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Harmful Interaction between the Living and the Dead in Greek Tragedy$
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Bridget Martin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621501

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621501.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Alcestis effect

Conclusion: The Alcestis effect

(p.185) Conclusion: The Alcestis effect
Harmful Interaction between the Living and the Dead in Greek Tragedy

Bridget Martin

Liverpool University Press

The conclusion reframes the nature of the dead in Greek tragedy by examining their characteristics as presented individually by the three tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Through this reframing, it emerges that, while each of the tragedians privileges certain characteristics of the dead, there is sufficient overlap to answer the question at the heart of the book: Can the living and dead harm each other in tragedy? As concluded, the living harm the dead by denying honour and observance through degradative and mutilative acts that result in a cross-world punishment of dishonour/social exclusion or demotion in the Underworld and rejection from living societal memory. The dead, in turn, can and do harm the living, primarily through the use of agents, which is effective but inevitably dilutes their responsibility.

Keywords:   agents, tragedians, social exclusion, dishonour

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