Mourning Does Indeed Become Electra
Electra is Greek tragedy’s mourner par excellence. In Sophocles’ dramatic version she is portrayed as stuck in a state of never-ending grief that fuels her desire for vengeance. On the modern stage she captures audiences’ imagination with her powerful, multi-sensory spectacle of mourning. Electra is a transgressive character precisely because she mourns too intensely and for too long. She is trapped in a liminal space where both her mind and body are adversely affected by her excessive mourning. But so enthralling is the portrayal of her grief that it has become the most prominent strand of the tragic heroine’s reception. This paper investigates two examples of Sophocles’ Electra in performance at the end of the last millennium, as a means of unpicking two very different approaches to the portrayal of ‘tragic’ grief on the modern Greek stage. At the end of the 1990s, the country’s premier theatrical company, The National Theatre of Greece, staged Sophocles’ Electra twice; in 1996 Lydia Koniordou highlighted female ritual, while Dimitris Maurikios’ 1998 production featured an Electra that was labelled ‘hysterical’ by theatre critics. This paper examines how modern Greece’s claim to a ‘special relationship’ with classical Greece has affected the performance of Electra’s grief.
Copyright (c) 2019 Anastasia Bakogianni
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with thersites agree to the following terms:
- Publishing in thersites is free of any charges.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication.
- Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, so long as the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. The journal is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. More information about this license is available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
- 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) as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).