chapter  5
6 Pages

Dramatic Surprise and Ornament

Or we may take a rather different moment. Hecuba makes a speech in the Troades (466 fE) when the situation is that Cassandra has just been led off captive and that nothing else (except a choral ode) is destined to happen until the next blow falls, the appearance of Andromache, captive. The whole interval cannot be filled with lyrics; Hecuba has been lyrical for nearly two hundred verses already. She therefore is given a speech (c£ Soph., EI., 254 fE), but since nothing matters, dramatically, but the next blow - not Hecuba's 'reactions', her character, possibility of counter-actionthe moment is quite static; there is no forward movement and Euripides does not pretend to make any. This time there is no debate or philosophical reflection to replace dramatic by intellectual activity. Hecuba is given a reminiscent speech, and this consequently must be interesting as a speech, that is, rhetorical.