Drama and Historiography: the Interaction between Diegesis and Mimesis in Herodotus and Thucydides
This essay explores the presence and dynamic combination of the diegetic and mimetic modes in the writings of Herodotus and Thucydides as typical examples of fifth-century BC Greek historiography. Relying on significant examples, it offers a narratological discussion of diegesis (heterodiegesis, omniscience, and dramatized narration) showing similarities and differences between the two authors. It also investigates the main functions of mimesis, or direct speech, in their narratives, and illustrates its aims and causes, how it contributes to the psychological characterization and the dramatization of the events, as well as their explanation and interpretation. The widespread presence of dialogues in both Herodotus and Thucydides raises a number of intriguing theoretical questions regarding the relation of their prose with the epic model and the composition and oral fruition of historiographical works in the fifth century. Special attention is devoted to specific passages which, while being almost devoid of narrative pieces (Xerxes’ Council in Herodotus 7.8-19 and the Melian dialogue in Thucydides 5.85-113), show a peculiar proclivity for dialogue suggestiong a typically dramatic potential.
Copyright (c) 2016 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.