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Aeschylus' Use of Psychological Terminology

Aeschylus' Use of Psychological Terminology: Traditional and New

Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Aeschylus' Use of Psychological Terminology
    Book Description:

    Sullivan focuses on eight key psychological terms - phr n, thumos, kardia, kear, tor, nous, prapides, and psych - that appear frequently in ancient Greek texts but which have a wide range of possible meanings. Gathering instances from The Persians, Seven against Thebes, Suppliants, Agamemnon, Choephoroi, and Eumenides (instances from Prometheus Bound, whose authorship is in question, are treated in notes and an appendix), Sullivan first examines each psychic term separately. She then discusses instances of the terms in each play, examining the meaning of the psychic term in the context of the play in which it appears and providing details on Aeschylus' usage.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6655-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    For centuries the tragedies of Aeschylus (525-456 BC) have posed challenges of interpretation for scholars. This is the case with the six tragedies - thePersians,(472 BC) theSeven against Thebes(467 BC), theSuppliants(463 BC), and theAgamemnon,theChoephoroi,and theEumenides(458 BC) - whose authorship is not in question, and with thePrometheus Bound,whose authorship is much disputed.¹ In these tragedies we frequently encounter human beings in situations of crisis. In such situations, what they think, feel, remember, or devise all become very important. How are such feelings and emotions described? What terms...

  6. 2 Phrēn in the Tragedies: Part One
    (pp. 13-40)

    Of the eight psychic terms, Aeschylus usesphrēnmost often in his tragedies. Even though our evidence is fragmentary, the difference in number of instances, it appears, is significant. In the extant tragedies and fragments (omitting thePrometheus Bound),¹phrēnappears 104 times,thumos20,kardia30,kear7,ētorI,nous3,prapides3, andpsychē13. Since there are so many occurrences ofphrēn, they will be treated in this and the next chapter.

    From Homer down to Pindar and Bacchylidesphrēnandphrenesare frequently mentioned.² In the case of “traditional” passages in Aeschylus, I will cite...

  7. 3 Phrēn in the Tragedies: Part Two
    (pp. 41-63)

    This chapter will treat the rest of the instances ofphrēnin the tragedies of Aeschylus. It will look at the remaining traditional and contemporary uses and the new uses and images that Aeschylus introduces.

    In earlier and contemporary poetryphrēnis associated in different ways with moral behaviour. In these passages, as will be the case with Aeschylus, other aspects -“intellectual,” “emotional,” “volitional” - may well be present, but the “moral” is particularly evident. In the case of Aeschylus this is not surprising since the tragedies deal with profound moral questions.

    In the discussion of Aeschylus I use the...

  8. 4 Phrēn and Its Cognates in the Suppliants
    (pp. 64-94)

    In theSuppliantsone term,phrēn, and its cognates seem to be of particular importance. This chapter will attempt to illustrate the degree to which this is so and suggest various reasons why it may be so. Its aim is not to challenge other interpretations of the play but to show the significance ofphrēnwithin it.

    TheSuppliantswas the first play in a trilogy. Of the two plays that followed we have little specific information, and even their titles are in question.¹ But some details of the story of the fifty daughters of Danaus seem sure. In the...

  9. 5 Thumos in the Tragedies
    (pp. 95-107)

    Of all the psychic termsthumosis most common in Homer (over 700 times) and Hesiod (54 times). It is prominent as well in the lyric and elegiac poets, including Pindar and Bacchylides. In the six tragedies and fragments of Aeschylusthumosappears 20 times, much less often thanphrēn(104) andkardia(30).¹ In poetry earlier than and contemporary with Aeschylus, the range of function ofthumosis extremely broad.² These features ofthumoscan be summarized as follows:

    1Thumosalways appears in the singular whether its activity is referred to in one or many persons. Its placement,...

  10. 6 “Heart” in the Tragedies
    (pp. 108-136)

    In this chapter I discuss the terms that Aeschylus uses for “heart,”¹ namelykardia, kear,andētor.Because it appears only once in Aeschylus,ētorwill not be treated in any detail. Interestingly, in Homer and Hesiodētoris more common than eitherkardiaorkēr.² In the lyric and elegiac poets it is still quite common, althoughkardiais somewhat more so;kēr, common in Homer and Hesiod, appears often in Pindar and Bacchylides but not in the other poets.³ The one instance ofētorin Aeschylus (at Per.991), with its reference to “grief,” will be treated withkear...

  11. 7 Nous, Prapides, and Psychē in Tragedies
    (pp. 137-151)

    In this chapter I examine three psychic entities that appear in Aeschylus relatively rarely.Nousoccurs only 3 times,prapidesonly 3 times, andpsychē13 times.

    In earlier and contemporary poetsnousis a psychic entity of particular importance.¹ Although it does not appear as often asthumosandphrēnin Homer and Hesiod, it is still a very prominent psychic entity.² In Homer and theHomeric Hymnswe find it over 100 times; in Hesiod 26 times. In the lyric and elegiac poets we find it 82 times; in Pindar and Bacchylides 30 times. The features ofnous...

  12. 8 Psychic Terms in Each Tragedy
    (pp. 152-166)

    In chapters 2 to 7 all the instances of each psychic entity in the plays of Aeschylus have been grouped by term and examined. This chapter (accompanied by Appendix B) will show us how the several psychic entities appear together in each play. I focus in particular on the identity of the characters in whom the psychic entities are found.

    In Xerxes we hear at 372 that he speaks “with a cheerfulphrēn,” confident before the battle of Salamis. Later, at 750, Darius asks about Xerxes: “How in these things did a disease ofphrenesnot hold my son?” At...

  13. 9 Conclusion
    (pp. 167-174)

    In the chapters above we have seen that, like other early Greek poets, Aeschylus speaks of psychological activity being carried on by a number of psychic entities. In the six extant tragedies we find references to eight such entities:phrēn, thumos, kardia, kear, ētor, nous, prapides,andpsychē.I offer here an overview of these psychic entities and end with general observations on Aeschylus’ use of them.

    Tables 9.1 and 9.2 show us the range of function of the eight psychic entities that appear in Aeschylus.¹ (For a detailed overview of each psychic entity, see the final portion of the discussion...

  14. APPENDIX A An Overview of Psychic Entities
    (pp. 175-194)
  15. APPENDIX B Psychic Terms in Each Tragedy
    (pp. 195-208)
  16. APPENDIX C Adjectives and Participles with Psychic Terms
    (pp. 209-213)
  17. APPENDIX D Cognate Verbs, Adverbs, Adjectives, and Nouns
    (pp. 214-220)
  18. APPENDIX E Hēpar and Splanchna
    (pp. 221-222)
  19. APPENDIX F Phrēn and Its Cognates in the Suppliants
    (pp. 223-227)
  20. APPENDIX G The Prometheus Bound: An Overview
    (pp. 228-234)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 235-272)
  22. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 273-284)
  23. Index of Passages Discussed
    (pp. 285-286)
  24. General Index
    (pp. 287-288)