"Just as naturally happens with actors in tragedies where he who wears the mask of a messenger or servant gains glory and takes the lead while he who bears the crown and sceptre is not listened to when he speaks..."-Plutarch This book investigates the transformation of the Tragic Messenger, traditionally a minor supporting character in Greek drama who brought news from off stage, into one of the leading acting roles in ancient drama. It examines the features of Messenger speeches which made them attractive acting roles, reviews the Tragic Messenger in vase paintings, and analyzes the distribution of acting roles in the extant fifth-century tragedies. The technique of masked actors playing multiple roles in the same drama permitted 'metatheatrical' linkages between these acting roles. When these linkages involved Euripides' very vivid Messenger speeches, they allowed the Tragic Messenger to become an indispensable and stereotypical part of the drama. This was not only important in the development of the tragic genre itself, but may also have led to the stock role of the Running Slave in comedy.
Margaret Dickin obtained a Ph.D in Classics from McMaster University and has taught classical languages and ancient culture at the University of Guelph and McMaster University.
Chapter 1 The Significance of the Messenger in Fifth-Century Greek Tragedy Chapter 2 Quantitative Evaluation of Narrative Speeches in Tragedy Chapter 3 Representations of the Dramatic Messenger on Vases Chapter 4 Factors Affecting the Assignment of Roles in Tragedy Chapter 5 Identification of the Casting of the Dramatic Messenger Chapter 6 Conclusions 7 Bibliography 8 Appendix 1 9 Appendix 2 10 Index