he comes out of his stupor, he discovers what he’s done and wants to kill himself rather than endure the disgrace, but he is convinced by his mortal step-father Amphitryon to live.   Juno’s appearance at the beginning of the play and her marked absence later on when Hercules goes mad is unique to Seneca’s version of the story. In Euripides, Iris and Madness appear on stage at the moment of Hercules’s madness.54   One of the vital variations on Euripides’s version of the Hercules myth is Seneca’s portrayal of the protagonist. Fitch compares the characterization of Hercules in Euripides’ and Seneca’s                                                 53 Fitch, Seneca’s Hercules Furens: A Critical Text with Introduction and Commentary, Cornell Studies in Classical Philology, v. 45 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), 18, 21–24. 54 Jo-Ann Shelton, Seneca’s Hercules Furens: Theme, Structure and Style (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1978), 11–12; John G Fitch, Seneca (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 44.   29 plays: “Euripides’ Hercules is a humane, philanthropic hero on whom madness falls with tragic injustice… [while] Seneca’s Hercules is a figure of superhuman power who is betrayed by that very characteristic, by the grandiose nature of his thinking and his modus vitae….”55 Fitch notes that there is a “wide divergence in the interpretation of this play,”56 especially with reference to the final act of the play where Hercules chooses to live rather than kill himself. This is due in part to the “inherent ambivalence” of Hercules’s characterization and the vast size of the mythos behind him.   Jo-Ann Shelton suggests that the many variances between the chronological sequence of events between the Euripidean and the Senecan versions are intentionally crafted to alter the characterization of Hercules. Chief among these “structural innovations” on Euripides’ Herakles is Seneca’s “placing of the madness after, rather than before, the twelve labors.” The debate between Amphitryon and Megara in Euripides is between those two characters and the tyrant Lycus in Seneca. The appearance of Theseus is staggered from Hercules’s entrance in Euripides and simultaneous in Seneca. Lastly, Shelton mentions one key difference between the Greek and Senecan plays that has to do with the final act and the lack of divine intervention in the Senecan version: “Nor does Pallas interfere to halt the murders because again Seneca excludes divine intervention and has Hercules sink into a stupor of exhaustion. Then, when Hercules awakens, he discovers for himself his crime. This self-discovering is of great importance in Seneca; in Euripides, Amphitryon explains to Herakles what he has done”.57   Influences in Greek and Roman Literature  The plot of Hercules Furens derives from Euripides’s Herakles.58 There is a possibility that there were other Greek plays from which Seneca’s Hercules storyline could have been influenced, but evidence about these is “few or obscure,” including just the titles of three Hellenistic dramas entitled Herakles by Diogenes, Lycophron, and Timasitheus. A Homer scholiast mentions a version of the story from Asclepiades’s Tragoidoumena that refers to Hercules’s killing of                                                 55 Fitch, Seneca, 44–45. 56 Ibid., 43. 57 Shelton, Seneca’s Hercules Furens, 11–13. 58 Fitch, Seneca, 44.   30 Lycus, Hera’s involvement in his madness, and Athena’s staying influence from further destruction.59  There was some scholarly debate in the 1960s about the possibility for fragments of the Republican Roman tragic poet Accius’s (b. 170-86 BCE) Amphitruo contributing to Seneca’s play, but the evidence is slim. Tarrant (1978) argues that the “dramatic technique is in large part that of postclassical rather than fifth-century tragedy,” suggesting that Seneca’s play is more influenced by Augustan tragedy (such as Pomponius Secundus) “rather than from Hellenistic or Republican Roman drama”.60 This is a claim that Fitch endorses, citing Seneca’s stylistic “indebtedness” to Augustan writers like Horace, Virgil, and Ovid.   Going into more detail about Augustan influences, Fitch describes the pastiche of imagery borrowed from Euripides’s Phaethon and Ovid, Horace’s Ode 1, and Vergil’s Georgics 2. Juno’s opening monologue has coloring from Juno’s speeches in Vergil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Theseus’s description of the Underworld has echoes with Book 6 of the Aeneid.61   Historical Context Lexicographic data dates the Hercules Furens shortly before 54 BCE, because there are echoes of Hercules Furens in Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis, a work written to satirize the official deification of the emperor Claudius in 54.62  In terms of pertinent cultural zeitgeist and historical context, Fitch notes that one of the major themes of the play, the world-conqueror protagonist’s neglect of the homeland during his exploits, “recalls Seneca’s criticism of the βíος of another world-conqueror, Julius Caesar: non ipse per annos decem continuous patria caruit? [cf. HF 249 orbe defenso caret] … (De Consolatione ad Helvium 9.7-8; cf. also his comments on Augustus’ life at De Brevitate Vitae                                                 59 Ibid., 47–48. 60 R. J. Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (January 1, 1978): 49. 61 Fitch, Seneca, 43–44. 62 Fitch, Seneca’s Hercules Furens, 50–53.   31 4.5)”.63 In Augustan literature, poets created an intricate set of thematic relationships between the Caesars and Hercules:   Horace prophesies that Augustus will recline in heavenly bliss between Pollux and Hercules, having earned his place in heaven by qualities similar to theirs (Carm. 3.3.9ff). Vergil’s treatment of Hercules as an exemplar is somewhat more complex. Certainly Aeneas and Augustus are both seen as successors of Hercules, but the general parallel does not exclude the possibility of contrasts. In Aeneid 6 Aeneas’ peaceful mission to the underworld is contrasted with Hercules’ violence … and in Aeneid 8 Hercules’ furious rage is emphasized as he fights against Cacus.64  Fitch notes that in the literature of the early Empire, more nuanced parallels were drawn between world conquerors like Alexander, Marius, Pompey, Mark Antony, and the Caesars and Hercules (cf. Sen. Rhet. Suas. 1.5.10 Alexandrum rerum terminus supergressum, 11; Ben. 1.13.1-3, 7.3.1, Ep. 94.63). This theme of the inflated self-worth of the world-conqueror influenced Lucan’s portrayal of Julius Caesar in the Pharsalia and Juvenal’s portrayal of Hannibal (Satires 10.133ff.).    Critical Reception to the Protagonist’s Ambiguous Characterization in Hercules Furens  Before we can talk about the ways in which the play controls the flow of information to the audience, it is helpful to look at the ways in which this play has been critically received and widely described as problematic. There is a preoccupation among modern scholars to determine whether or not Hercules is a hero, because of his seemingly unheroic decision to not die to atone for the violence he does to his wife and children. Implicit in this decision is a debate about whether or not Senecan drama espouses a Stoic agenda (discussed above in the introduction). Much has been said about Hercules’s status as the Stoic poster boy,65 but he was a prominent                                                 63 Ibid., 23. 64 Ibid., 18–19. 65 Karl Galinsky, The Herakles Theme: The Adaptations of the Hero in Literature from Homer to the Twentieth Century (1972), 100-52, esp 126-52 on the Roman Hercules, 167-84. More recent scholarship which is investigating, but not limited to, the influence of Stoicism in Senecan drama includes Littlewood’s Self-representation and Illusion in Senecan Tragedy (2004) and Staley’s Seneca and the Idea of Tragedy (2010).     32 figure in Roman culture independent of the Stoic influence.66 So we should acknowledge Hercules’s Stoic embodiment of self-reliance and rational behavior, while also taking into account an intellectually heterogeneous tradition about him. Through a review of some of the critical reception of the ambiguous characterization of Hercules, I intend to combine two different critical perspectives to explain the competing tensions that propel Hercules to fall into madness in the first place, but also to make the decision at the end of the play to spare his own life. I want the play to end tragically, with the death of a hero or a death of heroism, while preserving a single cohesive Hercules who is fundamentally moral. The review of critical scholarship is vitally important to our discussion about the way in which Hercules Furens plays with audience expectation, because in most cases the pursuit of Hercules’s true character and the attempt to characterize Hercules is an effort to reconstruct a pastiche of background sources that would have led audiences to be prejudiced in some way (positively or negatively) toward Hercules. When critics are not concerned with source material and reconstruction, they are arguing from the text itself to show how Hercules is “selfish” or “megalomaniacal” or “virtuous,” which is precisely the process that the audience itself is going through as they witness the play in real time. Both processes replicate to some extent the audience’s struggle to reconcile incoherent information about the title character.  A review of the scholarly reception of Hercules uncovers a fair bit of disagreement on the part of critics about major character traits of the hero—is he a selfless, tortured champion or a conceited, out of control brute, or something else entirely? I want to suggest Seneca manipulates his audience’s ability to gather information about the character of Hercules in his play Hercules Furens by disrupting the linear chronology of the play with the opening monologue (1-124) and delaying Hercules’s entrance until the third act. The general ambiguity of Hercules’s characterization, written about extensively in academic literature (see below for full discussion), is heightened by the fact that characters in the second act are internally conflicted (in the case of Amphitryon and Megara) and even openly skeptical (in the case of Lycus) of Hercules’s abilities. The only other instance of a delayed entrance of the title character in Senecan drama is Thyestes’s third act entrance in Thyestes.                                                 66 See Galinsky, The Herakles Theme, for a good introductory examination of the Roman connection with Hercules, 126–31.    33 The chronological disruption of the opening monologue has been covered by Shelton (1978). Shelton focuses on the verb tenses in Juno’s opening monologue (1-124) to argue that the scene is set in the near future and chronologically disjointed from the action of the rest of the play: “[Juno] does not predict future occurrences, but, rather, discusses present events.” This chronological confusion creates “two points of perspective of the dramatic events: the superhuman perspective of the opening scene and the perspective of the rest of the play”.67 The shift in tenses in the monologue, Shelton suggests, toggles between Juno and Hercules’s inner thoughts and feelings, dramatizing an inner psychological tragedy.68 Building upon Jo-Ann Shelton’s assertion that the structure of the play creates confusion for the audience about the true nature of Hercules’s character and abilities,69 I want to suggest that one way that the ambiguity of Hercules’s characterization manifests itself is in the language of the play, such as in the interplay between the use of the words superus and superbus (HF 17, 74, 89, 318, 423, 505, 568, 583, 898, 1064, 1344, 1393-94), which I’ll come back to at the end of the chapter. The way that these are deployed touch on the anxiety of the characters about Hercules’s aspirations to a higher place in the world (godhood) and his excessive pride, these two concepts are in conflict with the idea that Hercules is accomplishing his labors for virtuous reasons. Most prominent in their debate is the notion that Hercules is not aspiring for something higher than his earthly due, but rather something higher than the Underworld where he has been tasked to go—meaning that there is a second reading of superus that can be taken just to mean returning to the high place (Earth) compared to the Underworld (i.e. inferior, the lower regions). This discussion about the open ambiguity of terms like superus and superbus and their subliminal fusion (super/b/us) by Juno and Megara in particular is a symptom of a more general stamp of Senecan artistry, in which Seneca deploys the language of the artist and the author for characters in Hercules Furens to create a coordinated system of correspondences and extended metaphors between Hercules’s hero’s journey and the artist’s creative journey (see below for full discussion).  Shelton points out, the way the story is presented to the audience keeps us guessing about the extent to which Hercules is our Superman. The disruptiveness of not being able to decide if                                                 67 Shelton, Seneca’s Hercules Furens, 18–21. 68 Ibid., 17–23. 69 Jo-Ann Shelton, “Problems of Time in Seneca’s ‘Hercules Furens’ and ‘Thyestes,’” California Studies in Classical Antiquity 8 (1975): 257–69,; Shelton, Seneca’s Hercules Furens.   34 we should be rooting for or against Hercules is similar to the way in which Phaedra’s passion-restraint scene disrupts the audience’s ability to accurately predict the flow of the plot in Phaedra. In Phaedra, Seneca accelerates the plot rather than stalling out the play with a failed passion-restraint scene. In Hercules Furens, Seneca leaves his audience in the informational doldrums for the first two acts to ratchet up the tension and philosophically dissemble the contradictory character traits of the play’s leading man.   Seneca’s decision to withhold information about the main character such as his true aspirations (e.g. does he want to storm Mt. Olympus or settle down in a nice house in the country?), the ambiguity that characters feel about his motivations, and the flavor of the language of Hercules Furens all amount to ways in which the play controls the dispensation of vital information to the audience much more tightly than other Senecan plays.   Critics tend to highlight four related aspects of Hercules Furens that are fundamental to understanding Hercules’s characterization:  1. How we should understand Hercules’s semi-divine status. Is he a man or is he a god or something in between? What does this status allow him to do, that might not be allowed for an ordinary man, and how is he perceived by others? Is he constrained by mortal laws of nature as well as morality or should we regard him a special case somehow and consider his actions in terms of an exceptional person trying to take action with exceptional means against exceptional problems?70  2. The second area of contention is the dramatic function of Juno’s monologue in the first act (1-124), where she agonizes over her husband’s various infidelities (1-18), which have led to numerous hated step-children (19-29), most annoying of all being Hercules. Juno bristles at Hercules’s easy completion of her labors, which has added to his worldwide fame and reputation as a god (toto deus / narratur orbe, he is called a “god”                                                 70 Motto and Clark: "Against this background, Hercules' conduct is seemingly impious. But it must be remembered that Hercules functions partially as a god; his sacrifice is to Zeus--and to himself! … he is not simply to be judged as a man," “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 110. Fitch (2002, 8) argues that “Seneca’s Hercules is like Lady Macbeth in believing that his bloody hands will stain the whole ocean; but his belief that the whole world shuns his guilt has a deeper resonance just because he is a world conqueror: ‘By being known everywhere, I have forfeited a place for exile’ (Herc 1323-31)”.    35 all over the world, 39-40). Juno is especially perturbed by Hercules’s completion of her most recent labor to recover Cerberus from the Underworld, in effect challenging Hercules to conquer death itself (47-63). She suspects that Hercules has ambitions to challenge the gods of Olympus (63-83), then ultimately resolves that there is “no one except himself (nemo est nisi ipse, 85) who is capable of defeating him (84-99). The monologue ends with an invocation of the Furies (100-124). Is Juno overreacting? Is she biased? Is she predicting the future? What is her meaning in the line “Let him conquer himself” (and let him desire death once he has returned from the underworld, et se vincat, et cupiat mori / ab inferis reversus, 116-17)? Is this a curse (use of the hortatory subjunctive) or a bit of folk wisdom (if I stop giving him problems to fix, he’ll cause himself trouble)? Is this a Agamemnon’s Atê situation as we find in Iliad 9.498-505, 19.85-100 (attributed to gods but explainable as merely mortal pride) or is it a Trojan-Women-on-the-shores-of-Eryx-type affliction (where a god dispatches a divine power to induce madness, Aeneid 5.604-779)?71  3. Following from the second question, why does Hercules go mad as he does at lines 941-1053? What is the spark that sets him off? Is this some internal struggle or an external one? And have we and the other characters within the play been sufficiently primed for it or is it a surprise when it occurs?  4. What does the problematic ending of the play, when Hercules decides not to take his own life, mean?72   To begin by examining the first question about Hercules as a sympathetic or unsympathetic individual: Motto and Clark aptly break down the bulk of modern criticism, which mostly tries to read major character flaws into Hercules's character. They have a nuanced argument about Hercules's essential humanity and his unparalleled level of circumspection that I will try to augment from another direction of inquiry, worth mentioning at the outset:   The Hercules plays (the Hercules Furens and the doubtful Hercules Oetaeus) differ signally from Seneca's other dramas and certainly deserve attention by themselves in a special place. For one                                                 71 William Arrowsmith, “A Greek Theater of Ideas,” Arion 2, no. 3 (1963): 32–56; Motto and Clark, “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 105. 72 Motto and Clark, “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 101–03. Fitch, “Pectus O Nimium Ferum,” esp. 240-41.    36 thing, Hercules is an honorable hero, one enshrined in the Stoic pantheon; he is a demigod who literally experiences apotheosis. Thus, Senecan plays concerned with him do not merely conclude in a blaze of horror and with a spurt of climactic passion. In a special sense that is never for a moment true of Agamemnon or Medea or Phaedra or Oedipus or Atreus, Hercules "endures." Indeed, he does more: Hercules transcends and superscribes his tragic action and prevails. And, particularly in the Hercules Furens, the Herculean triumph is accomplished in human terms; his achievement is realized, not as a god, but as a human.73  Fitch, however, disagrees,   With regard to Act V the picture is less clear. Several critics pass over this Act with suspicious haste, as if not certain what to make of it. Others believe that the decision to live represents a victory for Hercules, after the obvious defeat which his heroism suffered in the previous Act… Zintzen, after showing in detail the suspect nature of Hercules’ heroism in the earlier Acts of the play, tries to redeem him as a Stoic hero by proposing a major transformation in Hercules in the last Act…74   The answer to the second question—how to interpret the origin of Hercules’s madness—is dependent on the answer to the first question. Determining what kind of man Hercules’s is informs the kinds of stresses that move him to kill his wife and children.  There is some scholarly discussion that suggests that Seneca’s Hercules is a reaction to the capable and competently self-reliant hero of Greek tragedy. In their discussion of the differences between the Senecan and Euripidean versions of the play, Motto and Clark argue quite thoughtfully that “Seneca's Hercules is not the old, aristocratic Ajax of Sophocles, who,”—quoting Arrowsmith’s A Greek Theater of Ideas—“caught in the new and antiheroic circumstances which degrade him and make him ludicrous… consistently prefers suicide to a life of absurdity in an alien time”.75 This Hercules is not the hero of tragedy that discovers that the world is less heroic than he had expected and cannot abide like Homer’s Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax. Instead, Motto and Clark suggest, he learns a new sort of heroism: that a true hero is someone who is able to “transcend the Self” in order to take on the responsibility of other men as his own. He must set aside his own shame for the greater good. This reading of the Hercules Furens as a “grim and bloody journey to self-conquest” is generally correct, but I argue that we can arrive at this conclusion by other means than suggesting Hercules is an exemplum of Stoic apatheia and temperantia. Yes, the hero can close the play as “a Hercules in Control, a Hercules                                                 73 Motto and Clark, “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 1981, 101–03. 74 Fitch, “Pectus O Nimium Ferum,” 241. 75 Motto and Clark, “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 1981, 105.   37 Restraining, a Hercules Regained”76 but he need not have reached this decision triumphantly. Where Motto and Clark see a rational hero’s recognition of the maxima virtus (the title of their article)—putting others' needs above one’s own personal reputation or even one’s personal sense of justice—I see an agonizing decision to relinquish his self-identification with victor and vindex mundi (world protector) in favor of a non-traditional value like innocentia (lit. “not-harming”).77  Questions 3 and 4 encompass the academic scholarship that asks are we tipped off to the conclusion of the play earlier or is it a surprise? Does Hercules’s decision flow from probability or necessity (as Aristotle describes, Poetics 1451a36), or are we given a whole selection of possible outcomes that are all equally likely? It is of interest to me whether or not this decision is “marked” (i.e. explained either directly or otherwise) earlier in the play.78 I think it must be, in part because dramatic irony and audience foreknowledge are integral features of tragedy, and I will try to develop methods of showing how Seneca foreshadows his final decision to spare his own life through the confusion of the superus and superbus terms, which represent different discussions going on in the play about Hercules’s motives (discussed in depth in the Metathetic Formations section of this chapter). But it is also important to keep in mind that regardless of the markers in the language, the fact of the matter is that Seneca’s Hercules is a far more taciturn, far less verbal decision-maker than say Phaedra or Jocasta (see conclusion to Pho. chapter on Oedipus and Jocasta’s eloquence), which makes him very difficult to read.  I think it is important that we can see Hercules as acting rationally and not under the influence of divine madness, and I want to further challenge this idea, by considering Fitch’s premise that “[p]ervasive insecurity about the self in Senecan drama is reflected in fierce but desperate assertions of selfhood.” He suggests that a characteristic of the Senecan hero is a fundamental misunderstanding of a person’s fullness and complexity, an over-reliance on a single frame of self-perception that must be cast off in order to endure.79                                                   76 Ibid., 116. 77 The word “harmless” (innocuus) appears in only three plays in the Senecan corpus and twice as often in Hercules Furens (4) as in each of the other plays combined (2).  78 See Alessandro Schiesaro, The Passions in Play: Thyestes and the Dynamics of Senecan Drama (Cambridge University Press, 2003), who characterizes Senecan drama as having the ability to let the "poetic word … voice realities which would otherwise tend to be repressed, and the act of creation embodied in that word is inevitably an act of rebellion against logic and order” (2). For Schiesaro, Hercules’s unmarked decision not to commit suicide is a rebellious act on the part of the art and the artist, which, Sluiter and Rosen argue in Aesthetic Value in Antiquity (2012), “fragments” the audience’s emotional response. 79 Fitch, Seneca, 7. Fitch goes on to talk about Hercules Furens in particular: “Hercules refers to himself by name twelve times in Hercules, as if reminding himself of his identity as “Hercules the mighty conqueror.” Inevitably this   38 We can combine the approaches of Fitch and Motto and Clark for a reading of Hercules Furens that accepts a theme of heroic misunderstanding of identity without having to vilify Hercules. He can have incomplete knowledge of himself even while he is right about what he is doing. And in the end, he can do the right thing while still not feeling good about it. We can have the triumph of humanity that Motto and Clark want, while resisting the theme of “restorative transformation” that Fitch finds “most untypical of Senecan drama”.80 To adapt from Clark and Motto, we can still have our tragic death at the end of the Hercules Furens, but one that’s invisible: not a death of Hercules the Man, rather the death of Hercules the Hero. But in order to arrive at this conclusion, we need to understand just how closely Hercules defines himself in terms of his identity as hero and protector.   This question of just what Hercules defines himself as is not universally agreed upon. Most critics who are interested in looking at identity in Senecan tragedy read Hercules as an unbelievably selfish figure, self-involved, “obsessed with self-image and with violent punishment of the transgression, even when it turns out to have been himself”.81 I tend to agree with Galinsky that Hercules is not so much a narcissicist as he is a workaholic. Galinsky actually calls him a “robot,” someone who hates otium (respite, HF 925):   Where Euripides had emphasized the jarring discrepancy between the sane Herakles, the loving father who saw his labours in perspective, and Herakles the madman, Seneca points out the continuity between the two by making Herakles consistently pursue the same goal. Herakles was something of a robot to start with now he is a robot gone amuck.82                                                                                                                                                         version of himself displaces other aspects of a fuller identity, for example as a father. Even after the murder of his family, his chief concern is what action is appropriate to his heroic persona.” 80 Ibid., 42. 81 Ibid. See also Motto and Clark 1981. 82 Galinsky, The Herakles Theme, 170. If this characterization of Hercules sounds familiar, note how C.W. Marshall outlines some of the parallels between another tragic figure, Morpheus, from the Sandman comic book series, and the American lifestyle: “Where Dream embodies the polyvalent possibilities of narrative, understood as broadly as possible, the Furies have a single purpose, which is to stop stories and, through the action of The Kindly Ones, to stop Dream, who is the principle of storytelling itself. Gaiman’s Dream is more than a universal abstraction, however: He is also a sullen workaholic with a string of bad relationships and a history of poor family communication. The success of Gaiman’s story depends on the reader accepting both perspectives simultaneously, and it is Dream as an individual, whose sense of duty motivates so many of his actions even when it comes at a personal cost, that invokes the reader’s sympathies as the Furies pursue him” (93), Classics and Comics 2011. This simultaneity of belief in the two forms of Dream seems to be operating on some level with Hercules as well: Hercules is either man and god, but not both. Also, note Theseus’s description of the Underworld: “A large part of that realm’s harshness is its lord, whose appearance is feared even by fearsome beings,” (trans. Fitch, magna pars regni trucis / est ipse dominus, cuius aspectus timet / quidquid timetur).   39 I think critics of Hercules are too ready to take Juno at her word when she predicts Hercules’s madness at 116 (et se vincat, “and let him conquer himself”).   Shelton's article “Problems of Time in Seneca’s ‘Hercules Furens’ and ‘Thyestes’” takes on problematic chronological events of Hercules Furens, especially the shift in verb tense in Juno’s opening monologue, which throws into contention whether or not a proud Hercules takes time to parade Cerberus on a victory tour around the Greek city states before returning to Thebes.  Shelton’s issue with the chronology of the first act, Juno’s monologue, and her analysis of the problematic argumentation and dramatic value of the second act are all examples of ways in which the play tightly controls the amount of information dispensed to the audience that will help in making decisions about the title character. The play gives us contrary and sometimes conflicting explanatory models and holds off until the third act, Hercules’s return from the underworld, the scene that would be most instructive in confirming or debunking our assumptions about what kind of play we’re watching. We are unsure at the outset to what extent Hercules Furens is going to play up or downplay Hercules’s extra-human strength. We are not sure which of his labors he has completed, or what order he has done them in, or even which of them he has been assigned. In the opening lines of her commentary, Shelton remarks on the importance of Euripides's structural innovations to the Hercules myth; by noting the plot differences between the Euripides and Seneca, Shelton shows how Seneca's structural changes (for instance, Lycus's participation in the debate in the second act, Theseus's long description of the Underworld, the presence of gods in the madness scene of E's version) to Euripides's innovation dramatically affect the interpretation of character and thematic focus of the play.83  Despite legitimate questions about his character and some suspicious issues of chronology in the course of the play, I find Hercules’s frenetic workaholism very sympathetic, especially when one considers that what he has done or at least attempted to do (Lycus gets the better of him in his own town while he is away fetching Cerberus from the Underworld), is save the world. Hercules is the original Super Man, without the cheery disposition or the big red cape.  But as Shelton points out, the way the story is presented to the audience keeps us guessing about the extent to which Hercules is our Superman. The disruptiveness of not being able to decide if we should be rooting for or against Hercules is similar to the way in which                                                 83 Shelton, Seneca's Hercules Furens, 11-14.   40 Phaedra’s passion-restraint scene disrupts the audience’s ability to accurately predict the flow of the plot in Phaedra. In Phaedra, Seneca accelerates the plot rather than stalling out the play with a failed passion-restraint scene. In Hercules Furens, Seneca leaves his audience in the informational doldrums for the first two acts to ratchet up the tension and delays resolution to the contradictory nature of the play’s leading man.   Metathetic Formations and the Ambiguity of Hercules  One of the ways in which Seneca ratchets tension before the entrance of Hercules, while at the same time dissecting his contradictory characterizations, is through the use of ambiguous language. Above, I have explained how major scholarship is split on the issue of Hercules’s innate and coherent goodness or badness, and suggested that there is a way to preserve the best nuanced points of Fitch, who refuses to see redemption or triumphalism in the final act—because what would be heroic about committing such an atrocity and then not punishing oneself?—and Motto and Clark, who want to put their fingers on the value (the maxima virtus of their article) that silently and implicitly guides Hercules’s decision to not commit suicide. I suggested in passing that this highest virtue may have something to do with the agonized realization that he cannot repair the harm he has done to his loved ones by transgressing his own code to do no harm to innocents. But on the whole I have not gone into much more detail than those preliminary thoughts for the pressures that Hercules is under that trigger his madness or guide his final decision. Instead, I have focused on Shelton’s arguments for why it is so hard for us as readers and as audiences to pin down concrete articulation of motives. Now I want to pose a means by which we can access the pressures fueling Hercules’s anxieties as expressed through the language of the play. It is my argument that Hercules’s complex characterization in Hercules Furens can be understood through a metathetic formation, a kind of anagram,84 that plays on the meanings of                                                 84 Fred Ahl’s Metaformations (1985) on Ovid started the ball rolling on the investigation into the literary significance of etymologies and anagrams in Roman literature. Since then a number of classicists have engaged in this kind of jigsaw logic to piece together connections that had otherwise gone unnoticed in scholarship: John Henderson finds significance in the S-A-C-R-AE/C-AE-S-A-R anagram in Lucan’s Pharsalia. John Fitch contends that the A-T-R-E-U-S/I-R-A-T-U-S formation clues us into a major theme in Seneca’s Thyestes. Seneca’s heroine Medea almost manically etymologizes her own name, which she sees as connected to the word for “planning” (µεδὸς). For just a few examples, see Medea superest, Medea survive,166, Cho: Medea— M: Fiam, I shall! 171,   41 the words superus and superbus. Superus (“high” or “above” in the spatial sense, and also a synonym for “god”) and superbus (“proud”).85  We first meet the super(b)os phrase in Juno’s opening monologue, where she links the two concepts for the audience. She accuses Hercules of seeking a path to the gods (quaerit ad superos viam, 74). Here the phrase “ad superos” takes “superos” as a substantive adjective referring to “those that are higher,” i.e. the gods—not all that challenging a reading considering the speaker’s identity. Then in 89 we get the first occurrence of the word “superbe” meaning “proud”.86 So Juno is the first to make for us this subliminal link between pride and the gods. The two words are connected by the idea of “above-ness,” one in the physical sense and the other in an emotional sense. The dual motifs of pride and height are intertwined throughout her monologue. Juno says of Hercules: “he triumphs over me,” de me triumphat 58; “high-handedly” superbifica manu 58; lest he who conquers the lowest realms should occupy the highest, regna ne summa occupet / qui vincit ima 64-65; and describes him as “swollen (an expression often used for pride) with expert strength,” robore experto tumet 68.                                                                                                                                                        517, 675, Medea nunc sum, I am now Medea, 910.  85 Seneca’s Hercules is also open to interpretation as “universal abstraction,” especially when read as a stand in for the city of Rome. Ahl (1985) is the first scholar to use this approach on Ovid, Metaformations; for this approach applied to material culture, see E. Bréguet, "Urbi et Orbi" in Bibauw and Renard, Hommages à Marcel Renard, 140-52; Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome: "During the [Augustan period], the Romans began to redefine the city of Rome in more universal terms. As they expanded their sphere of activity to encompass the entire Mediterranean, the Romans gradually outgrew the image of Rome as the first among a federation of city-states… In literature of the first century B.C., Rome is not just a city, but conqueror of the world. Exploiting the pun of urbis and orbis, the Romans united the personified image of Roma and the world globe as depicted on a coin from the 40s B.C. showing Roma crowned by Victoria with her left foot on the globe (fig. 34). The city controlled and represented the Roman world. As a result, her physical form came to be seen as a direct reflection of the State's success" (65). In thinking about the ways in which Roman politics and culture are reflected in the Greek backdrop of Senecan drama, one might say the imagery of the urbis/orbis construction is turned inside-out. Seneca depicts Hercules as a victor orbi, not a victor urbi. There are many levels on which the connection between the two words operates in Hercules Furens in terms of tying Rome to the Hercules story: it is the story of Hercules’s ability to conquer the world (orbis) and death while still losing control of his hometown (urbis); the story of the world conqueror’s (Hercules/Roma) fall to internal forces rather than external obstacles; the story of the troubled unification of the two terms, the mission to fuse the morality of the home and world under one roof. Compare this with the way in which Dream is the embodiment of his realm in Sandman, cf. Sandman issue 2, Preludes and Nocturnes, Imperfect Hosts, and the Fiddler’s Green character. Gaiman’s predilection for worlds that manifest themselves as people goes beyond the Sandman universe, cf. the Harvey Bullock/Renee Montoya exchange in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Part 1, HB: “…you’ve got a city that draws crazies like rats to a dumpster. That’s Gotham. Then one day someone comes along who makes sense of the madness. Who understands it. Who wants to fix it.” RM: “So you’re saying the man is the city?” HB: “Nah, Montoya, I’m saying the man was the city.” Also, the answer to the Riddler’s question “When is a man a city?” in When is a Door: “When it’s Batman or when it’s Gotham, I’d take either answer.” 86 Though the word has a fuller range that can be positive as well, as in Verg. A. 5.268: utrum superbiorem te pecunia facit, an quod te imperator consulit;” Ov. M. 13.802: homines superbissmi; and possibly most relevant because of its association with virtus, Plaut. As. 2.4.64: freti virtute et viribus superbi.    42 Yet, Hercules is not the only one who suffers from a superiority complex in Juno’s opinion. It is genetic. Her speech begins with a critique of her “always elsewhere Jove,” in an ecphrasis of the night sky, where each constellation represents a different infidelity on the part of her husband/brother (HF 1-18).87 Juno makes a connection between the selfish behavior of her spouse and the potentially destructive pride (as she sees it) of her stepson Hercules. She guesses, prays even, that Hercules is setting himself up for a fall. Then in the following scene where Megara, Amphitryon, and Lycus the aspiring tyrant of Thebes, spar over the true meaning of virtue, we find our next mention of super(b)os in line 318: Megara says, “Buried under water, buried and crushed under all the earth above him, what path does [Hercules] have ad superos?”. If we are trying to preserve a single translation of the phrase, this should correspond to Juno’s last use of the phrase in 74 where it meant “to the gods,” but Megara clearly is not hoping for Hercules to become a god, she wants him back on earth, which is above the underworld (ad superos relative to in imo). Yet, when we hear Megara’s phrasing, we have to reflect and contrast it with its first use by Juno in the opening speech.  The word superus suffers from the same kind of ambiguity as Hercules. Its meaning is unstable and connotes different things for different people. The multivalence of superus is a dramatic device that requires the audience and readers to interpret the speaker’s inner feelings. Sometimes, for the pious it is used to describe the gods (superi) when they seem tangible, but at other times the gods are less substantial, the speaker falls back on the physical meaning for superus, “high”. This sort of tension is also inherent in the term caelum, which connotes both “heaven” and more simply “sky.” Superus is delivered in seven different instances in the play without any attention paid to the confusion between these two meanings, and without conscious irony on the part of the speaker,88 until the dramatic payoff for this double entendre at two points in the play where both meanings are meant simultaneously.  I will focus on the first instance at 423, where a misunderstanding of this double entendre                                                 87 Owen, “Commonplace and Dramatic Symbol in Seneca’s Tragedies”; Motto and Clark, “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens,” 13–14, both describe the metaphorical and thematic significance of the sidereal theme in greater detail.  88 Cf. ad supera (“to the upper world,” 505), ad superos vias (“paths to the upper world,” 568), or when Theseus, recently returned from the Underworld with the help of Hercules uses “ad superos” to mean “to the earth” rather than “to the gods” (583). But superis feram means “I shall make offerings to the gods” (898), also 17, 1064, and in the last lines of the play 1344 (illa te, Alcide, vocat, / facere innocentes terra quae superos solet).   43 turns deadly. To set the scene, Lycus, a kind of proto-Machiavellian tyrant is proposing marriage to Hercules’s wife Megara. His way of going about it is cold, calculating and generally clumsy, but possibly his worst mistake is the fact that he is a rationalist, who has formed the very reasonable opinion that no man can journey to the underworld and return.89  That is the stuff of fairy tales (fabula, conveniently the Latin word for a “play”)90, but in the real world, when a guy “goes to the Underworld,” it means he is dead. Lycus notes Megara is in “mourning” (laterique, 357), though he does not stop to ask why, he assumes it has to do with the death of her husband Hercules. The way Lycus calls Amphitryon “the true begetter of Alcides” (verus Alcidae sator, 357)91 implicitly informs us of his worldview: no more of that “god” nonsense, this is the real world, where the only virtus is vis (violence, in the plural vires; also, note the feint at another etymology here).92 This is all to say that it should come as no surprise when Lycus scoffs at Megara for foolishly clinging to the hopes that her husband will return from the Underworld, asking almost rhetorically, “Does it make (you) courageous, having a husband buried in the underworld?” (animosne mersus inferis coniunx facit, 422).  Her response is fundamental to the ambiguous characterization of Hercules. In response, Megara replies with something of an unconscious paradox, “He went to the underworld in order to obtain (or go to) supera, higher things/the upper world/godly things” (inferna tetigit, posset ut supera assequi, 423). For Megara, this is not a contrary thought at all. Unlike Lycus, she trusts in Hercules’s ability to return from the underworld. In her world, happy endings are possible. We get the sense that she can mean the whole range of meanings for supera here: Hercules can return from inferis to the supera, because he is superus. That is why he went down there in the first place! This constellation of meaning all packed into one word is problematic in a lot of                                                 89 Shelton has a brilliant discussion about the multivalence of virtus and its connection with characterization of Lycus, Megara and Amphitryon in Seneca’s Hercules Furens, which I find very influential on my own reading: 28–37, esp. 32. 90 The OLD describes fabula as a term that first and foremost refers to “talk, conversation” (1a.) and also to “gossip, talk, rumour” (2b.), but Lycus appears to mean something like “a fictitious story or report, tale, fiction” (3a.) or even more strongly, “nonsense! rubbish!” (3b.). Possibly, if we are to take Lycus’s tone as patronizing, “A story told for entertainment, instruction, etc., tale” or “fable” (4a. and b.). The metatheatrical meaning for fabula meaning “a play, drama” or a “piece of play-acting, pretence” (6a. and b.) is used by Ovid in Tristia 2.369, in lyric poetry and Tacitus’s Histories 2.72. . 91 The word sator (“seed-spreader” or “sower” OLD 1a, also figuratively meaning of “founder” or “progenitor (usu. Divine, of a race, city, etc.)” 2a.), is a key word often attributed to Jove and used to describe him in literature, here used for Amphitryon. 92 But also we are given hints about Lycus’s obsession with earning distinction rather than claim by blood or inheritance. Cf. Hercules Furens 337-340: non vetera patriae iura possideo domus / ignavus heres; nobiles non sunt mihi / avi nec altis inclitum titulis genus / sed clara virtus.   44 ways, especially to Lycus’s worldview, and because he cannot comprehend the double and triple meanings here, he is killed instead of securing the throne for himself.  In Hercules Furens, characters’ actions are consciously dictated by their assumptions not about what is right and what is wrong, but about what is possible and what is not. They seem hyperaware about the fact that they are living in an artificial world (a fabula) where the rules are not yet fully understood and can only be learned as they are experienced. When Amphitryon asks Theseus, newly returned from the Underworld, “Is the story true that belated justice is meted out to those below?” (trans. Fitch, verane est fama inferis / iam sera redid iura, 727-28), Amphitryon is asking out of honest ignorance. Only the experience of someone else who has literally been to the kingdom of death can help fill in the blanks. Similarly, when Lycus taunts Megara about the apparent death of her husband Hercules (331-71), her response is not to correct Lycus, rather, she seems unable to refute him: “You have stolen my father, my kingdom, my brothers, my home, my country” (patrem abstulisti, regna, germanos, larem, patriam, 379-80). After Megara puts up a feeble argument for her husband’s return, which Lycus dispatches quickly and confidently, it is up to Amphitryon to engage with him in a bizarre back and forth about veracity of the myths about Apollo and even Hercules’s earlier labors (439-488). They make the same kind of observations about their own world’s theodicy and physics that we are making about the play—treating reality with the logic of fiction and theater, a kind of blank page that can only be filled through experiencing life in real time. Skepticism and faith are treated with equal legitimacy in the second act because no character has privileged knowledge of the truth. The rhetoric of etymologies and anagrams, gives the audience the impression that the characters have a heightened level of consciousness about their own literary conceit, a phenomena that Wilamowitz mentions with reference to Seneca’s Medea, saying, “this Medea has read Euripides.”93 We can see ways in which characters do not just assess reality in literary terms, they use the language of fiction and theater as well. There are more instances in Hercules Furens of the word auctor (meaning a whole range of things including meaning a whole range of things from “originator” 10a., “doer” 2a. and 12a., “cause”, but also “father” 15a., “founder” 14a.,                                                 93 Griechische Tragoedien vol. 3 (Berlin 1906) 162. R. J. Tarrant, “Greek and Roman in Seneca’s Tragedies,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 97 (1995): 222–23.   45 “authority” 2, 3, 8, and “author” 10a.) than any other play in the entire corpus of Senecan drama.94 Hercules Furens is marked, more than any other Senecan play, by its characters’ interest in the authorship of things (pacis, 225), the authorial intent of scelus (crime, 735) or cladis (destruction, 1166). This artist’s or actor’s lens by which everything is filtered in Hercules Furens is so pervasive, it creeps into characters’ lexicons.95 In another important instance of super(b)os at 1393-94, Hercules’s own words are muddled by linguistic confusion. Hercules says, “Onto my head, I shall bring the whole weight of the heavens crashing, which rests in the middle of the sky and keeps separate the gods/high places (onus omne media parte quod mundi sedet / dirimitque superos, in meum vertam caput). To choose our reading of this term, readers need to make a decision about whether or not we want there to be gods in the heavens for Hercules at this moment. What if the heavens are devoid of divine influence in the same way that Hercules’s madness is depicted very explicitly without the intervention of gods? The absence of the gods in Hercules’s episode leaves room for doubt and interpretation about its causes. Here, though we have heard from Juno herself at the beginning of the play, it is unclear to what extent there is a just and guiding presence in heaven.96  This brings me to my last point, which is about the relationship between metathetic formations like super(b)os and a culture’s growing concern with self-fashioning, what Fitch calls the “[p]ervasive insecurity about the self …. [which results in] fierce but desperate assertions of selfhood”.97 What does the lack of clarity about Hercules’s character and motivations say about the culture this play reflects? And what about Seneca’s dramatic vision and his choices to cast a fog of doubt over Hercules’s tragic innocence by limiting the audience’s information gathering                                                 94 There are 16 meanings cited for auctor in the OLD. 4 of the total 14 occurrences in eight plays (Hercules Furens 225, 735, 1071, 1166). Left out of this discussion was an extended word study of the implications of Hercules’s double role as both the hero and artist-writer of his own story, especially focusing on Hercules’s fear of death and the artist’s own version of death (being forgotten, oblivius, in the Latin). The incidence of two words figures prominently in this discussion: mora (delay) and memorare (to recount, remember), both of which are mentioned as being etymologically linked to the Latin word for death, mors; so, MORs is MORa is meMORare (Metaformations 40).  95 A discussion of the extent to which Whorfian linguistics—the notion of language affecting perception of reality—applies here would be interesting.  96 Think of Priam’s all-important “if” in the Aeneid 2.535-36: di, si qua est caelo pietas, quae talia curet, “gods, if there is any pietas in (either “heaven” or just “the sky).” For, if there is no pietas in heaven, then the caelum can only really be “the sky”. Cmp. the last lines of Seneca’s Medea: per alta vade spatia sublime aetheris; / testare nullos esse, qua veheris, deos (“ride through the lofty stretches of the aether / and bear witness that where you travel, there are no gods, 1026-27).  97 Fitch, Seneca, 7.   46 abilities? For me it seems as if the doubt that Seneca instills in the audience about Hercules is emblematic of a larger sense of doubt about the national moment that Seneca finds himself in: a world experiencing an unparalleled span of peacetime, stratified wealth, dysfunctional political systems, and a public infatuated with broadcasting its personas for the world to see. The play’s withholding of information represents a crisis of definition and a search for origins and meanings, a search for etymologies of culture. The themes of Hercules Furens show a morbid curiosity with the morality of force in imperial Rome, the new vindex mundi of the 50s and 60s CE, even as Rome could see the end of its Manifest Destiny on the horizon. There are all sorts of ways in which one might imagine Romans from every walk of life read the play Hercules Furens to work through their struggles, whether they were part of the defunct senatorial class or freedmen, struggling to hold their own in a newly upwardly mobile society. Romans saw their hopes and fears and dreams in Hercules even in his slow descent into madness. The play’s active subversion of the audience’s expectations mirrors the chaos and confusion of this period in the Roman Empire. The play capitalizes on two of the major elements of Augustan art, ambiguity and multivalence of meaning, in the micro with metathetic formations like super/b/us and in the macro by delaying Hercules’s appearance and sowing confusion about his true nature (cf. discussion of the debate with Lycus in the second act).  These aesthetic and dramatic elements suspend the audience’s conventional ability to pass judgment on the central moral issue of the play. While the play borrows these Augustan elements, they are put to use for a uniquely Senecan ending that strikes audiences as highly problematic, because of the lack of the hero’s corporeal death as is expected in the genre because of paradigms like Sophocles’s Ajax and because Hercules’s reasoning for seemingly letting himself go unpunished is not clearly articulated. The ending of the play triggers a series of contradictory reactions—skepticism for Hercules’s remorse or the true extent of his willingness to live by principles in the first place, agony for the jealousy and arbitrary violence of the gods, even as it is increasingly unclear if they exist at all, relief for the end of bloodshed, all feelings that were haunting the hearts of contemporary Romans.    47 Chapter 3  Theban Poetics: Teaching the Lessons of Tragedy from Within One in Phoenician Women                     “People, I’ve had an epiphany: the hero cannot exist in a vacuum. What our story needs is an ironic, unexpected event that will propel our hero into conflict.”     - Rango (2011)   48 Chapter 3 Theban Poetics: Teaching the Lessons of Tragedy from Within One in Phoenician Women    Dramatis Personae The play has seven characters: OEDIPUS, the former Theban king in self-imposed exile; ANTIGONE, Oedipus’s daughter; JOCASTA, wife and mother of Oedipus; a MESSENGER and ATTENDANT; and lastly, POLYNICES and ETEOCLES, sons of Oedipus and Jocasta.  Play Synopsis The play is divided into two distinct acts (the play, unusually, only has two) the first having to do with Oedipus and the second with his wife-mother Jocasta. After Oedipus determines the true origin of the plague in Thebes—his parricide and incestuous relations with his mother—he goes into self-exile accompanied by his daughter-sister Antigone and contemplates taking his own life. Meanwhile at Thebes, Oedipus’s son-brothers Polynices and Eteocles arrange a power-sharing agreement that goes awry when one brother fails to leave at the end of his appointed term. The breach of the agreement leads Polynices to seek the assistance of a foreign power, King Adrastus of Argos, to march against his brother Eteocles and Thebes. In the second act, Jocasta, who has “not committed suicide as in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Seneca’s Oedipus”,98 tries to reason with her sons before the battle.   Critics—with the exception of Tarrant (1978)—generally believe that Seneca’s the PW is incomplete, because of its very peculiar dramatic structure:99 the play lacks a chorus;100 it ends “abruptly” at line 664;101 it is a full 397 lines or 1200 words shorter than Seneca’s next shortest play Oedipus;102 instead of the five act structure, it divides into two sections or two acts, which Fitch suggests may have been meant to be expanded upon later.103 Stylistically, the play lacks                                                 98 Fitch, Seneca (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 275. 99 W.M. Calder III, Cp 70 (1975) 33; Marcia Frank in her commentary of the PW, 1995; Susanna Morton Braund calls the play “palpably incomplete,” in her review of M. Frank’s commentary to the PW, Classical Review 1998, 33; Fitch 2002, 278; I. Opelt’s critical study of Senecan tragedy describes the play as unified but does not explain any of the structure problems, 272-285; cf. Tarrant 1978, 229. 100 R. J. Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978): 223. 101 Fitch, Seneca, 275. 102 The PW is 4112 words long compared to Oedipus’s 5338 word count in 1061 lines. 103 Seneca and Fitch, Seneca, 278.   49 true dialogue between characters and is instead composed of a series of attended monologues. Tarrant takes note of the odd structure and lack of dialogue in the PW and describes it as Seneca’s attempt to write in a new subgenre of tragedy by emphasizing “histrionically effective solo writing” over plot action.104   Influences in Greek and Roman Literature There are two extant Greek models for Seneca’s the PW: the first act resembles Sophocles’s Oedipus at Colonus and the second act contains scenes that bear a resemblance to scenes in Euripides’s Phoenician Women. Seneca’s play deviates from these plays— “complete reversals,” says Fitch—in terms of location of the scenes and the motive behind his grief, as well as the survival of Jocasta mentioned earlier, in what might be termed a reversal of expectations. Fitch suggests that the fusion of two different passion-restraint scenes between Jocasta and her sons from Euripides’s PW is not a Senecan innovation, or at least, that it is attested elsewhere earlier in Etruscan vase painting from the second century BCE. Propertius (1st c. BCE) in Elegies 2.9.49-52 alludes to the scene of Jocasta reasoning with her two sons. Fitch opines that possibly the splicing of these two distinct stories from acts one and two is an invention of Seneca’s to contrast the mental states of Oedipus and Jocasta.105  Historical Context  Fitch suggests that the strangeness the PW’s composition is due to the fact that it was unfinished at the time of Seneca’s death at 65 CE.106 As far as cultural issues that are relevant to the date of the play’s composition and popular Zeitgeist, Fitch cites the importance of the theme of pietas for a Roman audience, notably one of the four values named on Augustus’s Shield of Virtues along with virtus, clementia, and iustitia. Additionally, Fitch identifies literary interaction of the scenes adapted in the PW:   Jocasta’s intercession with Polynices had a Roman analogue in the tradition of Coriolanus confronted by                                                 104 Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” 230. 105 Seneca and Fitch, Seneca, 278. 106 Ibid.   50 his mother as he marched on Rome … while the conflict of the brothers had a parallel in the fratricide of Romulus, Rome’s legendary founder. The succession of Roman civil wars in the first century B.C. had left a deep sense of inherited guilt in following generations, a feeling expressed in the two leading epics of the later first century A.D.: the Pharsalia or Civil War of Seneca’s nephew Lucan deals directly with the war between Pompey and Caesar (“war between kin,” cognatas acies, since the two men were related by marriage), while Statius’ Thebiad returns to the mythical analogue of the “war between brothers” (fraternas acies) at Thebes.107   One might also add the Roman emperor Tiberius and his self-imposed, semi-permanent exile at Capri in 26 CE makes for an important contemporary echo of Oedipus’s situation in the play.    Seneca’s PW is a very unusual tragedy for structural reasons (mentioned above), but in some respects it shares a lot of similar features with other Senecan plays. Like in the other two chapters on Hercules Furens and Phaedra, I will argue that the PW presents characters who are highly self-conscious of their own mythos and who are knowledgeable about the structural conventions of the tragedy they are part of. An additional mark of characters’ hyperconsciousness of their existence in a generic world: their occasional tendency to epitomize the idea of tragedy (PW 450-51, 554-55). I argue that the highly self-referential expressions of classic/tropic tragic moments in the PW have an impact on the audience’s emotional response to the scenes beyond the usual cultural caché of a fleeting intertextual allusion or metatheatrical gag. Schiesaro’s work on Seneca’s mise-en-abyme technique108 and Tarrant’s (contested) work explaining how the PW is a complete play can be used to explain how this level of genre-consciousness on the part of the PW’s characters is symptomatic of a departure from old tragic genre conventions toward a new tragic form.  First, to start with Tarrant on the PW and the rebirth of Hellenistic tragedy in Senecan drama. In his 1979 monograph Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents Tarrant outlines the case for describing Senecan tragedy as original and distinct from its Greek predecessors. In the course of describing the eccentricities of Senecan dramatic structure, Tarrant sets apart the PW from the other Senecan plays, but ultimately equates what is quintessentially “Senecan” with the defining                                                 107 Ibid., 276–78. 108 Alessandro Schiesaro, The Passions in Play: Thyestes and the Dynamics of Senecan Drama (Cambridge University Press, 2003).   51 characteristics of the PW.109 He begins by describing an internal logic to the choruses of Senecan drama that has “no basis in classical Greek tragedy”110—an element curiously lacking in the PW. Next, in the section “Independence of Individual Scenes,” Tarrant draws attention to Friedrich and O. Zwierlein’s critical studies of what Regenbogen described as the “dissolution of the dramatic structure,”111 in Senecan drama, referring to the various chronological or factually conflicting “inconsistencies” resulting from abrupt or unclear scene changes that are characteristic of Senecan drama. It is at this point that Tarrant brings up the PW as a paradigmatic example of “Seneca’s emancipation from classical tragic form at its most extreme.”112 Tarrant attributes the Greek antecedent of the PW not to Athenian tragedy but rather a “distinct subgenre” of Hellenistic tragedy, citing the Hellenistic play Exagoge by Ezechiel as the only other extant example of such writing.113 Tarrant cites Aristotle’s assessment of the “damaging effects of the actor’s supremacy fourth-century tragedy”114 saying, “…the highly developed rhetorical and pathetic skills of the performers encouraged writers of tragedy to emphasize histrionically effective solo writing at the expense of a coherent whole.” In the discussion of the “Suspension of Dramatic Time,” Tarrant cites the “novel features” of the entrance of Polynices in lines and the scene that follows (261-87) as “significant evidence of the direction in which the technique of tragedy was developing at the end of the fifth century.”115 In short, Tarrant attributes what others take as signs of an unfinished play—the lack of a chorus, suspension of dramatic time, and idiosyncratic description of offstage action—to the characteristics of an entirely new kind of play, or at least an entirely new Roman adaption of a Hellenistic model with its own unique dramatic values.                                                  109 Cf. Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” under the section labeled "Independence of Individual Scenes," 229–31; 251–53. 110 Ibid., 221–28. 111 O. Regenbogen, “Schmerz und Tod in den Tragödien des Seneca,” Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg 1927/28, 167-218. 112 Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” 229. 113 Ezechiel’s Exagoge, the only extant example of a Jewish drama, written in five acts and iambic trimeter and modeled after Greek tragedy, attests to the widespread cultural impact of the tragic model across the Greek-speaking world. Its fragments are preserved in Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, and Pseudo-Eustanthius.  114 Rhet. 3.1.4 1403b32; Poetics 1450b7.  115 Tarrant, “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents,” 236.   52 The Completeness Question  If Tarrant is right about the PW’s completeness, it is an attractive thesis for those who are interested in genre and audience expectation, because it accounts for the oddities of the play first and foremost, in addition to identifying Seneca as an even more radical innovator of the tragic genre than previously considered by scholars. With the dramatic unity of the PW in mind, the structural eccentricities of the PW support the idea of a Senecan program of discordant form following moral dysfunction advanced in the previous chapters on Phaedra and Hercules Furens —this idea that the structure of the Senecan tragedy is flexible, not rigid and bound to Attic conventions, but rather, able to dynamically affect the course of the play and alter its characters’ worldviews. But it is important to establish if Tarrant is justified in making the kinds of claims he does about the unity of the PW, otherwise his observations amount to nothing more than willful misreadings of Senecan style. Though the lack of source material and weight of consensus are not on the side of Tarrant, it seems necessary to supply a stronger set of arguments for why Tarrant’s interpretation is not just an interesting perspective, but a legitimately persuasive one as well. Mary Elizabeth Colcord’s 1916 concordance of the PW, the most extensive lexicographic data mining of Senecan drama I have found, may be helpful in the future for determining whether the PW is unfinished, unpolished, or, in fact, complete. There are some key terms in the PW that appear as frequently in the PW as they do in longer Senecan plays (see word counts in the appendix). It would be helpful to know if other words, not taken into account in my word study, appear proportionally, considering the smaller size of the PW.  Aside from a statistical analysis to see if the language and syntax of the PW is consistent with the other “finished” plays of Seneca, there are other questions that we lack enough information to answer. For instance, though the PW made it through the manuscript tradition intact, to what extent did it take part in whatever performance tradition there was for the rest of the Senecan tragedies? Was it seen as an outlier play or taken at face value, just as the two plays Hercules Oetaeus and Octavia116 were wrongly attributed to Seneca? I wonder if the                                                 116 For Hercules Oetaeus, see W. –H. Friedrich, “Sprach unf Stil des Hercules Oetaeus,” Hermes 82 (1954) 51-84 and B. Axelson, Korruptelenkult: Studien zur Textkritik der unechten Seneca—Tragödie Hercules Oetaeus (Lund, 1967). See Rolando Ferri’s 2003 Cambridge commentary on Octavia for more on that play’s manuscript tradition. Cf. D.F. Sutton’s introduction to Seneca on the Stage (1986).   53 completeness question for the PW is bound up in the performance question of Seneca, if the whiplash of scene changes and seemingly disconnected monologues is too alien to be staged. If it is the case that the two questions are linked, it would be helpful to have examples of the PW staged in other contexts. There is some evidence that the PW underwent a revival in 16th and 17th century England.  George Gascoigne (?1527-1577) “[p]oet, playwright, translator … brought many foreign literary forms into English for the first time” produced Jocasta in 1573, marking the “first Greek tragedy performed on the English stage.117 The play is not a direct translation of the PW or any other Senecan play, but it features content that is set in the same period in the Oedipus storyline as the PW, with Oedipus’s wife Jocasta describing the state of Thebes now that Oedipus has left his throne in a choral ode. Thomas Newton (?1542-1607) translated the PW as part of a complete edition of the Senecan tragedies in 1581. O’Donnell suggests that a student playwright at Oxford, Thomas Goffe (c. 1619), may have written a play based on Seneca’s PW for performance.118 As early as the 1560s, the play had been scheduled to be performed, according to a letter from Thomas Cooper, dean of Christ Church in Oxford, to the earl of Leicester, saying, “We have also in readinesse a playe or shew of the destruction of Thebes, and the contention between Eteocles and Polynices for the gouernement thereof.”119   Still, an English adaptation does not a complete Roman play make, though it does mean a play is at the very least stageable. The play is not so mangled that it is incomprehensible. The instability of setting and stylistic emphasis on long monologues could easily be an unpolished first draft as a first foray into a new genre—and not to mention, a first draft of a first foray—, one which takes its aesthetic cues from a genre we have little knowledge about and extremely few examples. The notion that the PW’s peculiar style reflects “histrionically effective solo writing” is consistent with Senecan drama’s thematic and philosophical interest in the performance of emotion,120 and the phenomenon of writing work with specific actors in mind is not without precedent in the modern world or the ancient. Similar trends led actors of Greek tragedy to emulate beloved performer’s interpretations of characters from famous plays (see note                                                 117 Seneca in English, Penguin Classics (1998). 118 Norbert F. O’Donnell’s “A Lost Jacobean Phoenissae?” MLN 69 (1954): 163-64. N. F. David McInnis of University of Melbourne via the Lost Plays Database.  119 Chambers, E. K., ed. "Four Letters on Theatrical Affairs" in Malone Society Collections 2, Part 2 (1923), 145-49.  120 Consider Andromache’s dissimulation scene in Troades 409-560 for an overt and highly self-conscious series of references to the performance of emotion (grief) in order to protect Astyanax.    54 17 on page 3 and Tarrant’s reasoning for a more actor-centric type of playwriting).121  All of this is to pose the question, is it worthwhile to think about a play’s stageability removed from its cultural context? I think the answer is probably a provisional no, it is not very worthwhile; one culture’s aesthetic values can be so far removed from another’s as to give the impression of an incomplete plot. For instance, consider criticism both culturally attuned (as with Kurosawa scholar Donald Richie, cited below) and unattuned of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, whose movies’ plots were praised as a reflection of the Japanese aesthetic of mono no aware by those who liked the subtle and graceful pacing of the storyline and criticized for lumbering and meandering by those who did not.122 Compare this focus on the pathos of things, with Fitch’s comment that Senecan style is at times more concerned with atmosphere than plot.123 So this evidence of later reception of the PW is not convincing on its own.  However, it is at least possible to account for the stylistic differences between the PW and other Senecan works, as much possible for the 16th and 17th century university playwrights at Cambridge and Oxford, and as it is for modern moviegoers who have ample experience with roles written with particular actors in mind—which, I think is the problem with assessing if a piece of work is part of a new genre. New genres depart from the conventions of their predecessors as a matter of course, and critics who subscribe to either theory of genre influence are left with the problematic question of the artist’s intentionality. How many other works of Latin literature enjoy major critical interest despite their incompleteness?124 It seems far more                                                 121 The back-handed assessment that modern stories are “histrionically effective solo writing” is usually negative (“histrionically ineffective”) and can be seen in reviews of movies that feature an A-list actor or actors but no substantial plot, e.g. criticism of The Counselor  (2013), e.g. “The script, packed with pretentious lines and silly dialogue, manages to dull even the most exciting and provocative parts of this story”; the Shakespeare movies staring and directed by Kenneth Branagh, cf. one particularly gloomy review of Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000), “Everybody in Love's Labour's Lost tries so hard to please, they frequently lose track of the matter at hand, to say nothing of the dialogue”; iconic actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger who have a relatively limited range of characterization. The process of allowing actors to shape the story rather than the other way around is especially popular in a genre of improvisational comedy by directors like Judd Apatow and actor, screenwriter, and producer Will Ferrell. Usually this phenomenon of “histrionically effective solo writing” is couched in the term “cameo,” in which an actor of note makes a brief appearance that may not necessarily redeem the otherwise poor quality of the entire film or television program. The cameo was popularized as a form of comedy in the comedy variety show Saturday Night Live. Sometimes the bid to write a movie with a specific actor in mind pays off as was the case with Pixar’s Toy Story (1995), which famously was written with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in mind for the parts of Woody and Buzz Lightyear.  122 For more on the aesthetic of mono no aware and the Japanese aesthetic of atmospheric and emotional catharsis, see Donald Richie, “’Mono no aware’: Hiroshima in Film” in Broderick, Hibakusha Cinema, pp. 20-37.  123 Fitch 2002, 16-17. 124 For what Eden calls a “cautious and necessarily inconclusive examination” of the incompleteness of Vergil, see Sparrow, Half Lines and Repetitions in Virgil (Oxford 1931) and F.W. Lenz, The Incomplete Verses in Virgil’s   55 productive, from a critical perspective, to give the provisional completeness of an artist’s work the benefit of the doubt so that it can be assessed on equal footing with other work. Assuming otherwise seems to leave open the question of completeness for any of the “complete” plays when we find stylistic or plot quirks that do not appear to be consistent with our concept of what is and is not mature Senecan dramatic style and structure. We are left asking, when is any piece of art considered complete? This discussion above poses the question in macro—to what extent is any piece of art truly finished and when are we as aesthetic critics permitted to say that a piece’s stylistic features are too unpolished to be remarked upon with any true insight? But we can also look at this issue of the completeness of a piece of art from a much smaller example. Putting the completeness of the PW in terms of something like the status of a movie which features an actor who dies sometime near the beginning of post-production seems like a helpful thought experiment—both for engaging with criticism against and considering arguments for a unified PW. In the thought experiment, the actor has set the major blueprints for his character, though the possibilities for further creative expansion are curbed by the inability to make changes beyond what has already been filmed. The death of the actor does not mean that the film will necessarily suffer from abrupt cuts and inconsistencies, because it need not have been filmed chronologically. In terms of the PW, we have a play that has been dated for the end of Seneca’s life, because the style seems so incongruent with Seneca’s other work, however, our lack of knowledge about the poet’s composition process ultimately hamstrings further discussion.  I hope that this discussion of the common structural criticisms of the PW amounts to a preliminary rethinking about the legitimacy of Tarrant’s claims and offers some alternatives to the inevitability of an incomplete PW. Though I would rather be agnostic about the extent to which the play is finished, it is vital to provide a defense of the PW’s unity if one intends to draw meaningful observations about its structural format.                                                                                                                                                           Eneid in Vergiliana (ed. H. Bardon and R. Verdière, Leiden, 1971), 158. P.T. Eden, A Commentary on Virgil VIII (1975), 26. For discussions of Lucan’s incompleteness, see S. M. Braund’s introduction to Lucan’s Civil War (Oxford 2008), xxxvii-xxxiii, and Ahl’s Lucan: An Introduction (1976), 306-26.   56 Hyperconscious References to Tragic Tropes in the PW  Tarrant’s thesis that the PW represents a quintessentially new direction for Roman tragedy, one which departs from the conventions of Seneca’s previous work and from the conventions of Attic drama, makes an argument from the perspective of dramatic influences. Tarrant describes a different subgenre of tragedy from which Seneca takes his cues, but not necessarily why it was appropriate for the subject matter or the cultural context, or how—or if—it enhances the dramatic impact of the play.  One of the ways in which one can approach this question of the appropriateness of the structure of the PW is through three hyperconscious references to tragic tropes in lines 97, 450-51, and 554-55, the first voiced by Oedipus to his daughter-sister Antigone, the second voiced by Jocasta as she comes between her two sons on the brink of battle. These hyperconscious references to tragic tropes bring the audience’s attention to the genre conventions of the play in a way that disrupts the flow of the plot and underscores the differences between the form of PW and other Senecan plays. The first instance that will be instructive in describing this phenomena is the beginning of the passion-restraint scene in which Jocasta draws a contrast between her own error (“mistake”), which she describes as “unwilling” (450), and that of her sons’ impending crime (nefas, 453), saying, “it was a mistake that made us [Jocasta and Oedipus] do wrong unwillingly” (error invitos adhuc / fecit nocentes, 450-51).125 The error here is meant to signify an action other than correct, as in meaning 6a. of the OLD, “a departure from right principles, moral lapse, or sim.”,126 but there is also a flavor to the expression that reads as equivalent with Aristotle’s term hamartia.127 But the technical literary meaning of the error of a tragic hero codified in the Greek                                                 125 “…it was a mistake that made us do wrong unwillingly, the crime was Chance’s entirely doing wrong to us; this is the first outrage [nefas] waged against us knowingly,” …error invitos adhuc / fecit nocentes, omne Fortunae fuit / peccantis in nos crimen; hoc primum nefas / inter scientes geritur. For related statements stressing a person’s freely and knowingly doing wrong see “knowing and willingly,” volens sciensque Hercules Furens 1301; see, Phaedra (for the opposite logic): “First and foremost it is preferable to be pure, rather than fall from the high road,” honesta primum est velle nec labi via 140, “success purifies some crimes,” honesta quaedam scelera successus facit 598. 126 Lewis and Short put error in the same class as the words “erratum, vitium, peccatum.” 127 Generically, “a failure, fault,” as in Aeschylus’s Agamemnon 1197 or as in Thucydides 1.32 used with δοξῆς  “an error of judgment” (emphasis from LSJ, 1a.). Also, “guilt or sin” in philosophy and religion (1b.), Nichomachean Ethics 1148a3; Plato’s Laws 660c; Poetics 1453a10-15: “This is the sort of man who is not pre-eminently virtuous and just, and yet it is through no badness or villainy of his own that he falls into the fortune, but rather through some flaw in him, he being one of those who are in high station and good fortune, like Oedipus and Thyestes and the famous men of such families as those…” Trans. W.H. Fyfe. The meaning of hamartia may be   57 by Aristotle seems like it could plausibly fall on the ears of even a casual listener—in the same way that lowbrow modern comedies are able to take advantage of metatheatrical references for comic effect.128 The reference in the PW does not seem out of place, forced, or satirical, but its encapsulation of one of the major tropes of tragedy—the hero’s error—ought to catch the attention of some listeners, at least as a pithy expression of tragic pathos. In a way, Jocasta’s reference (intentional or subconscious on her part) to her and her husband-son’s tragic mistake reaches outside of the genre to teach her sons to behave virtuously. Jocasta’s recognition—what Aristotle terms anagnorisis129—of her tragic flaw and her use of a roughly equivalent literary term to teach a moral lesson to her sons mirrors Seneca’s metatheatrical method as we have seen so far, in his creation of metathetic formations like super/b/us and his use of artistic metaphoric language to describe the protagonist’s struggle to self-represent in Hercules Furens or in his reversal of the passion-restraint scene in Phaedra to demonstrate the sophistication and double-sided power of the mind’s base desires. Jocasta must metatheatrically reflect on a generic aspect of her character—and break the fourth wall—in order to impart wisdom to her children. She is reflecting on her place in a tragedy in order to prevent her sons from becoming tragic characters themselves.  With that in mind, it is possible to see the mechanics of other self-referential expressions of tragedy in the PW, such as in line 97 where Oedipus addresses his daughter-sister: “You do wrong even with good intentions” (peccas honesta mente). Oedipus compresses the concept of tragic hamartia into a three-word sententia or aphorism, and, tellingly, he does so without offering Antigone an alternative for moral betterment. Fitch suggests that the juxtaposition of the two storylines contrasts the mental state of Oedipus and Jocasta, but also displays the light and dark sides of the Roman virtue of pietas (loyalty).130 Their self-referential expressions of tragedy contrast as well: while Jocasta’s advice to her sons leaves open the possibility of their escaping a                                                                                                                                                        closer to OLD 5a. for error: “a mistake or mistaken condition, error (in thought or action).” Error is used in the generic sense for a “mistake” in Horace’s Ars Poetica 454, Vergil’s Aeneid 2.48 and Georgics 3.513; perhaps most influentially for Seneca in Ovid’s Fasti 3.555, Ars Amatoria 1.10.9, Met. 5.90, 10.342, and more rarely with the connotation of a “moral error” in Ovid’s prose Pont. 4.8.20, 2.2.57 and 2.3.92. 128 Consider the pulpy and in-no-way-presumptuous children’s film Rango (2011) that makes completely palatable and comic an instance of shorthand literary structuralism in its opening lines. The protagonist meditates (to himself, but also unintentionally breaks the fourth wall) on his one man show’s lack of dramatic stakes: “People, I’ve had an epiphany: the hero cannot exist in a vacuum. What our story needs is an ironic, unexpected event that will propel our hero into conflict.” 129 Poetics 1452a. 130  Fitch, Seneca, 276–78.   58 tragic fate (I made an error, you should not have to), Oedipus’s reference to Antigone is definitive and unequivocal (You are doing wrong, despite what you think). Jocasta offers her children an exit path from tragedy while Oedipus condemns them to the story (so says, Oedipus: “Let my son have this [my murder, but also my fate], each of them,” natus hunc habeat meus, / sed uterque, 109-110).  When Jocasta reminds her sons of their father’s plight, she implicitly warns them of the dangers of trapping themselves in the tragic genre: “Now your father should come to mind, by whose judgment punishments are sought even for a mistake,” (occurat tibi / nunc Oedipus, quo iudice erroris quoque / poenae petutntur, 554-55). Already, Oedipus is an exemplum, even as he lives, for contemplation and moral instruction.   Tarrant’s thoughts about the play’s quintessential Senecan qualities, the literary sources available that may have influenced the structure of the play, and the audience’s experience of the play can help to explain the ways in which Senecan drama interacts with its predecessors. The PW’s relative brevity exaggerates characteristics of Senecan drama like the metatheatrical expressions of tragedy and makes them stand out in a way that is dulled in longer, more structurally ornate Senecan plays. Jocasta and Oedipus’s reflections on their own status as tragic characters in the PW nicely demonstrates one of the themes of Senecan drama that we have seen in Hercules Furens and Phaedra, primarily that Senecan characters display a knowledge of their own stories and the tragic genre in which they exist and they use that knowledge to make decisions about their actions.  Questions about the plays completeness seem to come from mostly aesthetic arguments about conventions of other Senecan drama, which is why it is so necessary for those who see unity in the play to look for other structures and formats that could have been used as models. Because examples of post-classical drama are limited to the fragmentary Exagogue, definitive evidence for the genre’s influence on the PW is thin, but it at least opens up the possibility that some of the same signs that trigger some to accuse the play of being incomplete may be signs of a foray into a new genre. It is worth looking at later reception of the PW in order to assess the play’s stageability and dramatic coherence, but stageability should not be the only rubric by which to measure the play’s unity. It is up to individual scholars to determine to what extent structure should be commented upon based on the information available about a particular poem   59 or poet’s manner of composition, and in the absence of that information, I advise generally accepting the work as complete enough to be interpretable as a structural unit, rather than attributing inconsistencies to scribal error or untimely death.  What sets PW apart from the rest of the Senecan corpus besides its obvious structural eccentricities is the level to which characters express themselves in terms of the genre they inhabit. In Hercules Furens, Hercules himself is highly conscious of his role as a hero and what that traditionally entails (the preservation of universal justice, the accomplishing of miracles, ethical consistency, etc.), but the lack of clarity about his motives and his tendency to act before speaking renders him a poor spokesperson for his hyperconscious counterparts (see unmarked decision-making in the critical reception section, as well as the discussion of characters’ literary considerations about what is possible in the Hercules Furens chapter). Though we sense that Hercules understands himself as both a hero and metatheatrically as an auctor (decider, originator, but also “author”), it is not immediately obvious to what end that metatheatric understanding of himself serves. Oedipus and Jocasta are in PW, by contrast, highly verbal and very revealing in their metatheatrical references. For Jocasta, references to elements of the tragic genre serve as negative exempla for her children. The references work both non-specifically (general warnings against doing wrong with good intentions) but also metatheatrically to those on stage or in the audience who are sensitive to the language of structuralism literary vocabulary and expectations of tragic outcomes. Jocasta couches her moral lessons in the kind of literary language that the mortals are asking for in Act Two of Hercules Furens, as they participate in a kind of surreal literary discussion about Hercules’s ability or inability to go to the Underworld. Oedipus is influenced by what he sees as the inevitability of his own crime and his irreparably damaged self, and as a result he attributes to his children’s impending wrongs an inevitability. His descriptions of their tragic, perfect distillations of tragedy, are invocatory and vatic, but they also cross into the territory of the moral philosopher or the sophist who, unlike Phaedra’s nurse, parses the conventions of his genre to condemn rather than redeem: rephrasing the Nurse’s line to something like, “This outrage is worse than monstrous, for the monstrous is attributable to fate genre, but crime to character” (Pha. 143-44, see note 33 on the necessity of fate in the Phaedra chapter).   Innovations to the tragic structure in PW are extreme and the impact that these changes to genre tropes are likewise extreme. Most profound seems to be the way in which Seneca’s   60 Oedipus and Jocasta can reflect on their lives in a way that is not realized in earlier corresponding Greek and Roman adaptations. The rigid, compartmentalized structure of the play prevents characters like Oedipus and Antigone from addressing Jocasta or the sons, rendering Oedipus’s advice for them ineffectual. Though action in this plot is effectively frozen and no character seems able to convince other characters to change their course, different characters supplied with the same level of consciousness about their tragic fate arrive at drastically different worldviews and dispense very different advice.   61 Conclusion  In the previous chapters, I have attempted to show how changes to conventional tragic structure and stories—like the number of acts, the victor of the passion-restraint scene, or the characters’ foreknowledge about future actions in the play—affects the play’s content, influence outcomes, and shape characters’ worldviews.  In Hercules Furens, I examined how the Caesars’ darling hero Hercules manages to upset the tragic plot in two ways: by failing to properly express his motivations for falling into madness (in other plays explained explicitly by god characters) and failing to die honorably in just self-punishment. The play profiles a hero with divine lineage, whose power is suddenly rendered questionable by a coup in Thebes, and a town full of people who are similarly skeptical about the extent of their hero’s powers.  Phaedra, in contrast, turns the lens away from the deeds of the hero and to the collateral damage wrought against the family in the process. The dissolution of the house of Theseus and the transmogrification of Phaedra into an incestuous, adulterous mother, are prompted by the Nurse’s hyperconscious remarks about the barriers to bad behavior. The Nurse ultimately undermines her own advice and instructs Phaedra on how to get away with crimes without being held morally accountable. We have discussed the ways in which the structural innovations of Phaedra and Hercules Furens have opposite effects on the pacing of the plays: in Phaedra, the failure of the passion-restraint scene rapidly catalyzes action on the part of the play’s protagonist, whereas in Hercules Furens the tension is intensified by the delayed entrance of the protagonist until the end first half of the play.  Phoenissae’s multiple stylistic idiosyncrasies signal a unified artistic vision that Tarrant implies is diluted through the process of adaptation in the other Senecan tragedies. In this play, characters’ heightened knowledge about their future allows them to formulate advice for their children with a high degree of ironic self-referentiality. The conclusions reached by the two parents, Jocasta and Oedipus, of children at war contrasts violently with one another, although they agree on the fundamental truths of the tragic blueprint for their lives.  Senecan innovation is a product of an age that was profoundly skeptical of rhetoric’s moral force (Phaedra) as well as the moral force of violence itself (as in Hercules Furens). It   62 came about through a discontent with the dramatic limitations of the tragic play (as in PW) and an appreciation for style and storytelling of Augustan authors, chief among them Ovid. What unites the three plays discussed throughout this thesis is the heightened level of consciousness that characters have about their own stories and the dramatic tropes of telling their story, and further, the ultimately skeptical conclusions that are implied by these unifying principles: the failure of reason to contain passion, the impotence of the world-conqueror, the tragic inevitability of fratricidal war. This intense skepticism about the tragic characters and stories that Senecan drama reflects on is itself a reflection on the mirrored experiences of the audience, experienced in the tragic genre, and the philosopher, experienced in the human condition—the curse of consciousness, a weariness with a ever-plastic set of morals and a ruling class bent on  molding them to their own devices.   63 Selected Bibliography  Ahl, Frederick. Metaformations: Soundplay and Wordplay in Ovid and Other Classical Poets. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. Arrowsmith, William. “A Greek Theater of Ideas.” Arion 2, no. 3 (1963): 32–56. Beare, William. The Roman Stage. Methuen, 1955. Bibauw, Jacqueline, and Marcel Renard. Hommages à Marcel Renard. Latomus, 1969. Boyle, Anthony James. Seneca’s Phaedra. F. Cairns, 1987. Coffey and Mayer. Seneca: Phaedra. Cambridge University Press, 1990. Eliot, T. S. Selected Essays. 3d enl. ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1958. Favro, Diane. The Urban Image of Augustan Rome. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Fitch, John G. “Pectus O Nimium Ferum: Act V of Seneca’s Hercules Furens.” Hermes 107, no. 2 (1979): 240–48.  ———. Seneca’s Hercules Furens: A Critical Text with Introduction and Commentary. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology, v. 45. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987. ———. Seneca. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002. Frank, Marica. Seneca’s Phoenissae. Brill, 1995. Galinsky, Karl. The Herakles Theme: The Adaptations of the Hero in Literature from Homer to the Twentieth Century. Rowman and Littlefield, 1972. Goldberg, Sander M. “Reading Roman Tragedy.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 13, no. 4 (2007): 571–84. Grant, M. D. “Plautus and Seneca: Acting in Nero’s Rome.” Greece & Rome (Second Series) 46, no. 01 (1999): 27–33. Herington, C.J. “Senecan Tragedy.” Arion 5, no. 4 (1966): 422–71. Motto, Anna Lydia. Seneca. Twayne’s World Authors Series, TWAS 268. Latin Literature. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1973. Motto, Anna Lydia, and John R. Clark. “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens.” Classical Philology 76, no. 2 (1981): 101–17. ———. “Maxima Virtus in Seneca’s Hercules Furens.” Classical Philology 76, no. 2 (1981): 101–17. Ogilvie, Robert Maxwell. Roman Literature and Society. Harvester Press, 1980. Owen, William H. “Commonplace and Dramatic Symbol in Seneca’s Tragedies.” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 99 (1968): 291–313. Papadopoulou, Thalia. “Herakles and Hercules: The Hero’s Ambivalence in Euripides and Seneca.” Mnemosyne 57, no. 3 (2004): 257–83. Rivoltella, Massimo. “Il motivo della colpa ereditaria nelle tragedie senecane: una ciclicità in ‘Crescendo.’” Aevum 67, no. 1 (1993): 113–28. Schiesaro, Alessandro. The Passions in Play: Thyestes and the Dynamics of Senecan Drama. Cambridge University Press, 2003.   64 Share, Don. Poets in Translation: Seneca in English. Penguin Classics. London, England  ; New York, N.Y., USA: Penguin Books, 1998. Shelton, Jo-Ann. “Problems of Time in Seneca’s ‘Hercules Furens’ and ‘Thyestes.’” California Studies in Classical Antiquity 8 (1975): 257–69.  ———. Seneca’s Hercules Furens: Theme, Structure and Style. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1978. Sophocles. Oedipus and Antigone. Trans. Ian Johnston. 2010: http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi. Tarrant, R. J. “Greek and Roman in Seneca’s Tragedies.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 97 (1995): 215–30. ———. “Senecan Drama and Its Antecedents.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82 (1978): 213–63.  Theodorakopoulos, Elena. “Review of Cicero, Catullus, and the Language of Social Performance by B. A. Krostenko; Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood by D. Wray.” The Journal of Roman Studies 93 (2003): 359–61.  Wray, David. Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood. Cambridge University Press, 2001. Zanobi, Alessandra. Seneca’s Tragedies and the Aesthetics of Pantomime. A&C Black, 2014.   65 Appendix  CONCORDANCE for PLAYS OF SENECA MINOR  *profiling Seneca through word use *diachronic approach: how does Senecan style develop over time? What concepts does he become more interested in and when does he lose or gain interest in them? What concepts are they replaced with? *order from earliest to latest to look at single word over time *Issue: cluster sampling vs. stratified significance: future questions to consider, how common are these words in other works at the same time?  *Other issues: is there metrical significance to synonyms?  MORAL EXEMPLA WORDS 1. Virtus: Agamemnon               x          out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  2 out of 7,206 HF*    16 out of 7,653 Medea   3 out of 5,693 TW   3 out of 6,834 PW   2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  2. Vis/vim: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  9 out of 7,206 HF   8 out of 7,653 Medea   7 out of 5,693 TW   4 out of 6,834 PW*   8 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  3a. Pietas (loyalty): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  3 out of 7,206 HF 2 out of 7,653 Medea   6 out of 5,693 TW   2 out of 6,834 PW*   7 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  3b. pius (loyal): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  2 out of 7,206 HF   2 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   3 out of 6,834 PW*   7 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  4a. impietas (disloyalty): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF*    1 out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  4b. impius (disloyal): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  9 out of 7,206 HF*    11 out of 7,653 Medea   5 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   4 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  5. Clementia: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112   66 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  6a. Pudor: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  12 out of 7,206 HF   2 out of 7,653 Medea   3 out of 5,693 TW   3 out of 6,834 PW   1 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  6b. Pudicus Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  3 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  7. Impudicus: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  3 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  8a. Lex (law): Agamemnon  4 out of 5,583 Oedipus  4  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  5 out of 7,206 HF   3 out of 7,653 Medea   3 out of 5,693 TW (same conv.) 2 out of 6,834 PW   1 out of 4,112 Thyestes  2 out of 6,315  8b. ius + iura (law): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  4 out of 7,206 HF*    7 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   5 out of 6,834 PW*   4 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  9a. Justitia (justice): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea*  1 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315 *Though iustitia was represented on the shield presented to Augustus by senate and people in 27 B.C. (RG 34.2, Tib. Is the only Julio-Claudian emperor on whose coinage the word appears (in 22): see Sutherland 97-98, Weinstock 247, Wallace-Hadrill. T, is highly skeptical of the word, never using it in A/ 1-6; cotrast Vell. 126.2. (Martin and Woodman, Tac. Annals IV, p 109).   9b. Justus (just, fair): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  5 out of 7,206 HF   2 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  10a. Fides (trust, compact; PW):  Agamemnon  12 out of 5,583 Oedipus  10 out of 5,338 Phaedra  5 out of 7,206 HF   8 out of 7,653 Medea   8 out of 5,693 TW   9 out of 6,834 PW   7 out of 4,112 Thyestes*  18 out of 6,315  10b. Pignus (agreement): Agamemnon  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206   67 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea*  3 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  11. Perfida (treacherous):  Agamemnon*  3 out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea*  3 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  12. Honestus (pure, innocent, Ph. and PW): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  2 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW*   1 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  15. Fraus (deceit, trickery; Med.):  Agamemnon  3 out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra  3 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea*  8 out of 5,693 TW   5 out of 6,834 PW (same conv.) 2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  5 out of 6,315  13. Fas: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus (same conv.) 2  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   2 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  4 out of 6,315   14. Nefas: Agamemnon  3 out of 5,583 Oedipus  7  out of 5,338 Phaedra  12 out of 7,206 HF   7 out of 7,653 Medea   4 out of 5,693 TW   6 out of 6,834 PW*   11 out of 4,112 Thyestes  15 out of 6,315  Temperantia & tempero (self-control, discipline): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF*    2 out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  Modestia (discipline, submission; self-control humbleness) Agamemnon*  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Moderatio & modero (moderation) Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  3 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Constantia (steadfastness): X Agamemnon  x out of 5,583   68 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315   ANACHRONISM/ROMANNESS: 16. Lares: Agamemnon  3 out of 5,583 Oedipus*  3  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315   METATHEATRICAL 17. Fabula: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW (same conv.)* 2 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  18. Auctor: Agamemnon  3 out of 5,583 Oedipus  2  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF*    4 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   1 out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  19. Fingo: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  7 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  20. Narro: Agamemnon*  2 out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315   NORMATIVE/ UNIVERSALS/ GENERALIZING/ JUSTICE: 21. Natura:  Agamemnon  2 out of 5,583 Oedipus  3  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  7 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   3 out of 4,112 Thyestes  2 out of 6,315  22. Mundus (generalizing principle): Agamemnon  5 out of 5,583 Oedipus  5  out of 5,338 Phaedra  10 out of 7,206 HF*    18 out of 7,653 Medea   6 out of 5,693 TW   2 out of 6,834 PW   2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  6 out of 6,315  23a. Monstrum (and monstro) (Ph.): Agamemnon  3 out of 5,583 Oedipus  4  out of 5,338 Phaedra  14 out of 7,206 HF*    16 out of 7,653 Medea   7 out of 5,693   69 TW   4 out of 6,834 PW   2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  5 out of 6,315  24. Novus (“Strange,” Med.’s dirty word):  Agamemnon  11 out of 5,583 Oedipus*  16  out of 5,338 Phaedra  9 out of 7,206 HF   12 out of 7,653 Medea   14 out of 5,693 TW   6 out of 6,834 PW   11 out of 4,112 Thyestes  9 out of 6,315  25. Reflexive pronoun (se):   Total Words Agamemnon  9 out of 5,583 Oedipus*  18 out of 5,338 Phaedra  16 out of 7,206 HF   11 out of 7,653 Medea   6 out of 5,693 TW   3 out of 6,834 PW*   11 out of 4,112 Thyestes  7 out of 6,315  26. pretium (exchange, price): Agamemnon  4 out of 5,583 Oedipus  2  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   2 out of 6,834 PW*   4 out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  27. Innocuus (guiltless/harmless): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF*    4 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315   Innocens: Agamemnon  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus  3  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea*  4 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  3 out of 6,315  Insontes: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  3 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   1 out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  28. Nocens (nom. only, the status not the action, “guilty/harmful”)  Agamemnon  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus*  5  out of 5,338 Phaedra  3 out of 7,206 HF   2 out of 7,653 Medea   5 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   3 out of 4,112 Thyestes  2 out of 6,315  Sons (guilty, criminal): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus*  2  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Volens (only nom. case, “willingly) Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653   70 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Noverca (step-mother): Agamemnon  2 out of 5,583 Oedipus  2  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  7 out of 7,206 HF   5 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  EMOTION WORDS Invisus (hated): Agamemnon  2 out of 5,583 Oedipus  3  out of 5,338 Phaedra  4 out of 7,206 HF*    6 out of 7,653 Medea   2 out of 5,693 TW   3 out of 6,834 PW   5 out of 4,112 Thyestes  3 out of 6,315  Ira & irascor: Agamemnon  6 out of 5,583 Oedipus  10  out of 5,338 Phaedra  7 out of 7,206 HF   14 out of 7,653 Medea*  25 out of 5,693 TW   10 out of 6,834 PW   7 out of 4,112 Thyestes  14 out of 6,315  Furor: Agamemnon  10 out of 5,583 Oedipus  2  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  17 out of 7,206 HF   11 out of 7,653 Medea   8 out of 5,693 TW   4 out of 6,834 PW   3 out of 4,112 Thyestes  5 out of 6,315  INTERNAL MECHANISM WORDS  Memoro (memoranda, to remember) Agamemnon  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus  3  out of 5,338 Phaedra  2 out of 7,206 HF*    6 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Memor (adj., remembering) & memoria (n.): Agamemnon  2 out of 5,583 Oedipus  3  out of 5,338 Phaedra  2 out of 7,206 HF   4 out of 7,653 Medea*  4 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Immemor: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315  Oblitus (forgetting): Agamemnon  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  x out of 7,206 HF*    4 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  71 Conscius:  Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  3 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   1 out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW*   2 out of 4,112 Thyestes  1 out of 6,315  Sciens (only in nom. case, “knowingly”): Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra  1 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   x out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes*  2 out of 6,315  Sileo (to be silent): Agamemnon  2 out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  6 out of 7,206 HF   6 out of 7,653 Medea   3 out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   1 out of 4,112 Thyestes  2 out of 6,315  Taceo & Tacitus: Agamemnon  4 out of 5,583 Oedipus  5  out of 5,338 Phaedra  9 out of 7,206 HF   6 out of 7,653 Medea   8 out of 5,693 TW   3 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes*  9 out of 6,315   SEX WORDS: stuprum (rape? Sexual impropriety? Sex?): Agamemnon  1 out of 5,583 Oedipus  1  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  5 out of 7,206 HF   1 out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  2 out of 6,315  Libido: Agamemnon  x out of 5,583 Oedipus  x  out of 5,338 Phaedra*  4 out of 7,206 HF   x out of 7,653 Medea   x out of 5,693 TW   1 out of 6,834 PW   x out of 4,112 Thyestes  x out of 6,315   MULTIVALENT: (esp. HFand Medea) Mora (delays): Agamemnon  6 out of 5,583 Oedipus  4  out of 5,338 Phaedra  4 out of 7,206 HF   6 out of 7,653 Medea   7 out of 5,693 TW*   13 out of 6,834 PW   5 out of 4,112 Thyestes  6 out of 6,315     

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