Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


My field of interest concerns the representation of the sea and its prominent presence as a space with multiple dynamics, symbolism and interpretations in ancient Greek tragedy. Using the wanderings of mortals as a main axis, I will attempt to explore how the sea, as an open dramatic milieu, acquires a significant function, which is directly connected with mortals’ destiny. The sea’s unpredictable nature is projected as a metaphysical environment, which could be identified as a boundary between the Greeks and the barbarians, life and death, nostos and nostalgia.

Increasingly, recent scholarship has produced a variety of detailed analyses and considerations concerning the spatial dynamics of tragedy. Although the seascape is recognized as an influential landscape at the centre of the Greek world, only a limited amount of scholarly attention has been devoted to this nautical realm as illustrated in ancient Greek tragedy. The aim of this thesis is to discuss the use and the perception of this powerful and effective space in a selection of tragedies, and to focus on the treatments of the sea as an intersection of multiple connotations and references.

The thesis concludes that within the context of a world in constant turmoil, journeys at sea can be interpreted as illustrating and revealing, through the adventures and aspirations of mortals, the socio-political and historical framework of the Greek society contemporary with the tragedies. The poetic image of the sea, as expressed in the tragic texts and connected with the capability of the human imagination to re-create a personal vision of history and myth, forms a remarkable topographic environment full of instability which, in many cases, depicts humanity’s ambivalent emotions and uncertain future.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorEllen Solomon (Supervisor), Paul Sharpe (Supervisor), Edith Hall (Supervisor) & Ismene Lada-Richards (Supervisor)

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