The Semiotic Basis of Politics in Seven Against Thebes
AbstractBeyond its formal segmentation, the structure of Seven Against Thebes is marked by the successive stages of a confrontation, in which the protagonist Eteocles faces first the panicking Chorus, and then (through the messenger’s report) the boastful assaults of the foreign warriors. In both phases, the conflict reveals a radical divergence in the understanding of language and signs, and points out the prerogatives of language as one of the play’s major themes. This paper tries to read these different stages as illustrations of polarized worldviews reflecting the ambiguous status of the λόγος in the episteme of the first half of the fifth century BCE: in its interaction with the Chorus, Eteocles emphasizes the rational and anal-ytical basis of language in opposition to its expressive value; when discrediting the Seven’s ominous vaunts, the Theban leader highlights the necessity of referential constraint, in which he sees a defence against the primitive, fallacious and anti-cultural misuse of signs. In the final phase, when his action showing him as a rational strategist is disrupted by the re-emergence of his father’s ἀρά, Eteocles does not fail to reaffirm the need for a convergence between the rules governing the linguistic sign and the roots of moral and political order.
Copyright (c) 2018 Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
This Journal is a CC-BY 4.0 publication (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This Licence allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this Journal, providing a link to the Licence and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author retains (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for any purpose; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorise others to make any use of the Article so long as the Author receives credit as Author and the Journal in which the Article has been published are cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, the Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open-access digital repositories.
- The Author is free to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the Journal’s published version of the work, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this Journal and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author is permitted and encouraged to post their work online after the evaluation process has been successfully passed, as it can lead to productive exchanges as well as to a wider dissemination of the published work.