A first approach to ἡμεῖς in place of ἐγώ in Sophocles and Euripides: a deactualising device and expression of self-dignity

Author: Conti, Luz
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2021, vol. 26, iss. 1, pp. 23-35
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
This paper focuses on the use of ἡμεῖς in place of ἐγώ in Eurpides' Alcestis, Electra, and Medea and Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus and Philoctetes. As the data reveal, ἡμεῖς functions as a strategy to both reinforce the speaker's I and blur the identity of the person or group associated with the speaker. Contrary to the claim of some scholars, ἡμεῖς does not seem to be particularly connected with female speech. In the analysed tragedies, ἡμεῖς tends to co-occur with expressions of non-actuality and may be interpreted as a deactualising device. Furthermore, the use of ἡμεῖς is linked to a pragmatic meaning of self-dignity.
  • This paper was written in the framework of the research project "Cortesía y descortesía verbal en el diálogo literario del griego antiguo" (PGC2018-093779-BI00).
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