Greek tragedy is widely read and performed, but outside the commentary tradition detailed study of the poetic style and language of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides has been relatively neglected. This book seeks to fill that gap by providing an account of the poetics of the tragic genre. The author describes the varied handling of spoken dialogue and of lyric song; major topics such as vocabulary, rhetoric and imagery are considered in detail and illustrated from a broad range of plays. The contribution of the chorus to the dramas is also discussed. Characterisation, irony and generalising statements are treated in separate chapters and these topics are illuminated by comparisons which show not only what is shared by the three major dramatists but also what distinguishes their practice. The book sheds light both on the genre as a whole and on many particular passages.
1. Introduction; 2. Genre: form, structure and mode; 3. Words, themes and names; 4. The imagery of Greek tragedy; 5. The dramatists at work: part 1 (spoken verse); 6. The dramatists at work: part 2 (lyric); 7. The characters of Greek tragedy; 8. The irony of Greek tragedy; Appendix: ironic dramatists?; 9. The wisdom of Greek tragedy; 10. Epilogue.