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Durham e-Theses
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Victims or Objects? The Representation of Sexual Violence in Greek Tragedy

BRUNINI-CRONIN, CORINNA,MARIA (2016) Victims or Objects? The Representation of Sexual Violence in Greek Tragedy. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 06 January 2021.

Abstract

This thesis concentrates on the representation of sexual violence committed against women of differing statuses in Greek tragedy in order to discern what designated sexual violence as negative in the opinion of the Athenian audience; how they regarded the issue of women’s consent; and how they viewed the victims of sexual violence.
In order to get a comprehensive picture of sexual violence in tragedy, this study contains close readings of the extant plays and relevant fragments. I look at the descriptions of sexual violence and how it is represented throughout the plays. I also examine discussions of the imminent threat of sexual violence which feature in a number of plays. I take into account a number of factors: the status, motivation and subsequent actions of the aggressor; the locations and context of the assault; the status of the victim; how the victim is represented throughout the play; the reactions of other characters to the victim and any accounts of sexual violence and possible reasons for this.
In this thesis I demonstrate that although not all instances of sexual violence would have been regarded as requiring punishment in ancient Athens that does not mean the Athenians had no appreciation for the issue of women’s consent to sexual intercourse. I show that in tragedy, regardless of the circumstances, the victims of sexual violence and enforced sexual relationships are regarded sympathetically. I also demonstrate that the tragedians use actual or potential sexual victimisation to make formerly unsympathetic mythic heroines more sympathetic.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Jan 2016 09:12

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