DOGS AND LIONS IN THE ORESTEIA
AbstractMost studies of Aeschylean imagery have made simple deductions as to its meaning, whereby a single motif is encapsulated in what may be called a monistic abstraction. Thus Whallon interprets the vulture and eagle symbolism as "predacity" (1961:81); likewise Lawrence takes all the animal imagery together as displaying "the predatory laws of nature" (1976:107). In the case of "dog" and "lion" imagery in the Oresteia this is an oversimplification which leads to wrong interpretations of some occurrences. Such single labels for imagery are obtained in a facile manner by accepting the most direct meaning common to all the instances and linking it to some assumed aspect of an imagined semiotic background. When applied to the text, we can simply state repeatedly that certain imagery portray the same idea over and over, such as "predatory justice", as if this is the only meaning of all its occurrences. Instead, the imagery should rather be interpreted in terms of its function in the play (Garson 1983:33). In the case of "dog" and "lion" imagery, subdivisions in the imagery serve not only to bind the three plays together and to show contrast between and within characters, but it also forms an integral part of the literary contrast in the major theme of predeterminism versus personal responsibility, providing crucial insight into the psychology of the characters.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).