Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Falling on Deaf Ears: Trauma in Euripides' Hecuba
by Paré, Julia E., M.A., The University of Arizona, 2020, 59; 27997215
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis explores the manifestations of trauma and its impact on language and the titular character’s behavior in Euripides’ Hecuba. Trauma signifies a psychological phenomenon encompassing feelings of dissociation and aporia resulting from an event or events that “break in” upon an individual’s previously understood assumptive worldview. The outcome, or “traumatic response,” constitutes the victim’s attempt to remake and function in their new world and can be characterized by violence and previously uncharacteristic reactions. Literary representations of trauma include fractured time, declarations of speechlessness, and intrusive repetitive images or narratives.

Because psychological trauma is a distinctly modern construct involving diagnostic criteria, Chapter 1 addresses the limitations of reading trauma into ancient texts, as well as how literary trauma studies deal with interpreting texts in a framework related to, but not wholly dependent upon, psychologically defined trauma. I establish a working definition of trauma that illuminates Hecuba beyond ethical interpretations. In Chapter 2 I consider how repetitive applications of ὄλλυμι and time constructions reveal Hecuba’s psychological state. In Chapter 3 I argue that a traumatic framework is best for consistently understanding Hecuba’s experience of denial and final violent reaction. My conclusion compares Hecuba’s tragedy and the testimony of war-crime survivors, to extend work relating tragedies such as Sophocles’ Ajax to veterans to include women’s traumatic wartime experiences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Christenson, David M
Commitee: Park, Arum, Friesen, Courtney
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Classics
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 81/12(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Classical literature
Keywords: Euripides, Greek Tragedy, Hecuba, Trauma, Trauma Studies, War
Publication Number: 27997215
ISBN: 9798607355166
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